Lambda Ruby-Tipped Top

By: on May 06, 2014
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Jason Hui of Prometheus Lights is the first to point out that he makes tools, not toys. That he has created the Lambda Top, and is seeking funding for it on Kickstarter, is probably due solely to the fact that even men who make tools, not toys, cannot resist cool toys. Especially toys that look static even when they're moving at, like, 3,500 RPM. Especially toys that maintain that spin for up to 10 minutes (check it in the video). Especially toys that trade in their counterparts' pointy metal tips for the luxe, rounded, smooth superiority of a ruby.

The Lambda Top combines a brass and aluminum body with a 0.2" manufactured ruby--the same kind used in items such as Rolex watches, super-precision measuring instruments, and fiber optic transmission lines. Its hardness is 9 on the Mohs scale; a diamond would be a 10. Hui hopes his top will establish a higher level of precision, performance, and beauty amongst fans of both the childhood spinning toy and scientific artistry. That said, has not set out to break records or revolutionize the top industry. That said again, the Lambda can still outspin nearly any similar object in its same size/weight class.

The spherical shape of the Lambda's ruby gives it a distinct advantage over pointy-tipped tops because the latter's cone-shaped contact point always places it askew of center, on one side of the point or the other, while in motion. This makes it more difficult for the top to balance upright, which wastes energy early on, and then pushes the top over later in the spin as it loses RPMs. With a spherical ruby as the secret tip ingredient, Hui demonstrates in one of the above videos how his Lambda maintains a perfect point of contact with its spinning surface. It wastes less energy and spins longer. The ruby-tipped top also exhibits less precession, or angular wobble, as the traditional top, accounting for its seemingly motionless spin.

In terms of single-spin lengths, Hui shows off his personal official best with the Lambda in a 10+-minute video of the top in action. He says his un-recorded best is over 12 minutes. Future Lambda owners should feel confident that they'll be able to hit at least 6 minutes, provided they have a good surface that the top can't spin off of laterally.

Pledge for your Lambda Top on Kickstarter through May 30, 2014.