Axle and Bearing Advice


Greetings everyone,

I was curious about something. I plan to make my own yo-yo in the near future, and I was wondering what some of the best axles and bearings out there are, and where I can purchase them. Generally I use imperial or modified yo-yo shapes, if that makes any difference. I’m really looking for the highest quality sleeping axles and bearings I can find.

I’d also be interested in hearing about some good - but perhaps not the best - axles and bearings for making yo-yos to give to friends. I suppose if the very best of these items are only a couple of bucks a piece, that’s fine, but presuming they get a bit pricier than that, I’d like to find some solidly good axles and bearings to use in yo-yos I make for friends that don’t cost the farm.

Hopefully some of you kind folks can direct me to some good resources.

Bear in mind that I’m actually not very good with a yo-yo myself. I can do basic tricks like Around the World, Around the Corner, sleeping, and sometimes I can pull off a UFO, but that’s about it. I’m not a yo-yo guy. I’m actually just someone who likes to make things, and I thought yo-yos would be neat. But I want them to be decent quality yo-yos so that the people I choose to give them to get some good use and enjoyment out of them.

Thanks in advance for any parts advice you all can offer.


Well you can buy it from here but specifi yoyo axle are expensive and whatever axle that you will find at your hardware store will do the job but bearing is harder to find so you might want to look over the internet for site that sell bearing or buy some bearing here on yoyoexpert , if i were i would take central bearing co. In size a for loop 1080


Axles are just set screws, usually M4, 5-8mm. Bearings can be bought overseas in bulk for cheap on the usual Chinese supplier websites, or just grab whatever’s cheapest around here if it’s just a couple yoyos. Doesn’t sound like you totally understand the design and workings of yoyos these days, so i’d suggest you grab something similar to what you’re trying to make before buying supplies. If you’re aiming for a fixed axle that a whole 'nother ball game that i’m not too familiar with.


Nope, you’re right. I don’t exactly know the anatomy of the yo-yos.

I have a Speed Beetle ($3.50 at Toys R Us) which I’m actually getting quite a bit of value and fun out of.

I have taken it apart and I see that it really is just a screw with two binding caps, and the ball bearing sits directly on top of it.

But this is like… The cheapest ball bearing yo-yo on the planet, isn’t it?

I was rather under the impression that the more “sophisticated” models of yo-yos had some sort of different equipment in them.

That’s not the case?

They’re really all just essentially screws with a ball bearing on them? In other words, this stuff is not particularly that much different from what I could buy at ACE hardware for $2?

It’s really that simple?

I guess that’s what I’m missing. I figured there must be higher end stuff and pieces that my cheap-o yo-yo didn’t have (or better versions of it), because clearly it couldn’t be that simple if some of these yo-yos go for $200 each.

So… Yeah, that led me to believe there was something more complex to this than what I saw in my Speed Beetle, or some sort of much higher performing axle and bearing than this.

That’s not true?


Parts is parts. Nothing magic here.


Fair enough, and thank you for the information and education. I sincerely appreciate it.

That does raise a different question in my mind, however.

Elsewhere on the Internet, I read a post by someone who is presumably pretty good with their yo-yo. In the post that I read, they talked about how they had an (insert brand name here) yo-yo that could sleep for six minutes.

Now I realize that the poster was probably being fairly hyperbolic, but the implication of their post was that they could get their yo-yo to sleep for a pretty long while.

Presuming this story has at least a grain of truth to it, how did they do that? Because I’m fairly impressed with myself when I get my Speed Beetle to last 30 seconds and am still able to get it to pull back up to my hand.

Since this other person seemed to be able to sleep his yo-yo for what to me seems close to eternity, this led me to believe that there are different part qualities and types out there - parts that are substantially different in terms of quality.

What might explain someone being able to sleep a yo-yo for that long if all the parts are essentially the same?


Weight distribution and percision machining mainly combined with a dry bearing (no lube) and a good strong and straight throw

Also you should make your own tricks before make your own yoyo, it’s sortof an unspoken rule of thumb.


Thanks for the response.

Is there a specific reason that one should make their own tricks before they make their own yo-yo?

