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Thread: Tops

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Oliver Springs, TN


    I'm teaching a few STEM (science, technology, engineering, and technology) classes this year. I started a project last week that the kids had to design and build a top. The problem was to make one that would spin the longest. The purpose was to get acquainted with the engineering design process. They worked with a partner. I made two tops today that I'll give to the team that wins.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Too cool! I'll have to make one for my grandson to play with when he's not driving his electric ATV.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    Cute tops!

    I bet the one with the wider profile spins longer, it would spin even longer with more of its weight shifted to the outside (slower though) Interestingly its the same problem as for spindles used to spin yarn where you have to trade off spin speed for spin time and there is some happy balance for each type of yarn (based on the fiber type and the desired characteristics).

    Should be a fun project, I wonder if anyone is going to figure some of the clever little tricks for reducing friction (assuming the material choices aren't heavily limited)... Friction is only a problem with supported spindles (ignoring air friction as its de minimis in comparison) as the drop spindles just hang from the yarn being spun (and the twist is a much larger force than anything else there). Supported spindles are essentially tops used to spin wool (hmm, I wonder which came first never thought about how they're really the same before..) and metal points with ceramic or metal bowls to spin in are stock in trade (interestingly tradition holds strong and I've only seen one setup with a bearing and it didn't seem worth the cost).

    Short video with some amusing points:

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Yorktown, Virginia
    Great video! Thanks, Ryan.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Parker County, Texas
    Tops are so cool! They look mighty fine to me. Have no idea which will spin the longest, but time will tell. Nice video as well.

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