The Exciting New Metal Thread


What a name eh?

So recently I stumbled across a Canadian spin-top company called Foreverspin:

^ (there is there current Kickstarter project as well for anyone interested, I think these look flippin’ awesome.)

Being a huge Inception fan, I decided I had to have one, so I bought myself one. :slight_smile:

Anyway, the cool thing about this company, and it’s main selling point, is that it machines the same design but in loads of different metals which all come out at different weights. For reference, here’s a rough guide to the weights of each top.

This has kind of sparked my interest in different materials for yoyos. What would new metals mean for new yoyos?

Aluminium/Titanium = Nuff said.

Steel = We had the ILYY St. Eel which I love, but that’s a pocket throw. I’d be interested to see what else could be done with steel. I know that it’s a heavy metal (at least 3 times the density of Aluminium), so no doubt making a full sized throw with it that didn’t weigh a fair amount would be an impressive feat, but I wonder exactly what could be done with it. The St Eel at least proved that machining it to a decent thin-ness is still possible whilst having sufficient strength.

Magnesium = We had the Duncan Freehand MG, and credit to Duncan for trying something cool. Still, we know that the Freehand is a more old-school design and whilst I’m sure that the Freehand MG plays great, I’m sure that there is more that could be done with the material.
Based on the graph above and how light Magnesium is, surely it’d be a great way of making lightweight full sized throws like the YYR Overdrive (but to a greater extent)? That would be very interesting indeed.

Brass/Nickel/Bronze/Copper/Cast Iron = I can’t think of any examples of a full yoyo being made out of any of these (though no doubt someone has at some point that I’m not aware of). I know that Sturm Panzer use brass weight rings on a number of their models but that’s all I’ve seen thus far. Due to the densities of these metals I’m sure any yoyo made with them would weigh a lot, but I wonder how much and which of these would take to machining the best. I’ll leave all of these to the professionals/more knowledgeable to take us through.

Tungsten = Sweet price tag Batman! The cost of Tungsten coupled with the difficulty of machining it and the huge density of it means that we won’t be seeing any “budget Tungsten’s” any time soon. Still, it’s strong and can be machined down to impressive tolerances, especially in it’s carbide form (I own a rather snazzy looking Tungsten Carbide drill bit and the cutting edge of it has been cut to a knife-blade level thickness. It’s heavy too, I like playing with it.).

I have a soft spot in my heart for Tungsten (there’s just something very cool about it being pretty much the heaviest metal that one can readily obtain without breaking the bank), and I would absolutely love to see what could be done with it.

Now lets discuss the other two from the recent Kickstarter:

Black Zirconium (on the right)= Man this stuff looks cool. I adore black yoyos, and I just want a yoyo made out of it. Unfortunately I don’t have the exact weight of that top though it has a density fairly close to that of the cast iron so I assume it’d be a similar weight.

Damascus Steel (on the left)= Now this has got to be one of the prettiest looking metals out there (second only to Timascus). Imagine a yoyo made out of this… on my word it would just be an absolute masterpiece. However from brief research it seems that it isn’t the easiest of metals to machine.

Finally… the grandaddy. There are no spin tops made out of this stuff but as far as I’m concerned it’s the best looking metal alloy out there:


I would sell my both my kidneys and my spleen for a yoyo made out of that.

It seems to be pretty well used within the knife making community and according to the makers has a machinability similar to Titanium (Jeffrey Pang I’m looking in your direction…)

Come on Luftverk, don’t let me down!

Sorry, I digress… I just like metal.

Now I’m not a Machinist (hard to believe, I know…), and I know next-to-nothing about the whole process besides watching the “Summit documentary” and bunch of episodes of “how it’s made”. So, I would love to hear from guys like The Machinist and Kyo who actually have experience with this as to what they think the possibilities as well as pros/cons would be for the various metals.

Machining difficulties, costs, strength-to-weight ratios… I just want this thread to be about all things metallic. :smiley:


OOOOOOOHHHHHH TIMASCUS!!!1!1!!11!1!1!!1!1!!1!1!1!1
I wonder what it looks like blasted… Or in UV light… Or… Or… You get the picture. These would be so dang cool to have! If I had the money, machinery, and the time I’d definitely try working on these, but, alas, I don’t. So some other soul will have to.

