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Flowtoys :: Technical Specs

FLOWTOYS CONSTRUCTION
> The story behind the construction
> Flowlight-based toys
> Parts and accessories
> Flow-wand and flowlight wand

TECHNICAL SPECS
> 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
> Composite system 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.

Podpoi - the world's favorite glow poi :) - was launched at the end of 2012, and in early 2014 we updated the flowcap and released the composite system, an extension of our modular system designed to provide the world with high performance light-up staffs, batons, swinging clubs and flower sticks.

We are excited to continue providing improved and inspiring illuminated flowtoys to world.

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.

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TOYS FOR FLOW

Flowlights, capsule lights, tubing and connectors: Flowlights, capsule lights, 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 - this increases the cost of materials considerably, but is a much better choice for our health and the environment.

Caps: We have three types of caps - bridge cap, flowcap and pod shell. Bridge caps have a rubbery polyurethane inner bumper and a polycarbonate outer cap. Flowcap is made of silicone and has an inner polycarbonate snapcap. Pod shells are made of silicone. Caps are assembled by hand.

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PARTS AND ACCESSORIES

Leash cord: 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.

Webbing handles: 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

Holographic flow-wand: 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.

Flowlight wand: 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!

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TECHNICAL SPECS

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 10g
pomgrip - 7 washers 35g
flowlight 37g
flowmass 30g
flowlight in crystal case 65g
flowlight in crystal case w/ mass 95g
flowlight in crystal case w/ double mass 125g
flowpoi 75g
flowpoi w/ mass 115g
flowpoi duo 145g
flowpoi duo w/ mass 174g
flowpoi trio 205g
flowpoi trio w/ mass 235g
podpoi 128g
capsule light 40g
crystal-capsule-pom-swivel-handle 70g
capsule poi 80g
capsule poi w/ mass 110g
capsule poi duo 140g
capsule poi duo w/ mass 170g

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SHORT TUBE LENGTHS

Tube lengths represent the maximum number of lights and connectors a tube can contain.
- #F tube can contain up to that number of flowlights --> 4F tube holds up to 4 flowlights.
- #.5F tube can contain up to that number of flowlights and half a staff connector.
- #CX tube can hold up to that # of capsules and a compression connector(X)
--> 2CX tube holds up to 2 linked capsules and a compression connector.
- #FX tube can hold up to that # of flowlights and a compression connector(X)
--> 2FX tube can hold up to 2 flowlights and a compression connector.
Note: Up to early 2014, flowlight-based tubes were represented in "L"s rather than "F"s. With the introduction of the capsule light, we have changed the previous L lengths to F, to clarify which light unit a tube can hold.

Tube length/cm length/inches Applications
1CX 13.7 cm 5.4" single capsule composite staff/baton
1F 14 cm 5.6" flowpoi, flowdart
shorty 15.5 cm 6.2" staff handles
1FX 17.5 cm 6.9" single flowlight composite staff/baton
2C 19 cm 7.5" capsule poi duo
2CX 23.4 cm 9.2" double capsule composite staff
2F 26.7 cm 10.5" flowpoi duo, flowchucks, staff handles
2FX 30 cm 11.8" double flowlight composite staff
3F 39 cm 15.4" staff handles
3.5F 45.3 cm 17.8" trio/clubpoi, flowclubs, 6-light staff ends, staff handles
4F 51.8 cm 20.4" staff handles
4.5F 57.8 cm 22.8" 8-light staff ends, staff handles
5F 63.9 cm 25.25" staff handles

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1-PIECE STAFF LENGTHS AND MAXIMUM NO. OF LIGHTS THEY HOLD

One-piece staffs are offered in "flowlight lengths" -- a 7F staff holds up to 7 flowlights, a 12F 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. Features:
- 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

NOTE: 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 9F 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 9F long and you want a symmetrical staff, you will get 8 lights with 4 on either side.

Woodcore: We do not recommend getting any staff length over 12F without a woodcore, as we think they are too flexible at this length without a woodcore.

LENGTH OF 1-PIECE STAFF WITH FLOWCAPS
tube type length/ft & in length/inches length/cm
6F 2' 7" 31" 79 cm
7F 3' 36" 91 cm
8F 3' 5" 41" 104 cm
9F 3' 9.75" 45.75" 116 cm
10F 4' 2.5" 50.5" 128 cm
11F 4' 7.5" 55.5" 141 cm
12F 5' .5" 60.5" 153 cm
13F (woodcore recommended) 5' 5" 65" 166 cm

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6-LIGHT COLLAPSIBLE STAFF SPECS

All 6-light staffs use 3.5F 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 3.5F staff ends.

Approx. length length/in length/cm staff handle
~3' 37" 94 cm no staff handle
~3.5' 43" 109 cm shorty
~4' 47.5" 121 cm 2F
~4+' 52.5" 133 cm 3F
~4.5' 55" 139 cm 3.5F
~4.5+' 57.5" 146 cm 4F
~5' 59.5" 152 cm 4.5F
~5+' 62" 158 cm 5F


8-LIGHT COLLAPSIBLE STAFF SPECS

All 8-light staffs use 4.5F 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 4.5F staff ends.

NOTE: 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.

Approx. length length/in length/cm staff handle
~ <4' 46.5" 118 cm no staff handle
~ 4.5" 53" 135 cm shorty
~4.5+' 57.5" 146 cm 2F
> 5+' 62" 158 cm 3F
> 5++' 64.5" 164 cm 3.5F
> 5.5" 67" 170 cm 4F
<6' 69.5" 177 cm 4.5F
6' 72" 183 cm 5F

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COMPOSITE SYSTEM STAFFS

Composite system staffs have a carbon fiber shaft connected to polycarbonate tubes via a compression connector. The overall staff length changes with the type and number of light units the polycarbonate tube can hold. There are 3 default lengths for each type of staff. Custom lengths are available for a fee. There are 2 diameters of carbon fiber shaft - 12mm and 15mm. Compression connectors are made to fit one or the other. Grip is 1mm thick and adds 2mm to shaft diameter.

Below is a list of available staff lengths in inches and centimeters for the various composite staff options w/ flowcap.

Staff type - max# and type of light unit length/cm length/in shaft diameter shaft length
Isolation staff - 2 capsules 80cm 31.5" 12mm 59cm
Isolation staff - 2 capsules 90cm 35.4" 12mm 69cm
Isolation staff - 2 capsules 100cm 39.4" 12mm 79cm
Isolation staff - 2 flowlights 89cm 35" 12mm 59cm
Isolation staff - 2 flowlights 99cm 39" 12mm 69cm
Isolation staff - 2 flowlights 109cm 43" 12mm 79cm
Contact/ Composite flowstaff - 4 capsules 140cm 55" 15mm 100cm
Contact/ Composite flowstaff - 4 capsules 150cm 59" 15mm 110cm
Contact/ Composite flowstaff - 4 capsules 170cm 67" 15mm 130cm
Contact/ Composite flowstaff - 4 flowlights 154cm 61" 15mm 100cm
Contact/ Composite flowstaff - 4 flowlights 164cm 65" 15mm 110cm
Contact/ Composite flowstaff - 4 flowlights 184cm 72" 15mm 130cm

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