You may wonder how I modify these yoyo’s.  You may not.  If you keep reading, you’ll find out.

Modifying (or modding) yoyo’s can be done in a variety of ways.  Some people use drills or drillpresses and sharpened screwdrivers and do great things.  The first great mods (modified yoyo’s) I ever saw were done with a Dremel rotary tool.  A lot of people prefer to use lathes.

My first tries involved a Dremel rotary tool and a lot of melted plastic.   After that I worked my way up to a woodworking lathe which yielded slightly better results but still nothing stellar.  It wasn’t until I got a metal lathe that my mods really improved in quality.

Working on such a small scale (typically a yoyo is less than 2.5 inches across) I opted to get a smaller lathe.  A number of factors helped me in this direction.  Price was a factor, smaller lathes typically cost less.  Smaller lathes are also cheaper to tool up.  It also helped that my friend Paul had a line on a great deal on a small lathe.

I’ve since added two more lathes to the stable (they were actually gifts) another, even smaller metal lathe and a small wood lathe.  I had originally intended to just use these lathes for traveling since I give yoyo modding workshops at the World Yoyo Contest but the smaller metal lathe has become my workhorse lathe and I probably do 95% of my modding on that lathe.

The lathe I use most is considered to be a “micro lathe” and is made by Taig.  It swings 4.5 inches (meaning it can handle work 4.5 inches across) by about 10 inches long.  You can really set this up just about anywhere and it takes up almost no space.  It’s also very accurate and I can easily hold tolerances to .001″ and the lathe can theoretically hold tolerances to .0005″!  That’s one half of a THOUSANDTH of an inch!  Over time I’ve amassed a selection of tooling, chucks and other accessories for this lathe making it one heck of a great tool for almost any turning operation I may have a need for (within it’s operating limits).

I’ll be adding pictures and links later but if you have any questions, let me know.



4 Responses to “How”

  1. Hello Rob,
    I am a 6th grade Language Arts/Social Studies teacher that also advises the 6th grade yoyo club at Redwood Middle School in Napa, CA. The club started this school year with less than five members and I’m now seeing 30-40 members attend our meetings which meet at 3:00 on Fridays when the final bell rings signaling the beginning of the weekend. The art & zen of yo is a crucial part of their lives and I’m amazed at the internal growth I’ve witnessed in these young adolescents. I have both boys and few girls and there’s a lot of interactive camaraderie as they all work in defining their style of play.

    I would like to get a mini-Taig lathe and begin building yos as I have had to build broken and striped axles from the abuse that yo-yo club members have inflicted upon their sport tools. I would like to lathe my own bearing seats and plastic shells and maybe eventually get into aluminum.

    If you can help direct me to where I can go to find a mini-Taig, I would greatly appreciate the direction and general advice. If you check out my website you’ll see that I am, in all actuality, a professional musician whose mother tongue is the cello and (currently) upright jazz bass. I have designed and helped build custom instruments to meet my music needs here in the wine country. My URL is

    Thanks, Rob, for listening. I hope to hear back from you sometime.
    Best, and keep spinning!
    Jeffrey (aka Zone)

    • robtsou said

      Hi Jeff,

      Congratulations on the success of your yoyo club! I get virtually all of my Taig related items from Nicholas Carter ( He’s a very nice guy, has great prices and is super supportive of the Taig community through his website and the Taig tools Yahoo! group. If you have yoyo specific questions or Taig questions, please feel free to contact me directly.


  2. For some reason only half of the post is being displayed, is it my browser or the site??

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