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The Janus Top spins on its bottom AND its top. Metal spindle and ring, combined with ceramic or ruby tips, make this top a keeper.
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1,012 backers pledged $58,026 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$58,026

1,012

KEYCHAIN and LENS ADD-ONS

Check the updates for more information on these add-ons.

CAD rendering of the production design
CAD rendering of the production design
Proof of concept prototype
Proof of concept prototype
Top spinning on 50mm Lens
Top spinning on 50mm Lens

DID SOMEONE ASK FOR RUBY TIPS?!  WE NOW HAVE RUBY TIPS!

Ruby on the Bottom!
Ruby on the Bottom!
Ruby on the Top!
Ruby on the Top!

Scroll down to the ADD ON section for more details on how to upgrade to the ruby balls.

Hello there!  Thanks for visiting.  As you may have guessed, we’re big fans of tops.  We have been following several top projects here on Kickstarter and some are pretty amazing.  However, being rather literally minded engineers, we kept asking ourselves one question: "why is it called a spinning top when it actually spins on its bottom?"

We started with a goal of designing a spinning top that would be as easy to spin on its top as it is to spin on its bottom.

Copper spindle with brass ring spinning on its top
Copper spindle with brass ring spinning on its top

After studying the physics involved in the spinning of a top, and analyzing the characteristics that allow certain tops to spin so well on their bottoms, the design you see here started to emerge.

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As you can see in the above video, we succeeded in our goal of making a spinning top that actually spins on its top.  We were amazed by the results.  The tops seem to defy gravity.  This is made possible, in no small part, by precision machining on a HAAS CNC lathe, the hard, smooth surface of a ceramic bearing, and the overall balanced design of the Janus Top.

CAD software was used to evaluate several designs and work through various iterations before we settled on the final design of the Janus Top. The design we chose, strikes a balance between aesthetics, performance, durability, and ease of manufacturing.

The Janus Top is constructed of two pieces of solid metal for a couple of reasons: aesthetics and to provide a means for potentially longer spin times. To increase the moment of inertia it is necessary to have more of the top's weight concentrated as far from the rotational axis as possible.  The tops with the aluminum and stainless steel spindles and the copper and brass rings do the best job of positioning the more dense material away from the rotational axis.

Two objects with the same mass, but different moments of inertia will behave differently when spun.  The one with the higher moment of inertia will require more torque to get it to spin at a given speed, but it will remain spinning for a longer period of time.

All combinations of the Janus Top have been verified of spinning for over 5 mins on their bottoms, and 2 mins on their tops.  The longest spin time we have witnessed was 7 mins and 30 seconds by the stainless spindle, brass ring combination.  The brass spindle with the copper ring has also crossed the 7 minute mark.  The video below shows the longest recorded time of The Janus Top spinning on its bottom.

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 The video above shows the best recorded time of The Janus Top spinning on its top.

The grade 5 ceramic bearings that are permanently pressed into each Janus Top, provide a nearly perfect tip for spinning.  The grade of a ball defines three parameters: surface integrity, size, and sphericity.  Ball grades range from 2000 to 3, with the precision being inverse to the grade. The smaller the grade, the higher the precision.  Surface integrity refers to surface smoothness, and the lack of defects, such as flats, pits, soft spots, and cuts.  Size refers to how tight the tolerances are on the size, as measured by two parallel plates in contact with the ball surface. Sphericity is the ball's deviation from spherical form, essentially how much a ball is out of roundness.

It is important to have such precision at the spinning tip to reduce the tendency of the top to tip from one side to another, causing the top to wobble, slow down, and eventually come to a stop.  It may seem counter intuitive to use a ball as the tip of a top, but the super high precision of a grade 5 ball ensures that there is only ever one point in contact with the spinning surface at a time.  There are no imperfections in the tip (pits, bumps, scratches) attempting to disturb the Janus Top once it has started its spin.

A sphere is tangent to a plane at one point. There is an inherent absence of pumps, pits, and scratches on the grade 5 ceramic bearings. These factors contribute to the stability of the Janus Top.
A sphere is tangent to a plane at one point. There is an inherent absence of pumps, pits, and scratches on the grade 5 ceramic bearings. These factors contribute to the stability of the Janus Top.

If we were to simply machine the tip as an integral part of the top, it would deform and begin developing imperfections from the very first spin. During the design phase we used hardened stainless bearing balls. We noticed that occasionally during the assembly process a ball would become marred or dented, adversely effecting the spinning characteristics of the top.  We wanted to give you a top that would last several lifetimes.  So we modified the assembly method and decided to use ceramic balls.

