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Frequently Asked Questions:

(1) What plastic are Zippy's made from?
(2) Are Zippy balisongs durable?
(3) What is special about Zippy bearings?
(4) How do I adjust the balance on my Zippy?
(5) Why no threadlocker?
(6) Are Zippy's TSA approved?
(7) How do I disassemble, reassemble, and tune my Zippy?
(8) Do I need to lubricate my Zippy balisong?
(9) Will my nylon locknuts last forever?
(10) What do I do if my bearings are squeaky, there is noticeable pivot play/wobble, or the handles don't rotate smoothly?
(11) Isn't the blade too light because it's plastic?
(12) What's the deal with the Zipper's magnets?
(13) What do the Zipper and Cycloid sound like?
(14) Where are Zippy Balisongs manufactured manufactured?
(15) I already have a balisong trainer. Should I buy a Zippy?


(1) What plastic are Zippy's made from?

Polycarbonate (PC), the king of 3D-printed materials, and ASA. PC (blade) and ASA (handles) were selected after extensive testing* due to their mix of extremely high impact strength, stiffness, and tensile strength. It is multiple times more durable than every other commonly used balisong plastic such as PLA, PLA+, PETG, CPVC/PVC, Resin, and ABS. And, because PC and ASA have an extremely high heat deflection temperature, you don't need to worry about it melting/deforming in your car on a sunny day as is common with PLA/PLA+.

*Polycarbonate and ASA was selected after a months-long strength testing program that included 19 different materials: PLA, PLA+, PETG (2x blends), PCTG (2x blends), Carbon Fiber PETG, ABS, ASA (2x blends), Polycarbonate (4x blends) Carbon Fiber Polycarbonate (2x blends), Carbon Fiber Nylon, Glass-filled Nylon, and TPU.

(2) Are Zippy balisongs durable?

Zippy's are the most durable plastic balisongs on the market, and even rival (and in some cases, exceed) the durability of metal balisongs. 3D printed parts are generally considered weaker than their injection-molded counterparts because they are composed of vertical layers of plastic that are fused together. If the layer bond is poor, the part is only as strong as the bond, and part failure will occur at a lower tensile stress than the plastic properties itself.

Zippy's are printed using engineering-grade filament at very high temperatures, ensuring rock-solid interlayer bonding. Numerous stress-tests hitting the parts as hard as possible with a hammer and concrete surface showed that the latest versions of the Zipper, Cycloid, and Diode are virtually indestructible under normal flipping/dropping conditions: Critically, the interlayer bonds of Zippy's are not weak points; crack propagation is instead determined by part geometry. This means that the 3D printed parts of the Zipper and Cycloid qualitatively respond to stresses in an isotropic manner, and are as strong as their material properties.

Polycarbonate Concrete Tests:

 ASA Concrete Tests:

PETG Hammer Tests

 PETG Hammer Tests (weaker than PC or ASA; no longer used):

 Diode ASA Strength Testing


(3) What is special about Zippy bearings?

Bearings vs. bushings vs. washers comes down to personal preference, as they each have a distinct feel to their flips. Unlike most bearing balisongs, the Zipper and Cycloid run on dual hardened race washers, instead of just 1 (Benchmade 85 and 87), or even none (every other bearing balisong). This adds an increased level of precision and axial stability to the pivots. The added friction from the increased contact area slows the bearings to be controlled and predictable, while maintaining a butter-smooth swing. Critically, it also prevents the bearings from wearing a groove into an unhardened washer, which causes other bearing balisongs  (e.g., Flyti Lucha) to loosen up (and get dirty) over time as the washer groove grows deeper. The Zipper and Cycloid have an extremely tight lock-up with zero binding. Seriously, you just have to try it. While the Zippy race washer bearing system is starting to be stolen by other "makers" (who often do their manufacturing in overseas sweatshops), I am the original innovator of this system in balisongs and because of that, my implementation is superior compared to the copycats.

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(4) How do I adjust the balance on my Zippy?

