Have you signed up for Blue Label drops?

Have you signed up for Blue Label drops?

Have you signed up for Prometheans Drops?

Lambda Top Solid Copper

The Lambda is the "original" ruby-tipped spin top. In an effort to achieve a higher level of precision, I created the Solid variant after the Two-Piece top. While not as elegant overall, Solid tops achieve the highest level of mechanical precision by eliminating the connection between the ring and the spindle.
Lambda Top Solid Copper
Lambda Spin Top - Solid Copper Lambda Top Solid Copper Lambda Top Solid Copper
Product Overview

Everyone is using rubies these days, but we were the first! If you know my work, you know I don't mess around. The Lambda is an expression of how I see the world: the ideal balance of performance, physics, and aesthetics. You are going to have a really hard time finding something is the same size/weight class that will out spin this top.

The Lambda is designed and crafted to be the world's highest precision spin top. When we launched back in 2014, it was also the ONLY precision top in production and spawned an industry. Our design hasn't changed, because it was perfect out of the gate, but we've spent years refining our manufacuring to deliver maximum performance.

Superior Precision: The "solid" variant of the Lambda top is machined from a single piece of solid bar stock. This consumes 4x the amount of material compared to the two-piece tops, but it also delivers a more perfect spin. Any machinist will tell you that the most accurate part is the one machined to completion without removing it from the machine. Any top that is machined on one end, flipped, and machined again is guaranteed to be less accurate. The more times you hold the part, the more error you introduce.

Product Details

My friend Joe, from Scout Leather Co., had been telling me for months that I should make a top. My response was always, "I make tools, not toys." But I was intrigued. Who doesn't like tops?

One afternoon I had a few hours to play around on the lathe. I had no plan, I was just cutting a top free-hand on the manual lathe. No measurements, no design drawings. Instead of cutting a cone for the tip, I dug around in an old project box and came up with a ruby sphere I bought for another job. The first time I spun the top it was obvious that I created something totally different in performance and physics from anything I had seen before. I showed the prototype to a few people and the most common response was, "Wait, it's still spinning? Are you sure? It doesn't look like it's moving.There is no way it's still spinning." No one else had seen anything like it either. I thought that was pretty awesome, and I believe awesome is worth sharing.

The secret ingredient (beyond a solid design based on Newton and "the physics") is the instrument-grade ruby sphere. You heard me right, I said ruby. This type of manufactured ruby is used in things like Rolex watches, super-precision measuring instruments, fiber optic transmission lines, and other really expensive and/or sciency stuff. The hardness is 9 on the Mohs scale. Diamond is one of the few harder materials and scores a perfect 10. That alone is awesome! This material has five times more abrasion resistance than carbide, zero porosity, high temperature tolerance, extreme chemical resistance, and extreme hardness.

Instrument Ruby is a crystalline form of Aluminum Oxide and called Corundum. Corundum is a naturally occurring mineral, but instrument rubies are synthetic. This material has the distinction of being the very first gem mineral artificially created in a laboratory. A small amount of impurity (Chromium) gives ruby the distinct red color.

So why all the fuss about exotic contact points? Ruby is MUCH harder than stee ball bearingsl, and will spin more efficiently. It's like the difference between ice skating and snow skiing...both water...both fairly "solid" but which one is more efficient for sliding on?

Broken contact balls are not covered under warranty. NEVER drop the Lambda top onto a tile or granite surface or the ball may shatter. Contact points can be replaced in tops that have hollow spindles (all current models)...assuming there isn't other significant damage to the top.

Hazardous Spin Surfaces: A granite (or tile) counter top is MUCH harder than steel. That means if you drop it on a granite or tile counter top there is a significant chance of damaging the instrument ruby. Please remember, this is not a toy, it is a precision instrument and must be treated as such.

Spin Surface Hazards: Glass is fairly soft, and the ruby will probably shatter glass before the ruby breaks. So if you drop your top onto a mirror or a glass table top it will impact with a TINY amount of surface area and magnify the force. I have not personally experienced this, nor have I heard of it happening, but it's still something to keep in mind.

Replacement Balls: You can replace the contact point of any Lambda Top that has a hollow spindle. Balls cannot be replaced on original tops with solid spindles.