Both the spindle and the ring of each Janus Top are machined from solid rods of brass, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum (spindle only).  The machining is done at a local machine shop only 15 minutes away.  This makes it easy to check on the status of the tops. The machine shop we partnered with has been in business for over 20 years, and the majority of their work is for the aerospace industry.

The Janus Top spindles and rings are each machined in two operations. The first is done on a HAAS SL-20.  It is equipped with a bar feeder, so four feet of one inch rod goes in one end, and a few dozen spindles or rings come out the other.

HAAS SL-20: If it is good enough to make parts that orbit the Earth, it is good enough to make the Janus Top
HAAS SL-20: If it is good enough to make parts that orbit the Earth, it is good enough to make the Janus Top
CNC program for the Janus Top Spindles
CNC program for the Janus Top Spindles

The second operation is completed on a Hardinge Production lathe.

Hardinge Precision Turret Lathe: The workhorse of many-a-machine shop
Hardinge Precision Turret Lathe: The workhorse of many-a-machine shop
Hardinge Precicion Turret Lathe: The business end
Hardinge Precicion Turret Lathe: The business end

This specialized piece of equipment allows the machinist to repeatedly perform the final machining operations with high precision, and in an expedited manor.  Because we have already produced 200 tops, the shop already knows what tooling is needed to finish the job.

Below is a video of the second operation being performed on one of our brass spindles.  It takes a while to set up the machine to perform the desired operations, but the 20+ years of experience of our machinist make it seem like a walk in the park.

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We have successfully completed a trial production run of 200 tops. This allowed our machinist to fine tune the CNC program and the turret lathe setup for the four different materials.

Sample of the top trial production run
Sample of the top trial production run
Sample of the ring trial production run
Sample of the ring trial production run
  • Those moments when you need to clear your mind
  • To pass the time. But be careful, ten spins and more than an hour could have passed
  • At a dinner party
  • While waiting for your favorite caffeinated beverage (those marble counters are pretty dang smooth)
  • If you are on hold with the cable company
  • At the end of the day or, before a big presentation.  Watching a spinning top is intrinsically relaxing
  • Instead of flipping a coin, see who can get the longest spin time
  • Instead of pulling out your cell phone, spin your top 

We've found that spinning the tops on a smooth, hard, concave surface is a must if you're trying for long spin times.  We've used everything from magnifying make-up mirrors to the plates at a French restaurant.  Even an upside down coffee mug has resulted in spin times of over seven minutes.

We were amazed by the results. The tops seem to defy gravity. This is made possible, in no small part, precision machining on a HAAS CNC lathe, the hard, smooth surface of a ceramic bearing, and the overall balanced design of the Janus Top.

Remember:

If you pledged for one of the "Trio's" you will need to add $42 to your pledge to change to the ruby balls.

If you pledged for one of "Ring Sets" you will have to add $56 dollars to your pledge.

If you pledged in the "Janus Collection Tier" you will have to add $168 to your pledge to receive the ruby ball add-on.

We believe that the Janus top is something that will put a smile on the faces of everyone that sees it, holds it, and spins it. To make sure we are able to get this unique top into as many hands as possible, we need to bring the price down as low as possible. To do this, we need to place minimum orders for the bearings, the material, and the number of tops/ rings made by our local machine shop.  With your pledges, we can make this happen.

In this age of technology, we are too quick to resort to pulling out our phones to pass the time.  Even when surrounded by friends and loved ones it is not uncommon to see people focusing on their cell phones instead of one another.  We hope to change that with real world objects like the Janus Top.

Thank you for helping us share this remarkable spinning experience with as many of you as possible.

We will be using BackerKit to manage the fulfillment process. Once the campaign is over, you will be able to manage your pledge using BackerKit.  At this time you will be able to add rewards and pledges.

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings and transitions.  As a god of transitions, he had functions pertaining to birth and to journeys.  He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past.  Each Janus Top has two ball tips which represent the forward and rear facing eyes of Janus.

The Janus Top marks the beginning of our journey as Knolan.  We are making the transition from ideas to products and are looking forward to the many stops along the way.  

We would like to thank you for considering our project and hope you make a pledge.  We truly believe that you will enjoy spinning the Janus Top as much as we have. 

It fits inside The Orb!!

Be sure to check out The Orb, by Progressive Products!  What a pair!

 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/870848347/the-orb

Risks and challenges

We have already finalized the design, and have produced 200 complete tops. We want to nail down the finishing and packaging so they are just as efficient as the manufacturing.