I am not now, nor will I ever be, good enough to create my own tricks. The vast majority of cool tricks out there are already known and invented. Anything I could create would be pretty darn basic, and most likely a reproduction of what someone else has already done (if even that).

I have no ambitions or delusions about becoming some great yo-yo master. I’ll be pretty please with myself if I ever learn to execute a Sleeping Beauty properly.


Generally people want to design a new yoyo because they want something that fits their personal preference in terms of characteristics so they can perform their tricks of their style to the highest degree, or innovate in yoyo design. I think part of the reason people buy a lot of new yoyos is because there’s a desire for the ultimate yoyo. Of course this is subjective to the users preferences thus motivating them to pursue designing a yoyo that combines their most liked traits (the general shape and weight distribution of yoyo A with the hub of yoyo B, but with a surface finish similar to yoyo C).

Of course I’m just trying to give you the most general example that I can, but I hope that you get the ideas that I’m trying to convey to you.


I do, and that makes sense. Good answer. It makes sense. I kind of figured that the first yo-yo I make won’t be the last.

I am still working on some tricks though, and learning new ones. We’ll see.

The information about the axles has been helpful. Thank you all very much.

(rizkiyoist) #11

Sleeping a modern (whatever brand) aluminum yoyo with bearing for 8 minutes is generally not that hard, with modern plastics I believe most decent players can easily do 5-6 minutes or so, given they know the technique.
Yoyos, as far as I know are expensive not because of the material but rather how it’s made. The aluminum is pretty much the same, usually 6061 or 6063 series alloy, and 7075 that is stronger but a bit pricier. You can get a small chunk of aluminum enough to make a yoyo for a lot less than 10. The aluminum is not molded but machined using CNC lathe. The axle can be easily found in most hardware store and it will still be stronger than the aluminum, so you will have to worry about the aluminum body instead of the axle. The bearing, you can use higher end bearings if you want but don't expect miracles, basic bearings can and will perform well. The production roughly goes like this: Designing (rough sketch), then goes to CAD designing, doing calculations for weight etc, programming into the lathe, do some prototypes (this step can be really costly depending on how you make it, talking about hundreds ), that includes finishing (blasting, anodizing), do some test then choose the design you prefer, next full production, then packaging, marketing, sponsorship, etc. You can see how the cost can go up really quickly.
If you just want to make a yoyo or two, you can skip some of those steps.

I highly recommend you to watch this to give the basic idea on how it works:

I believe at this point you know the reason why you have to be good at yoyoing before being able to make a decent one…


Sounds like he isn’t even aware of unresponsive yoyos and is just trying to make a basic responsive butterfly one though, is i think where the confusion in design and sleep times comes from.


Making up your own tricks is not a prerequisite to making your own yoyo.


Yeah I think I misinterpreted the o.p.'s intentions. They want to do it just for the sake of doing more than making something phenomenal.


I usually center my axles with loctite and use a q tip to avoid getting it in the bearing, i also glue the bearing to the yoyo so it doesn’t fall out, so i do not lose it. Lots of yoyos come with axles that are too short or stainless axles that come loose easily, most hardware stores have small metric and sae studs that use hex wrenches to tighten it. the black steel ones work best for me, I would just upgrade to a metal drifter or some other yoyo with the same bearing size that is made of metal (duncan metal drifter is usually sold right next to the speed beetle at toys r us) or order a higher performance and quality yoyo online… you don’t have to spend 100 dollars, there are well playing metal yoyos for anywhere from 20-50 dollars, lots of good ones r in the 35 dollar range, but some shady places online can sell yoyos that play well for 10 dollars but can take 3 months or more to ship sometimes, it can be a gamble if ordering from some places overseas.

and learn a bind if you haven’t already because a yoyo loose enough to need a bind should sleep longer than a responsive yoyo with no effort once u mastered a good throw. Also experiment with spacers to find the widest gap u can use and still get the yoyo to come back in a bind. Then practice a good winding technique if you haven’t already so that you don’t spend most of your time wrapping your string instead of yoyoing.

after you have done all that you will learn new tricks naturally, and with the internet you can learn more than just the basic tricks in the trickbook it comes with.

after you have broken a bunch of yoyo’s collect all the spare axles and bearings and then try to make a homemade yoy… that is if you still feel like it, but modifying existing ones will probably give you better results, and learning experience if you ever do make a yoyo from scratch, after all there is a lot more yoyo company’s around now then i can remember 20 years ago,and they had to start somewhere… lots of the companys have also came and vanished too.


