Yo-Yo Tips

All modifications are done at your own risk.

Heavy in the Middle
Center weighted yo-yo's are typically better for looping. Yo-yo's like the Technics and Da Bombs have most of their weight in the rims and the center is usually hollow. To make them more suited and better for looping you can add weight to the center of the yo-yo. If you recall, I've shown you how to add weight to the outer rims before and center weighting a yo-yo is about the same, just different materials.
You can go buy inner weight rings specifically for yo-yo's but they cost a lot more than what you can find at a hardware store. I use rubber 'seat hinge washers' in place of the Team Losi inner weight rings. The 'seat hinge washers' only cost about 20 cents each. They weight twice as much as the Team Losi rings yet they are the exact same size.

If you think 3.0g isn't heavy enough for you, then get metal washers. They weight about 5.7g each. They'll cost you about 20 cents each as well. Remember that you'll be needing one for each side of the yo-yo so the total weight you'll be adding will be doubled. If you're really itching for a heavily center weighted yo-yo, put both the seat hinge and metal washers.

Place either the metal or rubber washers in the yo-yo like so.

Weight Chart
Yo-Yo Stock Weight w/ TL Rings w/ Rubber Washers w/ Metal Washers w/ Metal & Rubber
Da Bomb 46.1g 49.1g 52.1g 57.5g 63.5g
Technic 49.9g 52.9g 55.9g 61.3g 67.3g

Take off your cap!

The Fast Eddy Shooters are fantastic for looping. But here is a few pieces of advice to make them better.

DO NOT smooth the axle down by sanding it. One of the reasons why they are so responsive is it's rough axle. I know it wears down strings like crazy but that's what makes it such a great looper.

Another tip is to remove the caps from Shooters. Take a small screwdriver and pry off the caps. They seem to loop better with them off. I like the thinner profile and somewhat lighter weight. With the caps off, they play and feel a lot like the Duncan Professionals. The Professionals are known to be great loopers. This is the setup I use for 2-handed play. The rough axle and slimer profile makes it a combination that is even better.

Get into the groove!
When the caps of the Shooters are removed, you'll find 3 very well placed grooves (shown in blue). I don't think they are placed there for weight rings but these grooves are just perfect for weight rings. They are just the right thickness. Brass wiring or solder wire is a good choice to use. If you want a more center weighted yo-yo (good for looping) put them in the inner groove. If you want your Shooters to have more rim weight, put them in the outermost groove.

String Thickness
Does your yo-yo tend to catch a lot on string tricks? If that is the case, the string may be too thick. The easiest way to remedy this is stretching it. This in turns makes it thinner. Hold either end of the string with your hands and pull. After it's stretched, put it on your yo-yo. If you've ever noticed, a string that is worn in tends not to catch as opposed to a brand new string. A brand new string is fluffier and thick. String tricks like "The Zipper" and "Cold Fusion" requires several layers of string to be in the slot of the yo-yo so it'll be more prone to catching.

For looping tricks it's the opposite. Thinner isn't necessarily better since you don't need multiple layers in the slot of the yo-yo like you would with string tricks.

The width of your string gap also plays a role in how responsive or catchy your yo-yo is. For example if you had a yo-yo with a very wide gap and you used a thinner string then it won't be very responsive. If you used a yo-yo with a narrow gap and very thick string, it may be too responsive and catch. This is why a yo-yo with an adjustable string gap is so handy. For best results, optimize the string for the type of trick you are performing.

Finger Pains
If your finger hurts, it's normal. After you yo-yo for a while your finger should develop a callous. Until then bear with the pain or wrap hockey tape around your finger.

Clammy Hands

For those yo-yo'ers who sweat a lot (like me), it can be tough to do tricks especially string tricks. In those cases I try to wear a glove like the one shown. It's worn on the non-yo-yo hand. Billiard gloves work well and they cost about $5-$7 each. If you know someone who can sew (like your mom) you can ask her to make you a pair and for practically nothing. Since they're made of spandex, they fit quite snuggly.

Wanna sleep a little bit longer?
Here's some advice for increasing sleep times. Technique is a major factor. It's all in the wrist action. Make sure the string is dead center between the two halves and that it isn't rubbing against the sides. If not, this will introduce more friction and slow down the spin. You also get best results from a brand new string since it still has a lot of elasticity. The type of yo-yo is a factor too. Modified yo-yo's have most of their weight on the rims so they usually sleep longer. Waxing could help too if you have a fixed axle. Another alternative is to add weight rings to your yo-yo. But the key to longer sleep times is plain and simple, practice.

Ball-bearing Blues
Picture A lot of people seem to have this problem where their ball-bearing transaxle yo-yo's doesn't come up (specifically the Tigershark). I don't know what it is but ball-bearing transaxles are picky about string. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It's usually because the string is not catching on to the axle. I use to have to change the string a few times before I found the magic string that works. Sometimes double looping or triple looping the axle does the trick. In my case it didn't. What I found was that if you put a bit of wax on the string just above the axle it worked. The wax makes the string stay together and in turn grips the axle better. Wax the area between the arrows and keep your axle double looped. Try it, it might work for you, it did for me.

Waxing Wood

Picture I like using candle wax on fixed axle yo-yo's. You can experiment with other types of waxes like bees wax etc. I wax the area of string that goes around the axle. You will loose a bit of control but your sleep times will increase. Be careful and try not to put too much wax. It'll make the yo-yo very unresponsive if you over do it. I also wax the area near the finger on all my yo-yo's. My string tends to break in the finger area. This is due to the loop rubbing against the string. I find that if I put a bit of wax there, my string lasts longer. Wax the portion between the arrows. Waxing this area also prevents the slip knot from "slipping" or moving around too much while you play.

