3D printer + starting a company MAYBE

Gosh it has been ages since I have seen this forum. I hope everyone is doing well.
I am now a senior in High school in Los Angeles and for a senior project, I was planning on designing a yoyo using free web based CAD software and then printing it out with a 3D printer. I also found out that my school has a metal lathe and a lot of spare aluminum that nobody uses. I have learned a lot of physics behind yo-yoing in AP physics, and I am already starting designs. I just thought that would be something interesting to share. I don’t know how well the 3D printer will work (it is additive, accurate to .01mm i think) but I look forward to engineering some of my ideas.

Also, if anyone has any ideas that they already created a CAD blueprint, send it to me and with your permission I will print it out (more or less as a test). It will be plastic though, so it will probably weigh very little.

Furthermore, I will update with news of my designs (maybe pictures). If anyone has any ideas, I am all ears.

And on an unrelated note, does anyone live in Cleveland, OH? I am moving to Oberlin College next year, so it would be interesting to be introduced to the yoyo crew out there.

Lots of peeps in Cleveland. I live in canton but go up to Cleveland once a month to yoyo with some

A few people have attempted making yoyos on 3D printers before with generally poor results. The problem wasn’t the accuracy or weight, but durability. Even the tension created keeping the bearing seated was enough to shave off a good amount of plastic and cause fissures.

If you’d like to try it just to have something to hold in your hand as you’re designing a production model, then more power to you, but don’t get your hopes up for 3D printed yoyos allowing you to start a business.

3D printers are great for prototyping. The first FAST 201 prototypes were done on a 3D printers a proof of concept, and they were fully functional yoyos that I remember playing rather nicely, in spite of how light they were. Just make sure you’re working with printers that are a high-enough resolution to hold the tolerances. You really need commercial grade printers, which your school probably has. If you can find out what actual model printer they have I can tell you if it will work or not.

As for Cleveland…http://www.clevelandyoyoclub.com. Come on out. :slight_smile:

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If you google Cleveland yoyo club you’ll find your answer. I’ve not been but lots of cool people there.

Edit- Ninja’ed!

Steve Brown posted the link. I hope to make the drive soon. (not too far but not around the corner either for me)

they have been making break throughs with 3d printers that can print more durable materials… as in more durable plastics… they have been working with the concept of a metal 3d printer though… your school obviously doesn’t have a metal 3d printer… i just thought that was a fun fact :slight_smile: I wonder what will happen to the yoyo world when things like metal 3d printers come to the market.

Regardless have fun with your project!

I would really like to see the results of this! Also, welcome back my good sir.

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I’ve played a 3d printed yoyo and it played quite well. It had a little vibe on grinds but it p,ayes awesome. The person who made it put metal weight rings on it next to the igr

I mean, plastic doesn’t grind well. The resolution isn’t the highest (the school built a 3D printer using another 3D printer that we rented) but it may work. I probably will prototype with it and then make a metal one with the lathe. It is pretty durable plastic but i am still working on designing a bearing seat. The teacher who is making sure i don’t break anything told me that if i wanted he knew a guy with a metal 3D printer prototype and i could try that, but it would cost about $75 or something. anyways, I am going to try it, but I have months to perfect it. And thanks for welcoming me back SR, and I look forwards to college when i can meet all these ohio throwers. seems like there are more there than in LA


Metal 3d printers exist and have for many years… aluminum, steel, titanium… all printable. They are however -extremely- expensive… even the parts made on them can run into the thousands.

As for plastics… 3d printing is an ever expanding and rapidly advancing industry. There are printers that are capable of doing what we need, but you have to understand their limitations and design accordingly. The bird’s nest yo-yo I made several years ago ( http://flic.kr/p/9wrQ4V ) was done with a 3d printer initially… but it was reworked from top to bottom by hand to get the desired quality and precision… and it has steel weight rings and a steel hub for weight and additional precision.

So possible? yes… easy? no.


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Use spacers instead of trying to design an actual bearing seat.

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Why on earth didn’t I think of that. :-X

You’ll definitely enjoy Cleveland. Good luck! I’d be interested in seeing some of your designs. I do it on the side just for kicks, post a pic or something :smiley:

I still need to look into the spacer to make it fit in the yoyo, but yeah, that will simplify things. Kyo, that looks sick and in no way does that look easy. I know a metal printer is unlikely, so i will probably be using the 3D printer as a proof of concept/prototype and then making a real one with a metal lathe. Still have time to fool around with it, and I am meeting with the teacher sponsor on friday to talk and maybe print out a quick design I have just to get a feel for the scaling. And I am so excited for college. Ohio will be sick.

Dude, im from your MI twin…

Im from Canton MI…

The 3D printer your school sounds like a Reprap. I’ve built a couple of those machines myself, and tried printing a yoyo on it. Because It’s an additive process, by default it doesn’t handle overhangs terribly well, and support can be a pain to remove sometimes. Even though the stated resolution is up to 0.01mm, that’s mostly in the X and Y axis. Even though the layer height can be lowered to 0.01mm, the nature of the plastic being extruded still gives the finished object a very layered look, imagine a thousand sheets of thin plastic being layered one on top of each other; that’s basically what the printer does. There’s also the issue of weight distribution. Usually on 3D printers, objects aren’t printed completely solid, and even when they are, there are still small air pockets within it, making the finished weight distribution uneven. Considering it doesn’t take much to make a yoyo wobble, this could be an issue.

A print of Yoda from my printer, printed at 0.15mm layer height. If you look close, you can see what I mean by the layering effect.

tl;dr - It’s definitely possible to make prototypes on it, but I’d think twice about using it as a platform to make yoyos for sale.

If you’re still interested in 3D printing yoyos, DLP style printers might give you a better finish and resolution, but with the downside that the printed resin is relatively fragile and lightweight.

Personally, I’d look at DIY CNC lathes.

This was my conclusion when I looked into it myself. It was much more of a decision for me as well because I would have had to buy the 3D Printer (600 bucks), and I didn’t know if it would work or not.

In a similar sense, prototyping a yoyo through another metal shop could be done for cheaper than getting said products.

Always love checking out the yoda prints people do. ;D

I mean, I can use my school printer completely free of charge. My teacher showed me a few things he printed out and they seemed very sturdy, but yes, the density will not be uniform which will cause some flaws. The layered effect isn’t a big deal. Look at the Onedrop P2 yoyo. Anyways, right now I am designing a yoyo on tinkercad.com which is a free web based CAD software program that anyone can use. And again, I will probably end up making a metal version of the finished product after calculating what the proportioned plastic weight should be.

If you had a 3D printer, could you make yoyos that worked?

My friend has done it before. It can be done but the material used it way to light for a good spinning plastic. So yes it could be done, but weight must be added to get a halfway decent spin time.