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CLYW Yeti & Design 1st

The whole Yeti design experience has been a dream come true. It has been my goal for so long to be able to release an injection molded plastic return top with no weight rings to increase spin times. I honestly can't think of anything during the project that didn't meet my expectations. I'm very happy with how things turned out. Design 1st was a fantastic partner to collaborate with.

Chris Mikulin, CLYW

Revolutionary High Speed Return Top

So many of the projects that we work on here at Design 1st are fascinating -- and we love helping inventors bring their ideas to life. Many of our projects have amazing everyday uses, but not all of them are as fun (to build and to use) as the CLYW Yeti. The Yeti Return Top (a.k.a competition style YoYo) ranks high on our list of this year’s favourite projects -- and it’s one that we’re sure you’ll be putting on your wish list for Santa this holiday season.


CLYW is a manufacturer of premier return tops based out of Edmonton, Alberta and they have been a leading force in the international return top community since 2006. Founded in 2006 by Paul Wallace, Levi McCarroll, and Chris Mikulin, CLYW's first release was the Peak, now considered a true classic of modern design. As Wallace and McCarroll left to pursue other interests, Chris continued the company and grew CLYW into a globally-recognized brand producing some of the most sought-after professional Yo-Yo’s on the market.


Design-wise, CLYW strives to create high-performance Yo-Yo’s that are a perfect balance of form and function, manufactured for optimum performance at the highest levels of competition. Form plus aesthetics tailored to this market culture and carefully engineered dynamic balancing were equally important parts of the finished product design.


Building on the success of early models precision machined from metal, Chris approached Design 1st in the fall of 2012 to assist with the development of an injection molded plastic yo-yo. Interestingly, Chris is a mechanical engineer and has always been fascinated with design firms. He had always wanted to produce a plastic part that used the injection molding process for the benefits he could get from color selection, weight, cost and the possibility of more complex forms. This was the ideal time to turn that dream into reality. When he came across Design 1st online, he thought that the portfolio and range of projects we’ve worked on were a great fit, especially as Chris was searching for a Canadian company to partner with rather than a US or overseas partner.

Design 1st Achieves Dimensionally Stable, Dynamically Balanced Design

From the outset, Chris knew that he needed a partner who had extensive materials and engineering experience and was able to handle the precision challenges that would be a part of the design and development process of the Yeti. The Yeti needed to be dimensionally stable, high density, lightweight, and provide a multitude of design and colour options. The string needed to be a perfect polyester that allowed for high tension performance without degradation, and challenges like wobble and stability were of utmost importance. Working hand in hand with Chris’ initial design, he and the Design 1st team tackled these challenges head on.


With Chris based in Alberta and Design 1st in Ottawa, the interactive remove whiteboard, a tool that is a core part of the Design 1st process was especially handy, allowing for collaborative sketching and improvements to happen at a moment’s notice without the hassle of sending files back and forth.


One of the biggest hurdles was finding the right plastic that could make the injection molded yo-yo play the way that Chris wanted it to. Most companies add weight rings or side caps in order to increase rim weight (which helps dynamic stability), but the CLYW version was going to be simple -- with no extra parts! This made things complicated, since it would involve non-uniform wall thickness at the rims. During the testing stage of the process, some materials were too soft, or too light, while others would have sink issues, uneven density and crazy wobble which does not take much when spinning at speeds above 8000RPM. When a glass-filled material was finally found that worked extremely well, it was sadly only available in black. The search continued for a material that had similar density and properties, but that could be dyed. After a few rounds of test prototypes, the perfect material was selected and the Yeti was able to be produced in a rainbow of dyed colours.


Steve Brown, a blogger for YoYoNews claims “The Yeti is one of the most highly anticipated plastic releases in years, and it doesn’t disappoint. This is the first all-plastic yoyo ever produced to truly capture the play value of metal. The glass-filled plastic gives this yoyo a unique feel in the hand…the Yeti plays fast on the string and can handle anything. It’s as smooth as any other performance plastic on the market.”


"This is hands down, the best plastic Yoyo I have ever player!"
Yuuki Spencer, 2xTime World YoYo Champion


Design 1st feels you could be killing tricks like “walking the dog” this winter with your new CLYW Yeti ReturnTop. What works for the Pros also delivers fun for that individual just waiting to break out a new hobby. So go ahead ask Santa for a Yeti - available online at www.clyw.ca.


Hire an Expert Design and Engineering Team

Design 1st loves technically challenging new product design and development. Our team is ready to take your product ideas through our Product Design & Development process where we add value at every phase. Email us at d1mail@design1st.com or call Ian Kayser at 1.877.235.1004 x228 to learn how our process and expert design and engineering team can turn your ideas successfully into new products that are ready sell to customers.


Don’t forget to ask Santa for a CLYW Yeti.

Wishing you and yours a joyous Christmas from the
Design 1st team

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