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What yo-yos did Don Pettit bring to space?

An astronaut named Don Pettit brought a couple of yo-yos with him on his trip to the International Space Station in 2012. The resulting video is fantastic!

A few folks recently shared this on a yo-yo messageboard and asked which yo-yos Don was using in zero gravity. I know Don through ORDcamp, so I asked him about his yo-yo arsenal. Here’s his reply:

I brought a number of Yo’s to ISS, most of them Kuhns; Silver Bullet II, Roller Woody, Pocket Rocket, Tom Cat, and YoYo Factory DNA. I took one of my TomCats and reworked the innards on my lathe and made it into a non-responsive with a 10-drop bearing. I made hubstacks and then had it anodized at a local shop that developed a color called “NASA Gold” that is used on Robonaut and our lunar rover prototypes. It is a deep gold hue that I really like. The DNA came with hubstacks, is non-responsive, and came anodized yellow.

For zero gravity use, hubstacks are critical to get an in initial fast spin so that subsequent tricks can be done, all in slow motion. Obtaining a fast spin through simple throw is difficult and yields a nearly uncontrollable yo.

-Don Pettit via email on 4/6/2021

Don is a rad guy and I hope to have him on an episode of my PopCast Yo-Yo Vlog sometime. Once this COVID situation is under control, I’m hoping visit Don in Texas and take him up on his NASA tour. So stay tuned.

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Lessons learned from a slightly viral TikTok user

YouTube is where I go to see yo-yo clip videos and vlogs. Instagram is where I go to see people showing off their newest yo-yo tricks. So what would I use TikTok for?

That’s what I was asking myself when I first signed up for TikTok last year. The first videos I posted were basically just taller versions of what I’d post on Instagram. Then it suddenly clicked with me, TikTok is a great place to share yo-yo videos that tell a story. Here’s an example (TikTok link/YouTube link):

@doctorpopular

“Show me something cool” #yoyo #yoyotricks #funny #comedy

♬ original sound – Doc Pop

In this video I got to show off some of my favorite tricks, while literally telling a story. I lucked out with this video and it ended up getting in front of many users. Most of my TikTok videos at this point had less than 200 views, but this one has reached around 127,000. With nearly 25,000 likes and 400 comments. That’s a pretty high conversion rate. Plus I don’t think there’s a single negative comment there, which is unheard of. I mean, if I post a youtube video that gets 100 views and 3 comments, 1 of those comments is guaranteed to be something awful.

Despite the one video doing well, it didn’t bring a lot of new followers my way, but it did at a small increase to the views on some of my other videos and it encouraged me to keep exploring more narrative trick videos, like this melancholy video about one of my all time favorite tricks (TikTok link/YouTube link)

@doctorpopular

Why did I give it such a terrible name? #yoyo #yoyotricks #slowmotion #comedy #funny

♬ original sound – Doc Pop

Although “Pony Farts” 99% less popular than “Do something cool”, I’m still really proud of it. Believe it or not, I hired a composer to create the original score AND a sound engineer to mix and master my narration with the music.

I’ve heard from several people who finally learned this trick thanks to this video. But “narrative trick video” doesn’t specifically have to be a skit or short film. You can use TikTok replies as a centerpiece for your story (TikTok link/YouTube link)

@doctorpopular

Reply to @yellowcum1 does this count? #yoyo #yoyotricks

♬ original sound – Doc Pop

Or you can try to be educational (TikTok link/YouTube link)

@doctorpopular

Quick Tips: How to Make a Heart #yoyo #yoyotricks #valentinesday #valentinesday2020

♬ Valentines Day – Romantic Dinner Party Music With Relaxing Instrumental Piano

I think the key is to keep trying new things and see what works. Don’t just share your Instagram videos to TikTok. Keep your video short and entertaining, get to the point quickly, consistently release videos, and try to keep your eye on other TikTok-ers to get some ideas and play off of memes. That’s how I ended up making this highly relatable bit of content (TikTok link/YouTube link)

@doctorpopular

Tiktok is hard, y’all! yoyo

♬ original sound – Doc Pop

I have a ton more videos on TikTok that you might get a kick out of, but most of my favorites get posted on my YouTube page as well. If you join TikTok and are looking for some other creators to follow, I’d recommend:

@doctorpopular

22 years of yo-yoing. Here is how my 🪀 tricks have evolved over the years. #yoyo #yoyotricks

♬ Up Down (Do This All Day) (feat. B.o.B) – T-Pain

Should you join TikTok? I don’t know, maybe? I like how the platform has encouraged me to get more creative with my content. At the moment it’s a very positive and exciting place, but it still has it’s downsides. The app sucks. Most folks still prefer other media (did you click the youtube links or the TikTok links?). Many platforms still don’t support TikTok video yet.

