Reviewed by Chris Rhoads
April 3, 2011
What is there left to say about Landon Balk’s yo-yo designs that has not already been said? His acrylics are an absolute work of art. They catch the light in ways that no other yo-yo can. His one metal is so undervalued it is criminal. His Delrins… well I don’t know about his Delrin yo-yos. Up to this point I have never played one. While some might just shrug and say a plastic is a plastic so his acrylic yo-yos would feel similar to Delrin, I would have to respectfully disagree. Delrin is a DuPont made plastic that has the unique property of self-lubrication, meaning it is a much better surface for grinding than an acrylic. Today I am looking at the 3Yo3 Volume. Now I know where Landon was going wit the name, he made this yo-yo with huge rims that take up a lot of 3-dimensional space. I think he missed the mark a little. This yo-yo is more of an in your face plastic that cranks up the dial. You will see what I am talking about later on in the review.
• Diameter: 53.3 mm
• Width: 43 mm
• Gap: 4.05 mm
• Weight: 66.9 grams
• Response: Thin Hat Pads
• Bearing: Clean Dry Steel C-bearing
There is no getting around it; this is an H-Shaped yo-yo. The rims encompass most of the profile with an almost 90-degree step transitioning into the gap. At the step there is a groove cut into the yo-yo, reducing center mass, giving even more weight distribution to the rims. The edges on the rims are rounded making for a comfortable hit when returning to the hand. Moving to the face of the yo-yo there really is not much to talk about. It is flat on the rim face and flat in the cup. In the center you can see the brass hub inserts used for the axle system. There is a slight IGR cut into the cup that is just steep enough to pull off a thumb grind. The finish is hard to talk about because there is no treated finish, unlike the metals I normally review. On the volume, the finish is that self-lubricating Delrin. It does exactly what it is meant to do, give a slick surface to grind with. It feels good in the hand, never getting sticky like other plastics can. The best way to describe the feel is to say that it feels a little like a bar of soap. At the end of the day, I like the design. It is a departure from what is normally done with Delrin and shows that you don’t have to work with metal to push the design to extremes.
This yo-yo is stable on the string as evident by the disproportionate rim weight. It did not want to tilt during play at all. The almost 67 gram weight feels just right for the shape and design giving a decent amount of speed while also having a fair amount of float during tricks.
Response and Bearing
Do not let the aluminum bearing seat fool you; the response gap is still cut directly into the yo-yo itself. This gives Landon a little more play with how deep he wants the response groove to be without disrupting the depth of the seat. The Volume ships with stock with General-Yo thin Hat Pads. These have become my standard pad of choice because of their low surface area and superb grip when binding. They take very little time to break in and last quite a long time afterwards.
The bearing is a rather loud, clean and dry steel bearing. I am not the biggest fan of loud bearings so I took a drop of V4M to it, which quieted it down to acceptable levels. Even when lubed, the bearing still gave great spin times.
One thing I will get out of the way right off the bat is that this yo-yo has a hair of vibe to it. All plastics do, especially when you meticulously hand turn each half on a lathe like Landon does. Does the vibe effect play? Not in the least. This yo-yo is a beast on the string. It moves fast and with conviction on the string. Tricks are easy to perform and the spin times are enough to perform some insanely long combos. To see just how long it spins I did a gondola repeater trick. I wanted to see how many times I would repeat before it ran out of juice. The answer is eight times. Not bad for a trick that starts in a Houdini Mount, whips to Gondola, then flips over to Trapeze, goes back around into a one and a half mount and then back into Houdini. I will have to film it sometime; I get confused trying to describe the trick in print. Grinds are very easy to pull off for the most part. Palm and arm grinds work perfectly, even finger grinds are a snap, though I was concerned due to the extra skin contact from the H-Shape hitting either side of my fat finger. Thumb grinds are a mixed bag. The IGR angle is a little too shallow, making the yo-yo a little slippy on the thumbnail. To fix this the IGR angle needs to be steeper or the cup needs to be deeper. Neither of which are feasible with the current specs without compromising the play of the yo-yo. Overall this is one exceptional player that gives true “Death-To-Metal” performance without having to be injection molded in a factory or needing metal rings added to the rims.
After playing with the Volume for an extended period of time, I would have to say it definitely goes to eleven. I am not a huge fan of plastics; I just prefer the feel of metal yo-yos during play. Similar to how some people prefer a Coke out of a glass bottle instead of a can. That being said, I would gladly own a Volume, especially an all white one so that I can have it dyed by one of the excellent modders in the forums. Great job Landon, you have shown me that no matter what the medium, acrylic, aluminum, or Delrin, you will always make a killer throw.