Bowling is one of America’s favorite pastimes, and what fun would it be without the bowling ball? Bowling balls are integral to bowling, no other type of ball will suffice. They’re heavy and hard to get used to, but once you master your swing, you can get that strike anytime and impress all of your friends! What you might not often think about, however, is how a bowling ball is made. What is a bowling ball made of, and how do they make it so perfectly round and heavy? We’re going to teach you how a bowling ball is made and satisfy your curiosity.
What is a Bowling Ball Made Of?
Bowling balls consist of two parts: the coverstock and the core. The coverstock is the outer shell you can touch and see, and the core is what’s inside the ball.
There are three types of plastics that manufacturers generally use as coverstock material.
Polyester: Polyester is the least expensive material and produces the smallest curve on the back third of the lane. It is not affected very much by how much oil is on the lane’s surface.
Urethane: Urethane is middle-of-the-line in price range and offers more hooking action than polyester balls do. It is also more durable and doesn’t require as much maintenance as polyester balls.
Resin: Resin, also known as reactive urethane, provides the best hooking ability and gives the most power to the pins upon impact. This is the most expensive coverstock option.
Cores are created by adding bismuth graphite or barium either to resin or ceramic. Ceramic cores result in more forceful balls because the ceramic part of the ball does not absorb energy. Drilling finger holes also doesn’t affect the ceramic cores making it even more impactful.
Steps in Making a Bowling Ball
There are four steps involved in making a bowling ball, with multiple actions involved in each. We will break down those steps below.
Making the Core
The first step is to create the mold for the core shape. The design process is computerized. Once the mold is created, the core material is poured into the mold and allowed to harden. Then, once the core is solidified, it is removed from the mold.
If using a ceramic core, it will need to be fired in a kiln. If using a compound core, manufacturers can insert the first core into a second mold and pour a material of a different density around it.
Making the Shell
Once the core is finished, it’s placed inside a spherical mold known as the coverstock mold. A pin attaches the core to the shell of the mold to hold it in the correct position. Then, the manufacturer pours the coverstock material into the mold, encasing the core, and it’s time to wait for it to harden. Coverstock can be 1-2 inches thick, depending on the ball.
Filling the Gaps
Once the ball is removed from the coverstock mold, a hole will remain where the pin holding the core in place was. The manufacturer will insert a plastic dowel into the hole and cement it in place. This pin is a different color than the coverstock, so it can be used as a guide for positioning the finger holes. At this stage, manufacturers fill in the logo as well.
Finishing the Ball
Manufacturers shave off some of the coverstock to ensure the ball is the proper size. Then, they sand the ball to the desired texture with either a matte or a polished finish. Finally, the manufacturers box up the ball and ship it to wherever it will be distributed.
Pick Out Your Favorite Ball and Start Bowling Today!
There are all kinds of bowling balls to choose from, and now that you have an idea how they’re made, you can pick different types until you find out what kind is best for your game. Main Event is the perfect place to practice your perfect strike. We have professional-level bowling lanes, meaning you can hone your skills just for fun or for tournament-level play. Pick your ball and book your lane today to start knocking down pins and bowling those strikes!