Dauphin—introducing the pocket top that won’t spend much time in your pocket

by | Limited Edition Scovie Tops

Earlier this week, another series of precision metal spinning tops went live! The Dauphin series is comprised of 3 styles that make up a beautiful, complementary set.

Dauphin spinning top

First things first – the spin!

I recently made a social media post all about the machining process I used for these tops. I included 3 photos of different stages from making the top. One of the comments was:

These tops must suck because you didn’t include any pics of them spinning!

The comment was tongue-in-cheek, but he made a good point. As a machinist, the actual machining process is just as exciting to me as the finished product – regardless of what I’m making. I sometimes forget that other people care more about the final result. So, I’ve decided to show you the Dauphin spinning here at the top of this post, before I get into the specifics of how it is made.

Here is a Dauphin top in action on my kitchen countertop:

You can view a longer video showing a spin from beginning to end here on the Scovie YouTube channel. (Please subscribe while you’re there!)

Dauphin spec sheet

Here are the basic specifications of the top:

  • Stainless steel body with aluminum core
  • Hardened and ground ball bearing tip
  • Diamond knurl spin grip
  • 1.4 to 1.5 inches diameter (depending on the version) and 1.4 inches tall
  • Approximately 2.2 ounces

A few things set the Dauphin apart from the previous tops I’ve designed, including the Coosa, the Cahaba, and the Cheaha.

The first is size. The Dauphin fits the description of a “pocket top” more so than my prior tops. It’s only about 1.5 inches in diameter.

Next, this top brings together the smooth shape of the Cheaha with the hefty body of the Cahaba. So it looks good and spins hard!

Finally, I’ve made progress in optimizing weight distribution for a long spin time. This can be seen best on the Dauphin’s top surface, which contains a wide groove. The bulk of the weight is therefore even more concentrated toward the outside than it otherwise would be. To learn more about this, check out my post on the physics of spinning tops.

How they were made

Dauphins are made on a CNC lathe. Here’s an example of one of the operations:

These tops are made in two pieces – the core and the body. The core is aluminum and the body is stainless steel. The core contains the stem (the part you hold to spin the top) and the ball bearing tip that the top rests on while it is spinning.

One of the really cool things about these spin tops is that they don’t require any adhesives, screws, or other fasteners to hold the two parts together. Instead, it’s just a tight fit and friction that keeps them from coming apart.

The image below shows the body and the core ready to be pressed together. The white pieces are tools that I made specifically to hold the two parts of the top while pressing them together so that nothing gets damaged, bent, or thrown off balance.

I used an arbor press to press together the two pieces. Once the top comes out, it is ready to spin! (After inspection, of course!)

The Dauphin Name

This spin top series is named after Dauphin Island, one of the Mississippi-Alabama barrier islands that helps to define the mouth of Mobile Bay. It is home to beaches, a great public pier, homes and vacation rentals, and an all-around fun time on the coast.

Dauphin Island, Alabama

Many people who aren’t familiar with the Southeast US don’t associate “Alabama” with “beautiful beaches.” In fact, Alabama has some of the most lovely, snow-white-sand beaches in the country. A couple of those are right on Dauphin Island.

Dauphin Island lighthouse

Add a Dauphin top your collection

Dauphins are being sold as single tops and as a complete set of 3. I am working on designing a 3-top display holder for storage and to make for an attractive gift set. Stay tuned for that! In the meantime, I hope you’ll consider snagging one (or 3) of these tops for yourself or for a gift that the recipient is sure to appreciate.

You can find these in the Scovie top shop or in our Etsy store.

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