About the Weave
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 string of the Astrojax Weave is thicker than strings of previous versions of Astrojax. The thicker string is easier to manipulate and control, and, especially with heavier balls, a thicker string is nice because it won't dig into your skin as much during string tricks.
In the Maya and Pro versions, the string is a weave which has an outer sheath and a core, and a single knot can function as an end stopper. The location of the stopper knots can be easily relocated. For the Maya version this is particularly useful since it allows the length of the string to be easily altered for children of different heights.
The Spectra has a custom-made coreless string. End stoppers are created by knots around small, black o-rings. The coreless weave allows the string to flatten somewhat and provides a little bit of stretch. The stretchiness and the lower sliding friction produced by the string's flattenability makes Spectra orbits feel particularly smooth.
A crucial component in the functionality of Astrojax is the shape of the vortex. The Astrojax Weave has a spoked, substantially concave vortex. The spokes and hollows, which are made possible by the concavity of the vortex, reduce the mass of the vortex pieces to lower the moment of inertia. Furthermore, the concavity of the vortex captures torques produced by the string on the middle ball better than the vortexes of previous versions of Astrojax. These factors facilitate the design of Astrojax balls which are larger than any previous version.
The crocheted exteriors gives the balls a nice soft, friendly feel and makes them easier to handle. Crochet is the only weaving process which allows the complex shape of the sack to be formed with a single swatch of material. Crochet is done by hand with a single hook. Each Maya Star, Spectra and Pro ball requires about 1000 stitches, and each Maya Sky ball requires about 600 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 of the Maya Stars, Spectras and Pros
The teeth at the inside ends of the clear 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. (The Maya Sky versions are not modular.)
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. Also, as far as we know, we are the only company to produce a crocheted item with a size tolerance of +/- 1 mm! To properly interface the crochet, plastic, and metal necessitates a level of precision previously unheard of for crochet, requiring extensive training of our craftspeople and stringent quality control to bring you the best version of Astrojax yet!