In June I was approached by a local aluminum manufacturing company to make a trophy for their annual softball tournament. Without giving any specifics I agree. A few days later he brought in a 25 pound ball of their aluminum. This is what he wanted me to use as the top of the trophy. He didn't want anything painted. I decided the only thing I could do would be sandblasting.
Step 1: Managing the Heavy Ball
First, a hole was bored into the bottom of the 25 lb, 7.5" diameter ball. I used a ratchet socket to create distance when mounted to a board. It was much easier to manage.
Step 2: Preliminary Test
Not knowing what sandblasting would do to the aluminum, I tested a flat piece. Since I wanted the softball to be white and the image darker, I reversed the stencil.
Step 3: Mocking Up a Sample
I created a 7.5" softball in a drawing program and use a vinyl cutter to make a pattern of the "skin" and applied it to the ball. This was my guide for the placement of the stitching and logo.
Step 4: Preparing for the Mask
I used very thin tape to position the stitching line before removing the pink template. I used the vinyl cutter to cut the mask for the logo and the stitching. The mask was a 7 mil. vinyl.
Step 5: Apply the Mask
I applied the vinyl cut mask for the stitching first, followed by the front and back logos.
Step 6: Sandblasting
The aluminum was white and sparkly after sandblasting. I used extra fine sandblasting abrasive.
Step 7: Mask Removed
Here is the ball after the mask was removed. I rinsed, dried and sprayed the ball with a clear coat. Just needs the base.
Step 8: Finished
I used a premade base and added a black spacer for the ball to rest on. I also mounted the metal laser engraved, plate to the front of the black spacer.
Finished 25 pound solid aluminum softball trophy!
The customer absolutely loved it!