Luftverk - Official News

Hey everyone! A bit late on this but Alpine dropped recently on Yoyoexpert, I wanted to share the design process here and also create a thread that allows people who have questions or comments I could reply to directly. This is lifted directly off of my website (which is why it might sound weird at times when I refer to my past writing) but I know there are a lot of Yoyoexpert peeps who enjoy reading on the forum. I remember the days where I would right content on Theyo - hopefully I can provide a similar experience going forward.


I never got a chance to reflect on the past year with a blog post - I wrote one that involved the future of Luftverk and what I wanted it to look like but I didn’t feel comfortable making it public yet. But the space that Luftverk has occupied in this niche industry has changed so much in the past 6 months - When I first started this back in 2015, there was nearly no one who was consistently making titanium yoyos. Today, there are a slew of new companies that customers can choose from, seemingly releasing titanium yoyos on a weekly basis. It makes me excited that titanium yoyos are becoming more widely accepted. I find myself putting more weight on doing collaborations with brands or friends that I think provide a level of value in the community - I was excited when CLYW reached out again.

Steve from CLYW emailed me in March 2021 for our third titanium collaboration. With covid in full swing, I knew it would be a logistics nightmare. Previous month I paid over $1500 just to ship foam for my own Luftverk packaging - I was worried if we did a larger run it would cause some issues. But we worked out a system where if CLYW could provide help with their established shipping, fulfillment and packaging, I could focus on the machining/engineering side of the project. With the larger tasks established, Steve and I put our efforts into figuring out the direction of the design.

Looking back at our two previous collaboration yoyos there were very clear intentions with each design. The Tundra shared a lot of elements from the Octavia which made the entire yoyo feel extremely Luftverk like. I felt like since I was such a new brand, i had a level of insecurities of making a statement instead of just making a CLYW clone. The lines on the Tundra were very hard and even the outside defining profile groove that CLYW is known for was stylized in a Luftverk way. Our second collaboration, the Peak, was the one I felt like had a level of novelty. The play of that yoyo was heavily lacking compared to a modern throw. We spent a lot of time making it feel nostalgic, and while collectors loved that yoyo - I didn’t think it was the best yoyo from a technical performance standpoint. It didn’t matter though, as the nostalgia factor was enough to forgive its dated feel. It was the yoyo I knew I could never top - it was a titanium OG peak after all.

The name Alpine was also indicative of its DNA shared with the Tundra, perhaps a “Tundra 2” even. The Alpine shares a lot of similar lines but in these photos you can see what I mean when I describe the Tundra as having more “Luftverk” like features. The lines are more sharp on the Tundra whereas on the Alpine, the lines feel much more “CLYW”. These changes also translate over to play style. The Alpine definitely feels more floaty and full, with its wider width and weight distribution. But the original inspiration for the design actually didn’t directly reference the Tundra, since when you hold them in your hand they feel very different.

During the time that Steve reached out to me, I had just finished designing the Otter with Harrison Lee. Working with someone so competition focused was a refreshing challenge. All the things he wanted were from such a technical standpoint (extreme stability, spinup, bind tightness, what combo he could hit, ect), it translated heavily when I went straight to work on the Alpine. I had never previously designed a titanium CLYW with this in mind. The first iteration was actually much like the Otter, but after Steve gave some insight on some of his favourite yoyos, it slowly morphed into what you see here. It’s a huge reason why i love working with someone - bouncing ideas off someone is a refreshing break. The hub area was originally completely taken off of the Bonfire. Then I tried the Manatee (one of my favorite looking CLYW yoyos, fight me!) and Narwhal hub. The issue with those, is that in titanium it added like 4 grams at the hub which I knew would hinder the performance and feel. It sat in a limbo stage until Steve mentioned how much he liked the classic “machinist” style engravings that I have been using on a few of my slimline yoyos. I didn’t originally think it would work well, but with CLYW’s cabin feel it actually tied it all together very well.

