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Intern’s Corner: DIY LED yo-yo side caps

Fun & Games Technology
Intern’s Corner: DIY LED yo-yo side caps

MAKE: Intern's Corner
Every other week, MAKE’s awesome interns tell about the projects they’re building in the Make: Labs, the trouble they’ve gotten into, and what they’ll make next.

By Eric Chu, engineering intern

There aren’t many low-budget ways to customize one’s yo-yo. The most common ones are either painting or dyeing, but they’re limited: paint chips off with time, and dyeing is only for plastic yo-yos.

Being a yo-yo fanatic, I regularly visit the blog for yo-yo news. There I recently read a post about spin-activated LED side caps that fit into the side of yo-yos. They’re low-cost ($6) and look very cool; a perfect customizing add-on for a yo-yo. Unfortunately, they only come in one size, thus only fitting a few yo-yos.

I thought it’d be a fun project to make my own set (and it was!). I used a One Drop Project yo-yo.


Finished cap in yoyo3.jpg

How It Works
Using the centrifugal force generated by the spinning of the yo-yo, the spring, acting as the switch, is pulled outward. It makes contact with the positive leads of the LEDs, thus completing the circuit, turning the LEDs on.

Tape on the spring.jpg

It looks great in action, day or night. Check out the video:

YouTube player

I’ll be writing up the project as a DIY article soon. Look for it in MAKE Volume 22 this spring.

4 thoughts on “Intern’s Corner: DIY LED yo-yo side caps

  1. nullsmack says:

    It’d be even neater if you somehow made it get it’s energy from the spinning yo-yo rather than a coin cell.

    1. Maximus says:

      That’d be rather complicated. You’d need a component that didn’t spin with the yo-yo if you wanted to generate that energy with induction. Also, any energy you get from the spinning of the yoyo reduces the spin time.

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