I call the simple LEGO® battle tops in this video “cleat tops” after the large hard plastic wheel (64711) used for their rotors. They pack a lot of punch and fun for their size.

∧ The simple game here is similar to the ancient Japanese battle top game of bei.

∨ From past experiments with simple LEGO® battle tops, I knew that the best choice for a rotor would be the cheap and easy-to-find hard plastic wheel with small cleats (64711). I just call it the “cleat wheel” for the blocky cleats staggered around its tread.

∧ The cleat wheel far outperforms other large hard plastic wheels in the violence of its collisions, in its “staying power” (ability to remain standing after a hit), and in its long, smooth spins when undisturbed. All of these are to the tops’s advantage in battle, and the last is desirable in any setting.

∨ I also knew that the Technic ball (32474) tip and 20 mm ground clearance of the top on the right here would optimize targeting and travel speed (long story) without paying too high a price in spin time and staying power.

I think of battle tops meeting these wheel, tip, and ground clearance specs as “cleat tops”. They’re cheap and easy to build, fun to decorate, loaded with play value, and robust enough to take the highest speeds and hardest hits without parts flying everywhere. (Don’t worry — I’m saving that for next time.)

You can see how other wheel and tip combinations and lower ground clearances affect the action in my first battle top video, but expect less excitement.

∨ My favorite cleat top arena by far is the Ninjago 3D battle arenaintroduced for Spinjitzu in 2011, but arena options are countless — including no arena at all.

∧ The key to speeding up the action in a Ninjago arena is to train the floor to sag by parking a weight in the center for a few days.

Once you have some cleat tops and a place to battle, the games are up to you. History, however, has some suggestions.

Read more here…

Jeremy McCreary

Jeremy McCreary

Lego spintop crafter

Lego Tops

Most of the videos here are extracted from my MOCs pages there and are working gizmos born of a fascination with gadgets and the science and engineering behind them. Technical LEGO® — my term for the fusion of LEGO® with STEM (science, technology, and math) subject matter — brings out my inner inventor/designer/engineer/toymaker like no other medium.

My work owes a great deal to the folks on my list of favorite builders. Their imagination and ingenuity never cease to amaze.