This week Colin shows us how to make your own set of contact poi. This is the method he uses himself and makes a really good set of poi, plus it’s fun to do it yourself!
Things You Will Need
– Stage balls – The eozoe 90mm stage balls are my favourite, but you can use pretty much any brand/size.
– Rope – For juggling poi I like to use 10.5mm static or semi-static rope. It is quite stiff and I find this helps with juggling. The most important thing for this method of making poi is that it has a plastic core as this will be how we make the attachment work.
– Handles – There are lots of options for handles depending on your preference.
I use the 3d printed “Penguin stubby XL” handles designed by Prop Box Approved in the USA.
– Tools – A drill and a “HSS” drill bit.
The thing to remember here is that your drill bit should be slightly smaller than your rope.
ie. 10.5mm rope > 10mm drill bit.
An old kitchen Knife.
Your knife will get covered in melted plastic during the prosess so one that you dont mind getting destroyed.
Make sure that it has an insulated handle.
A small sharp craft knife.
Useful for cleaning up any small imperfections when you drill the ball.
Some electrical tape.
Drill a hole in the ball.
Having a sharp HSS drill bit and going nice and slowly will help to get a nice clean hole.
You can use the craft knife to clean up and little bits.
The hole can be made anywhere but I would also make sure that you avoid the seam on the ball.
Melt one end of the rope.
This is going to be the part that goes inside the ball.
Make sure that the area you do this in is well ventilated as the melting plastic gives off some unpleasant fumes.
You are going to heat up your kitchen knife, I use my kitchen hob for this.
And then heat up the end of the rope.
When both are hot and the plastic on the rope is starting to melt you are going to use the knife to flatten out the end of the rope and make a melted plastic ridge on the end of the rope.
By the end of this you will want the plastic ridge to protrude out around the end of the rope by about 1-2mm the entire way round.
This will be the part that holds the ball on to your rope.
Put your handle on to the rope.
To do this I take the other end of the rope and just thread the handle on.
Depending on the size of rope and the size of the hole in your handle you may need to drill the handle out a bit so that the rope will fit.
Attaching the ball.
So once your melted end of the rope has cooled and is solid. You can put it into the ball.
I find the easiest way to do this is to take the melted end at an small angle to the ball so you can try and hook one side under first and then twist the ball to get the rest in.
This will take a fair amount of force to push the melted end inside however if you really don’t think it is going to go then you should stop and make some adjustments to the size of the hole in the ball or the melted bit on the end of your rope using the small craft knife.
Set the length of your poi.
I always like to use one of my old poi to set the length of my new ones however if you dont have an old set to do this with. Somewhere between the “full length of your arm” and “hand to elbow” is generally a good length.
It is always best to start with something that is too long as it is easy to shorten them later on but you cant make them longer after the rope is cut.
When you find a length that is right for you mark this on the rope with your pen and slide the handle down towards the ball end just to get it out of the way.
I then like to put a wrap of tape around the rope either side of where you are planning on cutting the rope, this just helps to hold everything together while you are cutting it.
Finishing the handles
Heat your knife back up again and use it to cut through the rope where you handle mark is, Making sure to melt any loose frayed ends back into the rope on the excess side.
Then to finishe the handle we are going to use the same technique as step 2 to make a melted plastic ridge on the handle end of your rope.
You can make this a bit lager than the one that went into the ball end of your poi if you want but again I find that 1-2mm is more than enough overhang to stop the handle pulling through.
Well thanks Colin! We hop you found this useful. If you’re looking to pick up some parts for your own DIY poi project check out our selection here.