({RTD} alecto) #3

Timascus is very expensive just saying look for around titanium and beyond prices…


Oh of course. I’m sure that any of the Damascus/Tungsten/Timascus would end up costing an absolute fortune not only due to the material price but also the tooling costs/labour involved.

Still, one can always dream*. I’d love to buy the guys at OD a bar of the stuff and just see what they could do with it… imagination runs wild

*INB4 Yoyofactory Dream Timascus kickstarter. :stuck_out_tongue:

({RTD} alecto) #5

Okay so i did some reading up.

damascus refers to a type of folding to make knives. you could not get a yoyo with that pattern on it unless a bar went through the folding process…

timascus is titanium that has gone through the damascus folding process…


These are obtainable though. Every single one of Foreverspin’s tops are machined out of a single bar of metal. Since they’ve been able to make a Damascus one, then it seems that it is possible to get ones hands on a bar of the stuff as well as to precisely machine it. :slight_smile:

Timascus is another matter and whilst it is implied on the website that you can get “barstock”, I question as to whether it’s currently possible to get one’s hands on a large enough bar to make a 50+mm diameter yoyo out of.


In regards to brass, nickel, copper and bronze I believe that all of these metals are relatively soft metals. So while they are very dense, they would be easily damaged by dings and such. I don’t know much about the other metals but I don’t think that denser metals would provide much benefit unless they are able to be machined far thinner than aluminium. Sure, it would be cool and an interesting experiment to create a yoyo out of cast iron, but practically it would almost certainly play horribly.

Also, General Yo made a magnesium yoyo several years ago called the magnum. High Speed Yoyo did a review of it if you want to know what it was like).


I did not realise that was made of Magnesium! I had heard the name thrown around here and there but not thought much more of it, thank you for pointing this out. I want one now, haha…  :stuck_out_tongue:

^The review Lex alluded to for those interested.  ;D


The term Damascus, has become blurred by recent mechanical folding machinery that has made “Damascus” steel a material for making high-end knives. The pattern in the metal, however, is not actually “Damascus” steel, it is simply multiple metals folded together to make interesting patterns that look cool when ground into knife-blades.

As noted, this technique creates a material that is difficult to machine cleanly and is of questionable quality as actual knife-making steel. Pure, solid metal will be far superior for making yo-yo’s than modern Damascus metal due to uniform density and machinability.

Interestingly, the term “Damascus steel” is what most people mistake this new material for. Real, Damascus steel, was originally forged in Damascus and was for years, the only steel available in the world. The technique for making this crude form of steel was a closely-held secret since these artisans were the only ones capable of making an iron weapon that was much stronger and did not rust. These smiths were able to create a crude form of steel by literally pounding the carbon atoms out of the iron-ore. This was done by repeatedly pounding and folding the white-hot iron. The resulting wavy-pattern was a mark of quality that was recognized instantly world-wide. The same basic technique is also used in Japan and yields the same type of pattern.

The modern version is comprised of different steels. Therefore, the folded layers are more for decoration than purpose. The layers are much thicker and the wavy-patterns are for show, not strength. The resulting blade is inferior for actual use.

({RTD} alecto) #10

you learn something new everyday…


Re: Magnesium … magnesium poses some difficulties as a yoyo material. If it isn’t coated like the MG, then it needs to be kept dry. I remember Ernie sending out care packages with silica desiccant for folks to store with their Magnums. It’s also highly flammable, which poses some risks during machining. That said, the weight distribution on the MG and the Magnum are awesome and unobtainable on aluminum, so they’re certainly cool. I find I play my MG an awful lot for that reason. Cool thread, Gambit. :slight_smile:


Thank you for the incredibly insightful post Matt, I was hoping for these kind of posts because I love learning more about stuff like this. I’ve learned something new and then some. ;D

Why thank you sir!

I’ll admit, after seeing Magnesium strips go up in flames during science lessons at school, the idea of setting an entire Magnesium yoyo on fire sounds awesome but a little frightening.I’m under the impression that it takes a high heat to ignite magnesium, but I would be interested to see exactly what would happen if you set it on fire as it was spinning.