I’m not trying to give you a hard sell on adding another social media platform to your list, but I will say it’s worth experimenting with now because I think the lessons I’m learning on TikTok can easily be applied to other media as well. I’ve been on the platform for two months now and I’ve steadily grown up to 1,000 followers (compared to 15k on IG, 2.5k on YT, and 8.6k on Twitter). One more note, some of the videos I created for TikTok did far better on IG or Twitter, than they did on TT. Sometimes it just seems like dumb luck, so you might as well increase your odds by making more content and sharing it more places.

Follow me on TikTok
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An Interview With Jeremy Park From Zip Line Strings

The Day Tripper is a new yo-yo I’m releasing this week with Zip Line Strings. To celebrate I wanted to share this recent Q & A video I did with Jeremy in his home studio. Thanks to everyone who contributed questions.

I’m still planning on releasing a new episode of PopCast that is all about “redirects” with modern responsive yo-yos, but there was an error with the footage I shot on Sunday, so I’ll have to reshoot it all sometime this week. I hope to have it up before the yo-yo launches.
The Day Tripper will be available on DoctorPopular.com AND ZipLineStrings.com at 5pm PST this Friday, January 15th. Price will be $85 USD.

Patreon members, don’t forget to use your 10% discount code when checking out!

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PopCast #18: Pop-outs… or whatever.

Hey y’all, happy Monday! Here’s a new video to kick off your week, it features a move called “pop-out”, which is really simple and easy to throw in to just about any combo. Don’t forget to use #popcastyoyo if you share it on IG.

Due to popular request, I also added a review of the Sharper Image yo-yo, which uses a cheap plastic sleeve instead of a bearing and it’s… kind of great for responsive play. It reminds me of this recent thread on YoYoExpert.

I also talk about my biggest regret from 2018 and collabo goals for 2019. Thanks for all of your support!

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Car Chat: The 48 Hour Yo-Yo Project Part 1.5

We are still working on part two of the 48 Hour Yo-Yo Project documentary, but here is an excellent clip of Shawn (from One Drop) and myself talking about how yo-yo design and the current state of the Weekender project.


Speaking of the Weekender, I’ve shared a couple short yo-yo clips where I’m using a prototype. You can kind of get an idea of the sort of “modern responsive” play we are aiming for.

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The 48 Hour Yo-Yo Project: Part 1

Last month I hopped on a train from San Francisco to Eugene, OR in order to spend a weekend with the One Drop crew. The goal was to design a brand new (and somewhat atypical) yo-yo. We ended up calling this the 48 Hour Yo-Yo Project and plan on making it an annual thing.

Thanks to the support of my backers on Patreon, I was able to hire my buddy Clifton B. to document this project along the way. I’m happy to share part one of The 48 Hour Yo-Yo Project:

IF you enjoy these videos, you can help support me on Patreon. This month I’ll be giving away one of the 48 Hr Yo-Yo prototypes to one of my Patreon backers, so don’t delay.

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PopCast Yo-Yo #16: A complete guide to “Modern Responsive” yo-yoing!

Modern Responsive yo-yo play is a new way to look at old school yo-yoing. Rather than focus on trying to see how much spin you can squeeze out of a fixed axle yo-yo, this new style focuses on balance, regenerations, and creative tricks you can do without the yo-yo even spinning. It’s like a cross between kendama, contact juggling, 1A, and 2A yoyoing. If you are interested in getting started, check out the newest episode of PopCast, which is a guide on many of these responsive trick concepts and combos.

There are lots of great responsive yo-yos out there, but I truly love the “Doc Pop” Legend Wing yo-yos available on my shop for just $14.

I’ve also shared an in depth interview with Ed Haponik about his @bandalores project on Instagram. Be sure to give them a follow!

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A-Mazing Wooden Yo-Yos Now In Stock

I just added some new wooden yo-yos to my shop. These are fixed axle yo-yos made by YoYoFactory with an “A-Mazing” logo laser etched on the side. I really like using these yo-yos for responsive tricks, but they are fun to customize too. The unfinished wood really takes wood stain, ink, and/or watercoloring well.

photo by Shawn Garcia

Speaking of responsive yo-yoing tricks, I just posted an interview with Ed Haponik about his new Bandalores project. You can watch that here.

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PopCast #15: Fingersnap tricks!

The newest episode of PopCast is online and it’s a great one. In this PopCast vlog I focus on snap (or fingersnap) tricks, which is one of my favorite novelty concepts. Can’t wait to hear what y’all think about it. Thanks to all of my Patreon.com/docpop sponsors for making these shows possible and please share your snap tricks on Instagram with #popcastyoyo.

Oh, and don’t forget to check back September 7th at noon (PST) for the special release of the Saturday Night Market Executive yo-yos. Only 39 made.