Therapy for Transies
PictureVaseline isn't just good for the lips. There's another purpose for it. Put a dab of it on each side of the ball-bearing or plastic sleeve. It makes tranaxles like the Fireball and Tornado more controllable. It also solved my Tigershark problems.

The String Thing
Have you ever had a string break on you and realized you didn't bring any extras with you? Doesn't that just suck? I usually have 2-3 three in my wallet but here's another neat trick I thought of one day. It involves putting the extra strings inside your yo-yo. This only works with yo-yo's that have removable sides (like Terminators, and Pro Yo's). Since strings are so light (only 0.8g), you won't notice the extra weight, I know I don't. Since a yoyo has two halves, you can put as many as 1-2 strings per side giving you 2 or 4 extra strings. I put 2 in each of the sides of Tigersharks and 1 in each sides of the Tornados, Technics and Pro Yo.


PictureHere's how you do it.

1. Remove the plastic sides of your yo-yo. Do that for both halves of the yo-yo. (Fig. 1) To do this you have to first unscrew the yo-yo. Remove the metal stem by wrapping it with hockey tape or tape (this prevents the threads from being stripped) then use pliers to unscrew the stem. You then get a thin bolt or stick that will fit in the hole to poke out the sides.

2. Cut a notch in the plastic sides with a hole puncher. This allows you to remove the sides easier in the future. If you don't cut a notch you'd have to go through step one every time you wanted a string. (Fig. 2)

3. Bundle the string in the compartment and make sure it's placed evenly.

4. Put the side cover back on. That's it. When a string breaks, remove the cover with a key and you've got a fresh string. Since they're so light, you can also try putting extra wooden axles in the compartment as well. A Technic axle only weights 0.3g. Use your imagination!!

Recycle. Don't Throw it Away!
Do you have one piece wooden yo-yo's? Have you ever broken them in half? If so don't just throw them away. Re-use them. Here's a tip on how to do that.
You need a compass, 1/4" thick dowel, a broken yo-yo, drill press, hammer.

First thing you do is drill a hole in both halves of the yo-yo. Don't forget to remove what's left of the previous axle by sanding or cutting. Before you starting drilling, you have to find the absolute center of the yo-yo. If not, when you put them back together, it'll wobble. To find the absolute center of a circle, look at the diagram on the left. If you remember in geometry class, you find the center of any circle by drawing 4 arcs with a compass and connect the points that intercept (place the compass point on the outer edge of the yo-yo while drawing the arcs). That will be the absolute center. After finding the center, drill a 15/64" hole with a drill press. I wouldn't use a regular hand drill since you might not be able to get it perfectly straight. And if it isn't straight, it'll also wobble.

Next thing is to get a 1/4" thick dowel that is about 1 " long and put it threw the holes of the halves you just drilled. You're basically done. You can use this method to change your 'imperial' yo-yo into a 'butterfly' and vice versa.

Would you like to gain a little weight?

Picture If you would like to have longer sleep times then adding a bit more weight to your T-Shark, Tornado or Techic could be the route.

What you need is wire (I usually use solder or brass wiring) and some tape. Cut a piece of wiring roughly 5.5" long. Wrap a bit hockey tape on it. The tape prevents the wiring from moving around inside the halves. Without the tape you might hear a rattling sound so it will definitely help. Put the wire just below the original weight rings of the T-Shark.

You can add weight rings to the Tornado and Technic using the same method. You just need a shorter wire.

Yo-Yo Weight (Before) Weight (After)
Tigershark 59.0g 71.6g
Tornado 52.0g 63.6g
Technic 49.0g 61.4g

An axle for your AXL
This tip is for you AXL owners. As you know, the AXL yo-yo comes with a ball-bearing and a steel sleeve allowing you to switch between a transaxle and a fixed axle. However, if you like the feel of a fixed wooden axle, you have to make one yourself. I'm rather disappointed that Custom Yo-Yo's didn't include a wooden sleeve but I'll live with it since it's a good yo-yo.

Here's what I do. I take a ordinary Technic sleeve and sand down the sides so it's the same size as the AXL steel sleeve. That's roughly 4mm. The hole of the Technic sleeve is also a bit too small for the axle shaft so you have to resize it to about 3/16".

With the wooden sleeve you have an idea of how the original Silver Bullet plays. Now you have 3 axle configurations: ball-bearing transaxle (like the SB2), wooden fixed axle (like the SB1) and steel fixed axle.

Better Butterflies
Here's a way to make your Duncan Butterflies more useful. Replace the metal axle with a wooden one. The first thing you do is cut a 1/4" wooden dowel to a length of about 1.2 inches.
The next step is the probably the hardest part of this modification, removing the metal axle. It's really tough to remove it and takes a lot of effort. What I usually do is pull them apart first by wiggling and pulling at the same time. After you get it apart the axle will probably be stuck to one of the halves. It's time for another test of strength. Get some pliers and yank out the metal axle.

You then remove the end caps of the yo-yo by getting a stick of some sort and poke them out. Stick that 1.2" dowel you just cut in the holes of the halves. Put a dab of glue on the holes of the end caps.
Put the yo-yo back together and you have a better butterfly. You may want to add more weight to the yo-yo too. If that is the case, read the instructions about adding weight to your T-Shark. It's very similar to that.