The Shape Of Things

The picture that OneDrop used for their 2014 Benchmarks line is amazing, and was incredibly helpful when I started yoyoing again. When I was a kid, as far as I knew there were two yoyo shapes: Fireball and Butterfly. When I stumbled upon the W-H-O-V of the Benchmarks, it made everything click. I'm the kind of guy that loves sorting and classification, and a line of yoyos that specifically set out to delineate the difference between the primary shapes is fantastic. The Benchmark project is one of my favorite things OneDrop has done. Watching the growth of the line from 2013, to 2014, and again to 2016 is amazing.

 OneDrop's Benchmark 2014

OneDrop's Benchmark 2014

I've seen a few new people around lately that have been a little confused by what shapes are and what they mean. I thought I'd put together a little primer on shapes that expands on what OneDrop has done with the Benchmark line. Hopefully the four breakouts for W-H-O-V below can help anyone looking for a little bit of a base to build from regarding yoyo shape and how it can affect play. 


The angular V-Shape is obvious at first look for most throws. I think of it as the base of the modern shape. They'll frequently have a relatively small curve or flat spot near the rim, but the profile is a nearly straight line to that rim. The straight profile makes them one of the more simple shapes, and likely one of the best shapes to start with since the wide angle makes it easy to land your first string tricks. The slightly-smaller rim size of most V-Shapes make them more angular, more responsive to tilting off-axis, and sometimes a little uncomfortable to catch.


Imagine a W-Shape as a swole V-Shape. The angular shape from the gap comes to a very obvious angle near the rim to shove even more weight towards the outside of the yoyo. The most recent ideal execution of this shape is Evan Nagao's signature, the YoYoFactory Edge. The W-Shape pushes more weight away from the center of the yoyo, making them more stable, and have a little more power on the throw.


If the W-Shape is a swole V, then the H is a stacked W. The H-Shape is a move to stack even more weight on the rims of the yoyo. The YoYoFactory Horizon and Shutter are both examples of H-Shape yoyos, as well as the YoYoFREAKS Pound and Sharp. One of the most obvious visual cues of an H-Shape yoyo is a very vertical angle before reaching the rim. Because of the relatively extreme weight distribution, H-Shape yoyos frequently become over-stable and very powerful on the throw. They'll resist changing their plane of play, and can sometimes feel a little sluggish or heavy on the string.


O-Shape comes from the term Organic, which refers to a shape that frequently utilizes a minimal amount of long curves through the profile. These throws hearken back to a time when power wasn't everything. An O-Shape yoyo isn't about maximizing the rim weight in order to coax out all of the spintime and stability you can get. They're frequently a design meant to emphasize a slower, more deliberate style of play. They're more impacted by string play and off axis play because of the height of the walls in the profile. The current holy grail of O-Shape throws is the Grail by A-RT. It's also what was used in what I believe to be one of the best yoyo videos of 2017. The Aesthetic of Freedom by Charles Haycock is what motivated me to get a Grail, and coincidentally why I became so heartbroken this December when it got lost in the mail on its way.

Variations of a Theme

I hope that looking at all of these categories and pictures imparted the idea that the shapes are more guidelines than rules. What I respect about the OneDrop Benchmark series is that they crystallize the primary characteristics that make up each shape. The Benchmark-W is very clearly a W shape, but a Terrarian has the W characteristics to an extreme. The Benchmark-O is the epitome of organic, but the OC or Monocle use that same mid-body weight curve with the addition of an initial curve to move the design away from the string.

Everything is unique. Everything is similar. It's a little like music; no two musicians will play St. James Infirmary the same, but you should still be able to hear the song in any rendition. If you're interested in any of the yoyos above, be sure to click through and take a look at the store pages or manufacturer's sites.

Most of these photos are not my own, and I linked to the origin or store page of most pictures here, but if you'd like anything changed or clarified please reach out to me and I'll make it happen.!




The iCEBERG is something that has been on my radar since release, but for some reason whenever I went to buy a yoyo it just didn't end up in my cart. My 4A throw of the choice is the iYoYo Dive and I really enjoyed the iYoYo Veritas, but for some reason I just kept forgetting to grab the iCEBERG. I finally rectified the situation when I found an iCEBERG on the r/throwers BST on the cheap, and boy am I glad I did.


The goal with this design is obvious; create a polycarbonate body with a steel rim. You can't do something this extreme without making it your singular goal. Polycarbonate is a fairly durable and easily machined plastic. However, polycarb will never be as durable as an aluminum alloy.