I must ask, why does Magnesium need to be kept dry when un-coated? Would it rust otherwise?

Now I know I could google all of this rather easily… but then that would just kill this discussion. So I’d rather hear it from one of you guys. :wink:

(rizkiyoist) #13

*Pieces of molten Magnesium flies around the house burning everything it touches.

In the other hand, I previously have thought about forged yoyos, not sure if possible but I’m thinking one could make some kind of cast then press it with huge machines, and then re-finish with lathe, or simply make blank tubes instead. That probably wouldn’t be cost effective though, but that kind of damascus pattern “might” be possible this way. It’s all just my assumption anyway.

Or one can just anodize :wink: I know I know the sentimental value is still not there even if it’s very similar.

Btw, how does one make aluminum alloy, like how exactly? is it the same as forged aluminum? A quick google search doesn’t really answer the question.

One more thing, a little off topic maybe, but I have seen powdercoated aluminum that looks like wood.


Magnesium is an alkaline metal (furthest left column of the periodic table), these metals all react violently with water and rust very quickly in air unless they are given some kind of coating (so their raw forms are usually stored in oil). There should be a video on YouTube of the various alkaline metals being placed in water for anyone interested.


I use to be a machinist, technically, a tool and die maker. We made dies (which are molds essentially) for bolts out of carbide steel. Yes, they can be machined to very tight tolerances. The holes in our dies had a tolerance of +0.0002 - 0.0000 That’s plus two ten thousandths of of an inch minus nothing. For comparison a dollar bill is about 0.004" thick or 4 thousandths. Imagine slicing that dollar bill into 20 equally thick slices and that’s 0.0002 (or we would call it “two tenths”).

To get it to that point you are actually polishing it with finely ground diamond paste suspended in in a paste (we used cold cream).

The thing is, carbide is incredibly brittle. If you drop it the whole die can shatter or at least chip badly.

Interesting material but probably not a valid yoyo material.

Here’s an interesting aside. Carbide steel is so hard that it’s literally off the chart. That is, it’s too hard for the standard Rockwell scale of hardness to measure. So they beam x-rays through the material and measure how much comes out the other side. The stuff we used was either 25% or 16%. The 16% carbide means only 16% of the x-rays would pass through. Most of the dies were 25% and we had to custom make carbide reamers (drills) out of 16% to cut it. Then, we’d do all the final machining using diamonds as cutting tools. Somewhere I still have a little plastic case of diamonds that I used to cut carbide.


Thanks so much for you insight Greg! Wasn’t expecting to get many actual machinists commenting in this thread, so this information is great.

Ah it’s a shame to hear about the brittleness of carbide steel. It’s weight coupled with it’s strength at low tolerances seemed to make it a prime candidate in my head. :-X


Well that brittleness is a function of it’s hardness. The harder something is the more brittle it tends to be. Hardness is probably not a useful property in yoyos. In fact, I’d think that softness (to a point) is better.

The interesting property is density. Titanium is light for it’s volume which means it’s less dense (although still very string). That means you can machine it with thin sides and thick rims allowing you to put more of the weight out on the rim, essentially doing what a bi-metal does but with one metal.

This chart gives a quick overview of density in grams per cubic centimeter.

Notice how different aluminum is from brass. I don’t think you could machine a brass yoyo in a standard size and still keep it in the 65 to 70 gram weight range.

But look at the stone weights. They’re all about the same density as aluminum. Machining stone would be an incredible challenge. And talk about Brittle! But imagine a quartz yoyo, it would be about the same weight and size as an aluminum if it were possible to machine it.


That would be amazing! Brittle, like you said, but the idea of throwing a Granite or Quartz yoyo just sounds epic. ;D


first off.

I am a Damascus wh** re.

that being said, eff you for spending my money for me! kindad wish I had never seen that, I don’t need that in any regard but now I have to have a Damascus top. why!!!

that’s all


It sure would be cool if the guy that made Timascus liked yoyo’s. :wink: Sorry for the necro bump, just found this thread through google.