The final inspiration was heavily mixed with CLYW yoyos. The outside area that your palm hits, as well as the entire dimensions was initially taken off of the Chief. This set the tone and feel for the entire yoyo. The double lip was taken from the Scout but as we made prototypes it slowly got smaller because it needed more rim weight. The faint ghost line near the catch area was taken from the Borealis and of course a reference to the Tundra, a nice homage since it is a continuation of the titanium line. And finally the hub was lifted from recent classic Luftverk yoyos, but with a more rounded nipple. I tried to use the sharp edge version but it felt wrong since the entire yoyo only had softer CLYW style lines. With all this inspiration, the hardest part was to make it feel right.

I have gotten to the point where I can look at a design and know how it will play (At least in titanium, aluminum I still struggle lol). Incorporating all these CLYW visual design elements was a challenge since changing the lines to make it play the way I wanted to also meant changing those elements which then looked weird and un-CLYW like. It was like a balance beam on a marble that kept getting away. I tried to trim weight in the hub, but then the proportions started looking nothing like a CLYW yoyo. I would try other hub elements that looked amazing, but then realized I took them off of an aluminum yoyo and it would add way too much weight when done in titanium. In my head, if the Tundra was the more Luftverk yoyo, I wanted thi to be the very CLYW looking and feeling yoyo so it wasn’t something I wanted to sacrifice.

As far as the play, it was where I think I contributed the most on. After Steve verified he liked the aesthetics and direction of the project, I went to town tweaking the weight distribution. There is something to be said about the feel of mid-weight on CLYW yoyos - they always made the yoyo feel so satisfying to throw. With yoyos like the Chief, the double ring design added midweight that made the yoyo spin up easier. And while from a sheer performance perspective, having everything on the edge does make the yoyo more stable but has a resistance of spin-up during the throw. That uncomfortable kickback feeling is a byproduct of having too much rim weight. The mid weight helps the user easily introduce energy into the yoyo easier - this can be felt heavily the Alpine. The CLYW pads have always provided a tighter bind too, which contributes how the yoyo feels when unwinding, allowing all the energy of the throw to be translated into rotational energy right up to the bottom without that annoying “thud” feel. These were all the details I focused on after receiving the initial prototypes. The feeling of the yoyo was completely transformed after the second round of tweaks - with the biggest change being a one gram reduction in total weight by reshaping the mid-weight second lip. These provided a very pleasant change in the play characteristics. I always surprise myself how much all these years of designing yoyos have helped me diagnose “feel” issues with yoyos. I definitely treat it like an art more than a science.

The certificates were designed based on the Peak “3D Exploded” technical drawing, with updated details like the ghost background I have been doing for Luftverk releases. I think these are details that indicate the slow evolution of the Luftverk brand. The minimalist branding of the Pickaxe “LFVK” logo was continued on the outside of the box. This aspect was a little bit of a challenge with the restraints of the CLYW fulfillment method, as I didn’t get as much control over the printing and packaging. With Covid in full force, the box stamp was delayed for over a month. I was lucky enough to find a local stamp place in Toronto, and over nighted it to USA where the packaging and fulfillment was done. Thinking back to the other CLYW colabs, I never thought I would be navigating a global pandemic during this one. But once all the hiccups were ironed out, I was sent the final production units, where everything came together.

As mentioned earlier, I decided to incorporate The “machinist” style Luftverk engraving. It was first introduced on the Daytona back in 2017. I wanted to replicate how Tom Kuhn incorporated text into their yoyos back in the day but as my brand grew, so did this style of engraving. The engraving pad expanded in size, allowing more text and more surface area for typography. This peaked during the release of the Alpina, a yoyo that I coined as something a machinist in the 50s would have on his desk. I knew Steve was a huge fan of this style of engraving likely because he also found a level of nostalgia from being in the yoyo community for so long. The term “Return Top” has been used by so many Canadian brands now, but was originally coined by CLYW since the word “yoyo” is a trademark in Canada. It’s a subtle nod to the history of CLYW that likely few remember.

