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How do you make a top that hums #1: How do you make spinning tops hum

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Blog entry by Jim Jakosh posted 03-08-2011 11:25 PM 7629 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Does anyone know the basic design of a humming top? Like what how do the acoustics work to produce the sound? I want to turn one and I’m not sure if it need round holes, has to be hollow or needs special size or spacing of the holes?
Any help or direction to an appropriate site will be appreciated>
Thanks,Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!



13 comments so far

View mafe's profile

mafe

9549 posts in 1747 days


#1 posted 03-09-2011 12:48 AM

Hi Jim,
I dont even know what it is, but it sounds wonderful.
Best of my thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View GMman's profile

GMman

3902 posts in 2355 days


#2 posted 03-09-2011 01:23 AM

A member had one on at one time don’t remember who?

View clieb91's profile

clieb91

3276 posts in 2593 days


#3 posted 03-10-2011 05:41 AM

Jim, I got to say you got me all kinds of wondering now. I just looked around the web and can not seem to find a wooden version of the humming top. I am sure the tin ones were easier to make, but I can not see why a wooden one could not be made to hum… Hmm something to ponder and perhaps play with.

I know I have seen string spinners that make a whizzing or humming sound so a top should be able to do it as well.

CtL

-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- PortablePastimes.com (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1854 posts in 2219 days


#4 posted 03-10-2011 06:31 AM

As I recall the humming tops of my boyhood (that I destructed for the advancement of science) had holes that pulled air across metal reeds (like those used in a mouth harp).

-- Joe

View mafe's profile

mafe

9549 posts in 1747 days


#5 posted 03-10-2011 11:52 AM

If you find out, I will love to learn.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11489 posts in 1763 days


#6 posted 03-10-2011 06:52 PM

I have searched the net and could not find the answer so I thought I’d write this blog and find a possible answer among our 25.000 members. I think it well need a person who is versed in acoustics or toy design to help with the design. If I come up with the answer, I will post it here for sure.
I’m going to turn a blank but I need to know if it has to be hollowed out first.
I’ll keep looking!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View mafe's profile

mafe

9549 posts in 1747 days


#7 posted 03-10-2011 09:10 PM

Thank you Jim.

-- Mad F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1057 posts in 1866 days


#8 posted 03-10-2011 10:41 PM

I’ve never made a humming top, but it sounds like a fun project, Jim. Off the top of my head, I would suggest a hollow form with very thin walls and several holes drilled in it. Or maybe some fins or louvers would work. Hmmmm… a challenge! :)

View myingyan's profile

myingyan

6 posts in 253 days


#9 posted 01-13-2014 12:37 AM

This is my sketch of a wooden humming top of my design.
Anyone can use it as they will, just keep the name on it.
Thank you

http://imgur.com/lpssOig

View myingyan's profile

myingyan

6 posts in 253 days


#10 posted 01-22-2014 03:23 AM

Further to the information I passed on regarding the wooden humming top and reading deeper into your initial request, I have the following to offer:- Imagine the humming top to act like a bottle when you blow across the neck. In the case of the top, the wind passes over a hole, or holes, as the top spins. You might also liken it to blowing across the mouth-piece of a flute.
If there are too many holes or the holes are too large, you will get very little or no sound, because the wind just passes through or over. Therefore, the fewer the number of holes, the better the sound. The pitch, like the bottle, depends on the volume of the total space. Again, like the bottle, if you could drill one hole at the base of the bottle, you would still have sound, but if you drilled several, you would lose all sound. I’m sure you get the idea.
To reiterate, only a physicist could give you an accurate and technical answer.
My choice of hole size and number came after several experiments on all of the above.
Although I have not tried this, I imagine more resonance would be achieved using hardwood in lieu of pine.
You have my email address should you want to know more.
Myingyan.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11489 posts in 1763 days


#11 posted 01-22-2014 03:32 AM

Thanks Myingyan. I will be using a hardwood and will try several different sizes and number of holes. I’ll start with what you came up with and go from there!!...............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View pitaaasa's profile

pitaaasa

1 post in 222 days


#12 posted 02-12-2014 02:28 PM

The (pressed steel) humming top that I have is a hollow shape with three groups of 4.7mm holes just below the rim, inside there is a vertical straight piece of card with an approximate butterfly shape (so it fills most of the internal space across a diameter but at top and bottom it has a W – shaped cutout centered on the axis).
At the bottom, inside the dome part, there is a set of reeds, similar to those in a harmonica, below this is the ‘bearing piece that the top spins on, around the base there are 6, 6.3mm holes. If I gently blow through the holes in the bottom, the reeds make a sound but they don’t make any sound if I suck.
I presume therefore that the cross piece inside the main body acts as a fan and as the top spins, air is sucked up through the reeds and exits the radial holes.
I presume that the empty space acts as a sound chamber and helps to amplify the sound. The four reeds produce slightly different harmonised notes. The type of surface that you run it on seems to have an influence on how loud the sound is too.
The whole thing is made from approx 0.75mm steel, the outside diameter excluding the rim where the two halves are joined is 132mm, the height of the main body is about 60mm excluding the domes at top and bottom which are 35mm diameter by approx. 12mm high.
I don’t know how unusual this type with reeds is given what other people have said about the bottle chamber type, but this is the only one I have to look at and sounds like the type that ajosephg describes.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11489 posts in 1763 days


#13 posted 02-17-2014 12:30 AM

Hi Pitaaasa, thank you so much for the design. When I get home in March, I will study this and try to reproduce it..Again, thanks for the details!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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