How to Make WaspNest Freehand Counterweights




What to do with all that old worn out yo-yo string?

Make counterweights for freehand yo-yo play!

These are incredibly easy and simple to make. The basic anatomy of a WaspNest CW is: A strong hollow tube that forms hole that goes through the CW, some kind of heavy material as the core to add weight, string to wrap around the tube and core, then a glue/water mixture to soak the WaspNest in to harden.

There are multiple types of tubing that can be used. Your everyday plastic straw will not do. The types of tube I have found have come from ballpoint pens. A particularly strong tube I found was from a empty ink cartridge from a ballpoint pen. Another but not as strong came from the rubber coated plastic grip from a ballpoint pen.

There are couple types of weight that can be used. Most counterweights, such as the Duncan Freehand ones, are around 10-12 grams. An exact weight isn't very necessary, it actually depends on your preference of weight. My first WaspNest used an aluminum nut that probably weighed 4-5 grams. Then the string added about 3 grams more, then the glue coating added about 3.5 grams more. That averaged to about 11.5 grams. Compared to the bouncy ball CW from Duncan they are very close in weight. My second and third WaspNests used clay instead. I averaged that those turned out around 13 grams because I used a little more clay and let the WaspNest soak longer in the glue/water mixture.

Any type of string will work well. For the first one I used mostly Slick 6's for my first one and then one 100% Poly for an accent on top. My second one was 100% Polys and my last one was mostly 100% Polys with a Slick 6 on top for a color change. I cannot tell any difference in weight because of the string type, among all three of them.

The first WaspNext I made was soaked in a mixture of 2/3 water-soluble glue and 1/3 water. Due to the thick viscosity it turned out a little white and faded. But it is much stronger than my other two. It's literally impossible to pick the string apart. I used for my second and third ones a 1/2 glue and 1/2 water mixture. They are not as strong and stuck together as the first but they will not fall apart anytime soon. They are also not as faded at the first one, so the color of the strings shows well.

Step 1: Everything You Might Need.

Just read the image notes below for a good idea what to use to make a WaspNest Counterweight.

Step 2: Find a Hollow Tube for the Core.

One of the best types of plastic tubing I have found was from a PaperMate Write Bros. Grip ballpoint pen.

I just peeled off the rubber gripping, unscrewed the pen, and took off the plastic tube.

Just like the second picture, you need to measure and cut plastic tube to the correct length. In the picture I measured it against a Duncan bouncy ball CW, but for accuracy you'll want to cut it to a length of 2.80 cm.

The third picture is of the plastic tube I got from the PaperMate pen (top) and the lower two were cut from an empty ink cartridge from another ballpoint pen. These were abnormally larger than ordinary ballpoint pen ink cartridges and noticeably stronger.

Step 3: Attach Your Weight Choice to the Hollow Tube.

The first WaspNest I created used a aluminum nut as the source of core weight. The time I was taking these pictures I tried an experiment to try different amounts of clay and heavy gauge wire as weight.

Really any of those choices will work well. Just be sure to add enough weight to the tube. It seems that the WaspNest always turn out lighter than you think.

Step 4: Wrap the String Around the Tube and Weight.

Before I start wrapping the string around the tube, I first cut off the slip-knots so the WaspNest would turn out less bumpy and misshaped.

Then I started wrapping the string around the tube and weight. I used about 8 strings on each WaspNest. That number may vary fro you if you have longer or shorter strings. You'll want to just wrap strings onto it until it gains the shape of your liking. I started at one end and wrapped the string upon itself so it wouldn't unravel. I then wrapped it up tightly and evenly. As each string was ended I started wrapping a new one on top of it. It may be easier if you just tied all the strings together to form one long piece of string, but it may turn out a little misshaped because of the knots.

After I achieved the size and shape I wanted I took a paperclip and unbent it, and then poked the last strand of string into the ball. This insures that the WaspNest can't unravel and come loose.

My turned out a little too tall so I squished and shaped the WaspNest to my liking. Since I used clay as the core it was very pliable and easy to change the shape. Just don't overdue it, as the string may slip off the plastic tube and unravel.

Step 5: Attach a Paperclip to the WaspNest.

Next you'll want to take a paperclip and bend one end of it into a loop. Tie a piece of string (yo-yo, yarn, thread...etc) on to the loop. Bend the other end into a wide "U" shape. Then take the "U" end of the paperclip and push it into the hole of the WaspNest. The paperclip will act as a spring and push against the insides of the tube, holding the WaspNest tightly for dunking and drying.

Step 6: Mix Up the Glue and Water.

Next take your water-soluble glue, screw off the whole cap, and pour enough glue into the cup to fill 1/4 of it. Then take your cup over to the sink and and add as much water as glue is in the cup. You'll be able to easily see the layer of water on top of the glue. Get out an old pencil or stick and stir the mixture well. It shouldn't be too runny or too thick. It should easily drip but not be as thin as water.

Step 7: Dunking and Drying.

After mixing up the glue/water take your WaspNest attached to the string and dunk it into the mixture. You are going to soak it in there for at least an hour. You need to let it soak for a sufficient amount of time so it will harden well.

After letting it soak, hang it up somewhere, where it is dry and warm, and it won't be disturbed. I hung it over my radiator so it'd dry fast and hard. Make sure you hang it above a napkin or something so it doesn't drip below and make a mess. If you added enough water to the mixture, it shouldn't dry with drip hanging below it.

Then you'll want to leave it hanging there without disturbing it. A good idea is to do make a WaspNest in the evening and let it dry overnight. In the morning it should be rock hard.

Step 8: Variations and the End

After letting it dry you're all set! Since the glue/water you soaked it in is still water-soluble, you can give it a couple coats of spray clear coat. I don't let my counterweights get wet, so it's not a problem, but it always a good idea to do.

Thanks for reading my first Instructable! I appreciate all your comments.

Dedicated to DoctorPopular! Thanks for the inspiration.



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    15 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    LEDs in your counterweight would make for a cool "night" routine and might add some of the weight you need.


    8 years ago on Step 8

    does it have to be with yo yo string? can it just be with some polyester string?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    will this work with normal yarn, or do you have to use old yo-yo strings?
    I think yarn will give some more versatility with the colors.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry about not getting back to you. I'm quite sure it'd work with yarn, same idea, same principle... Let me know how it goes if you try it out.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    i tried it with yard, and it didn't turn out well, it falls apart easily.  i might of messed something up though


    9 years ago on Introduction

    how long did yours take to dry? mine sat all night, and still wasnt dry... help?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Im currently working on a Freehand Yo-Yo guide and I would like to post a link of your instructables has a DIY Counterweight, Because I very like your idea and its so well done :) Can I?

    1 reply

    11 years ago on Introduction

    hmmmm this seems fimilar by any chance do you have an acount on theyo? lol nice instructable man. look forward to seeing ur next creation on theyo :) well c u later nice 3rd one.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    :D Maybe...; ) Yes, I'm Yo_shi, Thanks, don't forget to vote for the pocket-sized contest! JonRisk


    very thorough instructable. Good job, I don't know if I'll have a chance to try making one anytime soon, but it looks awesome.