Every release I have tried to focus on something different but with the Alpine, it is a less tangible effort. I hope this blog shines light on the long process this yoyo had in order to reach production. I will take ownership of the feel and play of the yoyo - something that could potentially be controversial since its so opinion based. Looking back, the Peak made me feel a great amount of pride hitting that nostalgia “collector yoyo” factor. With the Alpine, it is the yoyo I actually enjoy playing with that can hit my more complicated tech combos. The feel, spin-up, and dimensions all check off important aspects of a staple flagship CLYW yoyo. But with the tweaks I added - I hope it can surpass their aluminum counterparts. My wish is that these efforts can also be felt by whoever decides to support this project. Huge thank you to CLYW for the opportunity and love.

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Reserved

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Alpine was gone in 7-10minutes. Amazing to watch the itens vanishing each refresh…

Please tell us about your next project :kissing_heart:
Let us know what passes through your creative mind.

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I’ve been away from social media for a couple years. I came back on just in time to be ready for last nights drop and to have picked up a G2 titanium triton proto. Good times. See you in a few more years

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I’ve been really enjoying mine. It definitely has a CLYW feel and performs incredibly. You really hit this one out of the park!

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Can’t wait to get mine!!

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Yeah, I am always shocked since I have been increasing run sizes to try to keep up with the demand. This time I decided to just sell the 200 pcs raw, and I genuinely expected some to stay in stock.

Already working on new projects, ill update here soon! Hoping to have each run available at Yoyoexpert in the future - just trying to meet the demand is the hard part since I’m just one guy running this!

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Thanks! Steve also had some input on the design for sure. It’s always fun to cherry pick from someone else’s design library. I think its the best playing CLYW titanium for sure, its the one I have been gravitating towards.

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Introducing the Daytona Slimline BTM SE - I have set aside some for retail this time so these should be available at Yoyoexpert in the next coming weeks. If you have any questions or comments please let me know below.


I didn’t go into too much personal details about my life in the last blog post. I think I wanted to - but since it was a colab with CLYW I felt like maybe it would be kind of unprofessional. It’s been an emotionally tough start to 2022 but I’m trying to figure out why. This is one of those years I wanted to push myself to grow the business a bit more - with the goal of funnelling everything I made into bigger and more substantial projects (I already put a deposit on a new plastic mold that i am trying to pay off). It’s no secret that I went through some rough patches in regards to mental health. Its weird though, because I genuinely think I’m in a better place in life now but every now and then it comes up again.

During pre-pandemic was such an insane time in my life, traveling and filming so many contest videos. I think so fondly of those days - making yoyo friends all over the world. When I moved back to Toronto just before covid, that was the goal. To go out and live like a bum again, and attempt to run Luftverk while living somewhere in Asia and going to contests. Covid obviously had other plans, and I started to drift further and further away from the community. I remember the motivation I felt when people during contests came up to me and told me what they liked about my designs and just share creative ideas. I think that in person human connection was more important than I realized. Social connection and community is a basic need after all. With the online world, it just feels a bit more disconnected. It’s easy for me to fall into an imposter syndrome spiral where ambitious projects and ideas fall by the wayside because I stop believing in myself.

The Daytona was one of these project - I had used Side Effects on some 3d printed projects in the past. Knowing it was a publicly available system from Onedrop, it was something that I wanted to try in titanium for the longest time. I had a design based on the Triple Zero with Side Effects, but I knew a wider yoyo would be more difficult to tune. When I saw others in the industry peruse this concept with titanium, It sparked my interest with Side Effects once again - but I wanted to take my time with it.

The Daytona made sense - it was the original Luftverk titanium slimline EDC yoyo. There is something about the concept of Side Effects that feels very utilitarian. If you had a yoyo you wanted to carry for the rest of your life, it makes sense that you can service components that wear out. In the same way that a quality folding knife can be rebuilt many times, the Daytona can be “rebuilt” with new Side Effects when deemed necessary. I know this concept is extreme since not even I have ever worn out threads to the point I needed to dispose of a yoyo, but the vision of a yoyo that literally lasts forever makes for an interesting topic.

Design wise, I tried to keep the soul of the original Daytona Slimline by keeping the shape and weight almost the same. I wanted the aesthetics to stay the same, but have certain details that made it feel modern. I wanted to use the brass ultralights since the brass and titanium gave it a very premium feel - but this also meant that the hub needed to go on a diet. The side effect bezel needed to be reduced as much as possible. Because of the 10 degree taper of the side effect, it was structurally possible to make an incredibly thin lip. I wanted the Side Effect to look like an infinity pool where the brass was almost spilling over the edge of the post. The same engraving was used as a homage to the original Daytona from 2017 tying together the classic EDC feel.


The introduction of a brass ring version was a somewhat experimental choice since the concept seemed too difficult. The original idea was to combine the idea of a ring but inspired by how a cap would press in place. This seemingly tiny garnish ring adds an entire gram to the overall yoyo. The stability can be felt for sure, but the main goal was to add a level of visual aesthetic not found in other slimline yoyos. Having such a thin band of brass though, meant that assembly was a complete nightmare. Not only is the ring smaller than typical stainless steel weight rings, but the softness of the brass meant I could bend it very easily when being pressed into the yoyo. Much like an arch built with stone blocks, the ring alone is super delicate but when installed becomes one with the titanium body, nearly impossible to distort due to the constant pressure from the interference fit. This was the first project I have released where the assembly felt much more like fine jewelry then a yoyo.


The original prototypes seemed a bit on the light side, so slight tweaks were made to improve the overall feel. Having other side effects to play around with gave me a better idea of where I wanted the bodies to weigh, so customers could have the option of making it lighter or heavier. Being the first Side Effect yoyo I have designed, it proved to be a challenge to tune smooth. I did notice that because titanium is a harder material, the Side Effects sunk in less then aluminum models made by Onedrop. The Morse taper wedging effect was much weaker likely due to the combination of materials (brass & aluminum vs brass & titanium). This meant that the bedding in of the surfaces happened more on the softer Side Effect then the harder titanium body. Often after unscrewing the yoyo, the wedging action would only happen 50% of the time vs on aluminum bodies where it would be wedged 100% of the time. This is fine of course, since the genius of the O-ring design stops the side effect from rotating and loosing it’s smooth position. But some of these concepts are what makes a titanium side effect yoyo much more difficult to tune vs their aluminum counterpart and is no fault of the Side Effect system. I will say that some Side Effects assemble much smoother than others even in the same yoyo body but I am unsure if this is due to the tolerance levels of each side effect, or something else (which would be way too time consuming for Onedrop to test since the Side Effects are ordered in bulk anyway).

I studied yoyos that use side effects in my collection to achieve what you see in the Daytona SE. I wanted to show one of my most interesting yoyos in my possession which is this silver coated Cascade. You can see the difference between the bezel size that is possible with aluminum vs titanium. This specific Cascade has an interesting story though - it was given to me by Paul Dang more than 7 years ago when I stayed with him in Oregon. I had the opportunity to visit Onedrop and hang out with the crew back when he was working with Shawn and David. I remember hanging out on his couch the night before I was leaving when I saw this insanely patinaed Cascade. If I remember correctly in classic Paul fashion it was being used as an ashtray lol. When I left to California for CAL states, he gave it to me after I mentioned how cool the patina looked. It has stayed in my collection ever since. I referenced this yoyo a lot during this project since it’s such an interesting piece that gives me fond memories of hanging out with Paul when he was still working with Onedrop.

Overall, this project has been much more challenging then usual - mainly due to the assembly process for the brass BTM variant. I have received overwhelmingly positive comments about the design of this yoyo. Roughly 48 of each will be available with half going to retailers, which is a larger run than normal. I hope that this run will be accessible to more people who have asked for a slimline reboot. A lot of the times these blog posts and releases are my emotional outlet when things feel rough in life. Thanks everyone for your continued support and patience for my releases.

Daytona Slimline SE
Material: Titanium
Side Effect: Brass Ultralight
Width: 33.5 mm
Diameter: 53.0 mm
Weight: 63.2g
Response: Luftpad
$340 USD

Daytona Slimline SE BTM
Material: Titanium & Brass
Side Effect: Brass Ultralight
Width: 33.5 mm
Diameter: 53.0 mm
Weight: 64.2g
Response: Luftpad
$490 USD

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Sweet to see more Ti SEs compatibles :heart:

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