Titan - Hardcore Ultem Begleri
Titan - Hardcore Ultem Begleri
Aroundsquare's "Titan" begleri are probably our best known design, and they remain one of the most popular in our range, due to the comfortable and high performing shape of the beads. If you're new to begleri, check out our begleri page for some basic information.
The Titans begleri are one of Aroundsquare's classic designs. The design is time tested and player approved, and over the years we have produced a whole range of different sizes, materials, weights, and so on. Among these, one of the cult classics has always been the Hardcore Titans - the favourite of many, including several elite players. These sets consist of an exterior shell, paired with an interior "Hardcore" metal bead for weight. This arrangment allows players to mix and match shells and cores in order to create a unique begleri setup tailored to their own preferences.
This month, we're excited to introduce a few new options to the Hardcore Titans family. The Ultem version brings the durability and amber beauty of the material to the range, and we're pairing it up with titanium Newton cores, for an optimized weight of around 19g per set. These are avaiable in a polished (higher grip) version, and a machine finished/ frosted finish.
Ultem is the branded name for a high-performance polymer also known as polyetherimide, or PEI. It's solidly in the category of what we might call badass plastics. These are materials that demonstrate exceptional properties, which truly set them apart from conventional polymers. Ultem has actually been around since the 1980s, but has only recently become widely commercially avaiable, and has subsequently exploded into the EDC scene. You'll see it in everything from knife handles to flashlights and everything in between. Part of what makes Ultem special is that when it sets and solidifies, the polymers bond in a way that prevents re-melting, even under extreme heat. This gives the material excellent thermal properties. It's also UV, chemical, and flame resistant, and due to its hardness, it can be machined very precisely, and much thinner than other plastics. Strictly speaking, none of these properties are required for a set of beads, but as with titanium on kevlar, there's just something awesome in knowing that what you have in your hand is exceptional.. that you could, if you wanted, use it for aerospace applications. The material has a crisp and solid feel in the hand. The polished versions have a glossy texture, similar to acrylic, while the machined finished versions have a soft feel, almsot like sea glass.
To most collectors and EDC enthusiasts, the most distinctive feature of Ultem might be its appearance. It is truly something to behold. In its natural state, the material is clear or semi-transparent, with a deep golden yellow or amber colour. In fact, it looks and feels remarkably like an amber resin, and there is an interesting connection there that is worth elaborating. Amber is one of the traditionally prized materials used for komboloi and worry beads, throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. And while we often think of traditional materials as being those that are naturally occurring, this is not entirely the case with worry beads. Amber itself is often stabilized with synthetic resins, but beyond this, readers of bead history will also see frequent reference to exotic sounding materials like Faturan, Bakelite, Parkesine, and Catalin. These are all polymer plastics - prized by antique collectors, and still used today in modern production. This historical context helps to legitimize a higher end polymer like Ultem in our product range, and in some ways, it's kind of symbolic of our journey. One of this things Aroundsquare has done well as a brand over the years is to respect and build on the historical roots of the products we create, and extend them into the modern era. We always seek to recognize and honour these roots, while bringing out contemporary designs using the best available modern materials. And having said all of that, here's this month's Ultem lineup.
2 Ultem Titans+ 2 Titanium Newton Cores
- 19mm x 19mm dimension for the shells (Newton Cores protrude an additional 2mm from the bottom)
- Weight: ~19g
- Drilled out with a 3.5mm bore for compatibility with either 275 or 550 paracord
New to begleri? Check out Aroundsquare's AO2 Crew demonstrating what this toy's all about, via the talented guys at Kuma Films (below). You may also want to visit our general information page on begleri, or do a deep dive on the history, configurations, or manipulation of this remarkable little toy.