The Zipper and Cycloid can be easily adjusted by the user to fine-tune the handle and blade bias of the balisong.

Zipper: Instruction Video

Each handle can hold one Tungsten cube and 1x spare M2 nylon locknut, which weight the base of the handles. The Tungsten cube can be interchanged with 1, 2, or 3 of the included lower density neodymium magnets. Plastic spacers are also included to prevent the magnets from rattling around when using only 1 or 2 of them. Because of their distance from the pivot, these weights have a higher mechanical advantage compared to the 12x Tungsten weights that are permanently set on the surface of each handle. The result is, by adding or removing the weights at the base of the handle, the handle/blade bias of the balisong can be fine-tuned based on your personal preference. There are over 6x configurations for the balance:

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The Cycloid has 3x balance configurations: Neutral (default) up to moderate blade bias, which can adjusted by removing the tungsten weights at the base of each handle. To remove the weights, insert your hex key into the slot and gently lever the weight up.

(5) Why no threadlocker?

Threadlocker (e.g., Loctite) is useful but has its limitations: (1) There is no way to verify the threadlock function without loosening the hardware; (2) minor fine-tuning after the threadlock dries cannot be performed without breaking and reapplying the threadlocker; and (3) Waiting 24 hours for the threadlock to dry requires patience. The design of the Zipper and Cycloid prevent the hardware from loosening without requiring threadlocker.

Zippy's each use a nylon locknut at the pivot, a major difference from the machine-style screws set in a sexbolt used by regular balisongs. The locknut impedes the loosening of the pivot bolt without threadlocker, making the Zipper, Cycloid, and Diode easily tuned without the hassle of breaking and reapplying a threadlocker adhesive. Of course, you may also use PTFE tape as a threadlocker for extra tightness if you prefer, but testing has shown that these pivots only require tuning under normal flipping conditions every few weeks. Do not use liquid threadlocker on these pivots, as it could damage the plastic if it comes in contact.

Next, the chanwich design of the handles enables the fine-tuning associated with a sandwich geometry, allowing the pivots to be adjusted to virtually zero play.

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(6) Are Zippy's TSA approved?

Technically, all trainer knives--whether plastic or not--are not TSA approved. However, plastic trainers typically get through security on carry-on luggage due to their low X-ray signature (they are difficult to notice) and the TSA agent's discretion, in which they make the determination that a trainer balisong is not a weapon. Although most plastic trainers do end up making it through security in 95% of cases, there are a handful of anecdotal reports on r/balisong Reddit of Squiddys and a Cycloid being confiscated at TSA. Consequently, it is up to you whether you want to accept the risk of bringing a plastic balisong through airport security. I have found a 100% success rate of bringing Zippers and Cycloids through TSA by disassembling the blade from the handles and packing them separately (and then assembling at the gate, on the plane, or at your destination). This is the lowest risk way to travel with a plastic balisong trainer, but please note that you do so at your own risk--ultimately whether or not your balisong passes or is confiscated is up to the TSA agent's discretion.

(7) How do I disassemble, reassemble, and tune my Zippy?

To tune the Zipper, Cycloid, or Diode, tighten the pivot bolt until you feel light resistance. If the handles don't rotate freely, loosen the pivot by 1/8 of a turn, press the pivot hex nuts firmly into a flat surface to ensure they are set properly, and test the handle rotation again. Repeat this procedure until the pivots are as secure as possible while still enabling unencumbered handle/blade rotation. Threadlocker is optional if you prefer to use it, but not necessary. The end result should be negligible play with a smooth handle swing. If the handle swing is not smooth and you have attempted the tuning procedure multiple times, please consult (10) in the FAQ below.

For assembly/disassembly, tuning, and bearing cleaning, please watch the following videos:




(8) Do I need to lubricate my Zippy balisong?

Negative, the Zipper and Cycloid each come pre-lubricated with a dash of 10W Nano Oil, one of the industry standards in knife pivot lubricants. With lubricant, less is more: a tiny drop on each bearing is sufficient. Unless you needed to clean your bearings, however, you shouldn't ever need to add new lubricant. Zippy's are not like bushing balisongs that benefit from being relubed every day. Nano-oil, white lithium grease, KPL-light, or dry graphite-based lubricants are preferred, but if you apply in small amounts, any normal balisong lubricant will do the trick. A good practice is to try and avoid lubricants labeled "heavy" or "thick". In contrast, the Diode can be lubricated with any lubricant and benefits from frequent lubrication due to the washer pivot system.

There is a common misconception that bearings should not be lubricated. While Zippers and Cycloids will function without lubricant, the pivots perform better when lubricated. Note that while lubricants can suspend dirt, insufficient bearing lubrication  increases friction and reduces the lifetime of the bearing. The Zipper's and Cycloid's dual race washers and bearing cage are highly effective at preventing dirt from contaminating the bearings, and so the performance increase from lubricant is well worth it.

(9) Will my nylon locknuts last forever?

The nylon locknut enables fine-tuning whenever you want without the hassle of threadlocker. Be advised, however, that nylon locknuts lose their ability to "lock" if they are tightened and loosened constantly because the nylon can wear down. If you frequently disassemble your Zippy, you may want to replace your locknuts from time to time with new M2 x 0.4mm nylock nuts. A spare nylon locknut can be found set inside the base of each Zipper handle. If you use these, replace them with the old ones to maintain your preferred weight distribution. Spare locknuts can be purchased here.

(10) What do I do if my bearings are squeaky, there is noticeable pivot play/wobble, or the handles don't rotate smoothly?

(A) The most common cause of squeaky bearings and handle binding is that the pivots are overtightened. Try backing them off a bit. If the squeaking/binding only goes away once the pivots are so loose that noticeable play has been introduced into the system, this is not the issue.

(B) The bearings may need to be relubricated. Disassemble the balisong and add a dash of lube to each bearing, then reassemble and retune. See instruction video here.
(C) If the issue persists after trying (A) and (B), likely the bearings or races are dirty. Follow these Instructions (video): Disassemble the balisong and place the 4 bearings and 8 race washers in a Tupperware with 91% IPA and give them a vigorous shake. Remove the bearings and washers and place them on a clean paper towel. Use another paper towel to firmly clean out the race washers. It is important you press the paper towel firmly into the groove of the washer and twist multiple times to clean out all the bearing residue/dirt. Do this for all 8 race washers until no dirt can be seen on the paper towel, and place them groove-facing-up back on the clean paper towel to dry. Then, place a caged bearing between 2 sides of another clean paper towel and gently gently rub the bearing between your fingers and the paper towel to clean it. Repeat this process for the other 3 bearings. Then reinstall the bearings/race washers, making sure to add a dash of lubricant to each bearing. You may instead add the lubricant to the race washers, but be sure to only apply lube to one washer per bearing (only 4 washers require lube, not all 8--lubing all 8 washers will introduce too much lubricant into the system and may slow down the bearings).

(11) Isn't the blade too light because it's plastic?

Negative: the Zipper blade has 3x internal tungsten weights to ensure optimal balance. The Cycloid blade has 2x internal tungsten weights. The Diode has 4x blade weights set in a socket.

(12) What's the deal with the Zipper's magnets?

The Zipper comes with 3 magnets per handles, which were used to dissipate energy during ricochets in the original version. Since the v1 was discontinued and the Zipper v2 was released, the closed handle gap was enlarged to match more traditional balisongs. Consequently, the magnets no longer serve this dissipative function, but merely serve as additional weight configurations.

(13) What do the Zipper and Cycloid sound like?



(14) Where are Zippy balisongs manufactured?

The Zipper, Cycloid, and Diode are designed, manufactured, and assembled in the USA. I am a one-man operation currently based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

(15) I already have a balisong trainer. Should I buy a Zippy?

Yes. Zippy balisongs are not like your balisong trainer. They are different. They are innovative. They actually do what is advertised. They look cool. And Zipper rhymes with flipper. Buy it and support a small business.