how long will the lambda spin?
It depends...on a lot of different factors. How long "will" it spin is entirely up to you. How long "can" it spin is entirely unknown. My personal record (unofficial) is over 12 minutes. Check out the video below for a "bar-setting" unedited 10 minute spin. Your spin-time can (and will) vary. However, I'll leave you with the guesstimates below. These are based on my personal experience, and observation of other people testing the Lambda. If you can't seem to hit the numbers below, give it a little more "wax on, wax off!" That means "practice" in case The Karate Kid was after your time. Not the new one, the old one :) 6 Minutes: Most people should be able to hit this without trying too hard. You have to have a good surface where the top can actually stay on it for that long. Try a plate or bowl to keep your top from falling off the table.
8 Minutes: Put in a little practice and 8 minutes can be reached...some of the time. This was the first big milestone. To go past 8 minutes you have to have a good surface...and good technique. At this point I can break 8 minutes almost every time. 10+ Minutes: If you practice a lot, you'll start seeing spins over 10 minutes...but that isvery hard to do. Even now, I might get 1 out of 5 spins that are over 10 minutes. Just keep in mind that trying for a long spin is one way to enjoy your Lambda, but it's not the only way!
which material spins the longest?
Spin time is up to the spinner more than the material. However, the heavier the top the more momentum it can conserve, and a heavier top will theoretically spin for longer. Of course a heavier top is harder to spin in the first place, because it has more inertia (resistance to motion), so we are back to the person spinning the top as the primary factor in determining spin time.
which contact point spins the longest?
In my experience it doesn't really make a difference. But if you are looking for the most potential spin time then ruby is the only material to choose.
what's the best spin surface?
You are going to be tempted to overthink this one, but don't bother. Just buy a shaving mirror. I tested a lot of different surfaces in search of the best one. I tried marble slabs, granite surface plates, glass dinner plates, ceramic bowls, various mirrors, optical lenses, and chemistry lab glass. The Lambda may spin for so long that you won't have a flat enough surface unless you work in a laboratory or machine shop. After a couple minutes it will "drift" and eventually fall off the edge. The best thing to use is any kind of concave dish. However, I had a hard time finding anything in my kitchen where the center of the plate/bowl was actually the lowest part. Most had a raised or uneven area in the middle and this throws off the top. Right now my favorite surface is a little 5" shaving mirror (12x magnification) that you can buy from Amazon. It's a reasonable size, is fairly durable (for a mirror) and has a flat back so you can set it on a table. The smooth curve of the mirror means you don't need a perfectly flat surface, the top will naturally find the lowest point. NEVER use a Foreverspin base. These are coated in DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) and will ruin your contact point. They chose this material for it's extreme hardness...but DLC is harder than ruby. Remember, the only thing harder than ruby? It's diamond. You literally could not pick a worse coating. Don't use them.
why is my top making noise when I spin it?
This results from a less than ideal spin. This skidding is noise generated by friction. This occurs when the top has a large orbit because the ball is skidding slightly on the side, and not spinning directly on the tip. Typically the top will circle towards the center and stabilize, but this also means you've lost some total spin time because energy has been converted to noise and friction, instead of being conserved.
epic stability
Yes this is a video...it's not a still image! If you stared at it for a few seconds and then said "woaaah," we are on the same page. Welcome to my project :)
spherical contact point
Traditional tops use a "pointy" contact point. Let's agree to call it a cone. A cone isn't a very good shape for the contact point because you are always on one side of the point...or the other. This means the top will have a hard time balancing upright, wasting energy during the early spin, and then falling over early during the late spin when the top is losing RPM. It's inherently imprecise. The perfect sphere means there is a perfect point of contact with the surface, wasting less energy and spinning longer. It also means the Lambda is better able to spin along its axis; therefore, it does not exhibit the large amount of precession (angular wobble) that you see in a traditional top (above).
Ball Sphericity
The "sphericity" of the Lambda's Grade 25 ruby is 25 millionths of an inch. Take an inch. Divide it into one million (1,000,000) slices. The amount of error is less than 25 slices...out of a million. The majority of machined parts are manufactured to within about 0.001 inches. I created the chart below to make blowing your mind easier on your brain.
Ball Surface Smoothness
Below is an electron micro-graph that will give you a reasonable comparison between a metal "machined" surface and the surface of an instrument ruby. The image on the left is the ground edge of a razor blade. This is a much smoother finish that you will see with machining. However, compared to the surface of a ruby sphere at the same scale, it looks like the Grand Canyon.
included with your purchase
* Lambda Top
* Presentation Box
  • Material
    C145 Tellurium Copper
  • Weight
  • Diameter
  • Where it's Made
Instrument Ruby Contact Point
The secret ingredient (beyond a solid design based on Newton and "the physics") is the instrument-grade ruby sphere. You heard me right, I said ruby. This type of manufactured ruby is used in things like Rolex watches, super-precision measuring instruments, fiber optic transmission lines, and other really expensive and/or sciency stuff.
Instrument Ruby Contact Point
Hollow Spindle
I'm a scientist at heart, and that is one perfect, beautiful 0.160 x 1.25" hole because it's EXACTLY what was needed to drop the CG right into the sweet spot for a perfect spinner. It didn't take long before other tops out there in top land started using hollow spindles. Another added benefit of the hollow spindle is that any contact point can be replaced...assuming there isn't other significant damage to the top.
Hollow Spindle
precision that's not hype
I run a machine shop, not a hype factory. The Lambda is likely the highest precision object you'll ever hold in your hands. We control critical dimensions to (+/-) 0.0002" . A typical sheet of paper is 0.003" thick, so our tolerances are 7.5x thinner than a sheet of paper.
precision that's not hype
presentation box
Every Lambda comes in a snap-top box that serves double duty as a storage container and a display stand. Please be careful when you "present" this top to someone. You might preface the gesture with, "So I'm NOT asking you to marry me right now. I just want to show you this top." Or if you are actually going to use the Lambda as a token of your everlasting commitment...then you are the most awesome person ever. Send me photos.
presentation box
Customer Reviews
You may also like