“3, 2, 1, Go Shoot!” Have you heard this phrase? This was a catch phrase for a very popular comic called “Explosive Shoot Beyblade”. The characters and stories are well known all across Asia.
How did something like this become so popular? Well, Beyblades™ may be a modern looking toy, with fancy colors and shapes, but underneath is a simple, but very important scientific principle, and that is the spinning top. Traditional spinning tops have been a staple of children’s entertainment for hundreds of years. They are still popular today because they are easy to make, and very fun to play with!
Do you know how a spinning top works? Let’s make one and find out!
The main structure of a spinning top is based on something called a gyroscope. The one we’ll make today is built using Gigo gears and a central axle. If the “gyro” part of the device (the bit that spins around the central axis) has evenly distributed weight, it will spin more smoothly, and for longer, but it’s also fun to experiment with things that are not properly balanced! See what you can get to spin!
What do you notice when the gyroscope is spinning?
When the gyroscope is spinning, what things affect it?
Let’s do some investigation!
▲ Components: Gigo 60T GEAR x1, Gigo 40T GEAR x1, Gigo20TGEAR x1, and Gigo70mm AXLE II x1
▲STEP1：Slide the red Gigo 20T GEAR onto to the Gigo70mm AXLE II.
▲STEP2：Add the blue Gigo 40T GEAR to the Gigo70mm II AXLE.
▲STEP3：Add the yellow Gigo 60T GEAR to the Gigo70mm AXLE II.
(1) The First Secret of the Gyroscope: Center of Gravity
What are the differences between the spinning tops shown in the pictures below?
That’s right, one has the gyro body located low down, one is in the middle, and the other is high up.
Is this really a secret? Or is it just a cosmetic difference?
Try it for yourself and find out!
Spin the gyro in each position and describe the differences you see.
If you don’t have all the components, you can watch the video(at the bottom) and see what happened in our experiment.
(2) The Second Secret of the Gyroscope: Rotation Speed
Spin it as fast as you can!
What’s that? Your friend can spin it faster than you? Oh, no!
Here’s an idea… try making a launcher. If you make a mechanism, you’ll be able to spin it faster than anyone else that is just using their hand. You’ll need a Gigo LONG FRAME and a piece of cotton thread. Put your gyroscope into the launcher as shown in the picture below, and then wind the cotton onto the axle. Pull the thread and see what happens!