AKURA MG - Development of Luftverk's First Magnesium

by Jeffrey Pang January 12, 2024

AKURA MG - Development of Luftverk's First Magnesium

It has been a while since Ive written much - the second half of 2023 was insanely busy with project management. Since the release of the plastic lineup, I had very little time to focus on the roots of what made Luftverk so exciting. I realized this was a huge problem - I needed to guide Luftverk back to it's roots of exploring new materials and build product lineups that told a story stemmed from exploration. I had done this with plastics last year but in 2024 I would like to also focus back onto some more products that use exotic materials. While being incredibly late to the party this recent project is Luftverk's first Magnesium ever, which was at first canceled and almost never released.

History - The Fascination of Magnesium from Automotive Passion
My fascination with Magnesium started in a very unlikely place. In around 2016 I was rebuilding a blown up 915 transmission from my 1974 Porsche 911. This car was very strange - stemming from motorsports the car used a lot of magnesium for it's components which was very expensive and rare even today. Magnesium has a very unique property where it is extremely light for the size and I found out quickly during this rebuild. I had to cut a custom notch in the magnesium transmission bell housing to adapt it to the newer 1989 3.2 motor and clutch release arm. I made an incision and cut off a neat square chunk - and to my surprise it literally felt like I was holding plastic. Keep in mind this was well before there were many magnesium yoyos so I had no idea what the properties of magnesium felt like. It was genuinely weird - I actually kept that chunk I cut off as a desk toy to show people how strange magnesium feels. It was such a cool material. Kind of the opposite of lead, it felt fluffy and airy.

Cancelation of the original Magnesium Luftverk Yoyo
in 2016 I didn't think to develop a magnesium yoyo since at that time I was so focused on researching titanium yoyo projects. My interest was renewed during the end of 2021 when I saw a massive influx of yoyo companies using magnesium. During this era, customers asked me if it was something I would develop. There was something interesting though - from a customer perspective it seemed like I could apply my knowledge from titanium and make a killer magnesium yoyo. But I was quickly humbled when I got my first prototypes. They genuinely kind of sucked. I was baffled and even purchased other MG yoyos to see if there was something special going on. Maybe my preferences were biased at the time since I was so used to throwing titanium but almost all of the MG yoyos I tried felt a bit strange or "off" to me. I purchased over 10 models and I just never fell in love with any of them. I even had conversations with friends and they had similar sentiments. The yoyo industry continued to release a slew of MG yoyos and I figured it was just not for me and canceled the Luftverk MG project altogether.

The Solution That Required The Plastic Fulvia
Everyone probably remembers the insane release of Luftverk's Plastic Fulvia in early 2022. This plastic yoyo would unknowingly help save the canceled MG project. After spending over a year studying injection molding and the properties of plastic I was able to make the Plastic Fulvia feel much more stable even with the very low material density of polycarbonate plastic. In mid 2022 I had a few plastic designs under my belt when a friend of mine asked me about MG material properties. During our conversation it reminded me about that canceled MG yoyo project and immediately a lightbulb went off. After designing and studying plastics it made sense why the way I was designing didn't translate. I was trying to use my titanium knowledge to design a magnesium yoyo when in truth - magnesium has a density much closer to plastic. I theorized that if I just revised the magnesium design with my now well versed material knowledge of plastics, it could potentially make a yoyo that played the way I wanted to and I felt proud to release to the public.

I went back to the drawing board and it all made so much more sense. I even thought back to when I first cut that chunk off my transmission - it felt like plastic. It was now so obvious. I treated the design like a plastic - I even started the re-design from the original CAD for the Plastic Fulvia and kind of worked backwards adding features I liked after perfecting the performance. The diameter needed to be larger. The weight distribution was completely reimagined. I had never had a challenge like this before - I vividly remember being in the zone designing for a full day before I finalized the new prototypes.

The Production Magnesium Design - Referencing the Evora
This new design was put into prototype stage immediately - AKURA MG was the internal code name and it just stuck. It took one more prototype to get it to what you see here - the final production product. I added styling from the original Evora as a hommage to what I talked about earlier in this blog post bringing Luftverk back to it's roots. The yoyo now felt floaty - but powerful and stable. It felt like it had a soul. It felt like a refined plastic with a very precise feel. The double slant design of the edge is a signature design feature inspired by the convex meniscus of the Plastic Fulvia. It ties together the Evora hub and breathes a bit of modern style to a generally classic design language.

Worlds First Production Raw Magnesium Yoyo
Magnesium oxidizes incredibly quickly. This is why all companies apply a coating to stop this oxide from forming. During the prototype stage, I had rushed this prototype without any anti-oxide coatings. I knew it would be an issue but it was just a prototype that I needed quickly so I didn't care. When I received it I was surprised that it looked so nice. It almost just looked like raw aluminum with a yellow hue to it. But weeks went by and it quickly started growing a thick rustic looking oxide. This patina was exactly what my transmission looked like - a super dark gray color. It actually developed in such a way that I grew even more attached to it. I carried it every day for amount a month, and then sparingly for about 7 more. After getting samples of the Ceramic Coated version - I still continued to use this exact raw one in the photo above. The rustic oxide just looked so beautiful to me. It behaves very similar to copper or silver coated yoyos. It develops a nice look after use. I was worried that customers wouldn't think the same way so I decided to only release a handful of these raw ones.

The industry standard Magnesium coating uses a process called Micro-Arc which also utilizes a high level of Ceramic that stops this oxide happening. You can see the staggering difference between the coating. I decided to release both offering customers the choice of a clean pristine example of the Akura MG that shows off the design language much better then the raw oxidized counterpart as I know it will likely not be a popular choice.

2024 Packaging Update
In 2024 I decided to update the lineup of yoyo packaging inspired by the Ti-7068 yoyos released in 2022. This smaller stronger box offers better protection and takes up less space then our previous packaging. Included now is a newly designed business card as well as a new sticker, and of course Luftverk's signature certificate. Each Akura MG also includes a ceramic bearing as an extra.

This is a project that has taught me that there is still so much to learn when it comes to design. Yoyo design knowledge has transcended from just simple yoyo profiles to experimenting with unique materials is something that I love since I always crave a technical challenge. This yoyo represents the spark of newly found passion for the roots of Luftverk. It has been 9 years since we have started and I feel like these kind of innovative challenges are hard to find so when I do come across projects like this I always feel a sense of gratitude. As always I appreciate anyone who still reads these and supports these smaller projects and I look forward to developing more in 2024.

AKURA MG will be available on Tuesday January 16th, 2024 10:00pm EST.

Luftverk AKURA MG
Diameter: 57.7mm
Width: 48.7mm
Weight: 65.5g
Price: $330 USD
Micro-Arc Ceramic: 50 pcs 
Raw Magnesium: 25 pcs




Jeffrey Pang
Jeffrey Pang


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