Chat Area => Archives => Topic started by: korisu on February 04, 2010, 12:20:09 AM

Title: Ball texture
Post by: korisu on February 04, 2010, 12:20:09 AM
I got sick of the balls at my work table sliding out from under my guys (and lack of ball control in general), so I swapped them out for balls from my home table and brought the work ones home for cleaning. Now they're clean, but I'm noticing they're definitely smoother than the ones on my home table. I do want to bring these ones back to work so I can get my home ones back, but I don't want the same ball problems happening again within a week, and I definitely don't want to have to buy new balls for either table. I'm more than willing to do a little bit of work on them, though, since I have a few to spare.

So... is there any reliable way to manually add the fuzzy texture to these balls? I did a search, and found a little bit of information on what makes them textured or not. The foosball shop page on Tornado balls ( mentions that the amount of time spent "tumbling" adds proportionally to the texture. Does anyone know what exactly that "tumbler" uses to scuff the balls, and how I could recreate it to some extent at home?

I'd imagine the tumbler contains some sort of abrasive surface like sandpaper. I want to stay away from sandpapering the ball's surface directly by hand, because it'd likely cause grooves in the ball. Would it work to just line the inside of a can with some sandpaper, and shake until I'm satisfied with the results? I'd expect the results to be more uniform that way.

Anyone's experience here would help!
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: JSavela on February 04, 2010, 12:46:58 AM
I haven't tried it yet, but I've read in a couple places that people have tied them in a sock and thrown them in with a load of laundry (whites so the balls don't change color).  Then just let them air dry.
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: korisu on February 04, 2010, 01:12:35 AM
That's the first thing I did, and while the balls are cleaner now, they're still more or less smooth on the surface.

I put together a sandpaper shake can a few minutes ago. Wish I had a paint shaker or something like that. :)
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: BillV on February 04, 2010, 01:16:38 AM
The sock / washing machine is a great way to get them good and clean, but then you need some sort of sand paper tumbler / shaker to add the fuzz back to the older balls. I have heard of everything from old clothes dryers lined with sand paper to a coffee can similarly lined and shaken for a few hours. For the coffee can approach I would use 40 grit to get the fastest results. I think 60 is recommended for the clothes dryer for the most "factory" results.

By the way the really new balls, described as the 5 hour tumble by the web sales sites are what are used in major tournaments these days. They hold their texture much longer than the older version even if it is a little different texture.
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: jinhopark on February 04, 2010, 09:21:10 AM
The hot washer trick definitely works...although through my experience I found that NOT putting them in a sock got better cleaning results...although made for a louder cleaning experience.

I always envisioned someone using a rock tumbler type setup and putting course sand/rock in their with the balls to get the uniformed textured.  More industrialized versions of these:

I'd be curious how it is actually done though...  I've asked a few people who I thought would know and they had no clue, they purchased in the 2.5 and 5 hour tumble versions like the rest of us.  I'd also like to know how many times you can tumble a ball before it is worn down too much and deemed inappropriate for play.
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: bbtuna on February 04, 2010, 10:42:13 AM
first to the korisu - if you washed them and they are still slick they aren't likely "official" Tornado balls

interested how your tumble works...let us know

the tumble is like a rock tumbler...lot of stuff written on doing a home tumble which i may find later - however, the old "pink" Tornado ball need refreshing often which is where the washing and all the tumble advice came from...the newer red 5 hr tumble lasts much much longer - i haven't heard yet of anyone trying to refresh these

how long can you tumble before the ball is too small?  well, tumbling like we do, doesn't really take any size away...people of measured before and after with no loss...when you get a fresh pink ball the "fuzz" or "nap" is raised on the ball from original tumble...when the ball "loses" the fuzz I used to the fuzz left the ball but you never see it on your table and thats because the fuzz doesn't leave, it is just compacted back down on the ball

when you tumble, you are just raising the nap again so you don't impact the circumference of the ball...oh the slightest bit perhaps but even with real good tools, the change didn't, it would take either a really long time and many tumbles or a super harsh unrecommended sand paper before you would begin actually filing off the outside and impacting the circumference

in this case, if your tumble experiment doesn't work, don't kill yourself, just buy some new balls and get the real deal

with that said, don't know where everyone is headed in your play group at the office but if control and long lasting are goals, i would try and get a hold of some Warrior balls...lot more control, even than the improved control of the 5 hr tumble...i would do this only if the players were unlikely to move to local weekly tournaments or regional and national ones - if they were, i might not do that because it will take a lot of adjustment if they play on Tornados to go from the lighter stickier Warrior to the heavier, denser, less stickie standard 5hr tumble
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: jinhopark on February 04, 2010, 05:13:01 PM

Wow I never thought about the fluff getting smashed back down...makes sense.

The kids have a 6 lb rock tumbler and I'd be really curious what sort of aggregate Tornado puts in their tumblers to produce the 2.5/5 hour tumbled balls.  After 3 months of abuse my 5 hour tumbled balls definitely need to be "freshened" up again...hadn't really noticed how much they have changed until we temporarily lost a ball and so we replaced it with a new 5 hr tumbled ball and it was noticeably different.
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: bbtuna on February 04, 2010, 05:45:32 PM
have you tried washing them yet?  with the old pink, i have washed some by hand with dish soap and scrubbed them with a "greenie"...takes some work but if you only have a set or two of balls, it isn't too bad...last time I did it i did it for 5 tables and that was is something on a rock tumbler
 much more with the links below...

My kids have a rock tumbler....a cheap one from the National Geo store that they haven't used in quite some time. I lined that with 60 grit sand paper and tumbled 4 at a time for about 45 minutes. They didn't seem that different from when they went in so I tumbled for a total of 2 hours. I would imagine a "real" tumbler would require less time than my plastic one, but after the 2 hours the balls looked great.

I just brought them in from the weekend into my office (where by table is) and they play very close to brand new. There is not quite as much fuzz on the ball as brand new, but comparing them to some I still have which are only partially used, they are better than those.

Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: Old Meister on February 04, 2010, 07:20:17 PM
I have a gallon sized plastic jug that I spray glued 40 grit sand paper on the inside. I put the washed balls in it, wrap the jug with egg crate foam and tape it securely then throw it in the dryer without heat. Works for me. If I just want to scuff them up a little I just shake them manually for a bit. ;)
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: wildcard on February 04, 2010, 07:39:35 PM
Charles, the balls that came with my blonde in 1999 were official tornado balls at the time, and they are indeed slick. Put one of them on a grey marble and its like oil on ice, and if you hit a bank and miss they'll travel around the table multiple times, lol. I practice with them on my Five when I want to work on subtle ball control and finesse passing, and then pull out the 5-hour tumbled when I want to work on tic-tac stick pop passes.
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: bbtuna on February 05, 2010, 10:48:42 AM

i hear ya, the pink balls seemed to come out different every time they had a batch.   the differences from one to the other went from one extreme to the other and some of them, like those you are talking about, were simply terrible and don't age well unlike you and me  :P
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: wildcard on February 05, 2010, 01:07:29 PM
I've never had a problem with them going out of round, I think they are a harder material than the other batches. Although I do like playing with them sometimes in funzy games, the closer we get to warrior/IFP coming to town, I'll put them away and only practice with the 5-hour tumbled balls and the warrior balls on my blonde. My blonde's surface is slower so putting a tumbled ball or warrior ball on it works a lot like the warrior surface, ie: brush passes cant be started from as far back behind the rod as with the pink n fuzzies from 3-4 years ago. Stick passes seem to be about the same though...
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: Jenn_E on February 10, 2010, 01:04:31 AM
Try using a 2 inch piece of PVC pipe and an orbital sander with 60 grit.  Put the balls in the pipe, but make sure not to run it too long.  Works for us!
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: bmxracer4 on February 10, 2010, 04:58:53 PM
We had the older pink balls that came with our table. I ordered the 5hrs and liked them so much I almost threw the older ones away. I read the beginning of this post and bought a used rock tumbler off Craigs.. for 1$. We went to the local hardware store and bought 36, 50, and 60 grit sheets of sandpaper. We cut the paper to fit the entire tumbler and didn't have to glue it to the sides. From our two day set of experiments we came up with this combo. 36 grit, 8 hours, two balls at the same time. They play like new and my micrometer measurements didn't change (at least what I could measure).

Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: jinhopark on February 10, 2010, 06:16:17 PM
We cut the paper to fit the entire tumbler and didn't have to glue it to the sides.

I like where this is going, because I must have 30 or so "dead" balls laying around.

How exactly did you put the sandpaper in the tumbler.  Pictures would be helpful.

I was thinking about just putting some balls in with some crushed aggregate rock for a few hours.

I wish I knew what they use at the factory for 2.5/5 hours...sounds like a closely guarded secret, lol!
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: bmxracer4 on February 11, 2010, 02:04:20 AM
Hi Jinho,

The sandpaper came in sheets. I just cut the sheet to fit the entire inside and wrapped it around the inside of the canister.

I am having trouble posting the image. The nice thing about wrapping the sandpaper is that you don't have to glue it down. We were going to use a glue gun, but there was no need. I can PM you if you want the images. It really worked great, especially because it didn't change the diameter of the ball.
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: wokbelly on June 16, 2018, 10:24:23 AM
I just use skateboard grip tape its a self adhesive tape and peals off without any residue so you can add  new tape later
Title: Re: Ball texture
Post by: napoleonsmith on February 15, 2019, 06:28:23 AM
I suppose that only ( will be happy to fully generate any idea related to this unusual  issue!