This is a rough example not drawn to scale.

If we look at the iCEBERG's profile, you can make out the design intentions pretty easily. There are 4 primary curves in the profile:

  1. A steep angle from the response to push the design wide
  2. The majority of the diameter comes from the second straight angle
  3. The steep arc at the rim to set up the interface for the rim
  4. From the arc the polycarb will cut in, but the steel ring gives it a flat appearance



From the profile, the H-shape is fairly obvious. This means that it pushes an even more extreme amount of weight to the outer diameter due to the steel ring. This really shows on the throw as well; it plays very over-stable. Once it has established its axis, it does not want to change it. It is very difficult to tilt, which is even more evident by how well it fingerspins. Once you get it to level out it will fight to stay in that plane on your finger, which means you'll want to spin it with a soft finger and just ride the waves.



Two superficial things stand out with the iCEBERG that make it something special: The sound, and the temperature.

My first throw I was surprised by the sound, to the point that I thought the bearing might be dirty. When it is moving, it squeals. When you have it sitting in a fingerspin, it hums. It has to be a combination of the steel ring, polycarb, and the bearing, but mine just screams. I won't play with it when there is a baby sleeping nearby, but it really makes me feel like I'm just flying when I throw it.


Second, the temperature of the rings was kind of a shock. When it came in I played for about two hours straight, and every time it returned to my hand the steel was still cool. My guess is that the polycarb doesn't transfer the heat from the catch to the rims, and what little heat it does have is cooled while it's spinning. The effect make me think they threw the first prototype and thought "We have to name this ice something!"

From the design, you can pretty well see what the iCEBERG is going to excel at. It has a wide catch and the weight distribution makes it want to stay on the plane it is thrown. I'm admittedly terrible at horizontal play, but the iCERBERG handled what I threw at it exceedingly well. It fingerspins like an absolute dream, rivaling anything else I've thrown on ease of landing a spin.

I've noticed it binds a little strange at times. I'm not sure if it's my response pads, or the wide gap making it a little less responsive. It does mean it plays well with a little thicker or more grippy string. I was noticing weird responses with kitty fat, but it plays pretty great with my NYLON.nylon Spoolthread, which is a little too grippy in other throws. The binds can also hurt at times. It's kind of hard to explain how it can loosely bind but still snap back sharp on the catch.


I may be a little off base, but the wide catch and rim weight reminds me of a supped up Horizon. The weight distribution also makes it feel like a W-Shape on the string, but with the more comfortable profile of an H-Shape. If you're someone that loves to show off with fingerspins, this easily outperforms any variant of the Skyva I've played at ease of landing, and has the weight distribution to be more fun to play in other styles. At $65, and still in stock on YoYoExpert, it is definitely worth trying next time you're itching for a new throw.



Corrections: A previous version of this review referred to the plastic of the iCEBERG as Delrin instead of Polycarbonate. My forehead met palm multiple times.

Reviews in Review

Whenever I'm interested in something, or considering buying anything, the first thing I do is go look for reviews. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Brandon Vu's reviews are what got me back into yoyoing. I don't think that I'd be able to restrain myself from doing yoyo reviews here for very long, but I feel a little weird about doing reviews while simultaneously planning to sell yoyos. With that in mind, I feel it is necessary to lay out a few goals, guidelines, and disclaimers before I put up my first review.


Unless otherwise noted, every yoyo I review will have been purchased or traded for. If someone wants to send me a yoyo for review and promotion I'll take it, but it is going to be made explicitly clear that is the case, and it won't result in any kind of positive feedback loop for the throw. In all honesty, it will probably make me a little more critical.

Depth and Form

With every review, I'm going to try and go a little deeper than "It spins good. It's floaty, but it's stable." I'll likely focus on what I think were the elements the yoyo was designed around, things I feel could be changed, and reference to other relevant designs. That said, since I started throwing again I haven't had a "bad" yoyo. Most reviews are likely going to end with a recommendation to buy, unless I feel that there is something more price competitive.


i plan to produce and sell yoyos under the Yanasi YoYo brand. I also feel like I'm not alone in considering a lot of yoyo design as art, and the best method of developing your art is to critique others. I have a lot of respect for what the people at G2, OneDrop, OhYesYo, iYoYo, Recess, and all of the others shops and brands are doing. I like to think of reviewing them a sign of respect and hopefully exposing people to some yoyos they wouldn't otherwise consider.


