> The story behind the construction
> Flowlight-based toys
> Parts and accessories
> Flow-wand and flowlight wand
> Weights of different poi heads
> Lengths of different tubes
> 1-piece staff lengths and #-lights capacity
> 6-light collapsible staff specs
> 8-light collapsible staff specs
THE STORY BEHIND THE CONSTRUCTION
Flowtoys was born of Sean's love for spinning and for making things. Sean made his first LED toys in 1997 before the technology was commonplace, but Flowtoys officially came into being in 2004 when he developed a versatile system for making LED props for his friends and realized that to get the caps he wanted in a clear color, he'd have to get a custom run of 4500! Well at that quantity they were fairly cheap, so he wouldn't have to sell too many to pay for them and he decided to take the leap, making them available to everyone. When the demand for flowtoys became clear, Prisna left her job and took over the business side of the company, building the website, and generally taking flowtoys to the next level and beyond!
From 2004-2007, all our parts were made from stock materials that we sourced from many different suppliers and re-worked to meet our needs. From 2008 onwards, we were able to use more parts that we designed and manufactured.
Why is so much of our stuff handmade or designed from scratch? In addition to the fact that we like making and designing stuff, the parts we need simply do not exist. The development time, money and minimum quantities required to have custom parts manufactured is prohibitive, but piece by piece we're getting there!
With the growth of Flowtoys and the spinning community over the years, we have been able to put more resources towards developing and producing cutting edge toys and turning our dreams into real products to share with the world. The flowlight, which was launched in 2007, was our first manufactured product. Since then, we have produced the crystal cases that protect the flowlights, designed and produced the new flowmass to make really nice feeling poi, and launched our modular system with click-in caps and connectors to create just about anything. We are excited to continue providing improved and inspiring illuminated flowtoys.
To all of you who have in one way or another supported us over the years, we offer our warmest gratitude and our promise to continue pushing the boundaries of design and human consciousness, and providing the best and most innovative illuminated equipment possible.
back to top
Flowlights, tubing and connectors:
Flowlights, tubing and connectors are all made of polycarbonate - the most durable clear plastic available and the same material used for bulletproof glasses. While the tubes are technically 1"OD and 7/8"ID, we have our tubing custom extruded to ensure that it meets our specs, as the difference of 5/1000ths of an inch can mean that the tubing is too tight or too loose! All the tubing is prepped in-house, which involves size-testing, cutting the tubing down, punching holes and deburring the edges and blowing off all the shavings and dust for a smooth, clean finish. All the jigs and many of the tools were developed and made in-house.
Crystal cases and Flowmass:
As of April 2009, flowmass is made of polyurethane, a much less toxic and impactful material than the previous mass, which was made of pvc the only option available at the time. We have a design policy of not using pvc, which increases the cost of materials considerably, but is a much better choice for our health and the environment.
We have two types of caps - the bridge cap and the flower cap. Both caps have a rubbery polyurethane inner bumper and a polycarbonate outer cap. The flower caps are overmolded with polyurethane. Caps are all assembled by hand.
back to top
PARTS AND ACCESSORIES
Up to mid 2011 our leashes were all made with nylon parachute cord - very durable and sleek, but not designed for spinning. We spent over a year developing Flowcord and tested it with advanced spinners from around the world to create the best cord possible for poi spinning! All flowleashes since early November 2011 are made of flowcord. Flowcord has a diameter of 6mm/.25" (measurements are approximate as there is some natural variation and diameter changes slightly when the cord stretches.)
Flowloop handles - "floops":
Made from the same material as "flowcord" but of a thicker diameter (11mm/.4"). We remove the stuffing from the cord, cut and sew these babies into a smooth, seamless and non-chafing handle and install our custom no. 8 pre-lubricated swivels.
These single and double loop handles are made of top-quality climb-spec nylon webbing that is extra smooth and truly tubular (no seam) to avoid any rough abrasive edges. They provide a soft and comfortable feel and a lifetime of active use. The handles on the flowleashes are installed using a drill press that Sean modified to punch the cord directly through the webbing, eliminating any extra hardware. The stand-alone handles are sewn on an old sewing machine that Sean found on the street, fixed up and altered to fit 4 layers of webbing.
FLOW-WAND LEVITATION STICKS
The core of the flow-wand is fiberglass, which is nice and heavy, extremely strong, and does not warp with humidity or temperature. We drill, bevel and clean the fiberglass and apply a special tape to give the wand its beautiful holographic finish. This step has to be done very carefully to avoid getting bubbles under the tape. We then put a layer of clear heat shrink over the whole wand to protect the tape and prevent it from peeling off in humid weather. The hole is finished with handtools and tiny clear caps finish the ends and ensure that no fiberglass is exposed.
