View Full Version : Anyone make a yo-yo?

11-29-2011, 10:39 PM
I might want to make my son a yo-yo this year....probably aluminum.

I saw one over at the CNC Cookbook, but I was thinking something simple. I'd like to hear of anyone's tips...I'm not sure about how to join the two halves...like what the axle should be like.

I'm sure I could figure something out myself, but I always do better after asking here first.

Thanks all,


ps. the only threads I can cut are with a tap or die.

11-29-2011, 11:38 PM
A 1/4" dowel pin pressed in would work fine for the axle. That's what I used in my wooden yo-yo.

Tony Ennis
11-29-2011, 11:41 PM
I'd press a steel axle into each yoyo half. No threading required.

11-29-2011, 11:51 PM
Any reason you can't just make it out of one piece?

Part off tool down the center?

Then you'll have a custom aircraft quality billet yo-yo.

11-30-2011, 12:31 AM
I would use a steel axle too. An aluminum axle will turn the string black. A yoyo is an excellent idea. I have been trying to think of a small gift for my grandson's birthday. He always gets shortchanged because his birthday is Dec 20.

Mike Burdick
11-30-2011, 01:58 AM
Gee Whizz! Just out of curiosity I did a Google search for "aluminum yo-yos" and got lots of information. Basic engineering principle at work is a thin shell with a heavy outer ring for the maximum inertia.

Here's an example site that shows some...



11-30-2011, 01:59 AM
I would use a steel axle too. An aluminum axle will turn the string black. A yoyo is an excellent idea. I have been trying to think of a small gift for my grandson's birthday. He always gets shortchanged because his birthday is Dec 20.

He should consider himself somewhat lucky. Mine is on the 28th and my girlfriend's is the 25th.

11-30-2011, 02:43 AM
You can find the bearings here: http://www.vxb.com/page/bearings/CTGY/YoYo
But I don't know where to find the plans to go with them :)

p.s. And of course you'll need to do some precision machining to make them work better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtGOp27XJ5g

11-30-2011, 03:25 AM
Bearings? What? Use a music wire axle, heat the aluminum and press the sides on. Leave the appropriate gap. That's a yoyo. Don't need no stinkin bearings :)

My first entrepreneurial venture was when I was in grade 4 or so. Yoyos were popular then, but the strings left something to be desired. So I made my own strings, which worked great. You could get lots of sleep time, do all the tricks, and they would last pretty good. I made lots of those and sold them at school.

One of my most infamous tricks, which I played only once, was to see how close to the fluorescent lights I could cast the yoyo without actually hitting them. So- I managed to wipe out two 8 footers in our cafe one day. What a mess. My sister took the cake though- she climbed up on the counter to get a glass for some water and she managed to hang from the glass shelf where all the water glasses were. The shelf broke- she and all the glass hit the floor. I don't know how she didn't get cut. She was just sitting there, surrounded by broken glass, crying. I caught hell for that one too.

11-30-2011, 04:09 AM
Bearings? What? Don't need no stinkin bearings :)

I'll second that. I always thought that part of the challenge was keeping the damn thing spinning long enough to pull off a trick.

11-30-2011, 05:30 AM
I'd be careful about the weight. You don't want to give a child a heavy metal object on a string.


11-30-2011, 11:07 AM
NASA once made a multiton yo-yo that was dropped with a crane as part of some educational project. I didn't see the research paper, only an account in the popular press, but they said something about wood being shown to be the "ideal" yo-yo material with whatever criteria they were using for "ideal".

11-30-2011, 12:59 PM
what am i missing - if you used bearings, you'd have a yo, not a yo-yo. a yo-yo goes down and up.....how would ever cause it to catch and come back up if you used bearings?

I'd even go further and suggest the coefficient of friction between steel and string would be insufficient to make yo-yo, again you end up with a yo.

The yo-yo suggestion has come up before....made me wonder if the bearing proponents have used one? Remember what it was like, there was some sensitivity to getting the right tension (via twists) on the string so it would catch and come up

or are you bearings guys going to get really fancy - have some sort of accelerometer lockout, flick of finger and the dumbbells lock to the axle that's fixed on the string :D

11-30-2011, 01:19 PM
I haven't been paying attention to developments in yo-yo technology until now. Boy, have I ever been missing a lot. Apparently you can easily part with $100 for a decent yo-yo. I haven't figured out what makes them so expensive other than the likelyhood that they are made from spacecraft rated NASA approved age hardened aluminum billet.

11-30-2011, 04:21 PM
I don't like those splayed out shaped ally jobs.

If you're going to catch a yoyo at high speed and not hurt your hand, it needs to be shaped for comfort, as B B King said.

I agree that you don't want bearings if you're going to walk the dog. You need the right polish on the axle, possibly to match the string, so it catches at just the right jerk. I reckon you need a highly polished set of flanks, so you don't abrade the string as it winds up, but I may be wrong.