My primary goal of these reviews isn't to come out with a 1-10 score. It isn't to try and sell something to whoever might be reading. It is a review of execution of a yoyo, and to do so in text. I love reading and writing, and as such I would love there to be more written word about yoyos. This is part of my being the change I want to see in the world.

As always, if you have any comments, contributions, or concerns please let me know! I'm am always up for a fruitful dialogue.

Thick or Thin

Today's post is an important post, because it's a post about bearing posts. Thanks for bearing with me through that. From here on out there are going to be less puns and more technical details.

For as important as the bearing post is in yoyo design, there isn't a whole lot of variety when it comes to them. We've reached a point where the guts are generally standardized, with only a few minor variants made for different types of response. That doesn't mean that they aren't rife with challenges and complications. Point of fact: The bearing post is one of the more frustrating parts of the yoyo.

Before we start talking about posts, we need to look at a bearing. The C bearing we use in the majority of yoyos now has an inner diameter (ID) of 6.35mm (0.250"). However nothing is perfect, especially in machining. Because of the variations that occur in production you can not assume every bearing has an exact ID of 6.35mm, this is where ABEC ratings come into the picture. An ABEC rating is a classification by an oversight body that a bearing will meet a specific dimensional tolerance. More clearly, an ABEC 7 bearing has a smaller range of possible sizes than an ABEC 3 bearing.

Unfortunately, ABEC 7 bearings are significantly more precise than is economically possible for machining yoyos and this means that bearing posts have an even wider variation in sizes. OneDrop prides themselves on holding a 0.0002" (0.005mm or 5μm) tolerance on the guts of yoyos produced in their shop. Generally this means that the size a bearing post can be either wider or thinner by that margin. Now you have to add those variations by the possible dimensional variations of the bearings, and you have a compounding variance in your production. What's worse, anodizing typically introduces even more variation into your production. Worse still, the chemical process of anodizing means that the dimensional variation is different with each batch of anodizing, meaning you have to account for an even wider range of possibilities!

How do you solve the problem? Unfortunately the most common solution is to minimize your bad outcomes.

Given the nature of production, you know your bearing posts are going to be either too large, too small, or just right. Since bearings aren't flexible, a bearing post that is too large is a critical failure; you're going to chance deforming the bearing post if you press fit it and introduce vibe, and that's if it will even fit at all. If the bearing post is too small you'll have similar issues with vibe, and at extremes you'll have bearing slippage which will very negatively affect your spin times. When the post is just right, you'll have a slip fit that should reduce vibe and minimize the amount of galling you'll suffer over time.

Because a bearing post that is too large creates a yoyo that is simply unplayable, the safest option is to skew your production range smaller. At this point, it becomes a balancing act of finding the right size that fits your production ranges to minimize the number of critical failures. If you skew too small, you won't have any posts that are too large, but you're increasing the likelihood of posts that are too small and you're solving your problem by creating a new one.

After the machining difficulties, just about everyone that produces eventually comes to abhor anodizing. It's an expensive process that can end up introducing more scraps into your production run than the actual machining. I asked a few anodizers about the variance of their anodizing process and got responses from "There is no noticeable change to diameter" to "Adds around 0.2mm" and there are even variables for the colors that are used. The best mitigation for this is to find an anodizer you trust, and adjust your designs to compensate for the outcomes of their specific process.

 OneDrop's Lego Side Effects

OneDrop's Lego Side Effects

What are the outside the box solutions for the difficulties of bearing posts? OneDrop is the one on the ball. The Side Effect system allows a lot more room to breathe with anodizing and machining because of the tapered fit of the Side Effect to the body of the yoyo. I'm working off an assumption here, but I would guess it reduces their production costs as well, as they can machine Side Effect yoyos a little more quickly and easily, and can set up side effects as a large production run that are standardized across all of their throws.

True to form, OneDrop is also working on another solution to bearing post woes that they haven't used in a production run yet. I've seen Shawn mention a brass press fit cover that they would apply after anodizing. Brass has significantly higher resistances to galling than aluminum does, and since the brass wouldn't be anodized it wouldn't be as variable when it came to fit. The issue is the difficulty of machining because of the size of the piece. Shawn has been working on it for awhile, and he's still hopeful they can bring it to market. I hope he does too, because I'm already developing a healthy fear of sending prototypes to some anodizers.

Thanks for making it to the end! I hope you gleaned some new information about bearing posts, and a new found respect for the difficulty of producing a good yoyo. Of course, the bearing post is only one part of what makes a yoyo, but it is also the least variable. Zach Lerner put it very well in his Youtube yoyo design tutorials: An error in the guts is a mistake, and error anywhere else can be a chalked up to a design feature.


