Whether you're good at it or bad at it, most everyone enjoys bowling. It's a time to spend with friends and family, to eat junk food, to wear someone else's shoes, and most importantly to bowl! There is something magical about throwing a brightly colored, polyurethane ball at a group of pins hoping to knock them all down.
If you are like me and enjoy bowling, or just love unique brightly colored jewelry; grab yourself an old bowling ball, head out to the shop, and make yourself a Bowling Ball Ring!
Step 1: Parts and Tools
- Various Bowling Balls (the shinier and more interesting the better!)
- Drill Press
- Ring Mandrel with threads on one end
- 1" Hole Saw
- Step Drill Bit
- 1/4-20 bolt, nut, and washers
- Small hand saw
- Rotary Tool (Dremel)
- Painters Tape
- Sand Paper
- Polishing Compound
Step 2: Drill Ring Blank
I found it easiest to work when the bowling ball wasn't rolling around. Get a roll of tape to set it on. Drill a pilot hole smaller than the inner drill bit of your hole saw. Using a hole saw cut the blank. Vacuum up the dust. Not sure what bowling balls are made of (polyurethane and stuff), but it can't be good for you to breathe. Side note, all bowling balls smell different when working with them. The teal and the brown/black bowling balls smelled really good, and the black/blue one smelled terrible!
Step 3: Break Out the Blank
Grab a sturdy screwdriver and pop the blank out.
Step 4: Cut Blank Size
Using a bolt and some washers, attach the blank to your drill. Use a healthy amount of tape on the threads to protect them and the chuck. With the blank in place, turn it and cut the blank to the desired size. It can be thick or thin, you decide. Cut almost all the way through. Don't want to wreck your saw on the bolt.
Step 5: Finish Cutting Blank
Place the blank in a vise and finish cutting through the blank.
Step 6: Drill Out Center
Using a drill press, drill out most of the ring to the desired size. Final sizing will be done in the next step.
Step 7: Sizing Ring
Using a sanding attachment for your rotary tool, sand away more of the ring till it's the desired size. 8 1/2 for this ring.
Step 8: Set-up Drill Press
This step can just as easily be done on a lathe.
My jewelers mandrel had some 1/4-20 threads on one end and just an open hole in the center of the other. I saw that and thought that it would make a great way to hold a ring for sanding.
Screw in a short 1/4-20 bolt into one end. In the chuck of the drill press, place a 7/16" nut driver to hold the 1/4-20 bolt. To act as the "tailstock" secure a small bolt into some material that can be attached to the table of your drill press. My drill press wasn't tall enough to hold everything conventionally so I had to flip over my table.
Remember to place some lubricant on the end of the bolt attached to the table.
Step 9: Sand and Finish the Ring
There's not much to it after you get everything set up. Wrap the mandrel with some tape to protect the measurement marks on it. Using increasing grit sand paper (100, 250, 320, 500, 1000) shape your ring and shine it up. I used various buffing compounds and a rag to really make them shine.
Step 10: Final Thoughts
I tried to see what I could do with the insides of the bowling ball. The Brown one had a nice white center. Doing the same process yielded close to the same results. The white turned out to be quite porous and didn't shine up too well. If you find a ball with different colors on the inside let me know.