11-30-2011, 05:46 PM
The real trick is in the bearing.

Walking the dog is just one maneuver that requires that the yo-yo spin and not grab the string.

With a ball bearing what happens? The bearing is dry and free to roll while under tension. When the tension is released briefly it can grab the outer race which will also grab the string.

Ceramic bearings work the best for this action. And a concave surface on the outside of the outer race is even better. It will keep the string centered and help keep it from rubbing on the inside surfaces of the yo-yo.

11-30-2011, 07:21 PM
how would ever cause it to catch and come back up if you used bearings?

It's called a "bind". I got sidetracked on youtube last night. Seeing the yo-yo's having silicone rings and watching a "bind" being performed, I would assume that the technique piles enough string around the bearing to rub the silicone rings and grab the shaft.

Your Old Dog
11-30-2011, 08:16 PM
I'd be careful about the weight. You don't want to give a child a heavy metal object on a string.


I wouldn't worry about that. You can just turn a groove on the extremity of the yoyo, inlay it with cotten fabric and treat it with Mercurochrome. ;)

J. Tranter
11-30-2011, 10:29 PM
This might help...


11-30-2011, 11:14 PM
And a concave surface on the outside of the outer race is even better. It will keep the string centered and help keep it from rubbing on the inside surfaces of the yo-yo.

I was trying to figure out what the heck that kid was doing to that bearing with the dremel, until I realized he was grinding the outside of the race, to put a groove on it for the string :)

A.K. Boomer
12-01-2011, 03:59 AM
If your going with aluminum you need to hollow it out - it would be way too heavy for most tricks and also really hurt when it gets out of control doing loops and such.

Just about everything's been done to yo-yo's now - I had one that would sling out centrifugal weights and sleep till it reached a certain RPM and then suck itself back up - there's others that have different colored led's for different rpm's...

yo-yo's are cool - I don't care what anybody says, i had allot of fun being a dork in my mid 30's with yo-yo's:)

12-01-2011, 04:18 PM
WTF ...



12-01-2011, 04:49 PM
WTF ...



I had no idea. I have seen the fancy yo-yo's but never thought to Youtube it.


Chris S.
12-01-2011, 08:45 PM
WTF ...



I've made quite a few basic (bearingless) Yo-Yo's from exotic wood. Some were made from a solid blank and spindle turned between centers and some were made in three pieces; end caps and dowel axle. I thought I knew how to use one until I watched these vids!

12-01-2011, 09:13 PM
The kids and I got into spinning tops for a few years.
The best one was made with lead and a tungsten tip. It spun for over twelve minutes.But it was too soft,soon as it dented, it lost all balance
Made lots of them from brass with a tungsten tip.We would tool post grind the tip and make the body low and squatty. Put the string groove as low as possible. Then spin it on a piece glass,the harder the surface the better.

You could hear the sound change as the tip rounded and added friction.

Wife was really pissed when we spun them on her granite coffee table.
How were we to know that the tungsten was going to drill little holes in it?:eek:

Always wanted to figure out the rpm,but had no idea how to do the math on that one.

12-01-2011, 09:13 PM
I am considering building a couple from aluminum for Christmas presents, I know it has been covered before but, I am confused about the addition of the bearing on the axle, how does the yo yo come back up the string, if the bearing is spinning?

Are there any full drawings available of the axle and how it assembled?

Thanks in advance


12-01-2011, 10:26 PM
S.R., it seems like a particular type of bearing that's kind of offset...the races are square to one another at one point, allowing it to spin (sleep) then the races cock and bind the bearings a bit causing the return.

It all seem more involved then I thought...I think my son might get a pretty basic design :)

Thanks for all the replies!


12-02-2011, 03:22 AM
This might help...


Maybe I'm a bit dense, but if he's going through that much effort, why start with a purchased yo yo in the first place?

12-02-2011, 03:00 PM
Yo-yo bearing,


Chris S.
12-02-2011, 11:25 PM
Here's some pix of Tops with Launchers. I made these over 14 years ago when I was churning out quite a number wood turnings daily and selling at craft shows. I'm in the process of gearing up again after that very long layoff.


These are two shots of a roughed out launcher and top. Funny thing is, this was roughed out 14 years ago too but the photos were taken today. The Top was turned green from a Black Olive tree that used to live on my front lawn. It's not a particularly attractive wood but it's easily twice as dense as White Oak and a good deal heavier too. I'm reasonably sure that the wood is dry enough to finish turning by now. :rolleyes: I use escutcheon pins for the bearing nose on all my Tops. I also drill a cord hole in the stem, which has not been done on this one yet.



12-03-2011, 01:13 AM
Nice work even if it is wood. ;)

Chris S.
12-03-2011, 10:10 AM
Nice work even if it is wood. ;)

On the up side,.. they won't rust. :D

12-05-2011, 11:31 AM
Nice work even if it is wood. ;)
Yeah http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=44811 ;)