Colorado toy woodturner

Ed D.

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Howdy Ed, welcome to the club....
I love those tops, how do you do the design on the poker chips?
These poker chip top buttons are pretty popular. The process is: counter-bore a recess into one side and epoxy a loop-backed button or loop-bent wire into place, then attach/glue a 1.25" artwork cutout to the other side, followed by applying a coat of protective epoxy resin on both sides. The actual artwork is usually a customized clipart file, or sometimes drawn from scratch, using Luminar, M/S Visio, Corel Draw or other programs, then printed on glossy photo paper. Here's a recently made video to see how it works:

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ripjack13

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Oh wow. That is awesome. I like collecting poker chips. I may have to try making one look like that (the chip, not a top). That would be a cool card protector. Thanks for posting those. Nice designs!
 

Mike Hill

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So many questions about the throw tops. I remember fondly throwing the dome store ones when young.

Are the big ones solid or hollow?
Does it matter what materials they are made of?
What are the general dimensions or proportions?
What are the tips made from?
How long of a string is needed?
 

DKMD

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Welcome! Beautiful work and photography! Thanks for joining and sharing!
 

Ed D.

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So many questions about the throw tops. I remember fondly throwing the dome store ones when young.

Are the big ones solid or hollow?
Does it matter what materials they are made of?
What are the general dimensions or proportions?
What are the tips made from?
How long of a string is needed?
- Less than 2.5" wide ones I make are solid, larger sizes are hollow, with about 3/8" wall thickness. Try to keep the weight to below one pound, but too thin a wall will break/explode with a hard floor hit. One of the other advantages of a hollow top (besides weight) is the cord can be stored inside...looks better when displayed...and, you can put your maker's mark on the bottom/inside of the top.
- Balance is important, and some woods (spalted, burled, etc) may require some post build balancing...usually with a small piece of sticky clay attached to the inside wall. Use a laminated/manufactured wood like Spectraply or ColorPly, and you won't have to worry about balance...assuming no run-out on your lathe or chuck, and your turning process is good.
- Not counting the tip, width and length should start off the same dimensions. 80% of my tops are 3" x 3" without the tip, and 3" x 3.5 to 4" with the tip.
- The most popular tips are metal...brass, aluminum or steel. But I also turn them from 1/2" to 1" diameter Delrin rod, which is good for indoor use (won't mar the floor, or punch a hole in your palm if you do hand-catches).
- Cord length is a user preference and often is dependent on the type of trick that's being performed. If I'm selling them, I usually include a 7 to 8 foot cord, that can always be shortened. Nominal is 6 feet.

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Ed D.

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Here's a very well done how-to, made by a friend, on turning a large Delrin top. The process I use for wood tops is very similar to that shown here:

 

Tony

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One of my favorite toys growing up was a blue top my Dad gave me that was his. I gave it to my child a few years ago. Now I'm thinking I want to make one for my Dad. Thank you for the inspiration!
 

Wildthings

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Welcome from Southeast Texas! Some of those tops are huge. I can see why @Tony is "seriously jazzed" They're big enough for him to ride them
 

Wildthings

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I can remember in my youth having top killing contest where we threw your top down on another trying to split it or knock it off the playing field. Of course if yours didn't end up spinning it was disqualified. Wow haven't thought about those days on Albermarle street in a long time. Thank You Ed!
 

Mike Hill

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One of my favorite toys growing up was a blue top my Dad gave me that was his. I gave it to my child a few years ago. Now I'm thinking I want to make one for my Dad. Thank you for the inspiration!
Mine was green!
 

Ed D.

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Note in the video how the player flinches every time the top comes close to his hand. With a large heavy top, consider using a blunted point Delrin tip, so you don't drill a hole in your palm.
 

gman2431

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So who started this really big top spinning like shown in his hand? I have never seen such a thing!
 

Ed D.

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So who started this really big top spinning like shown in his hand? I have never seen such a thing!
People have been spinning big tops for hundreds of years. The sport is really popular in Asian and Latin cultures, and seems to be catching on in the USA as well.

 
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