The Penny Flatpack Kendama

The Penny is a player-oriented update to the Flatpack Kendama. This toy expands on the lasercut fun of the original with the addition of slots to press fit pennies on the cups & the tama. This increases by the weight by a full 66%, making it easier than ever to land crazy tricks.

Like the original Flatpack Kendama, the Penny reexamines the classic toy through the lens of a playable model kit, lasercut from a single flat piece of wood. Pop the pieces out & fit them together to build a beautiful & highly functional kendama, great for both expanding your collection & sharpening your skills.

Technical Specifications


Technical Specifications

Height: 6.8 Inches
Weight: ~48 Grams (33 without coins)

Height: 2.25 Inches
Weight: ~50 Grams (30 without coins)

Made & designed in the USA. Lasercut from 1/8″ Birch & packed in a hand-screened record sleeve. Coins not included.

Assembly Instructions

Gently slide the pieces together. Please be careful and take your time to ensure the best fit.
Glue is not required, but strongly recommended for heavy play.

1. Slide the slip stop (B) & the sarado (C) onto the ken frame (A)
2. Slide the ken crosspiece (D) onto the ken frame (A) through B & C
3. Press ken into rings: the bottom cup (E), big cup (F), & small cup (G).
The easiest way to do this is to set the rings on a flat surface, line the cup feet up with the slots, & push pieces together with gentle, even pressure
4. One at a time, gently press pennies (P) into the cups.

1. Slide together the center tama frame (H & I)
2. Press the gate rings (J, K, & L) into the slats for the tama hole, one at a time.
3. Slide the first side pieces (M) onto the tama parallel to one another. Slide two pennies onto one side of (H)
4. Slide (N) into place to lock the pennies in. Slide more pennies sideways into the slots of (I), alongside the two M pieces.
5. Slide pennies into the final (H) slots. Push the final (N) piece into place.

Thread string through holes near spike & top of tama. Have fun!

The Penny in Action

Here’s a great clip of Las Vegas players shredding the Penny, filmed & edited by Takeshi Kamisato.


How was the Penny made?

The Penny was lasercut in the USA from 1/8″ birch plywood. Drew handled the graphic design, Hank managed the machining & printing, & the two of them worked together on the product design.

Who did the cover art?

Bay Area Illustrator & yo-yo legend Paul Escolar.

Who is behind this project?

44RPM was founded by Hank Freeman & Drew Tetz, two professional yoyoers & best bros looking to explore the creative side of the skill toy scene. Hank is a three time world yo-yo champion living in Prague, Drew is the 2014 trick innovator of the year working as a graphic designer in New York.

Can the Penny be played with?

Yes! The Penny is a fully functional kendama.
Even with the addition of coins, he unique construction of the Penny makes it a little lighter & more delicate than traditional kendamas. For this reason, we recommend that you use caution when performing difficult tricks… but there are also some tricks that are easier on a flatpack kendama. Take a look at some of the tricks you can perform on the blog for ideas.

Do the toys need glue?

The Penny will press fit & hold together on its own for display or light play. However, we strongly recommend the use of glue for maximum playability.

What is a Kendama?

The kendama is a traditional Japanese skill toy consisting of a ball (tama) attached to a handle (ken.) It expands on the classic “ball & cup” archetype through the addition of two smaller cups & a spike, giving the player a dizzying number of trick possibilities. Recent popularity has brought in a new generation with new tricks, making kendama more exciting than ever.

Where do I start with Kendama?

Most players begin by trying to land the tama on the big cup; pull up gently, & bend your knees to soften the landing on the catch. Once this feels comfortable, try bouncing the tama between different cups. With enough practice, you can “spike” the tama & learn a variety of other advanced moves such as Bird, Airplane, & Revolver.

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