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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!

Thank you. The white blasted areas really gleamed. I wish the photos captured that.
<p>It looks really nice in the pictures, I can only imagine how impressive it must be in person! </p>
<p>That has two very impressive features.</p><p>First, you made an awesome trophy.</p><p>Second, a twenty-five pound ball of aluminum! Holy cow!</p>
Thank you very much. The weight was an issue, but mounting it to the board worked very well.
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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