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Author Topic: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli  (Read 8870 times)

Iacopo

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The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« on: November 12, 2015, 04:14:44 PM »

Hi everybody,
what a nice surprise to come across this well made site and forum about spinning tops !
I apologize in advance for my poor english.
This is my first post so I present myself:  I am a middle age italian artisan, I make moulds for statues. Some months ago I tried to make a wooden finger top, just for fun. It was my first one, and at that time I couldn't imagine that I would have become hooked.
As a boy I participated for some years to competitions with slot cars where there was freedom to modify them for making them faster, I liked a lot that activity, how to modify the car's engine, how to improve the traction, to lower the barycenter, to lighten the car, and so on. Faster and faster, year after year. I won many races. Predisposition to manual ability, precision, attitude to contrive, test and select new technical solutions, were rewarding in that context, and these capacities became more refined practicing them.
That first top resurrected automatically in me that way of thinking: "It wobbles a lot... what can I do to make it better?" I started reading, experimenting, building other tops, and, so, nearly without realizing it, what I started for a simple temporary curiosity, was going to become a lasting hobby.
I decided to develop a finger top able to spin for the longest possible time.
It is a process where each top I make is the development of the previous ones, and where each new idea is tested, and, if it works, it is adopted in the following tops, otherwise it is discarded.
In June 2015 I made this top:

It is my top Nr. 9.
It weighs 847 grams, diameter is 99 mm.
Greatest part of the weight is concentrated in the external ring, that is made of full tin.
The part in brass colour is not brass, but aluminum, which I had fun to anodize just for aesthetic. The stem is made of mahogany.
The tip is made of teflon, conical shape.
The surface on which the top spins is a little concave piece of polished hard steel mounted in a wooden base. I use a drop of oil on it.
This top can spin for more than 40 minutes, and it has gained an official world record for the longest spin for non mechanical spinning tops:
https://recordsetter.com/world-record/spinning-non-mechanical-spinning-top/41913
The technique of twirling the stem more times is a great advantage in terms of a longer spin. This is not possible with little tops but easy to do with larger ones. I have calculated that with a single twirl of my fingers I put about 0.6 joule of energy in the top. If the top is little or big it doesn't change a lot, a littler top will spin faster and a bigger one slower, with a single twirl, but the received energy is always about the same, 0.6 joule. But the littler tops, after a single twirl, are already spinning so fast that it is difficult to accelerate them further. Instead the larger tops are still spinning slowly after the first twirl, so it is easy to twirl them further. This top, with a single twirl, 0.6 joule, spins for about 8 or 9 minutes, starting from about 315 rpms. But with more twirls, it can be started from 1100 - 1200 rpms, the energy accumulated is about 8 joule, instead of a poor 0.6, a huge difference, and duration of the spin becomes 40 minutes and over.

From June on, and still at present, my main interest is to develop a finger top that spins for the longest possible time but with just one single twist of the fingers.
In this series of tops there is this one:

This is my top Nr. 12.
It is made of brass, bubinga and ebony.  Its tip is made with HSS steel, conical shape, but not sharp, its contact point is a flat area about 0.15 mm large.  The base on which it spins is made of tungsten carbide, oiled.
Best spin time of this top with a single twirl, starting from 1250 rpm,  is 33 minutes and 46 seconds.
But the design is still in evolution, I will developed it further.
In this period I am particularly concerned with experiments regarding what materials work better for the contact points, both in term of low attrition and also in term of durability, (I would like no wear at all for the contact points).

I am not primarily interested in selling tops.  I already have a job, I don't want another one, instead I want to continue this activity with tops with freedom, pleasure, passion and fun.
Occasionally it could happen that I will sell a top, but I will not start a kickstarter project, nor a serial production.
My production will be always very limited, and each top I make will continue to be different from all the others.

Iacopo Simonelli
« Last Edit: November 12, 2015, 10:06:36 PM by ta0 »
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yollector

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2015, 07:39:14 PM »

  Hi,
Welcome to the forum !
The tops you made are beautiful and very
efficient . Keep up the Great work.  ;D
   RFC
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the Earl of Whirl

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2015, 09:56:50 PM »

Welcome to the board, Iacopo.  It is good to get to know you.  Thanks for your words of introduction.  I agree with yocollector.....those tops are beautiful!  Your English is very good, also.

I look forward to hearing more from you!!!
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ta0

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2015, 10:31:16 PM »

Welcome Iacopo!

Wow!  :o  :o  8)  8)
I am very impressed! Both, the craftsmanship and performance of your tops is amazing!!

I was just looking at the recordsetter.com page (I corrected the link on your post). I did no watch the 42 minutes: I skipped from 2 to 40  ::)
On the video it appears to me that you hold the stem always at the same height. But you could take advantage of the tapered shape: start with the fingers on the thicker part and as it gets faster move them the the narrower part.

The multiple finger spins is genius. It reminds me what the Japanese do with the komas with the long rod stems. They are started by rolling the stems between the palm of the hands several times.

