The Plastic Fulvia - A $30 "Injection Machined" Polycarbonate Yoyo

December 01, 2022 5 Comments

The Plastic Fulvia - A $30 "Injection Machined" Polycarbonate Yoyo

I dont know where to start with the project. It has been the most expensive yoyo by multiple magnitudes to develop. Not only was this project costly due to injection molding, but my persistence on a machining operation meant the R&D for this yoyo took forever. I started designing this yoyo over 2 years ago - and it has slowly snowballed into this proof-of-concept initial release based on the beloved Fulvia design.

The Concept: Injection Machined Technology

This yoyo is quite different because it uses what I call "Injection Machined" technology. Early on, I wanted to replicate the feeling of older Yoyojam yoyos that had an "over molded" threaded nut. Yoyos I worked on like the Skyva, First Base and Variant also use this over molded nut - they have this wonderful solid-state feel you can not replicate if you design a multipiece machined metal hub. But because of how injection molded yoyos are made they tend to have more vibe and also have a more toy like surface finish. So you could choose the over molded nut design and sacrifice finish quality and smoothness or you could go the machined route but then loose that plastic Yoyojam feel that I love. With this yoyo I didn't want to sacrifice either, so it has the feel of the over molded nut but the quality of a fully machined yoyo - because it is first injection molded. Then entirely machined.

I introduced this concept of a yoyo "blank" to also increase the amount of designs I could do without changing the mold. Mold costs range from $10,000 - $20,000 alone, so having a blank means I only have to pay this cost once but I now have the option to machine the rest of the yoyo in any shape I want. So comparing this to a project like the Skyva, I can change up the design to some degree but keep the same mold. This is more expensive but helps a lot with longevity since I target making products for the niche yoyo community instead of mass market. There tends to be a cap on how many units you can sell unless you start marketing to the general public.


No Fingerspin Dimple??
With this specific model I went through so many prototype phases. In 2020 I 3d printed a lot of different designs. I experimented with new fingerspin hubs. There were many that worked amazing but I had a specific goal in mind. With so many yoyos these days with dimples, I felt like a plastic yoyo that focuses intensely on string performance was actually hard to come by. During my development I came up with this insane dimple design that eliminates "aimless wander" of most modern dimple yoyos that uses a similar Skyva type cup. But I knew that a flat hub would remove the absolute most weight from the center. When I got my friends to try it I realized almost everyone liked the one without the dimple more. The yoyo just performed that extra 10% better without it. And with that I decided to save the secret new dimple profile for another day. Although my friend Mr. Brandon Vu wanted to do a colab of some sort so I'll probably bring back that design in the future...

Deleting the Fingerspin Dimple Wasn't Enough - Brass Vs Aluminum
This perfectly leads into my next topic that relates to the dreaded center weight. The first round of prototypes used a brass threaded nut. I always liked brass because it is very soft so the bearing seat can be worked in over time, and doesn't gall as easily as raw aluminum. But I didn't realize the insane weight difference between such a small piece of brass vs aluminum. During the first rounds of prototyping I felt like the yoyo was decent, but I knew if I pushed the weight distribution even more it would bring the feel of it to the next level. I had removed the fingerspin dimple already but I looked into changing the commonly used brass insert to an aluminum one. I was shocked that it saved a whopping 3 grams total from the middle of the yoyo which I could then put on the rims. I never thought to do this because I figured such a small piece of metal was negligible. Boy was I wrong. This completely transformed how it felt. I remember showing Andre this aluminum seat prototype and when his face lit up with excitement I knew I made the right changes. Lastly, the bearing seats are anodized as well to reduce the chance of corrosion. Just because lol.

Profile and Shape - Lineage from the $550 dollar Fulvia released in 2016
This specific design holds a close place to my heart. The Fulvia was the first yoyo I saw push bimetal titanium design to its material limits. This costed an arm and a leg in 2016. I even flew to China to develop techniques on how to machine titanium yoyos because at the time not very many people were developing them. I decided to use this profile due to its aggressive weight distribution. I wanted a plastic shape that represented this pursuit of performance. The "Concave Meniscus" rim design was also developed before the Fulvia Ti-7068 even though it was released first. This is a design feature that mimics a cup floating in water with the water tension pulling upwards. I have never seen this design feature anywhere else before so I do feel like its a unique part of this yoyo.

Nature Tones and Packaging Asthetics
My goal was to channel the energy I do into my $300+ products into this 30 dollar yoyo. I wanted it to belong in a high end mid century modern furniture store. I feel like packaging design and the colors you choose for a brand can tell a story, even just with its aesthetics. I wanted to replicate the color palette of nature - the green is a direct inspiration from the massive Monstera that lives in the corner of my condo. Its sometimes hard to pick out colors that are unique and its tempting to lean into a more "kid friendly" pantone palette when it is after all a lower price point yoyo. In the end, I'm glad I committed to what I find aesthetically pleasing. The three colors work so well together. A lot of time went into designing the packaging as well - the brown box aesthetic with the white ink adds a level of class without being gaudy. Gone is the foam inside the packaging, the yoyo fits perfectly into the box to reduce waste should you choose to recycle it. Lastly, the plastic window which protects the yoyo is another homage to the oldschool Yoyojam boxes that I collected when I was a kid.

The Plastic Fulvia Summary
This yoyo blurs the lines between a low cost injection molded plastic and a high end machined yoyo - It has pushed me to the extremes in both design and financial limits. Its a project I hope people are willing to support even if it is not the most trendy fingerspin yoyo. Its a project I developed because I wanted to feel excited about low priced yoyos again, about applying the aesthetics of Luftverk into a product that anyone can buy. I appreciate everyone's continued support. Every dollar you guys spend helps me push the limits more and more. It allows me to peruse larger more substantial projects like this.

Plastic Fulvia
Diameter: 59mm
Width: 46mm
Weight: 66.7g
Price: $30 USD
Units: 3000 (1000 per color)

Available World Wide December 2022 - Please contact me directly if you would like to retail this product. 



5 Responses

George Koutsostahis
George Koutsostahis

January 25, 2023

Hello. I am thinking of buying a plastic fluvia. I do not manage however to find the axle length for this yoyo. I would like to buy a spare axle just in case. Could you please give me this info? Thanks in advance.

George Koutsostahis
George Koutsostahis

January 23, 2023

Hello. I am thinking of buying a plastic fluvia. I do not manage however to find the axle length for this yoyo. I wo

George Koutsostahis
George Koutsostahis

January 25, 2023

Hello. I am thinking of buying a plastic fluvia. I do not manage however to find the axle length for this yoyo. I wo

Kevin
Kevin

January 23, 2023

Hey Jeffrey, what’s good? Hope your fine!

I wanted to ask if you’re going to send some plastic fulvias to european stores? Have checked latienda and slusny the last few weeks but nothing. If not I’m gonna buy one on yoyoexpert before they’re sold out, just tell me!

Greetings

Kevin

Armin
Armin

January 23, 2023

Hi,
I would be intressted in this wonderful project. Is it possible to ship to germany? Or is there a retailer in the EU who will sell the yoyo?

Best regards
Armin

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