In April of this year, YoYoWorkshop put some interesting teasers on their website and Instagram. They were about a new bi-metal yo-yo in the works that they were calling the Bolster. With the teasers came the claim that it is to be the “most unique bi-metal yo-yo in existence”, and with a tentative release date of Summer 2017. Of course, summer is behind us now, but at the time the updates on social media were looking promising. Photos on Instagram were finally revealing what this yo-yo looked like, and it was looking good. However, soon after, Instagram stories from YYWS began to suggest that something was wrong and that Bolster was causing problems. On June 7th, the Bolster updates stopped with an Instagram post that included the words “depressing” and “long ways off”. The Bolster would still show up from time to time, such as after YYWS team member Bobby Marker (@yoyosarecool) got his hands on a prototype and started posting some videos of it in action. YYWS brand rep Zakk also wouldn’t let us forget about Bolster, as it would pop up here and there in the photos he was posting to his feed.
Months later, on September 21st, YoYoWorkshop poked Instagram with a new Bolster photo and the words ” ’nuff said”. ORYY disagreed that enough had been said, and was hankering for more. We reached out to Wayne over at YYWS and hit him up with some questions. He was kind enough to answer them for us, and below is our exchange.
Interview with Wayne of YYWS
You first teased the Bolster on IG around April 16th. There were some photos posted later, and then a bit of backstory, and then it became evident that the Bolster was giving you some trouble. Can you elaborate at all on what was going on? What were the problems?
Bolster has been the biggest hassle of a project since we started making yoyos in January of 2014. Bolster was designed to be very different from what was already on the market – the entire rim made of steel (about 4mm wide wrapping around the edge of the rim and finishing inside the cup) instead of the thin sheet of steel which is found on every other bi-metal in existence. This posed several machinist-level issues, mainly in the warping the machinist found occurred during the second operation (all yoyos are machined in two “operations”, commonly referred to as side 1 and side 2. The ring on other bimetals are machined in one operation. Ours requires two, like the aluminum body of all yoyos. The second operation gave three different machine shops extreme trouble. They tried press-fitting the rings, to no avail. They tried using liquid nitrogen to attach the rings, to no avail. They even tried using epoxy, which worked better, but still vibrated like crazy. It’s been a long road of frustration. We honestly almost put Bolster to bed and hoped it never woke up. But, we’re better than that (and more hard headed than that, too).
Bolster seems to be making a comeback on Instagram…does that mean y’all have had a breakthrough?
Yes! We tried a machinist in Maine. He couldn’t get it right. We tried a machine shop in China, who by the way, lots of other people use, and they couldn’t get it right. We have since found a different machinist in China who has a long track record of making bimetal yoyos, and we intend to utilize them. They’re a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it.
Are you expecting any significant changes to the design or specs that you posted in April?
No, not really….though we shaved 2grams off the overall assembled weight, and modified the shape of the steel ring a tad to allow it to be machined with a higher degree of measured success.
We’ve seen photos and video of your team members throwing around a prototype. How many of those prototypes are out there? Any insight on the players’ thoughts?
Dwight (who is no longer with us) loved it to death…but we sent him a nearly 67gram prototype. Bobby loved it as well, and we sent him both a 67gram and a 64.5gram version. Myself, Dave, Vic, and our brand rep Zakk all absolutely love it – if it wasn’t so darn vibey!!
The website reads “Designed and named by David Albano to be the most unique bi-metal yo-yo in existence.” Is this still the goal? What makes it such?
When my Dad drew up the artwork for Bolster a few years ago, I told him I wanted it to be really “out there,” but I left him to his own creativity. When he mailed it to me on bristol paper, I was blown away. I actually didn’t want to use it because it was kind of…violent. He said “make a yoyo out of two different kinds of metal…” and this was before bimetals were as dime-a-dozen as they are now. So he was on to something. He passed away in 2015, and I knew I had to use it. So Dave and I brainstormed and wanted to make a bi-metal (as per my dads direction), but make it different than others on the market. His wacky artwork, crossed with our different design – and a name like BOLSTER – we were on to something. We ARE on to something. And…we can’t wait to nail this one and show you guys what we’re made of.
BONUS QUESTION (with FRESH INTEL): If [you haven’t made a breakthrough yet], are you still trying? Are you onto something new?
N/A. However, we are currently at “all stop” on other models until we get this Bolster right. We do not have plans on making any additional runs of any previously released yoyo in the near future. Although, a Capstan without side effects is in discussion…as is a Tornad-Yo 2…and that’s an Offroad YoYo first! You can take that – to the bank!
That’s a Wrap
We are very thankful to Wayne for taking the time to answer our questions, and for the sweet intel about the Capstan and Tornad-Yo 2. More than anything we’re excited to know that they haven’t given up and that they’re still cranking away. This yo-yo looks fun and we’ll be eagerly following along as YYWS reports their progress in getting it on the shelves for us.
Last, but not least, here are some close-up shots of the Bolster: