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String theory top spinner
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This simple compact manual spinner for medium to large LEGO tops delivers a lot of torque and speed for its size
About this creation
Please feel free to look over the images and skip the verbiage.

Spinning tops are the oldest known toys archeologically, and string-powered top spinners have been around for almost as long.

This simple string-powered spinner for LEGOŽ tops is lightweight, compact, and powerful. It works beautifully on tops with moderate to high axial moments of inertia (AMIs) but can be hit or miss with very light tops, as seen below at 0:39.



The string spinner also has a pleasing mechanical feel during use.

Only one trick to using it: Be sure to pull it away before you run out of string!

Few LEGOŽ parts have the ability to transmit torque to a cross-axle without gripping it tightly. The best one for top spinners is the rapid shooter magazine and trigger assembly (18588c02) used here as a "chuck".



Even the lightest of my tops drop free of the chuck when the spinner is lifted away.

Tried several reel interfaces for the hand before settling on this simple crank.



The innards couldn't be simpler.





The group shot below includes most of my better spinner designs.



The string spinner is the lightest and smallest of the bunch but handles high-AMI tops like these with the best of them.



Warning! Always wear eye protection when working or playing with high-speed LEGOŽ rotating machinery and keep valuables and bystanders (including pets) a safe distance away -- especially when testing new designs.

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Specifications

Overall dimensions:64x64 mm (DxH) excluding string
Mass:39 g
String length:870 mm installed
Turns:19 to fully wound
Torque capacity:At least 0.05 N m
Suitable tops:Medium to large
Modified LEGOŽ parts:None
Non-LEGOŽ parts:String
Credits:Original MOC
See also:Planetary spinners and electric spinner

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Comments

 I made it 
  September 23, 2016
Quoting Oran Cruzen Very nice spinning Sir Jeremy!
Thanks, Oran!
 I made it 
  September 23, 2016
Quoting Oliver Becker Really a "top" video with some nice optical illusions, my friend! :) The simple string-powered spinner reminds me to go fishing again somewere in future... ;)
Thanks, Oliver! I does kinda look like a fishing reel, doesn't it? Maybe I can catch some LEGO sharks with it.
 I like it 
  September 19, 2016
Very nice spinning Sir Jeremy!
 I like it 
  September 19, 2016
Really a "top" video with some nice optical illusions, my friend! :) The simple string-powered spinner reminds me to go fishing again somewere in future... ;)
 I made it 
  August 18, 2016
Quoting Vibor Cavor That is cool!
Thanks, Vibor!
 I like it 
  August 18, 2016
That is cool!
 I made it 
  August 1, 2016
Quoting Topsy Creatori Was it just my mistaken reality or did I indeed count 11 tops being shown spinning in that video?! ;)
Hi, Topsy? Could easily have been 11 -- and if so, that would have been about 11 out of ~600 in my collection so far. I just chose some tops representing a range of mass, axial moment of inertia (AMI), and transverse moment of inertia (TMI), as these 3 parameters jointly determine which spinners will work well with a given top. This spinner tends to shift a bit toward the string pull and may tilt slightly in the process. As seen in the video, that kind of spinner motion tends to leave low-mass tops with small TMIs in unfavorable attitudes on release. With other tops, however, it works quite well, including those with low AMIs but higher masses and TMIs.
 I like it 
  August 1, 2016
Was it just my mistaken reality or did I indeed count 11 tops being shown spinning in that video?! ;)
 I made it 
  July 24, 2016
Quoting Nick Barrett Works well, and speed is good :-)
Thanks, Nick!
 I like it 
  July 24, 2016
Works well, and speed is good :-)
 I made it 
  July 23, 2016
Quoting Sven J. And again a very nice one my friend :) Great work and cool video!
Too kind, Sven!
 I made it 
  July 23, 2016
Quoting Firas Abu-Jaber Very clever idea, very entertaining video! Well done.
Thank you, Firas!
 I like it 
  July 23, 2016
And again a very nice one my friend :) Great work and cool video!
 I like it 
  July 23, 2016
Very clever idea, very entertaining video! Well done.
 I made it 
  July 22, 2016
Quoting David Roberts Simple but effective. It reminds me of the wooden spinning tops that my Mum had as a child in the 1940s. These came with a wooden stick, about 9 inches long, that had a leather thong on the end of similar length. You could wrap the thong around the top to start it, like you're doing here and then whip the top to keep it spinning. I love the stroboscopic effects on the video. Watching the small top, at the start of the video, have you tried making one of those top heavy tops which gradually inverts as it spins?
Thanks, David! Whipping tops are very cool. And very ancient. I've been trying to come up with a LEGO "tippe top" for a year now. The first top in the video loves to spin on its side but won't invert further. Recently made some progress on this front, but it's still ~45° shy of inverting completely.
 I like it 
  July 22, 2016
Simple but effective. It reminds me of the wooden spinning tops that my Mum had as a child in the 1940s. These came with a wooden stick, about 9 inches long, that had a leather thong on the end of similar length. You could wrap the thong around the top to start it, like you're doing here and then whip the top to keep it spinning. I love the stroboscopic effects on the video. Watching the small top, at the start of the video, have you tried making one of those top heavy tops which gradually inverts as it spins?
 I made it 
  July 22, 2016
Quoting Gabor Pauler Quite an idea for spinner, very compact, very handy.
Thanks, Gabor! Just borrowing an idea from the cavemen! And women.
  July 22, 2016
Quite an idea for spinner, very compact, very handy.
 
By Jeremy McCreary
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