i have heard many peaople talking about lathes on the wonderful yoyoxpert forums and was just wondering what a lathe exactly is and why so many people want one. my next question, is how does a lathe have to do anything with yo-yos?
Lathe Buying Guide
so basically, you can reshape yoyos and even maybe make them? ???
Yes, both take a bit of skill and experience to do well.
They are also very important in modding yoyos.
Essentially, a lathe is a machine that holds onto something and spins it. While it’s spinning, you push a tool into the workpiece to cut into it, and you control the shape of the cut with the position and shape of the tool. They’re used to make all kinds of things, from table legs to brake pads to bolts, and of course yoyos (both modding, and making from scratch). When you see something that has been manufactured in a round shape, chances are good there was a lathe involved in making it at some point.
So all these people on the forums that make a small business that make homemade metal yoyos most likely use a lathe?
Very few metal yoyos are “homemade”. Generally it takes a CNC (programmed) lathe or pattern driven lathe to make a decent metal yoyo. Mostly done in a machine shop.
Key word “few”
A magical tool
Is there any other way to make a yoyo than to use a lathe? And what is this CNC I keep hearing about?
A CNC machine is programmed to read a digital model of whatever piece you are making and cut from that. They are good for making very exact parts and for making exact duplicates. There are CNC lathes and mills.
With some care you could use a drill press to make a yoyo but to make the halves the same will take a lot of skill.
Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the first-run OneDrop Projects were made on a CNC milling machine instead of a lathe. I’m thinking some of them had vibe issues because of the difficulty maintaining concentricity with a mill.
CNC stands for “computer-numerically controlled”, and just means the machine’s controls are operated by a computer instead of a person. Because of that, you can make much more complex shapes than would be reasonable to make on a manual machine, such as convoluted mathematical curves or very small features, and you can make them faster and more consistently.
Landon Balk makes his yoyos by hand on a lathe. A lathe opens up more possibilities than a drill, since there are better ways of mounting the yoyo and has much better precision. A lathe also spins at a slower, but with much more power.
I love CNC. Never used it myself of course, but still.
A properly set up CNC milling machine should be able to make as good a piece as a CNC lathe.