Cowboy Yoyo

Introduction: Cowboy Yoyo

This is a fun item that is great to take to a party as a white elephant gift.
It is great fun to play with as well.
Since I don't chew, I had to get the containers the folks at my local rodeo.
You can see a video about how it works by clicking on the photo in step 12

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Step 1: Items Needed.

You will need two chewing tobacco containers, preferably empty.
A length of heavy cord, four wooden beads about half and inch or bigger in diameter, two screws about 1/2 to 5/8 inch long and a 1/4 inch dowel 7 or 8 inches long. You can cut it off later.
I forgot to put it in the photo, but you will also need a chunk of wood 3/4 inch thick and just a bit larger then the cans.

Step 2: Drawing the Counter Balance.

Place the can on the chunk of wood and trace around it.

Step 3: Cutting Out the Counterbalance.

I used a band saw, but you can use whatever you like.
Cut out the circle of wood.
It will look like a miniature hockey puck.

Step 4: Sanding

Sand down the wood until it is just large enough to fit inside the can.

Step 5: Finding the Center.

You need to find the center of the wood.
I know there are a gazillion ways to find the center of a circle,
but the easiest way I have found is to trace the wooden circle and cut it out.
then just fold into quarter and open it up and there it is.

Step 6: Drill a Hole.

After you have established the center of the wood. Drill a hole the next size smaller then the dowel.
Place a very small amount of wood glue on the end of the dowel and drive it into the wood with a hammer.
This has to be snug because this will take a lot of g-force.

Step 7: Assembeling the Base.

Place the wood inside the can then drill two small holes through the bottom of the can and put a screw in each hole.

Step 8: The Lid Detail

Using your template and an awl or center punch mark the center of the lid then drill a hole just a bit larger then the dowel.
Then put the lid over the dowel and slide it down onto the can.

Step 9: Working the Beads

I use a pair of pliers and drill out the hole of 3 of the beads so the hole is just a bit larger then the dowel.
The fourth bead make the hole the same size as the dowel.

Step 10: Preparing the Upper Can.

Using your circle template again, mark a spot on the edge of the can on opposite sides.
Then mark another spot perpendicular to the line on the side of the can.
Then using a drill bit the next size or two larger then the dowel drill holes in the can that are opposite each other.
Then drill a smaller hole 3/32 or 1/8 inch in the side of the can.
Use a sharp knife to clean out the hole inside the can.

Step 11: Asselbly

Place the three beads with the larger holes over the dowel. Be sure they are loose and the dowel turns freely.
Place the can over the dowel and then mark the center area then remove the can and drill a very small hole in the dowel at that point.
Replace the can.
Put a small amount of wood glue inside the bead with the smaller hole in it and put in over the end of the dowel and slide it down so it is just above the can but not touching it. The lower can and dowel must turn freely in the upper can.
Let it set for a few minutes for the glue to set then cut off the end of the dowel and sand it down so it is smooth.
I used some 50 pound test monofilament line as a threading tool and threaded the cord through the side hole in the can and then through the dowel.
Tie a knot in the cord and pull it up tight against the dowel.
Go out 12 to 15 inches on the cord and tie another bead at that point and trim off the excess cord.
Holding the upper can twist the bottom can so the cord is wrapped completely around the dowel.  
Place the lid of the upper can on the can.

Step 12: How to Use.

The yoyo works by holding the upper can and pulling the string out to the end and then letting centrifugal force rewrap the string around the dowel. By continuing to pull on the string the bottom can will spin.

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    7 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    2 thoughts on the wooden "puck" : What's the diameter, could a holesaw make it? It'd be perfectly round, and have a 1/4" hole perfectly centered in it. As for how tight to make the hole for the dowel, many woodworkers have measured the strength of glue joints and they have found that joints that can be slid together easily
    yet are tight enough to hold together just by friction will, when glued, be strongest. The glue itself is stronger than the wood. Making the joints too tight forces all of the glue to squeeze out and "starve the joint, make it too loose then the glue will not fill all of the gaps and will have weak spots.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I would think you could make it any size you like. I just used the soup can because I was using it to hold pencils and it was round.

    You are absolutely right about the glue joints. I just use half a drop in the bottom and then drive the dowel in so it is good and tight.

    I actually may not even need the glue.


    6 years ago

    Mmm copenhagen it's in my teeth when i smile, copenhagen it is a real woman getting!


    6 years ago

    Hi there,
    First thing I notice is that you are wearing gloves while working on a fast spinning machine. I'am told always NOT TO.


    Reply 6 years ago

    I totally agree with you that you should not wear loose fitting apparel while working with any machinery.
    I worked in the medical field for 43 years before becoming disabled and have worn gloves my entire life. Because of my disability, I do not have the strength in my hands to hold objects tightly. If you notice the gloves are form fitting and are impregnated with some sort of substance that makes almost like a heavy pair of surgical gloves.
    Which also gives me the traction to hold the object so it does not move.
    Again I agree that wearing a pair of loose fitting gloves could be very hazardous. Thank You for your comment.


    Reply 6 years ago

    Ok, didn't know that thatsway i reacted so quickly.
    Grtz, Marien


    6 years ago

    how about.. hey neat idea, thanks for sharing.