A couple weeks ago a friend and I took a couple days to burn a few days of vacation and ride our bikes around WA and OR. I convinced him that our Oregon leg of the ride should include a visit to Onedrop- I’d been encouraged to do the very same by a handful of friendly email exchanges with David over the last few years, and knew from the various OD’ers posts around the internet that they’re happy to have curious yoyo nerds invade the shop.
The specifics of how delightful Andrew, Paul, David, and Shawn were to meet are too specific to interpersonal interaction to really get into details on, but suffice it to say, even if I wasn’t interested in yoyos going into the day, I would have left with a smile on my face and fond memories of the experience. They are welcoming, enthusiastic, generous with their time and knowledge, and were totally willing to entertain all our random questions about their craft, as well as just tolerably friendly dudes who clearly enjoy getting to know people.
I thought I’d share some of the photos with some meagre commentary from my memory, that might be of interest to folks here as to what goes on in Eugene, that results in the pretty colored gyroscopes so many of us enjoy.
First off, here is where your metal (and machined Delrin) yoyos start their life: Rods ready for the CnC lathe.
The Yoyo-mancer! Multi-tool cutting head that cuts the shapes of the yoyo-halves:
They cut out a lot of material to make all those deep cups and ridges:
Dead soldier parade of alluminum and titanium rods used up till there is too little left to hold on to in the machine:
Another crate of once-were-Cabal cut-offs:
Another crate of rejects with cutting tool damage, or other imperfections:
Once the shape is cut, the half gets flipped over and set on one of these chucks, custom machined to fit different yoyo cups. Once attached on the cup, a pass on the second lathe cuts the response groove and bearing seat:
When they come off that, the bearing seat diameter etc are checked to be in spec by hand with a micrometer:
The smaller lathe and coolant warming up. This one lathes smaller diameter stock into SideEffects:
Once the halves pass spec, its time for the tumbler, where various media pummel, pound, burnish, and polish them.
Som stainless steel burnishing medium:
And in the tumbler now? Little ceramic polyhedrals that give you the famous Pyramite finish:
Out of the tumbler, nice and polished:
Getting packed up to be sent off to hair and make up:
All gussied up and back from the anodizer, and into the front of the house:
On the next table over all the bits get assembled, strung, tested, boxed, and ready for shipment:
The shelves beyond that are the museum / archives / competitive analysis lab.
Loads of Onedrop’s past projects, and tons of other pieces from everyone else:
We hung out and threw a lot of things, Andrew and Paul passing around and building various yoyos to test.
Some of the most interesting to me to throw (that I failed to get pics of) were the Marquis, the Downbeat, & the Kraken. The TopDeck was nice, but not as exciting as the others.
Also tried a hatrick of MarkMonts:
The Rx which was so much fun:
An abandoned bi-metal project (sooooo stable and solid)
It was super fun to watch Paul and Andrew just casually ripping sweet tricks off while we hung out:
We got some similarly awesome edification on old school lathe work from Shawn:
The test throw on the Marquis was more influential on my decision to pick one up than the blind draw was, but the box-arranging-and-picking-juju was just as entertaining, once underway:
The Mysterious Dangstini, arranging the Marquis’ for my selection:
And the resulting gyro, spinning happily away in my friend’s garden in Portland the following day:
My friend had asked the OD guys if he could maybe take home one of the damaged pieces from the back, just as a souvenir of the visit, since he doesn’t yoyo. They weren’t having that, and decided he had to leave with a yoyo, just on principle. So Paul dug into the b-grade/damaged crates and pulled two different benchmark halves, one of which that’d never even been to the anodizer, added some mismatched side effects, and gave him a hillarously off balance, vibey, franken-yoyo as a memento.
All were pretty amused at how sub-standard it was upon initial testing:
However, even a faulty instrument can be coaxed to a make music by a skilled auteur:
My friend was quite tickled with his defective reject souvenir
Later on at the hotel after he got a couple tippy / sloppy front mounts with the frankenyoyo, I had him try it on my 54, and he could see how its supposed to feel. He looked up and he had that grin of understanding. Despite his previous non-interest in yoyoing, he smiled and said “dammit!” while laughing… " I was determined that you weren’t going to get me into this, but now… I dunno man, pretty cool".
The awesome OD logos plasma cut into mild steel left to oxidize out front of the shop:
And of course, getting to play with so many various yoyos couldn’t help but result in my ending up with a few new things of interest
The BrokenHeart I pulled, and the orange that Paul pulled as a surprise for a friend of mine back in Seattle:
The Whitaker neighborhood where OD is located is neat place to explore. Some delicious food and fun little shops to explore. There’s also some great street art all over the area:
And when you’ve had enough walk about, and want something cheap and watery, go get a cold one and play some pinball an Joust at one of the best vintage arcades around:
All in all it was a fantastic morning, and I really wished we didn’t have previous commitments in Portland later that day so we could have stayed and had some beers with the crew.
Thanks so much for your hospitality fellas! It was one of the best random trips I’ve taken in a long time. I hope to have a chance to swing back by soon, and if not so soon, hopefully at PNWR in Feb. 8)