There are many other sorts of tops, but this article will focus on string-wound acrobatic spin tops. Of course, they come in a variety of sizes and materials, but the key distinction these days is the tip: fixed tip, bearing tip, or one-way bearing tip.
Fixed tip tops were the only ones available until around the millennium, when three yo-yo firms, Spintastics, Yo-Yo Jam, and Duncan, all released bearing-tip tops (Spintastics was the first!). The term “fixed tip” simply refers to the fact that the tip spins in tandem with the rest of the spin top. Bearing tips rotate independently of the spin top’s rest. To compare the two, here’s a graph. One-way bearing tips will be discussed later.
|Fixed Top||Bearing Tip|
|Spins longer on the ground, better for battles.||Spins longer in the hand, more time to set up tricks like merry-go-round and corkscrew.|
|Can do wire-walker tricks.||Can’t do wire-walker tricks.|
|Not so good for learning tricks like corkscrew or gyro flop.||Great for tricks like corkscrew and gyro flop.|
|Low maintenance.||Maintenance required, bearings can freeze.|
|Metal tips are better for fixed tip play so it stays pointy, plastic tips better for indoor over your mom’s floors though.||Metal tips are good for durability but plastic is fine too for bearing play since it does not need to stay pointy.|
|Can regenerate spin.||Cannot regenerate spin.|
Because the bearing only rotates one way, one-way bearing tips make it possible to regenerate with a bearing top. It can’t wire-walk, but regeneration tactics are a lot less difficult. One way bearing tops do not normally spin as long as regular bearing tops because one way bearings have a lot greater friction surface.
Which type should a novice choose? Each of the following:) One fixed and one bearing will keep you busy for a long time. One-way bearing tops are more expensive, so store them for until you’re ready to learn how to regenerate.
Anything between 2 and 2.5 inches in diameter will suffice. For beginners, any lower or larger size increases the difficulty. Heavier tops are easier to manage than light tops, but the weight should be evenly distributed across the top’s width and length. The spin time of a top is reduced by the centre weight. Oh, and just to clarify, lighter tops do not cause televisions to break.
The “proper” string length is determined by the size and weight of the top (as well as where the weight is located), as well as the thickness of the string being used. The amount of times the thread wraps around the top has no bearing on anything, so disregard it. For the perfect throw, there is an unseen magic line where the rope should stop wrapping. This is proportional to the centre of gravity, hence lowering the centre of gravity lowers the magic line.
Once you understand this, as well as how to adjust for a string that is a little too long or too short, as well as how to build your own string of any thickness, you can size the string to your liking (I prefer not to use strings longer than I am). Alternatively, if you’re Takeshi, you can just use an absurdly lengthy string for the sake of it:) Just keep in mind that large strings are extremely tough to regenerate.
Some things to keep in mind:
- The top will have to be tossed gently due to the long, slender rope.
- The top can be thrown hard and fast with a fat, short string.
- When you throw it, if your string is too short, the top will over-rotate and point away from you. To compensate, get a longer string or aim the tip outwards when throwing.
- The top will under-rotate and point toward you if your string is too long. If the top reaches the ground before it has finished unwinding, it will be aimed in your direction. To compensate, you can shorten the string (don’t cut unless you’re sure) or point the tip inside when throwing. When throwing, either place the tip of your thumb near to the web of your thumb or spin your palm towards the ground.
Unbleached cotton with a tight twist and minimal to no fuzziness is the best string. Don’t throw it away when it gets dirty, sticky, or stinky; instead, wash it with your underwear! Seriously! Just keep it away from the fabric softener (it makes it limp) and hang it to dry instead of putting it in the dryer.
How to Throw a Ball
A top can be thrown in a variety of ways, all of which are difficult to describe in words. Here’s an example video; we’re working on more shots to help you understand it.
How to hold a spin top in your hand and keep it balanced (keep it upright)
If you were trying to balance a baseball bat upright in your hand, you’d shift your hand in the direction it’s leaning. Do the polar opposite for a top. Move your hand in the opposite direction of how it is leaning, in the direction the tip is pointing. The ideal corrective movement is slightly circular because the top precesses (leans in a circular motion), but for now, wait for the tip to point in the same direction as your thumb, then move your hand in the direction your thumb is pointing, and the top will straighten up.
Is the mass of a top related to how long it spins?
When launched at the same speed, heavy tops spin for longer than light ones. The longer they spin, the faster they spin when launched. Momentum is defined as the combination of mass and speed. Momentum is defined as mass multiplied by speed.
What can I do to get my top to spin faster?
To begin spinning the top, spin it as straight up and down as possible. Any deviation from a completely straight up and down will result in a faster loss of energy as the top will go in a circular pattern until it finds its balance. This causes the Schulte to slow down faster than it would if it were spinning in position.
How do you maintain the momentum of a spinning top?
A top’s angular momentum must change from pointing vertically (up or down, depending on which direction it’s spinning) to pointing sideways in order for it to fall over. In a nutshell, tops stay upright because they violate angular momentum if they topple over.