RC Battle Spinning Top

A spinning top using a Hemispherical Gimbal Wheel drive system

Similar projects worth following
A remote controlled spinning top. Using a hemisphere on a gimbal to act as a omni-directional wheel, allows the user to steer the spinning top in any direction.
The PCB maintains a stationary frame of reference to provide a sense of direction for the user by canceling out the rotation of the body.

Users may be able to battle other users, either a 1v1 battle or a team battle. Once the spinning top loses rotation and falls over, it'll upload it's defeater to an online highscore list.
If the spinning top is outfitted with LEDs, they can be synchronized for a light show! (that'll be awesome!)

NFC can be used to identify players attacking the spinning top... (that's just an idea at this stage)

There's not much description to add at this stage. This is a concept idea that is yet to be 3D printed and tested. I'm a bit shy on resources at the moment so Follow this project and stay tuned!

This is a spinning top design that uses a Hemispherical Gimbal drive system that has been minimised to fit inside of a hand held toy. The hemisphere will rotate with the outer body. The angular momentum of the spinning top will drive the hemisphere. The Angle that the hemisphere meets the ground will be driven with two micro linear servos and a swashplate (yes, same thing used in helicopters!) 

(The above image is a concept drawing I made a few years ago, but hopefully the idea is illustrated enough to get the basic idea)

  • Design Update With Exploded View Animation

    Roman V06/12/2014 at 13:16 1 comment

    So I've spent the last few days in my spare time designing the parts in CAD and then assembling it in Blender (Yes, the 3D modeling software).

    I used Blender because it's a tool I've grown up with and I've had more success animating and manipulating 3D objects compared to Solidworks or Inventor. 

    I will get this design printed out soon using a local 3D printing service and will post pictures here soon!

  • Research Notes (2)

    Roman V06/08/2014 at 23:08 0 comments

    Since this toy will be remote controlled, the operator (the lucky kid who gets to play with this) will want to steer this toy in a direction of their choosing. The problem with this is having a frame of reference. How would the spinning top know which way is left or right, which way is forward. I could use a Gyro, but they're often difficult to take measurements from due to noise and offsets. Also, how will the servos react fast enough if they're also caught spinning all the time?

    An Idea would be to have a motor that will drive the PCB to spin in the opposite direction. to match the speed of the spinning top itself but reverse. so that the PCB from the operator's frame of reference, would be stationary. By placing a marker on the PCB, this would provide an excellent way to tell the operator which way if forward, left right, and back. 
    A problem to achieving this comes again to how well the Gyro is, whether it gets a sudden shock as the spinning top hits a wall. or if the filter isn't reliable and causes the PCB to slowly drift. 

    A solution could be to use a series of Accelerometers to measure to measure centrifugal forces of the spinning PCB, and then applying speed to the motor to spin down the PCB so that it is stationary. Of course this is still an idea and research needs to be done to see if this is viable. 

  • Research Notes (1)

    Roman V06/08/2014 at 22:40 0 comments

    Well, when I started with the design, I overlooked some mechanical details that would have rendered this toy useless or not as impressive as it should be.

    One problem with driving the hemisphere with the outer body is: The hemisphere is not on a fixed angle, the angle will almost always change. Initially I thought about using a Universal Joint to transfer the rotation from the spinning top to the hemisphere. However, after some research, it was found that they suffer velocity fluctuations that is proportional to the angle from rest. So the more of an angle that is used, the more the hemisphere will slowdown and speedup. 

    If this becomes a large enough problem, I've already designed a Constant Velocity joint to take it's place. I am worried about how much friction is being introduced though. so I've got both design ready to test to see how they go.

View all 3 project logs

Enjoy this project?



humanspin wrote 02/13/2022 at 20:41 point


As it is written in Research Notes (2) , I found a more simple design that need only a small processor and very simple mechanic

With 2 motors , one to turn the external part of the top M1  and one to turn the hemisphere M2

The internal part direction from magnetic earth field  is commanded by the remote so we don't need accelerometers. We need 1 gyroscope (optional ) + 1 magnetic fied detector .

There is only one driver for the 2 motors M1 and M2 

M1 turn at constant speed

M2 turn at variable speed  

In this configuration there is no need to have a gimbal with 2 movements. Just tilt the motor M2 with a servo motor M3

The remote has 2 buttons:

1 st  to turn the internal part in the direction that you want to go. ( North East South West)
2 nd to tilt the pivot ( right or left ) so you can go forward or backward.

I want to put a picture but I don't know how to.


  Are you sure? yes | no

Anthony wrote 09/19/2020 at 03:59 point

is this project still active?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jasmine Brackett wrote 06/16/2014 at 17:17 point
Hello nzsmartie,

Great project. I love tops, and a remote control one, well that does top it (ahem).

I thought I would let you know that we've updated the submission process for The Hackaday Prize, so if you want to *officially* enter this project - login and use the 'submit to' under your project images on the left hand side.

You've done a great job with your project logs so far, but should edit the description or details to show how it's 'connected' as that is one of the main criteria for THP. Also, we're starting community judging shortly, so now is the time to make sure you've added all pertinent details to the project to give it the best chance of winning something.

Got any questions? Give me a shout. Good luck

  Are you sure? yes | no

zakqwy wrote 06/08/2014 at 23:47 point
I think we're going to have some of the same problems. Definitely looking forward to seeing what you come up with, great project!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Roman V wrote 06/09/2014 at 00:10 point
Heh thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates