Manufacturing a Yo-Yo?


Hi, new poster here.

So, recently I decided I want to try to make a very small run of some all-metal yo-yos (6061 aluminum). I have plenty of experience working with CAD programs and have finished 3d-modeling my design. What I was wondering about is if anybody has suggestions for how I could have these manufactured. Right now as this is just a personal project I wanted to experiment with I couldn’t justify spending a ton of money (about $500 would be pushing it). I just don’t know how I could turn my CAD models in to real things. Should I look into getting a lathe (I have no experience with them but wouldn’t mind learning) or should I see if I could get a local shop to do the work for me?



I am interested in doing something similar actually. I haven’t made any designs yet but was wanting to get a lathe to try and make some of my own yoyos. but your budget of 500 wont get you a lathe, i priced them a while back. a 7 x 12 mini metal lathe would be 550-1000 dollars. the harbor freight ones have some bad reviews and those are around 550, from my research it would be better to spend the money and get a grizzly. But I have zero experience so I would wait for someone else to chime in.


You should probably let a local shop do it for you, unless you are extremely confident in your skills. Be warned, many shops will take your request for granted and not put as much focus on precision as they should. Most people do not understand how precise they have to machine the yoyo. Often they will become complacent, sometimes resulting in unplayable yoyos due to extreme vibe and the like.


I have news for you. Harbor, Grizzly, PM, Baleigh etc. all work off the same platform of machine. When life gives you lemons search the internet machine groups. There are buttloads of groups and ideas dedicated to your mentioned machine.

I will be buying a new South Bend myself. After viewing used machines it wasn’t something I was interested in for restoring.


If you’re really looking for a precise set of yoyos, definitely go find a machinist who has CNC capabilities. A CNC lathe is going to be way more repeatable, and while technically a CNC lathe is no more accurate than a human controlled metal lathe, the computer will be able to make sure that every part is identical to the last part. Also, a CNC lathe will be able to take advantage of the fact that you created the cad model. If you give different dimensions of the Yoyo and a printout of the rendering, the machinist will just do his best to match what you’ve done, all the organic curves are going to be hard to get perfect. Again, you already have the model created on the computer so why not use the work you’ve done and get the Yoyo done up on a highly precise CNC lathe. There is one caveat, you will probably have to make a run of more yoyos than you might want, simply because programming the machine isn’t cheap, but the materials and labor once it’s running is very inexpensive. Larger upfront cost+cheaper marginal cost=make more yoyos. I worked at a machine shop and I showed my boss my Yoyo (a spyy sky chaser) and after looking at it he said he could make it for less than $2.50. Granted, that’s in a run of a couple hundred. If you’re willing to leave it unanodized, and buy your own axles and bearings in bulk, you could probably convince a local machine shop to make a smallish run for you.


So, about how much do you think that would come out to, what would be a reasonable number to produce going the CNC route, and do you have a rough idea on where pricing would be? I shouldn’t have a problem finding a local shop with the equipment but it’d be nice to have an idea of what I’m talking about before I approach them. I’m definitely not going to do this by myself considering I don’t have a clue how to work on a lathe and probably couldn’t get close to the degree of precision I’d want.


If you want to make a yo-yo yourself, there are a lot of options. If you are willing to work in plastic instead of aluminum, it’s -way- easier and cheaper… you can get by with a Taig. There is a buying guide in the forum sticky that I wrote about it.

If you want to make aluminum, you need something bigger/more powerful… going to be hard for your budget unless you happen across a used machine, and their quality can vary a -lot- so you need to know what you’re looking for.

If you are going with a CNC shop, expect up to $500 for a set of prototypes, and you’ll need to make at least 100 yo-yos (so 200 halves) to make it cost effective.

If you want to design cool stuff without all the machining hassle, you can talk to a number of yo-yo companies about it.



Hit up fox land precision I know they used to make yoyos for some people


Hmmm, im in the process of making my own yoyos, maybe i should make a guide…


That would be awesome, I know there are plenty of others who want to try it and don’t know where to start.


Not to be mean, but honestly, don’t. Not until you’ve -done- it, and done it a LOT, and done it -successfully- a LOT. No matter how much you know, you’ll be learning quite a lot more as it goes, trust me on this.

Incomplete information can be just as dangerous as bad information.