The tops are extremely beautiful. And the record is solid, truly world class. Congratulations!
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jim in paris

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2015, 11:27:07 AM »

hello Iacopo !
thank you very much for your long message
your craftsmanship is simply stunning
it's world class skills !! ;)

the top is beautiful
about the tip (which we can't see)
you say "conical shape" :is that round like a ball bearing or slightly pointy?

thanks again
keep in touch
jim
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Iacopo

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2015, 01:43:22 PM »

Thanks to all of you for your kind words.
I don't think that I will grow tired soon about spin tops, I will continue this development for a top that spins for the longest possible time, and I will post in this forum the results of my work, my frustrations and my exultations.

Ta0, thank you for correcting the link.
I understand what you mean, starting with the fingers on the thicker part..., it's like the transmission of a bycicle or of a car, we engage littler gears, (and/or bigger on the other side) when we go faster.
Top Nr. 9 is not an easy top to set in motion, because of the teflon tip; teflon on oiled steel is a very slippery contact point, the top easily slips sideways when it is spun; the tip easily risks to be bumped, and to become dented, (teflon is a soft material), at that point the top has lost its balance, and I have to put the top back on the lathe, to reshape the tip.
For this reason I am so cautious spinning that top.
A top designed to be spun with the palm of the hands could be an interesting project, I never thought to it.   

Jim, the tip is shaped like a truncated cone, with flat contact point 1 or 2 mm large;

         
« Last Edit: November 13, 2015, 03:10:11 PM by Iacopo »
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the Earl of Whirl

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2015, 06:21:38 PM »

Wooh!!!  That is bigger that I thought.  It looks nice, though, and it is great to see the bottom.

40 minutes of whirling for a finger top is pretty impressive!!!
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Iacopo

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2015, 01:14:29 PM »

This other top is the Nr. 10.  Made with mahogany, obeche and lead, its best spin is 30 minutes and 40 seconds.



I have made a 50 minutes home made documentary (four parts on YouTube) about this spinning top, where I explain in detail its conception, what I have tried for making it spin for so long, and then its realization, step by step. In the fourth part I explain how I balance my tops. The quality of the images is not high, and that of the sound is horrible, however maybe it can be interesting.
"How to make a precision spinning top":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rKrnUv6g8w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gBWo8QKK3o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jvnygJtNtI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWnA55y3Rsc


Here a video of a over 28 minutes spin of this top:
(part 1, the other two parts available in YouTube)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXdxtqPxkI0
« Last Edit: November 15, 2015, 02:28:02 AM by Iacopo »
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ta0

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2015, 06:42:03 PM »

Thanks a lot Iacopo for making those videos. You really documented very well you fabrication.
There were several unusual things on them. Like using a carbide drill bit as a point  8) , making the flywheel out of lead  :o , the assembly process itself.
Perhaps you overdid some things, like when you attach the mahogany wood to the lathe. But the result was worth all the work!

Your balancing by shaping the point until it spins on the correct axis is a different approach to the usual of changing the mass distribution to move the axis to where the tip is.  By the way, you should read this discussion of the Japanese method:
Paint mark balancing method
. Follow the link to the Asian 10 minutes of Science video, it is worth watching.

Thanks a lot for sharing the details of your work with us!
« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 11:21:07 PM by ta0 »
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Jack

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2015, 07:52:48 PM »

welcome home iacopo @-@
your work is exceptional.
also i am now certain you are a powerful wizard....behold:

« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 11:21:55 PM by ta0 »
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Iacopo

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2015, 07:08:09 AM »

Your balancing by shaping the point until it spins on the correct axis is a different approach to the usual of changing the mass distribution to move the axis to where the tip is. 

I used that other approach in my older tops: :-\



But I prefer my actual one, for aesthetical reasons mainly. A minimal shift of the tip, (no more than a few hundredths mm), is enough and very effective. Also it would seem that, doing so, the tip is not distanced from the geometrical center of the top, (otherwise I would dislike this method), and maybe it is the starting position of the tip that is not very accurate.   

I have read with interest the discussion you indicated, "Paint mark balancing method".
The top to be spun with the palm of the hands in the video is nice !
« Last Edit: November 15, 2015, 02:03:04 PM by Iacopo »
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mailman

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2015, 12:08:46 PM »

Fascinating videos!
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Iacopo

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2015, 12:31:53 PM »

Glad You appreciated them, Mailman.
I would conclude this thread with this video about my latest two tops, the Nr. 13 and Nr. 14.
It would be nice to be a powerful wizard but I'm not, and the levitating top in the video is not really levitating...
::) ::) ::)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=youmzaOhpJQ
« Last Edit: November 17, 2015, 02:17:49 AM by Iacopo »
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ta0

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2015, 04:05:37 PM »

INCREDIBLE!  :o And I refer to the spinning time not to the floating in mid-air!

Number 13 spun 35 minutes 40 seconds with one twirl? Wow! And #14 almost 30 minutes! That is by far the best I have seen.

The tops are beautiful! I love the turquoise inlay. The base is also beautiful.

I can see why you prefer your tip adjustment method to removing material from the flywheel. But I guess you did not have to adjust the sapphire tip of #14.  :-\

Amazing work! (and beautiful video by the sea)

PS: I imagine the floating is accomplished with a blue (green) screen backdrop.
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studio42

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Re: The finger tops by Iacopo Simonelli
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2015, 04:59:53 PM »

Just finished watching your 4 part video for making the top. Very impressed with every last bit of attention to detail. It wasn't so much about making a top, it was almost like making art.
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