October 16, 2007

Using silicone as a response is probably one of my favorite response types. The way you do it is to create a groove on the inside of the yoyo (if it doesn’t already come with one) that you can fill with RTV silicone. I like it because it’s a long lasting response system, as a matter of fact, you might not ever need to replace it, and if you do, it’s a pretty easy and cheap. This is a mod I’ve always thought would be neat to try but I’d never gotten around to for a number of reasons. One, I didn’t have any RTV silicone around (at least I thought I didn’t, it turns out I’ve had some for quite a while but forgot about it). The other is, I’ve never had a yoyo with thick enough walls to do it with (well, I guess I just never thought about it).

To do this mod you need to cut a groove at least .040″ deep into your yoyo. That’s pretty deep considering a lot of metal yoyo’s are only .030″ thick. You could probably go thinner but you risk the silicone pulling out of the groove. Then you fill the groove with RTV silicone (basically caulk) and let it dry for a few hours (some people go overnight even). That’s it, you’re done!

I did a few other things to this yoyo that I’d been wanting to try. I also did a “schmoove”. It’s not even really a full schmoove, as most of the ones I’ve seen have at least 2 grooves outside of the silicone groove where mine only has one so I call it a “semi-schmoove”. This idea originated with Doctor Popular on a yoyo called The End which was a collaboration between Doc, Anti-Yo, and a modder in the SF Bay area known as Feralparrot. The concentric grooves supposedly create an airflow effect that opens up string loops when doing tricks called “suicides” where you release the yoyo from a trapeze and the loop that was around your non-throwing finger flies around and you catch it again in the open loop.

This yoyo had a slightly oxidized finish when I got it so the last thing I did to this yoyo was a “satin” finish. This is essentially the opposite of a polished finish where the yoyo would have a mirror shine. It’s a technique I’ve been using for a little while and it looks pretty nice. It’s a lot less labor intensive than polishing and has the added benefit of making “grinds” easier. Grinds are tricks that involve the yoyo spinning against your skin (on your arm, finger, or whatever). The satin finish decreases the grip the yoyo has on your skin allowing longer grinds to be done.

The yoyo I did all of this to was a first generation Duncan Metal Freehand Zero. It’s a middle of the line metal yoyo that has a reputation for not being very nice to play with and not very easy to mod. The reason it’s not easy to play with is it’s pretty responsive due to a small string gap, it plays like a beginner yoyo straight out of the box and there’s not a lot you can do to it to change that without a little machining. It’s difficult to mod because of the cheap grade of aluminum they used to make it. The second generation Metal Freehand Zero fixes both of these problems and is a much nicer yoyo in all respects.

The final product is a great player, one of my favorites I’ve made so far, in play and in looks.

Metal Zero

Metal Zero gap view

Metal Zero open


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