Introduction: How to Make a 25 Pound Ball of Aluminum Into a Trophy

Picture of How to Make a 25 Pound Ball of Aluminum Into a Trophy

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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of Apply the Mask

I applied the vinyl cut mask for the stitching first, followed by the front and back logos.

Step 6: Sandblasting

Picture of Sandblasting

The aluminum was white and sparkly after sandblasting. I used extra fine sandblasting abrasive.

Step 7: Mask Removed

Picture of 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

Picture of 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!

Comments

bluefly12 (author)2015-08-11

Thank you. The white blasted areas really gleamed. I wish the photos captured that.

rlinscheid (author)2015-08-11

It looks really nice in the pictures, I can only imagine how impressive it must be in person!

ringai (author)2015-08-11

That has two very impressive features.

First, you made an awesome trophy.

Second, a twenty-five pound ball of aluminum! Holy cow!

bluefly12 (author)ringai2015-08-11

Thank you very much. The weight was an issue, but mounting it to the board worked very well.

ringai (author)bluefly122015-08-11

I'd have paid admission to touch that ball of aluminum just because it's such an oddity. I've never seen a real ball of metal that large.

About This Instructable

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Bio: I've been a graphic designer in the screen printing, embroidery and sign industry for over 25 years. I began before computers, designing T-shirt graphics ... More »
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