A new idea?


So I am a senior in highschool and am taking a ceramics class, I was wondering if I would be able to make a yoyo from clay, I’m curious if that would work or not, if anyone has experience or can help me with designs that would be helpful, feedback would also be good, thank you


You can, but I think this would be a better topic for the modifications area.

There is word that the Ancient Greeks had ceramic yoyos, but I think the history is that these yoyos were more ceremonial and used for some sort of “rite of passage” between child and adult where they give up their toys to the gods, and so a nice ceramic yoyo was used for this purpose.

Of course, you CAN do this, but you have to keep things in mind such ashow are you going to mount the axle, and will the axle survive the firing? How brittle is the ceramic? I mean, I sometimes drop my arm by accident, and I’d hate to have a yoyo shatter. How much shrinkage is there between the molding/making and the firing? Are you going to use bone china(if you do that, you better be selling me the yoyo!), or some sort of glass(agian, better be selling it to me!)? There’s many types of ceramics and materials that can be used. Metal rims, decorations, the possibilities are infinite.

I have a friend who used to work in a ceramics factory and I’ve got some examples of their work. While simple, it’s still amazing stuff. But in general, I’m not sure if it’s a good material to use for this application.

I’d say start with something in the 55.5mm to 57.5mm diameter sizes, and see if you can keep the weight under 70 grams. I’d be very concerned about the silicone recess or response area, as well as the bearing area and the type of axle to be used.

(M²) #3

What studio42 is trying to say is that you could, but it wouldn’t work well.


Hmm well, I was thinking about using a template for the design, maybe a butterfly style and then create a spacer like the ones in duncan yoyos, and fire that, use it for the spaceing and then take it out before the fire the yoyo for a normal spacer would fit and I would create a rod sticking out of one end and then I would cut a whole in the other side and piece together all the parts with a size C bearing the middle if it fit or a size A, then super glue the two sides together and attach a string and hope it plays well, it won’t be able to come apart and it would be normal clay


Well, that’s one way to go about it. But, have you ever measurered “before” and “after” firing dimensions?

Now you’re talking about drilling and otherwise compromising. I don’t think “normal” clay would be ideal.

This is one of those “Can I” vs “Should I”.

I’d say if you’re after an art/decorative piece, sure. But as functional and playable? My gut feeling is “no, this is not a viable path to travel down”. However, I’ll talk to that friend of mine about it. She did the stuff for years and she’d know far better than I would. She worked at a plant making top of the line/premium grade bone china. Granted, she was one of the people actually MAKING the stuff but I think she’d still have knowledge that went past the molds, cutting and firings.


Hmm thanks, if worse comes to worse I will just make it for looks and not for play but if I can make it for play that would be great as well, thanks for the advice and I’ll keep you updated on the process if youd like me too


Send me a PM to remind me. I’m contacting that friend of mine. I can’t guarantee answers, but I know for a fact your run of the mill “normal” clay isn’t going to cut it if you’re going to play it. But even so, using a more durable ceramic might shatter just as easily. I think nicely decorated and glazed, it might be a way cool conversation and display piece. I’d be interested in a working bone china yoyo with silver rims. Of course, I want it working so I can say it’s a real yoyo and will throw it to prove it’s a real yoyo, so it’s got to have working modern guts. But if I were to commission such a piece, I’d have to say that while it has to work, it’s more for show than to throw.


OK, I got some information:

First, there was concern over weight. As the friend in question threw a bit as a child and we’re roughly the same age, she stopped throwing well before she started throwing mud. It can be hard to relate to stuff. Either way, weight was a concern, mostly from being too heavy.

Second, was the concern about how well it would hold up to drops and hitting hard surfaces. It didn’t sound promising.

Third, many ceramics won’t stand up to being machined. Some will, but the better stuff won’t. So, you’d have to do stuff like any holes for axles would have to be done prior to firing, and in firing, almost all ceramics shrink, so you’d also have to carefully calculate all your dimensions ahead of time to account for shrinkage. The good side is your materials don’t cost a lot and you don’t have to wait a lot of time between test and proof of concept. The bad thing is that those kilns and firings take time and can be expensive but still cheaper that machine time.

Regarding the above, you’d need to make a mold of some sorts to ensure some sort of consistency.

Also, there is concern about once you’ve attached any sort of machinery to it(such as where the axle goes), the odds are that would cause a weakness even if the hole was pre-made, as it becomes for lack of a better term a weak point since there’s something puttng pressure in a small surface areal.

So, here’s my thoughts:

Take a design such as the RecRev Sharp, which like the CLYW Canvas, is fairly bland and flat. Note I’m not talking about performance. Now, assuming you buld it to be like a real working yoyo(at least with proper parts that funtion), you still need a place for the axle to go through and be secured. Even so, you can still end up wit fairly flat areas, which would be perfect for a wide variety of decorations. So, you can kind of forget true functionality but can trade that for art. However, if you want to take a point of view of “solid ceramic axle” to attach the two halves and fire it as ONE solid piece, now you can maintain appearances, smooth lines, but pretty much kiss funtionality goodbye. However, once decorated and has a nice string hanging off it, it should still be a rather attractive piece.

Make it out of white bone china, with a silver(OK, aluminum) rim and a nice pattern around it, I’d buy one.

So, I’m going to take the position of:
If you do this, do it for the sake of art and not for the sake of being a functional yoyo. Maintain the look for the sake of appearances only.

Oh, and post photos when it’s done.


As a display piece, it will work just fine. As a usable yo-yo, you have no chance.




Having fired more than 10,000 lbs of clay, I have some solid info on the subject. when clay is fired it shrinks. Everyone should know that. Problem is that clay doesn’t have a set amount of shrinkage. Some clay will shrink more and some less. Even if it’s from the same batch or the same bag. Machining fired clay isn’t a really good idea either considering fired clay is VERY hard and would mess up any type of steel tooling. Diamond cutters would be about the only way. Display would be the only type of yoyo you could make.


hmm but if I did that wouldn’t it be able to still have a string attached if I made it all one piece? Like instead of making it an axle or anything like that, just make it a pop on or off and using friction stickers as a response system, and then just use the string? so it could be both a normal yoyo and a show throw? but you are right about the shrinkage so what I would need to do is make one piece and then try to mimic it the other side, and that’s where the difficult process would come in to play…


Just think solid axle. Think as if you’re making the yoyo by carving it out of one piece of wood. But instead of wood, you’re using clay. Maybe think about the shape and design of a Duncan Butterfly as a starting point for your concept.

If a string can be placed around a real yoyo, it can be placed around a ceramic yoyo. Just don’t let anyone throw it.


Well what I mean is how would it fit? Because of shrinkage? And also I’ll talk to my teacher about it but how much would bone china cost?


You just make the ceramic yoyo as ONE SOLID PIECE.

Make your two halves. Make your “axle” to join them together. Stick the three pieces together(I know it’s not that simple), and get it ready for firing.

As in, if you make a cup, you make the cup portion, then you make the handle and attach it to the main piece, then fire it together and they make one piece as a result.

Or pehaps, how would what fit? What is the “it” you are talking about. I’d forget the whole bearing seat/real axle concept.