Rizki: That was a very thorough and informative answer, thank you. As it turns out, I’m a turner. Right now I’ve only worked with wood and plastics (some plastics can be pretty darn sturdy - enough for a decent fun to make yo-yo), so I’m familiar with the crafting techniques that go into a yo-yo. I’ve never done metal on a lathe, but I know how to do wood, plastic and stone. The CAD program is interesting, but semetrical lathing doesn’t always require a computer program, especially if one is making single pieces (two sides of one yo-yo).

That;s an interesting video, and your post was informative. Thank you for taking the time to make it!

Well, a basic imperial or modified. I’m not entirely in love with the butterflies. I never had a butterfly yo-yo as a kid, and I don’t own one now. I’ve never even touched one that I can recall. I don’t want an unresponsive yo-yo, though. I don’t even really know what those are for aside from that I think they’re used to do extended string tricks. But honestly, if a yo-yo can sleep for 5+ minutes, I’d really be interested in knowing what string tricks one is performing that takes more than 5 minutes to finish.

Well, I’d like it if it were a good, solid yo-yo. I want it to be fun to play with. I want it to be as good as it can be for most people - I don’t think most people would even know how to use an unresponsive yo-yo if I put it in their hands. Most people could pretty quickly figure out how to use a ball bearing yo-yo though.


All good points and it sounds like good advice. Thanks for the reply and the helpful tips!

(rizkiyoist) #17

Since it seems that you only want to make a yoyo or two for the sake of making “fun yoyos” instead of focusing on high performance, you can just do it right away. Maybe the difficult part is making the bearing seat so that the bearing can spin yet the string won’t slip between the bearing and the yoyo. Everything else I don’t think you’ll get much trouble since you know how to use a lathe.

The average weight of imperial/classic shaped yoyos are about 50-55grams, and 64-70grams for modern butterfly shaped ones. Diameter usually between 50-58mm, and for responsive yoyos I’d recommend not going over 3mm for the gap width. Oh also make sure to make additional groove for the response system, skip this step and your yoyo won’t work at all. Google image “response system yoyo” and you’ll see what I’m talking about, basically make a groove deep enough to hold flowable silicone/glass sealant/rtv gasket as the “brake” so the string can catch on it and roll properly, or you can buy silicone pads from this site and try to make the suitable groove for it.

Yes a modern yoyo can sleep for over 5 minutes easily, within the condition that it’s unresponsive (dry/lubed by very small amount with thin lube), and use a long sleeper trick where you pinch the string near the yoyo and twist it in one way or another to balance the yoyo, so that the string don’t touch the yoyo wall. If you lube the bearing the sleep time won’t be that long because basically the viscosity of the lube makes the bearing more “sticky”.
The thing is, most yoyoers don’t really care that much about sleep time, but more importantly if it’s responsive or not, as long as it’s unresponsive it’s fine for string tricks. Sleep time doesn’t really say anything in general play because when doing tricks, the string rubs around the yoyo body cutting spin time a lot, also you need the yoyo to not spin too slow to return it to your hand, whereas recorded long sleeper is done until the yoyo stops completely.

I hope it wasn’t too long ha

edit: Oh one more thing, since you also turn wood I think you’ll like this thread,49326.0.html


lol what the heck. Please don’t glue your bearing in. Where in the world did you get this idea from?


one day i put too much loctite on a axle i was centering and it had just enough to glue the bearing into the yoyo on a metal duncan drifter, so it stayed on like a yoyojam yoyo would, you just have to use it very sparingly or it will (guaranteed) gum up the bearing, if it is a metal yoyo to remove it all u need to do is heat the yoyo at the axle with bic lighter and use pliers to remove it for cleaning.

It is much better than trying to find you bearing on the ground for a half hour, I think it makes the yoyo feel better too because the bearing doesn’t seem to wiggle as much, but it might just be my imagination, make sure to put a drop on a q tip then wipe it over the tiny surface the inner race will contact so you don’t put on too much.