If the machine shop is backlogged or an unexpected order comes in and our tops get pushed back, then we will have to contact other capable shops.

We also have multiple suppliers for our ceramic tips, this will help if one supplier does not have the necessary volume in stock.

Although some of our pledge levels have an expected delivery date of January 2015 or later, we will be working with our suppliers and the machine shop to push up this date with a goal of having all orders shipped in time for a Christmas delivery. We will keep our backers updated throughout the fulfillment process.

Ideally we would like to get the majority of the orders out and delivered so they can be used as Holiday gifts.

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Support

  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    ALUMINUM SINGLE (Early Bird): Aluminum spindle with your choice of brass, stainless, or copper ring. Get it now for $30 below the future retail price! Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic Shipping is included.

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    STAINLESS SINGLE (Early Bird): Stainless spindle with your choice of brass, stainless, or copper ring. Get it now for $30 below the future retail price! Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic Shipping is included.

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    STAINLESS SINGLE (Early Bird): Stainless spindle with your choice of brass, stainless, or copper ring. Get it now for $30 below the future retail price! Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic Shipping is included.

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    ALUMINUM SINGLE (Early Bird): Aluminum spindle with your choice of brass, stainless, or copper ring. Get it now for $30 below the future retail price! Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic Shipping is included.

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    STAINLESS SINGLE: Stainless spindle with your choice of brass, stainless, or copper ring. Get it now for $25 below the future retail price! Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic Shipping is included.

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    ALUMINUM SINGLE: Aluminum spindle with your choice of brass, stainless, or copper ring. Get it now for $25 below the future retail price! Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic Shipping is included.

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    COPPER SINGLE (Early Bird): Copper spindle with your choice of brass, stainless, or copper ring. Get it now for $30 below the future retail price! Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic Shipping is included.

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    BRASS SINGLE (Early Bird): Brass spindle with your choice of brass, stainless, or copper ring. Get it now for $30 below the future retail price! Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic Shipping is included.

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    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    COPPER SINGLE (Early Bird): Copper spindle with your choice of brass, stainless, or copper ring. Get it now for $30 below the future retail price! Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic Shipping is included.

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    BRASS SINGLE (Early Bird): Brass spindle with your choice of brass, stainless, or copper ring. Get it now for $30 below the future retail price! Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic Shipping is included.

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    COPPER SINGLE: Copper spindle with your choice of brass, stainless, or copper ring. Get it now for $25 below the future retail price! Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic Shipping is included.

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    BRASS SINGLE: Brass spindle with your choice of brass, stainless, or copper ring. Get it now for $25 below the future retail price! Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic Shipping is included.

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    STAINLESS TRIO: Three stainless tops, one with each ring (copper, stainless, brass). Get it now for $35 below the future retail price. Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic shipping is including.

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    ALUMINUM TRIO: Three aluminum tops, one with each ring (copper, stainless, brass). Get it now for $35 below the future retail price. Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic shipping is including.

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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    STAINLESS TRIO: Three stainless tops, one with each ring (copper, stainless, brass). Get it now for $35 below the future retail price. Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic shipping is including.

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    ALUMINUM TRIO: Three aluminum tops, one with each ring (copper, stainless, brass). Get it now for $30 below the future retail price. Comes with a small black carrying pouch. For each. Domestic shipping is including.

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    BRASS TRIO: Three brass tops, one with each ring (copper, stainless, brass). Get it now for $35 below the future retail price. Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic shipping is including.

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    COPPER TRIO: Three copper tops, one with each ring (copper, stainless, brass). Get it now for $35 below the future retail price. Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic shipping is including.

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    BRASS TRIO: Three brass tops, one with each ring (copper, stainless, brass). Get it now for $35 below the future retail price. Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic shipping is including.

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    COPPER TRIO: Three copper tops, one with each ring (copper, stainless, brass). Get it now for $35 below the future retail price. Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic shipping is including.

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    BRASS RING SET: All four spindles, each with a brass ring. Get it now for $35 below the future retail price. Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic shipping is including.

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    COPPER RING SET: All four spindles, each with a copper ring. Get it now for $35 below the future retail price. Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic shipping is including.

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    STAINLESS RING SET: All four spindles, each with a stainless ring. Get it now for $35 below the future retail price. Comes with a small black carrying pouch. Domestic shipping is including.

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    THE JANUS COLLECTION: All twelve top combinations. Get it now for $200 below the future retail price.

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Funding period

- (30 days)