Stringmaking & yoyos: A deep well of a hobby


(Mk1 Yoyos) #1

I started yo-yoing back in middle school, after saving up allowance for a glow-in-the-dark Yomega Brain. Back then the internet didn’t have yoyo videos, so I learned brain twister, Eiffel tower, and one-handed star from a manual I had printed out.

Many many years later, my own kids start bringing home dinky dollar-store yoyos from school and I gotta tell you - they aren’t any good. So I got myself a F.A.S.T. 201 and started cranking my way through the basic string tricks that I could never do when I was young. Trapeze, double or nothing, barrel rolls, and so on. Lemme tell you, this is a loud yoyo. After a couple weeks I order a Replay Pro, and then an n12, and by this point I’m completely hooked.

But there’s more, of course! This forum is about strings, and my first string was made with some awful polyester sewing thread that I pilfered out of a tiny sewing kit. My “rig” was a door handle and a piece of metal chucked into a power drill, plus a piece of wood with a hook in it to use as a middle point for the rare color twist. I ran out of thread almost immediately and started hitting up online thread shops.

Many strings later, I have a folding wooden rig with fade hooks, four blending hooks, and a giant collection of woolly nylon and tri-lobal embroidery thread. Sometimes they don’t turn out so well (see the pink/pink with the tri-lobal popping out of the twist) but sometimes it’s beautiful. I’ve been pushing yoyos (and strings!) on my friends and doing trades here and there.

Yoyos are good. Strings are good. Man alive I love this hobby.

[Edit for image captions]

From top to bottom/left to right:

  • MYY Node with tri-woolly blend
  • Duncan barracuda with tri-woolly blend, next to a pure green tri-lobal polyester
  • A pink/pink blend that failed due to slack in the polyester
  • Fade hooks, and a chest latch to keep it from opening after folding it closed
  • Snack next to a pile of string from a failed try. I was tying off the final loop when the string suddenly got a lot of slack - I thought the string had broken, but I looked over and my cat was chewing through it.
  • Tools, and a diagram of the rig that my daughter drew
  • Thread “collection”. It’s a different sort of mail day, but almost as good as getting new throws

(Mk1 Yoyos) #3

I made an album with my entire string-making rig setup and process:

44 new photos · Album by Mark Diehr


How to make string
(Mk1 Yoyos) #4

It didn’t actually make it into a link, here we go: Mark’s string-making process


Help w/ String Selection
({John15}) #5

Very, very nice man. 10/10


(Mk1 Yoyos) #6

Spun up some yellow poly/white nylon strings out of maxi-lock spun polyester and stretch nylon. These threads are thicker than I’m used to, so I accidentally made a bunch of really fat 8-wrap strings, but the 6-wrap version was really good. They don’t last as long as the tri-lobal polyester strings, but they’re a lot grippier and have a traditional yoyo string feel to them.


(YoYoStringLab) #7

Very cool, kind of like buttered popcorn!


(Mk1 Yoyos) #8

Had a productive weekend. Made some woolly nylon twists:

And some Woolly/Tri-lobal blend:

Here’s a thinner mix, with 2 wraps each of maxi-lock serger, tri-lobal poly, and woolly nylon. The nylon is white, so again, they look like buttered popcorn in a photo. There’s more butter this time, at least.

These ones turned out really well - thin enough for my smaller-gapped yo-yos, and that bit of serger makes it feel & behave a lot more like how you’d expect bulk poly to feel like, rather than the slick or soapy feeling of tri-lobal + woolly.

If you make strings, I’d love to see them! I also do string trades!


(Carson Reid) #9

i looked at the link you posted, could you please make a tutorial on how to make your rig? it seems very proper and measured-out, unlike most other string rigs you see in videos.


(Mk1 Yoyos) #10

Sure!

I got a big piece of 2x4 from a hardware store, 12’ long. I had them cut it in half while I was there so I could fit it into my car.

At home, I trimmed the two pieces from ~6’ to 67", not because I wanted to make shorter strings, but because they didn’t need to be longer than this - and it fits better in the rather small room I’m using.

Here are the measurements between each feature:

A. One end of the Lumber
| 1"
B. 5x Raised Hooks (these are the start/end point of all of the wraps I do)
| 57"
C. 2x Hooks (this is where the torsioned string gets folded over)
| 9"
D. Middle point (I installed a hinge here)
| 0" (moving on to the other half)
E. 1x Hook, for making twists (this is as close to the midpoint as possible)
| 53"
F. 5x eyelets, for holding the s-hooks after spinning the first time
| 13"
G. 5x hooks, for holding the strings just before spinning them
| 1"
H. The end of the 2x4.

I installed some clasps and the hinge so I could fold it up and store it “securely” leaning up against a wall in my house.

There are also some little brass nails at various points from when I was doing fades. I don’t use them much any more. If you do decide to do this, the spacing and number of nails depends on the thickness of the fade string you want to make. I have 5 nails on each side, spaced 11" apart and from the end hooks and the middle “twist” hook.

For the hooks in the rig, the thinner the better, usually - it makes it easier to slip string on and off of them. Make sure you drive them in by hand, if you hold them with pliers it’ll scratch and give a place for your threads to catch on them. You can buy big packs of hooks like this on amazon for pretty cheap. You can use your extras and any scrap lumber you have to make a wall of hooks to hang strings on.


(Mk1 Yoyos) #11

Made some new strings today after I finally got a second dremel to use for the unwind. Much much faster than using a power drill for this step - it’s the Dremel 7300 with the motor flipped around 180 degrees so it spins counter-clockwise instead of clockwise. Very easy modification that I learned from Spoolthread.


#12

I had to try the 7300 - 3 minutes to reverse the motor. Way to fast to unwind now. That is totally slick. 2 strings to get used to it. WAY better and faster now. Thanks.


(Mk1 Yoyos) #13

Yeah, the only problem with the 7300 is the actuator switch is awful. The slow mode is fine so I’m probably going to block off the fast mode so I don’t accidentally flip it there when trying to shut it off.

Also, did you notice the bearing inside the housing of the dremel? I didn’t actually measure it, but it looked about the same size as a yoyo bearing.


#14

I did see the bearing. Looked very close in size. Might even add a resistor if possible to slow it down some
The switch must just bridge those copper strips to make it run ( that’s why it feels so terrible). maybe one set of contacts is 1/2 the voltage of the other.

I’ve been trying winding 1/2 and 1/2 then reduce. It helps keep the wrap around the bearing from wadding up if reduced too much, but it doesn’t always feel as slick as I like it.


({John15}) #15

Dude, nice art!


#16

Ill bet you could disable that speed with tape on one of the 4 battery contacts.
I noticed the charger stated it handled the 7300 & the next size up battery ( the higher voltage version)


(Mk1 Yoyos) #17

Thanks! It’s the blueprint for my string rig, as rendered by my 5 year old daughter.


(Mk1 Yoyos) #18

New string today. This is a “twist” so I can only make one at a time on my rig, and they take more time even for that one, besides. Ended up a bit thinner than I wanted, so I stuck it onto my iCEBERG, which still binds really snappy even with a thin string.


(Ronald) #19

How do you tension the colors seperatley


(Mk1 Yoyos) #20

Do you mean for a candy cane stripe?

Install a hook perfectly between your start and end hooks. For each color, start at one end and only go to the middle, wrapping around the middle hook for color A and wrapping around the hook and the other color’s wrap for color B.

Before spinning it down remove everything from the middle hook, the individual loops will hold it together. I can try to record a tutorial later.


(Ronald) #21

That would be great! Even a picture because I’m a little confused on the middle hook and them being connected part and do I twist each then twist them together and other questions