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Author Topic: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau  (Read 5903 times)

Neff

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Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« on: August 04, 2010, 02:52:50 PM »

I have linked to this article so many times I thought I'd make it a topic on iTopSpin.com:

Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops
by Herman Lau
Many people have a problem learning the spin top because the tops they use are not balanced. The tops spin very roughly, vibrate or wobble making it impossible to do many of the tricks. As a result, many people mistakenly believe that the tops are not well made. The following method of balancing a top applies to any plastic spin top with a snap off cap. These type of tops are still being made by several manufacturers and readily available.

1. Find the cap position that gives the least amount of vibration. Spin the top and note how smooth or rough it is. Then take the cap off, rotate it 180 degrees and replace. Spin the top again. Is it smoother? If not, return cap to its original position. Occasionally, for some tops, that is all that's necessary to balance your top. In the vast majority of cases however, the top will still need balancing. Proceed as follows remembering to keep the cap in the same position throughout the remaining steps.

2. Get some Blue-Tac. They are also known as Stic-Tac, E-Z Tac, Fun-Tac and other names. It is a sticky clay-like substance used mainly as an adhesive. They can be obtained from discount drug stores, stationery stores and supermarkets. They are usually blue, but they do come in different colors. Break off a small piece the size of a pea. Knead it into a ball.

3. For clarity and ease of explanation, look at the inside of the spin top cap as if it was the face of a clock with the two prongs of the cap at the 12 and 6 o'clock position. Stick the ball of Fun-Tac at the 3 o'clock position on the inside rim of the cap next to the edge. Replace the cap and spin the top noting how smooth of rough it spins. Next remove the ball of Fun-Tac and stick it at the opposite side ( in this example with the blob of Fun-Tac at the 9 o'clock position). Replace the cap and spin. One side will always give a smoother spin than the other. Observe which side gives the smoother spin.

4. At this point, if the vibration has not been eliminated, it should be considerably dampened. In most cases you can still fine tune the top by moving the pellet of Fun-Tac up or down along the side you found in step 3 that gave the smoother spin. The top should now be balanced enough that you can use it for any top tricks from the simple to the most difficult. It is at this point that you've found the point on the cap perimeter where proper weight would give a perfect spin.

5. If the spin is not perfect, i.e., if there is still a slight toughness while it is spinning, then the final step is changing the size ( and therefore the weight) of the Fun-Tac by adding more or using a smaller pellet at the some point you found in step 4. Once balanced, the point of a perfectly balanced top should be absolutely still when spinning on a hard surface or on the palm of your hand. In fact, if the top is perfectly balanced, you will definitely feel a pronounced eerie lightness to it while it is spinning on your palm.

6. Additional tip: Make sure the side of the point is smooth. If not, scrape it smooth with a knife, sand it down, or replace the tip. Otherwise, even though the top may be perfectly balanced it will feel slightly rough while spinning on your palm. With practice, you should be able to balance any plastic snap cap spin top with the above method in less than 5 minutes.
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Pulpowsky

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2010, 07:23:02 AM »

In this video. Gustavo Castro tell us his way to balance a Spintop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYbgYA9L2kU

I think this post would be placed in highlight place.
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  Greetings: Jorge Sanjuan.

www.pulpowsky.com/foro

rusty

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2010, 08:01:46 AM »

There should really be some translation of the most important parts he is saying in that video. I can see he is moving the small sticky thing to different locations and flipping the top, but I cannot see any big difference between the different places.
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Pulpowsky

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2010, 08:56:16 AM »

Reading the Chris' post and seeing the video you'd balance the top quite well. Small movements of the pellet are to raise the balance.
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ta0

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2010, 10:12:15 AM »

As Pulp says, there is no need to translate as the technique is the same as Herman's.  Interestingly, Gustavo credits the idea to a friend.  He complains about the vibration of the old Duncan Imperials with which he learned (and "very expensive"), so the inspiration was the same  :P

After watching the video I practiced the "machete chop" he does at the end to transfer the top from another hand. It works great.
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Pulpowsky

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2010, 11:18:34 AM »

After watching the video I practiced the "machete chop" he does at the end to transfer the top from another hand. It works great.

I'm trying to add a "minor" trick with the big trick in the videos. There are a lot of material mixed a lot.
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mtntop

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2010, 11:38:55 AM »

  Thanks for posting this. It helped me understand what so many new top spinners were going through. I have used Hermans method many times and I still have only have one imperial that refuses to be balanced, I do feel better because I am not the only one that has tried.  But this understanding of balance has helped me many times with my own turnings. I think it would be fun to take a box of snap cap tops and bottoms and have a competition or speed round of balancing like best balance in five minutes I don't know who? or how it would be judged, but I do think Herman should be involved.
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Spinning In Mind

poptop

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2010, 01:16:32 PM »

I still wish we could have some kind of miniture dynamic balancing machine like they use to balance tires/wheels in an auto shop...
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Erratic Wobbler

topper777

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2010, 01:43:23 PM »

wow, he is a very skilled player.
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rusty

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2010, 02:20:04 PM »

Will almost every spin top I buy benefit from being balanced? I have not tried it yet, but I am not sure if it is only important for a few "bad" spin tops.
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ta0

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2010, 05:45:44 PM »

Quote
wow, he is a very skilled player.
Gustavo Castro may very well be the best player in the world. However, he told Salvador Martinez (who learned from him) that he was becoming better than him.  Other excellent players who learned from him were Gerardo Montero, Cuper and Salvador de la Rosa.

Quote
Will almost every spin top I buy benefit from being balanced? I have not tried it yet, but I am not sure if it is only important for a few "bad" spin tops.
I would say just the bad ones.
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pplgrande

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2010, 01:10:55 AM »

Amazing video, thanks for posting Pulp
Just to watch Gustavo explain this is awesome
He does instatanio (snapstart) flawlessly and the way he holds the trompo is very different, I never seen anyone do it like that, very nice
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Neff

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2010, 01:59:06 AM »

Will almost every spin top I buy benefit from being balanced? I have not tried it yet, but I am not sure if it is only important for a few "bad" spin tops.
For me, after I felt the difference between a balanced top and a stock one, and learned how to do it myself, I balance everything except for the few that do not need balancing... S8, YYF, YYJ, some Spintastics...

Herman's description is what I want out of every top:
"if the top is perfectly balanced, you will definitely feel a pronounced eerie lightness to it while it is spinning on your palm"
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Kirk

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Re: Balancing Plastic Snap Cap Spin Tops by Herman Lau
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2013, 10:00:33 AM »

Neff and Pulp,
Thanks for posting this. 
My wife gave me a gift as a replacement to one of my stolen tops.  The replacement was not nearly as smooth as the original.

I used bits of gaffer tape instead of bluetac. That way I can stick the weight to the outside of the top. Then open up the top at the end to put the weight inside.
The top is not perfect but much smoother. I was able to do a crazy eight, for the fist time with a fixed point top.
Kirk
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