Corrections: The diameters in the bearing sketches above are missing about five thousandths of a millimeter on their label. They're also not drawn to scale. Woops!

Hit it or hate it

I love fingerspins. They are one of my favorite things to do with a yoyo. They're simple to learn, hard to master, quick to impress, and you can add so many layers to the trick with hops or fancy binds. As I've been designing yoyos I've found myself more and more including a variety of fingerspin features, but there is one that I just keep coming back to. I call it the Hit it or Hate it hub.

First, here's a variety of throws with some fingerspin-centric hubs:

Obviously I'm not the first one to love fingerspins. I think it's safe to say that Jeffrey Pang popularized the design with the Skyva, and over the year there has been a real rush to jump on the design bandwagon. That's fine! With the Skyva, suddenly everyone could fingerspin like Paul Kerbel. Emulation is the most sincere form of flattery, but more importantly, when something is done right then the most logical thing to do is to try to do it better. 

With so many variants of the fingerspin dimple, it's best to make some fast and loose categories:

  • Recessed Bowl (Skyva, Superstar Pivot, C3 Vapormotion)
  • Expressed Bowl (Joyride, Interlagos, Marvel)
  • Flat Recess (Hashtag, Vacation)
  • Walls (Pound)

Recessed Bowls are definitely the most common. The Skyva, and all the variants therein, have varying widths and depths, but have the same basic bowl shape recessed into the metal or plastic. Typically this adds a lot of center weight with the intention of making the cup lead directly into the bowl. Personally, this is my least favorite type of fingerspin hub, but it's the most popular because it is the easiest to learn with.

Expressed Bowls are probably the second most common variant. Instead of filling the cup to lead the finger to the dimple, they raise the bowl and keep the cutaways in the cup to remove some of the weight. They're harder to land, and since it isn't recessed your finger is likely to slide out into the cutaways. Once that happens your finger is likely to hit the rim or inner profile, and you're out of luck.

Flat Recess cups are not very commonly used. For the most part designers don't like to keep the cup flat unless they're going for a deliberate minimalist design like the UNPRLD Corruption. Minimalist designs and fingerspin dimples don't normally go hand in hand. The Hashtag gets away with it because of its unique form factor; there isn't that much space from the inner profile walls and the center of the cup. I stuck the Recess Vacation in this category as well but it's a bit of a stretch. I don't believe that the Vacation was specifically designed with fingerspins in mind, particularly because of how wide the recession in the cup is.


Walls are by far my favorite style of fingerspin design, and the Pound is the definitive throw for this category. This is what I mean by Hit it or Hate it. Either you land dead center and have one of the best fingerspins available, or you land outside of the walls and have to try again. The flat bottom leads fewer points of contact than a bowl, which means less friction, which means longer fingerspin times. The walls keeps the fingerspin from going wild like you normally would in a completely flat cup. In my mind, after using just about every yoyo mentioned above, this is the best combination of difficult to land and easy to maintain fingerspins.

Okay. That's out of the way. Fingerspin cups are just a gimmick, they'll die down eventually, right? Fortunately, there are some very real benefits from walled finger cups when it comes to durability.

 The "Peak" of YoYo Nipples

The "Peak" of YoYo Nipples

To put it very simply, longer axles means more threads which means a more durable yoyo. More threads protects the axle from deforming the yoyo when you ding it, and also means it is more difficult to strip threads from over tightening. This is part of the reason there are so many yoyo nipples out there. It's a simple way to increase the length of the axle, which has some very real impacts on durability and reduction of vibe.

How do walled hubs help with thread length? In a recessed bowl, you have to keep the bottom of the cup above the recess, this means you're adding material to cover the distance between the bottom of the cup and the bottom of the bowl. That material adds weight to the area you typically want to minimize. In order to minimize the weight, while still maintaining the needed curve, you lower the dimple as much as you can get away with. Since you don't really want to go any shorter than 6mm axles, you have a maximum depth you're allowed to get away with.

To make it clear you'll want to look at a cross section of some yoyos, so here you go:

You can see the problem pretty clearly here. It's hard to create a deep enough recessed bowl while minimizing the center weight and keeping a sufficiently long axle. An expressed bowl lets you cut away a lot of weight, but to compensate for the round shape you need more area to be a little more forgiving with your soft finger spinning. The flat bottom of a walled hub gives you plenty of area to spin on, while the walls keep it centered enough to minimize wobble. Further, you can bring the center of the yoyo out, while adding minimal weight due to the thin shape of the walls compared to the necessary size of expressed bowls. Essentially, a walled hub gives you the benefit of a yoyo nipple (longer axle) while adding functionality (fingerspins) for very little added weight. It obviously isn't the right choice in every design, but it does give you more options.