We start by extensively testing flowlights to be made into wands to ensure they have very good buttons and battery doors that are extra easy to open. The bottom of the flowlights are cut to enlarge and prepare the area for fusion. The lights are then individually held together and heatshrunk, laid in a jig, and carefully injected with epoxy. After the epoxy cures overnight, we pick away the heatshrink and any stray dabs of epoxy, drill, bevel, clean and string the wand.
Wand string and swivel finger loop:
For the string, we used to use nylon upholstery thread, but since 2010 have switched to a braided teflon-coated nylon ice fishing line that is a lot more durable.
Short-string flow-wands come with a swivelled finger loop - a unique and key feature for wand usability and performance, as the swivel enables you to move freely without having to account for the string twisting up. For the swivel finger loop, we use a custom made tubular webbing carefully looped through itself and melted in to a custom swivel. Long-string wands do not include a finger loop, as it's not necessary for long string practice.
If your string breaks for any reason, you can replace it easily with extra string from us, or any strong button or upholstery thread or braided fishing line. You can also use invisible thread or fishing line if you wish. We have found that "clear" string often appears more visible as it catches and reflects the light. It's also less comfortable and gets tangled easily, but there might be occasions where it's appropriate. Feel free to experiment!
back to top
POI HEAD WEIGHTS
Table below lists the total weight of a single poi head. For flowlight-based rigs, this includes the weight of the flowlight(s) and battery. Note that because of the long shape of the flowlight based rigs, especially the duos and trios, the weight is not an indication of how the rigs will feel compared to a shorter poi head with a similar weight, since it is concentrated closer to the end of the poi.
|pomgrip - empty
|pomgrip - 7 washers
|flowlight in crystal case
|flowlight in crystal case w/ mass
|flowlight in crystal case w/ double mass
|flowpoi w/ mass
|flowpoi duo w/ mass
|flowpoi trio w/ mass
back to top
SHORT TUBE LENGTHS
||flowpoi duo, flowchucks, staff handles
||trio/clubpoi, flowclubs, 6-light staff ends, staff handles
||8-light staff ends, staff handles
back to top
1-PIECE STAFF LENGTHS AND MAXIMUM NO. OF LIGHTS THEY HOLD
One-piece staffs are offered in "flowlight lengths" -- a 7L staff holds up to 7 flowlights, a 12L staff holds up to 12 lights. Flowlights click onto each other and onto the end caps, and you can switch them around - super versatile. If you are concerned about budget, you can start with fewer lights and get more later to add to your staff.
- more length options, so you can get the perfect staff for you
- ensures all tube lengths fit flowlights perfectly with no dead space
- enables you to fill your staff with lights
- allows you greater versatility
- enables us to offer the option of a woodcore for a stiffer staff
Because of the way the system works, you can have a staff with just 1, 2 or 3 or more lights on each end. The versatile design also allows you to have different number of lights on each end to create a sword like prop -- in a 9L staff, you can have 6 lights on each end, and 2 on the other.
If you have an odd number of lights in a staff, you will not get a balanced symmetrical staff. If you want a staff that is 9L long and you want a symmetrical staff, you will get 8 lights with 4 on either side.
We do not recommend getting any staff length over 12L without a woodcore, as we think they are too flexible at this length without a woodcore.
LENGTH OF 1-PIECE STAFF WITH FLOWER CAPS
||length/ft & in
|13L (woodcore recommended)
back to top
6-LIGHT COLLAPSIBLE STAFF SPECS
All 6-light staffs use 3.5L tubes as "staff ends", which hold 3 lights and half a connector, enablng the tube to connect to another staff tube, whether it's a handle or another staff end.
Below is a list of staff lengths in feet (approx), inches and centimeters and the staff handle needed to construct that staff length if you are using 3.5L staff ends.
8-LIGHT COLLAPSIBLE STAFF SPECS
||no staff handle
All 8-light staffs use 4.5L tubes as "staff ends", which hold 4 lights and half a connector, enablng the tube to connect to another staff tube, whether it's a handle or another staff end.
Below is a list of staff lengths in feet (approx), inches and centimeters and the staff handle needed to construct that staff length if you are using 4.5L staff ends.
Flowstaffs longer than 62" will have noticeable flex to them. Many people don't mind, or even enjoy and utilize this flex. We also offer handles with wood core that eliminate this. Something to consider, if you want a very stiff staff when choosing your staff length.
||no staff handle
back to top