ABOUT THE WEAVE
Although the Weave is more visually appealing than previous non-lightup versions of Astrojax, the aesthetics of the Weave are actually secondary to functionality ...
Size and Feel
Due to the physics of the toy, the design of the Weave centers around the stuffing since that takes up the largest volume. The granulated cork stuffing has a specific gravity of about 0.15 grams/cc. (For comparison, polyurethane foam -- such as that which had been used for the Plus model of Astrojax -- has a specific gravity close to 0.4 grams/cc.) The fact that the stuffing is so light allows the balls to be larger than any previous version of Astrojax. The largeness of the balls makes them more visible and, in combination with the tactile feel of the crochet and the softness of the cork, makes balls easier and more comfortable to handle, which is especially good for performing tricks.
Although foot bags (such as Wham-O's Hacky Sacks) use a crochet sack as well, the feel of Weave balls is actually quite different than that of foot bags. Foot bags are loosely stuffed with hard plastic pellets. Weave balls are tightly stuffed with cork granules, so the balls are compressible but somewhat firm.
The Maya is targeted for children (although adults will like it too) and has a thicker string to give it a friendly, lively feel. Also, with the thickness of the string and the thinness of the vortex's throughbore, a single knot can function as an end stopper. The location of the knots can be easily relocated to allow the length of the string to be altered for children of different heights.
The Spectra string is thinner (about like that of the Aqua version of Astrojax). End stoppers are created by knots around black o-rings. The thinner string provides a little bit of stretch, which makes Spectra orbits feel very smooth, particularly at the bottom of vertical orbits.
Pro string is thicker because when doing string tricks, especially with heavier balls, a thicker string won't dig into your skin as much and is easier to manipulate and control. Because of the thickness of the string and the thinness of the vortex's throughbore, a single knot can function as an end stopper. This allows the knots to be easily relocated for different types of play.
A crucial component in the functionality of the Weave is the shape of the vortex. The Astrojax Weave has a spoked, substantially concave vortex. The spokes reduce the mass of vortex pieces. The concavity of the vortex also minimizes the volume occupied by the cork. Furthermore, the substantially concave vortex captures torques produced by the string on the middle ball at the string pass of vertical orbits better than would a substantially concave vortex. These factors facilitate the design of Astrojax balls which are larger than any previous version.
Crochet is the only weaving process which allows the complex toroidal shape of the sack to be formed with a single patch of material. Crochet is done by hand with a single hook, and each ball requires about 1000 stitches. We pay a fair trade wage to the workers in Guatemala, who are artisans who have developed their skills over years.
The Modular Design
The teeth at the inside ends of the vortex pieces have an almost-microscopic set of ridges which allows the vortexes to lock together when encircled by the precision-tooled central weight. The lock is of sufficient strength to keep the vortexes together during play (and impacts), but be pulled apart by hand to switch out central weights. The modular design allows central weights to be switched between versions. Performers may, for instance, want to put Pro weights in Maya Yellow or Spectra Sweet balls, to have Pros with greater visibility for performances.
Hybrid Artisan/High-Tech Design
As far as we know, the Astrojax Weave is the first product to combine hand-crafted textiles with precision-tooled metal and injection-molded plastic. To properly interface the crochet, plastic, and metal necessitates a level of precision highly unusual for crochet, requiring extensive training of our craftspeople and stringent quality control to bring you the best (non-lightup) version of Astrojax yet!