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Help with building a sphere made of wood. Answered

I'm looking to build myself a globe but I'm having a little trouble. Most globes today have a single pivot that lets you rotate the globe along a single axis. I'm looking to build a globe/sphere that will allow you to rotate it 360 degrees in any direction. My grandpa used to have a globe that didn't have any pivots and that had a stand that you could place the sphere/globe on and you could rotate it anyway you wanted. I haven't been able to find anything close, and his got burnt down in a fire. I don't foresee the base being a problem, but I haven't really built any spherical shapes with wood as of yet and I am hoping you guys might have a few tips to help me on my way. I figure I should start with creating a skeleton of a sphere using at least three interlocking rings and go from there and see how sturdy it is. Any insight or tips are much appreciated.


The best way I know to do what you are trying to do is make two bowls on a band saw or a scroll saw  when you are done glue them together this then can be finished on the lathe and sand paper

Get yourself a lathe i made one for a book end and the base should just be a would with a "pool" in it.

It's hard to make a sphere out of wood on a lathe, believe me, I've tried.

that might work, but it will still be very hard. Also, my lathe is almost 100 years old (made by delta, when it was a specialty tool shop and it didn't have the blue logo.) So it might be easier on modern lathes.

In all honesty the 100 year old one (if it's in good repair) is probably as good as a modern one (unless you're running out and getting one of the giant $5 - 10,000 monsters. What Tool Using Animal said is the key - have a jig be precise for you. I saw one on a metal lathe site a while back (I've been fixing up a 68 year old Logan metal lathe) that didn't look super complex. Also, one of the wood working magazines had an article on making a bocce set a while back with some tips on making a sphere. I think American Woodworker but don't quote me on that.

Sweet, I'll look around for that article when I have some free time. Thanks.

and also the last time I tried to make a sphere on a lathe is when I was 9 or 10. I've been using the lathe since 8

Well that's five years longer than I've been doing it ;-), damnably addictive isn't it. I've even started salvaging logs from my neighbors tree trimmings just to practice on.

The infinitely rollable part is easy, just make a three point cradle with universal transfer bearings. The sphere itself is more problemaic, to be smooth enough you will need to turn it, and that is a big hunk of wood if you're looking at a 12" sphere.

For the sphere I was planning on creating a skeleton that is hollow in the middle. Those bearings look promising. Thanks for the link.

wood globe and stand

This says it uses 1000 wood pieces to skin a globe. I don't know if the stand is similar to the one that was destroyed. How were you going to project a map onto the globe?

I had planned on using a CNC laser to burn the map onto the globe. The stand is very similar except my grandpas one didn't use water you could pop the big globe out but it was really heavy but as long as it was on the stand you could move it around pretty easily.

Well, I can offer some insight as to the movement method. The globe will need to be waterproof though. Build a half-sphere base with an inside diameter of almost exactly the same outer diameter of the globe. only a few hundredths or thousandths off. add just enough water into the base to fill the gap. This allows the globe to "float". Here is a 6 foot marbel globe that works this way. Turns real smooth.