In the yo-yo world, there are many different shapes (a.k.a. profile) and sizes of yo-yos. There are yo-yos as big as 5 inches in diameter and as small as a quarter. With this large range of sizes there’s a proportional range of shapes from the traditional to the flat-out strange. But to keep things simple, I’m going to explain the two most basic shapes: Imperial and Butterfly.
So let’s start with the most basic shape of the yo-yo, the Imperial. US Astrojax offers a lot of Imperial shaped yo-yos such as: Triple Moon, Loop 360, Dark Gem, Mirage, Any wooden yo-yo (Minus Sleep Machine), Brain, Fireball, RB II, Firestorm
The Imperial (also known as “classic”) shape of yo-yo features a narrow gap, thin profile, rounded edges, and large inner-walls. These yo-yos are usually center-weighted, or the majority of the weight is near the center gap of the yo-yo and typically right at the axle. The general purpose of this shape of yo-yo is to either (A) learn the basics or (B) looping or (C) just having a nice pocket sized yo-yo handy. By using a classic shape yo-yo to learn the basics of throwing, returning the yo-yo, and throwing basic tricks like the trapeze forces you to have good technique. Yo-yos with a larger gap like those mentioned later have more “room for forgiveness” and do not help foster good techniques. However, looping is your major trick-area with these yo-yos. By centering the “center of gravity” right at the axle, it is easier to loop due to one “flipping” the yo-yo during the basic loop maneuver. Admittedly, I do not know much about this style of yo-yoing since I never got into it. I own a fair number of classic-shaped yo-yos but never really caught on to looping. However, it is a great style of fast-paced action that is sure to amaze anyone watching.
Next up is the Butterfly shape, also called “winged” yo-yos. It’s name comes from the profile view which clearly has a butterfly, or winged look. US Astrojax has a few of these as well: 888x, DV888, Volocity, ONE, ONEstar, WHiP, F.A.S.T. 201, Triple Action, G-Spin, Flex Gap, Sleep Machine
Butterfly, or winged yo-yos are more of your string-trick yo-yos you see all those crazy guys using. The butterfly has a wider gap between the two halves of the yo-yo, shorter inner walls and long angled or curved edges that slope out to the edge of the yo-yo. Because of this, most butterfly shaped yo-yos are much wider than their Imperial counterpart. And, in general, the weight of the yo-yo is placed on the outer-rims of the yo-yo to generate more stability and energy at high speeds. Some of you might look at the description above and wonder why I’ve included the Flex Gap and G-Spin in the butterfly section since their edges do not have large curves like the Triple Action. This is because the “Butterfly Shape” is a general term that is used for any yo-yo that has a very wide “catching gap” for you to land the yo-yo on the string. This wide gap allows you to more easily perform complicated string tricks and allows for multiple layers of string to be on the axle (or bearing) at one time without it getting caught in the response system. This is the type of yo-yo I personally use more often due to my love of string tricks.
From these two shapes, there are a ton of others being invented even as we speak. There are some companies who let their pro players develop their own yo-yos and customize it however they want! I hope someday there will be a yo-yo named, “Theferrell Flash”!! But…. Alas. That will probably never happen ^.^ Oh well, this blogger can always dream, right??
As always, I am open to comments, questions or suggestions. Until next time folks, enjoy your yo-yo…. BE the yo-yo!