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Znappers
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If you can't manage to have fun with these snappy little tops, then maybe fun just isn't for you!
About this creation
Please feel free to look over the images and skip the verbiage.





Finger top — A spinning top delivering good play value when spun with a twirl or snap of the fingers alone.

Overhand launch — The usual method of launching a finger top via a stem twirled from above.



Underhand launch — A powerful way to launch a finger top by its tip from below with a strong palm-up snap of the fingers.



Naked top -- A top that spins on a bare cross-axle.



Znapper — An exceptional LEGO® finger top made from a small Znap propeller wheel (32219, D=30 mm, M=5.6 g), a cross-axle, perhaps a tip, and little else.

Znapoid — A small LEGO® finger top with znapper-like qualities but a non-Znap rotor.



Bottom line: If you can't manage to have fun with these snappy little tops, then maybe fun just isn't for you!




Underhand launch

The underhand launch is not only fun -- it's a game-changer, both figuratively and literally.

This launch brings many exciting new design and play possibilities to the world of LEGO® spining tops for one simple reason: It endows suitable LEGO® finger tops with tremendous total (spin+translational) kinetic energy. And no top is better suited than the znapper -- though a good znapoid won't disappoint.

Specifically, the extra energy allows adaptations of common top tricks and games of skill otherwise impossible or too short-lived or too unexciting with an overhand LEGO® top. (Think Beyblade or its predecessor, the ancient Japanese top game bei.)

Importantly, there'll be plenty of spin time and angular momentum for a top to reach its target or remain a spinning target for the next top.




Naked underhand znappers

Fun things happen when a naked underhand znapper spins on its bare cross-axle (see 1st video). It travels rapidly across the ground in a rather unpredictable succession of lines and arcs, but the spins are remarkably long and smooth.



Experience with other tips teaches that this unique behavior must arise somehow from the interplay between the supporting surface and the axle end's complex geometry, which comes in two distinct forms.

There are 2 ways to mount the Znap wheel. The yellow one below is mounted with its hub toward the ground contact, which here points upward. Since the red Znap wheel is mounted the other way, its top has a lower center of mass (CM) and smaller transverse moment of inertia about the tip (TMI).



Since their masses and axial moments of inertia (AMIs) are the same, these differences give the red top a small advantage in spin time.



As naked underhand tops, znappers have no equals. They're virtually indestructible and hard to knock over once at speed. They spin for over 60 sec on favorable surfaces, roam far and wide over the play area, and bounce off other tops and obstacles with little loss of translational or rotational kinetic energy.

Video note: The 1st video shows a highly energized naked underhand znapper dropping onto the floor from counter height. It just keeps on spinning with little loss of angular speed, but the impact drives the rotor downward along the axle by 2-3 mm. This shift reduces both CM height and TMI but still leaves plenty of ground clearance and has no effect on the top's AMI. The happy result is a significantly longer spin time on the floor.

The saves starting at 1:49 are also possible with my better znapoids but impossible with most other LEGO® tops.

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Tipped underhand znappers

Underhand znappers also work beautifully with the tips below (see 2nd video). As the intermediary between top and ground, the tip strongly influences top behavior, and contact patch radius of curvature is its most important property.

From left to right, the tip parts actually in contact with the ground are a Barraki eye (58176), the rounded end of a round-tipped 4L antenna (3957), and (iii) a Technic ball joint (32474).



Their radii of curvature are 3, 1.5, and 5 mm, respectively.

The 2nd video shows the ball and eye tips in action. The antenna tip, not shown, promotes long, smooth upright spins with little travel. Having the smallest and smoothest contact patch, it has the least friction.

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Overhand znappers

Small Znap wheels also excel as overhand top rotors. Overhand znappers tend to spin longer than underhand counterparts with the same tip due to lower CM heights and smaller TMIs. Release speeds of up to 5,500 RPM are possible with a practiced hand.

I fitted these overhand znappers with antenna tips for long, smooth upright spins (up to 66 sec) with little travel.





Overhand znappers with ball tips make good battle tops due the nature of their travel. However, ball tips shave a few seconds seconds off the spin time relative to antennas and promote a fine shivering wobble on some surfaces.



Naked overhand znappers behave much like their underhand counterparts but travel less.

See my earlier page on Znap wheel tops for details.

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Znapoids

Don't let the small Znap wheel's scarcity keep you from having fun. Make yourself some "znapoids" (small finger tops with non-Znap rotors but znapper-like qualities) instead.



My favorite znapoid rotor -- in both underhand and overhand settings -- is the 30.4x14 solid smooth wheel (32146, D=30 mm, M=3.2 g) seen here in black in overhand configuration. Performance is close to that of Znap wheel despite its much smaller mass but availability is somewhat better.



The more common 20x30 medium balloon wheel (6582) also works quite well. An underhand znapoid with a 6582 rotor will have a nice hand-feel similar to that of a znapper but won't spin as long and will be easier to knock over.



A plentiful rotor that performs almost as well as 6582 is the 30.4x20 wheel without pin holes (54807, D=30 mm, M=4.2 g). For some reason, the older reinforced variant of this wheel (56145) is only so-so.



The old but relatively common 20x30 Technic wheel (4266, D=30 mm, M=4.7 g) also makes a nice rotor for underhand or overhand play.

The znapoid rotors above perform well with ball tips and in naked tops. Barraki eye and antenna tips work with some.

Finally, the 43.2x28 small balloon wheel (6580, D=30 mm, M=4.7 g) and 30.4x14 VR wheel(2994, D=24 mm, M=2.1 g) are plentiful substitutes that perform reasonably well, but only in naked underhand tops.



Only 6580 is shown here.

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Specifications (naked underhand znappers only)

Mass:6.2 g
Maximum diameter:30 mm
Height at maximum diameter:20 or 30 mm
Aspect ratio:0.67 or 1.0 (H/D)
Best axle length:4L
Tip:Bare axle
Best release speed:Over 5,500 RPM
Best spin time:55 sec
Modified LEGO® parts:None
Non-LEGO® parts:None
Credits:Original MOCs
See also:Znap wheel tops

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Comments

 I made it 
  February 25, 2017
Quoting Alexander Browning It will always blow my mind at how much science is actually behind something as seemingly simple as a spinning top. Great work as always. :)
Many thanks, Alexander! I seem to be attracted to things that turn out to be a lot more complicated than they look at first glance. I was surprised to find out that important aspects of top behavior in real-world settings with air resistance and tip friction have yet to be worked out some 5,500 years after the oldest tops known to archeologists.
 I like it 
  February 24, 2017
It will always blow my mind at how much science is actually behind something as seemingly simple as a spinning top. Great work as always. :)
 I made it 
  January 21, 2017
Quoting Clayton Marchetti That looks like a lot of fun. I'll have to build some for my daughter. She loves tops.
Thanks, Clayton! I'd love to see what the two of you come up with.
 I like it 
  January 21, 2017
That looks like a lot of fun. I'll have to build some for my daughter. She loves tops.
  January 10, 2017
Hey Jeremy, check this out, the last photo is "Mater"! http://www.moc-pages.com/moc.php/435931
 I made it 
  January 5, 2017
Quoting Nils O. Once again you've created some extremely cool spinning tops. :-)) And once again I've taken photos of new Lego stuff and forgotten the spinning tops ;-)) I'll have to to something against the second thing... Anyway, great job, again! :-)) Keep on spinning...
Thanks, Nils! Life happens, but I want to see the tops you and your son make when the time comes.
 I like it 
  January 5, 2017
Once again you've created some extremely cool spinning tops. :-)) And once again I've taken photos of new Lego stuff and forgotten the spinning tops ;-)) I'll have to to something against the second thing... Anyway, great job, again! :-)) Keep on spinning...
 I made it 
  January 4, 2017
Quoting Oliver Becker A good friend of mine is an occupational therapist. I'll show her your collection, Jeremy! ;) I sorrowly have yet no Znappers in my store...
Look at the znapoids. They're made from much more common wheels.
 I like it 
  January 4, 2017
A good friend of mine is an occupational therapist. I'll show her your collection, Jeremy! ;) I sorrowly have yet no Znappers in my store...
 I made it 
  January 2, 2017
Quoting Oliver Becker It seem's you've made with a snap and some Znaps again stunning and wonderful entertainment to greet the new year, my friend! :)
Thanks, Oliver! These little underhand tops are so much fun, you might want to prescribe them to your patients as therapy tops.
 I like it 
  January 2, 2017
It seem's you've made with a snap and some Znaps again stunning and wonderful entertainment to greet the new year, my friend! :)
 I like it 
  January 1, 2017
Now it's official: Happy New Year my friend! Wish you and your family all the best for 2017! Keep your great stuff coming :) Thank you very much for your very kind words you left on my first comment ;)
 I made it 
  January 1, 2017
Quoting Nick Barrett Best use yet for a Znap piece. Happy New Year Jeremy!
Thanks, Nick! I agree. Happy New Year to you and yours!
 I like it 
  January 1, 2017
Best use yet for a Znap piece. Happy New Year Jeremy!
 I made it 
  December 31, 2016
Quoting killswitch95 [SNRK] Its like those weird "Beyblades" but Legos, neat.
Thanks! Exactly! You can play all kinds of games with these, including games usually played with bigger string-launched tops.
 I like it 
  December 31, 2016
Its like those weird "Beyblades" but Legos, neat.
 I made it 
  December 31, 2016
Quoting Johan van der Pluijm Nothing else to do I see? Very colourful little spinners. Getting quite mad because of the fireworks here.. It sounds like I'm in Aleppo... But i surely am in Waalwijk. Guess the ones firing the fireworks are enjoying it.. Happy New Year!
Thanks, Johan! Have a Happy New Year when the noise stops.
 I like it 
  December 31, 2016
Nothing else to do I see? Very colourful little spinners. Getting quite mad because of the fireworks here.. It sounds like I'm in Aleppo... But i surely am in Waalwijk. Guess the ones firing the fireworks are enjoying it.. Happy New Year!
 I made it 
  December 31, 2016
Quoting Sam Sanister Another informative post on the mechanics of different Lego tops! Also, is there something missing from the brackets in this section? &#8743; My favorite substitute rotor -- in both underhand and overhand settings -- is the 30.4x14 solid smooth wheel (32146, D=30 mm, M=3.2 g) seen here in black in overhand configuration. Availability is somewhat better than the Znap wheel's, but [].
Thanks, Sam! Yes, something's missing, but it's not important.
 I like it 
  December 30, 2016
Another informative post on the mechanics of different Lego tops! Also, is there something missing from the brackets in this section? &#8743; My favorite substitute rotor -- in both underhand and overhand settings -- is the 30.4x14 solid smooth wheel (32146, D=30 mm, M=3.2 g) seen here in black in overhand configuration. Availability is somewhat better than the Znap wheel's, but [].
 I made it 
  December 30, 2016
Page is done now. Sorry to all for posting it prematurely.
 I made it 
  December 30, 2016
Quoting Oran Cruzen It is only called "d"? No main picture?
Thanks, Oran!. Oops, posted this one before its time somehow. Since you and Sven have already commented, I'm gonna leave it up and finish it in place ASAP. Shouldn't be long.
 I made it 
  December 30, 2016
Quoting Sven ;o) Again a very nice and creative collection of spinning tops my friend! Love em! Wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year. Have a wonderful time and please show us more of your beautiful creativity in 2017. With all the best for you, Sven :)
Very kind, Sven, and all the best to you and your family as well. Especially kind since you left that comment on a half-done page posted by mistake! Your following will only grow in 2017, my friend.
  December 30, 2016
It is only called "d"? No main picture?
 I like it 
  December 30, 2016
Excellent tops as usual Mr. Top Man!
 I like it 
  December 30, 2016
Again a very nice and creative collection of spinning tops my friend! Love em! Wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year. Have a wonderful time and please show us more of your beautiful creativity in 2017. With all the best for you, Sven :)
 
By Jeremy McCreary
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