Lambda Simplified? :
This variant of the Lambda top is machined from a single piece of solid brass bar stock.
This consumes 4x the amount of brass compared to the two-piece tops, but it also delivers a more perfect spin. Any machinist will tell you that the most accurate part is the one machined to completion without removing it from the machine.
This also means they went from 2 manual machining operations on the two-piece top, to 5 manual operations on the solid top.
Does that make the Lambda Solid an even more unpleasant slog of boring, repetitive manual labor? Yep. Is it worth it? Totally.
Finally, the cycle time on the CNC is much higher because they have to remove 3/4" of diameter on the bar stock all along the length of the spindle. It also requires another deep drilling operation to get the spindle hole to 80% depth while on the CNC.
What's up with the hole in the spindle? That is 100% physics right there. Brass is more dense than aluminum; and making a top out of solid brass moved the CG (Center of Gravity) slightly higher when compared to the aluminum top. The CG must be below the Center of Mass or the top will not want to self stabilize. I tried a number of strategies to lower the CG on the top.
Nothing was working very well and I had the idea to drill out the core of the top "just to see what would happen." Like the discovery of Champagne, it was a happy accident. I'm a scientist at heart, and that is one perfect, beautiful 0.160 x 1.25" hole because it's EXACTLY what was needed to drop the CG right into the sweet spot for a perfect spinner. I bet you start to see this one on "other" tops out there in top land. It didn't take long for people to catch on to the ruby thing right? I don't mind that (much) but there's still some value in life for being the "original." At least that's what I tell myself.
Choices: The Lambda now comes with your choice of a high-precision Stainless Steel ball bearing or the original Instrument Ruby for the contact point. You may not see a noticeable difference in performance, but some people might enjoy the slightly lower price (and increased durability) at the expense of slightly less awesome :)
Durability: The stainless bearing is more durable than the ruby. A ruby is a ruby, and if you abuse it...it can break. It's like a wine glass; works fine until you drop it. The ruby cannot be repaired or replaced. The difference is the ruby is MUCH harder than steel, and will spin more efficiently. It's like the difference between ice skating and snow skiing...both water...both fairly "solid" but which one is more efficient for sliding on?
Spin Surfaces: By the same token, a granite (or tile) countertop is also MUCH harder than steel. That means if you drop it on a granite counter top you've just smashed it with something much harder than steel. Please remember, this is not a toy, it is a precision instrument and must be treated as such.
Glass is fairly soft, and the ruby will probably shatter glass before the ruby breaks. So if you drop your top onto a mirror or a glass table top it will impact with a TINY amount of surface area and magnify the force. You might as well drive a nail through it.
>>> Broken rubies are not covered under warranty. NEVER drop the Lambda top onto a surface when spinning it, or the ruby may shatter <<<
Your spin-time can (and will) vary. However, I'll leave you with the guesstimates below. These are based on my personal experience, and observation of other people testing the Lambda. If you can't seem to hit the numbers below, give it a little more "wax on, wax off!" That means "practice" in case The Karate Kid was after your time. Not the new one, the old one :)
- 6 Minutes: Most people should be able to hit this without trying too hard. You have to have a good surface where the top can actually stay on it for that long. Try a plate or bowl to keep your top from falling off the table.
- 8 Minutes: Put in a little practice and 8 minutes can be reached...some of the time. This was the first big milestone. To go past 8 minutes you have to have a good surface...and good technique. At this point I can break 8 minutes almost every time.
10+ Minutes: If you practice a lot, you'll start seeing spins over 10 minutes...but that is very hard to do. You might get 1 out of 5 spins that are over 10 minutes.
- HAVE FUN!
Rubies are hard and tough, but not indestructible.>>> Broken rubies are not covered under warranty. NEVER drop the Lambda top onto a surface when spinning it, or the ruby may shatter <<<