Bowling Ball Rings

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About: My name is Troy. I'm a Mechatronics graduate studying Mechanical Engineering. I like to make things and spend time outdoors (especially SCUBA diving). I am a Community Manager for Instructables.

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

Parts:

  • Various Bowling Balls (the shinier and more interesting the better!)

Tools:

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.

Step 11: Enjoy the New Ring!

***I'm looking for additional ideas with what to do with the remaining parts of the bowling balls. Best idea will get a free year of Pro Membership!***

This instructable was inspired by one of my friends Zack. You can see his post on imgur.

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    44 Discussions

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    You could drill holes the same size (or different sizes) and use it for a bird feeder. Maybe add some pegs for the birds to grab onto and hang it somewhere with strudy wire.

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    You could use the rest as a counter weight to something or turn it into a bowl for fruit or make a wheel out of it or use it for the seat on a rope swing or use some more bowling balls and make cool looking hub caps. Also you could make dart handles or you could crush the rest into powder and use it for cool looking sand?

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    Yuvisrima

    3 years ago

    Nice Ideas... Superb...

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    ediestel

    3 years ago

    So rad and unique!

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    Bobmonkey07

    3 years ago

    For your ideas for other uses, it seems like you could make some interesting knife/tool handles. actually, depending on the material they're actually made of, some sort of nice serving knife/spade for cheese/cakes/pies.
    also, maybe work on one of the really difficult looking carvings like chains or the ball in a box.

    3 replies
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    IamSparticusBobmonkey07

    Reply 3 years ago

    Oh, the knife/tool handle actually. (I may have stopped reading at that point. :-)

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    wobblereclark9

    Reply 3 years ago

    Just don't stand under it in a high wind or it could be your last strike!

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    chuck.heaton.10

    3 years ago

    cut it in half and make a slot big enough to hold a road bike (mtb might be too big) wheel and use it as a free standing bike rack. You could make two of these from 1 ball obviously, or cut one of the halves in half again and use it as book ends.

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    LiveBreatheMusic

    3 years ago

    Half of one might make a sweet enclosure for a speaker! You could make a stereo pair.

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    dwinget

    3 years ago

    It would be really cool if you could use some of the different colors from the bowling balls to make a nice inlay pattern in wood.

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    ladybgood

    3 years ago

    making chess pieces came to mind.

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    blange

    3 years ago

    It would be cool to see something like a Bowling Bowl :) I'd love to have one of those sitting on my table with fruits and vegetables inside.

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    shaunfather

    3 years ago

    Very cool, why not make one of those desk pendulums if you have a few laying around?

    4sgm-24621-newtonscradle-1.jpg
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    marhou

    3 years ago

    Glue small bits of mirror, tile or glass pieces and set it in the garden for yard art

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    danzo321

    3 years ago

    I think they are polyester (fiberglass) not urethane but who knows. But why not drill straight down with 2 holecutters to get ring shape in the first place? Or second tool could be that multi-step tool.