I'm sorry if all of that got a little more technical than you wanted. Hopefully you enjoyed the read, or skipped over it and went back to doing something more enjoyable, like fingerspins! The long and short is simple: There is no majorly wrong way to make a fingerspin hub. All of them have their own merits, and how they play will largely come down to personal preference. When I was starting out, the ease of getting pushed to the sweet spot of a Skyva was fantastic, but now the Hit it or Hate it aspect of a walled hub is so satisfying. It forces me to focus on the relative positions of the yoyo and my non-throw hand to land as close to center and as softly as possible, instead of just letting the design do all the work.

If you haven't played a Pound yet, track me down at Virginia States next week. I'm hoping to have a Yanasi prototype with me as well, but unforeseen delays are always possible. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy your weekend!


Corrections: A previous version of this post erroneously referred to Jeffrey Pang as Jeremy Pang. The author was wildly embarrassed. In addition, his wife scolded him for the use of "it's" instead of the grammatically correct "its" one time. Both errors have been rectified.

Yanasi YoYo: Buffaloyo

Yanasi (Yaw-Naw-See | ᏯᎾᏏ) is a Cherokee word for Buffalo or Bison. I grew up in Northeastern Oklahoma and, like most people who grew up in Northeastern Oklahoma, I have Native American ancestry. Being Cherokee in Oklahoma typically means you're surrounded by history but you're rarely confronted with it, especially if your Cherokee ancestors are way up your family tree. I went to a couple powwows growing up, and the required Oklahoma History classes in High School tell you about the Trail of Tears and the 5 Civilized Tribes, but that's the extent that most people get.

When I began thinking about starting a yoyo company one of the first thoughts I had was that I wanted to work my heritage into it, and the name seemed like the best place to start. I don't know much Cherokee, and I don't look very Cherokee, but I wanted this endeavor to be a way for everyone to learn something about Native American cultures. And with that, Yanasi YoYo was born. I asked a friend and fellow Oklahoma Native artist @CR2F to design me a logo and went from there.

The main drive behind Yanasi is to design yoyos, but a major motivation is to give back to the communities that inspired it. Some of the plans involve limited drops where the profits go to specified charities, contests and giveaways to encourage community outreach, and opportunities for students or artists to contribute art or products. My dream would be connecting a local artist to a larger market where they can sell their work. 

While I'd love for every yoyo to be produced in the US, the cost of production can end up putting premium US yoyos out of a lot of throwers' budgets. I'm planning on producing some runs in China, but it will be clearly delineated where a yoyo is produced. Regardless of their origin, there will still be an element of community building or charitable giving associated with it. 

Having such a larger focus on community and charity demands a large amount of transparency and interaction; so if you have any questions or suggestions please reach out, I'd love to hear them!

Welcome Throwers!


My name is Lucas Pollet. Some of you might have seen me posting on some of the various skill toys groups on the internet. A few of you might have met me poking around at competitions over the past year. Most of you probably don't recognize me, and that's fine!

I started seriously getting into yoyoing a little under two years ago, after not having thrown one for over a decade. I started throwing again because I was looking for something to do with my hands in my downtime at the barbershop. Then, like a lot of throwers I've met, I kept with it because I found that the act of creating yoyo tricks and combos became almost meditative and actually started to help me with my anxiety. Now I can't imagine a day where I don't throw a yoyo at least once.

Over the past year I've wanted to take the next step from making tricks to making yoyos. My family has owned and operated a foundry and machine shop for over 30 years, so the idea of design and production wasn't that foreign to me. After working through some connections with over a half dozen shops, I've finally found a couple that feel capable of prototyping and producing a throw that would meet the expectations of the community. I've decided that now is the perfect time to start this blog so I can start memorializing the process. Hopefully you all find it interesting, and maybe you'll learn something as well!.

While I'm getting everything concrete down, there will be a few posts popping up here over the next few days. First will be an introduction to Yanasi YoYo; What the name means, and why it's important to me. Second will be a post about one of my favorite design elements on a yoyo, and why it's more than a gimmick. Last will be an overview of the process to here, and what problems and pitfalls I've come across to this point.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you stick around!