Tuning metal unresponsive yoyos is a lie. Unless they have Side Effects!


Let me qualify the title: you cannot tune metal unresponsive yoyos by re-orienting the halves relative to one-another*. *unless they use Side Effects

The theory I’ve always operated under is that the whole teflon tape technique allows you to shift how the halves are oriented with one another. I’ve even passed this misinformation along to other people. But it doesn’t. It’s so obvious now when I’m thinking about it, but it wasn’t intuitive so I never clued in.

For the uninitated, the theory presented is that you put teflon tape around half of an axle and put’er in (I usually screwed the bare side all the way into a half, and then screwed the whole thing together which would cause the teflon tape to engage). If your yoyo has vibe, you unscrew. The taped side should “stay put” when you do this. Then using a hex key, you turn the screw a small amount and reassemble the halves, which should now be reoriented relative to one another by that small amount.

But that’s not what happens. The math doesn’t work that way. The threads are a constant and the bearing width is a constant. If you turn the screw 1/4 of a turn, when you put the other half back on, it is also getting threaded by that exact same 1/4 of a turn difference! Your halves will ALWAYS line up. ALWAYS.

The only way to change the orientation of the halves is with shims, which are problematic in and of themselves.

I’m not saying all tuning is a lie (OK, my title says that, but it’s just me being sensationalist). If your yoyo is sensitive to the relative “depth” of the axle into each half, you might find a difference… especially with wide thread zones that leave plenty of travel for the axle. Maybe the teflon tape itself is presenting any sort of mechanical movement within loosely-threaded halves (doubtful). Swapping axles might also work if there are infinitesimal differences in straightness of the axles. I dunno. A lot of smart and honest people have claimed to have tuned their yoyos, and I believe them.

But the idea that you are reorienting halves is straight-up incorrect as a piece of masking tape or a sharpie will quickly tell you.


You certainly can’t tune all metal yoyos. Many today are made with axle holes that are just deep enough to accommodate the axle. In these cases, many of the manufacturers have to just match halves until they find a pair that’s smooth. These aren’t tunable.

But with a metal yoyo that has an axle hole in each half that is deeper than the actual axle, then tuning is possible. People used to call these “floating axles.” Examples include the Anti-Yo stuff not machined by One Drop (the Eetsit, OG Bape, etc.), most of the CLYW stuff, most Dif-E-Yo stuff, etc. And just to be clear - the tape doesn’t do anything other than hold the axle in place.

Think about it this way. As long as you’ve got extra room in each axle hole underneath the axle, then the halves could be reoriented. You’re right about the bearing being in the way, and being a constant width, but the axle itself is what’s going deeper or less deep into one of the halves, and that’s what allows for the reorientation. The reason is that it leaves a different number of threads exposed (which is what you end up with when you screw it further into one half), which results in the halves turning a different number of rotations (or a different fraction of the last rotation) as you screw the halves together.


That’s what I thought, too, but it’s not the case.

You turn the axle an extra 1/4 turn, right? The “entry point” for the other half is now also 1/4" turned. The halves will always orient the same way relative to one another.

It makes sense even on paper, but for real-world application and to check my head, I literally Sharpied a line across both halves. Then I did the “1/4 turn” thing. The halves lined up identically each time, confirming the mathematics with real world testing. :wink:

Here’s another way to visualize it: imagine you could assemble the yoyo and still have access to the hex hole of the axle. Ie. there’s a hole in the hub! You stick your hex key in and start turning clockwise. The screw will go deeper into the opposite half, while simultaneously getting more shallow on the visible side. The two halves form a single “threaded tunnel” and you’re just moving the axle through it. No matter where the axle is positioned, the halves are still oriented exactly the same.


Ooo oo, should definitely mention this:

Side effect yoyos can be tuned this way. Pop out an SE from one half, turn it a bit, and press it back in. You are literally changing how the threads are oriented to their “host” half, which means the “host” half will in turn be oriented differently to the other half.


SideEffects allow tuning. Just sayin’. Ninja’d!


Yep. I was about to edit my post to note that the OD manufactured Anti-Yos can be tuned - just in a different way. :slight_smile:


I haven’t found any success in tuning my code 2. It used to be one of my smoothest throws (yes I’ve tried that method) (yes I’ve tried countless bearings) (no I haven’t bumped or damaged it)

I believe you guys… But it just perplexes me why it won’t work for me


@mordo613 - are you tightening the halves together very tightly? If not, give that a whirl.

@ GregP - You’re right that the entry point is always the same. But with a yoyo that has a floating axle, the teflon (or you can use thread locker) is allowing you to lock the axle into different locations along the axle hole, which allows you to effectively alter the length of the axle.


Yeah, that’s a mystery to me, too. Sometimes halves just seem to change. I had a pretty vibey Punch Line that I sent to someone and he claims there is very little vibe indeed! He is in a very different environment (geographically and meteorologically speaking) and we could only conclude that barometric pressure (or something else) must affect yoyos in unexpected ways.

Obviously you haven’t changed environments (or have you?) but suffice it to say that subtle changes might have a bigger impact than we anticipate!

@jrod: it only alters how deep it is in one half or the other. As mentioned earlier, if your yoyo is sensitive to this, it might actually help. But it won’t change the orientation. Not sure how else to make you believe me other than to give you another example. You don’t have to do it with yoyos… just grab a screw, two nuts that fit, and a washer. Put a nut on the screw, then a washer, then a nut. Each nut is a yoyo half, and the washer is the bearing. Snug them up. Now, re-orient one of the nuts slightly. This causes the gap to widen and the washer is not snug anymore. Your only choices to make sure you’re snug again is to move it back to where it was, OR move the other nut. When you tighten up the other nut and everything is snug again… the two nuts are oriented exactly the same to one another yet again. :wink:

Hold both nuts in position and just turn the screw. It will go in and out (analogous to changing depth in a yoyo half) but the nuts won’t change orientation. In fact, they CAN’T or the screw won’t work.

Take off a nut and put on a second washer (analogous to a shim). The nuts should now be oriented differently because the space between them (one of the constants) has changed.


I forgot to add that I tried it in parenthesis. Along with swapping out SEs


You’re right, Greg. Geometrically the halves should always stay lined up. But having tuned a bunch of old yoyos, I also know that something is changing when you tune them - the amount of vibration definitely changes. And I’m also 99% certain that it’s not that the variation is in the axle or bearing. The halves are definitely where the most error is found. I’ll mess with one of my old yoyos when I get home later this week to see if I can figure out what’s being altered.


Sounds good. By all means share your discoveries. :wink:

From my OP:


Two possibilities already come to mind.

  1. The teflon is acting as a shim and we’re just not seeing it - as in, some of the teflon is getting wedged in such as way as to alter the gap.
  2. I know that the threading on some of the old yoyos was a bit wider than it should have been. Perhaps the halves are angled a little bit differently against the bearing each time the yoyo is screwed together because of the lack of snugness of the axle against the threading in the halves.


I was always under the impression that the purpose of tuning yoyos with a floating axle was to make the weight of the halves shift ever so slightly until one found the setting that resulted in the least vibe possible. Regardless of what is physically happening, many people, myself included, have tuned yoyos by tinkering with axle placement such that the yoyo goes from having a noticeable vibe on the fingernail test to not having a noticeable vibe so something must be happening, we aren’t all crazy.

Also, stuff with hex nut axle systems (Project, FHZs, whatever else) are tuned in effectively the same way as SE enabled yoyos.


Quoted now for the third time:

I also already acknowledged the weight shift possibility. But no, that’s not what is normally presented as the reason for moving the axle. And the odds of it working are on the slim side. There’s just so little weight… and especially the prescribed method of turning a fraction of a turn bit-at-a-time. If you have a long threaded “channel” and a long enough axle that you can shift it back and forth by several millimetres, there might be a chance.

Some older yoyos apparently had poorly tapped threads; you could reduce vibe by putting some tape around the axle before inserting it, creating a better mechanical connection between halves. So any twisting and turning would have been incidental to the mere presence of tape. :smiley:

Very good point about the nut system. You could definitely reorient halves that way.


By jove this is an intellectually stimulating thread. Keep it coming guys. :smiley:

Ever tried unscrewing a Protostar? No force on earth is getting those little black arrows to match up again… :stuck_out_tongue:


I cannot stress how strongly I agree with Greg in this thread. It has always seemed the most bizarre concept to me. OK, but here’s a quiz question for you on teflon tape - when you screw in an axle typically the machining of the yoyo/the small distance the axle sits within the yoyo half gives rise to some play in the position of the axle. You can feel this with your finger, you can move the axle left/right a little bit when it’s in the axle half. OK, so then you screw the halves together and it pulls the axle thread against the thread in the yoyo half, holding the yoyo together, creating a specific axle orientation. If you add teflon tape, which lies between the axle threads and the yoyo thread, the same orientation of axle may not be achievable, even when you screw the halves together. Therefore will the relative position/angle of the yoyo halves will be changed by a minuscule amount creating a ‘tuning’ effect?

BTW I despise teflon tape in yoyos. It’s a guaranteed way to help people strip their threads.


Heheh, I believe that! You can definitely do things to tune screw-apart fixies, too… they tolerate a bit of extra tightening or backing off a bit. Plus the gap is fairly easily adjusted with shims or sanding.

But yeah… I have no pressing need to tune a wooden fixie at this juncture.


Thanks, Joe.

Yeah, I could see how that would be possible, particularly in yoyos with overly loose threads. The amount of “play” would be less than a millimetre, though; if your yoyos is “this” close to the sweet spot, it might give you the extra push, but it would have to be a pretty rare yoyo for that to happen with I would imagine.


Anybody have any suggestions for me?