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Old 07-24-2009, 09:13 PM   #1
John Biddle
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A more forgiving homemade wallball

I know there are a lot of threads on homemade wallballs - I tried something different with the last one I made and I thought others might like to try the same thing.

The problem I've always had with wallballs is that they end up being pretty hard, limiting what you can do with them and potentially leaving you with damaged head and hands if you don't catch them perfectly.

To try to overcome this, I had previously tried mixing some beanbag pellets with the sand (adding in some lead pellets to keep the weight up) to try for a softer mix. This worked to an extent, but nothing outstanding.

Another worn out basketball recently became available, so I tried again. This time, I also had an old foam sleeping mat (like a cheap yoga mat) which gave me an idea - try covering the filled ball with foam to give it a springy and forgiving surface. This is what I did:

- Cut the valve out of the basketball, leaving a small (maybe 3/4" hole)

- Fill with layers of sand, followed by some lead pellets (I had the old tin roof of my house replaced a while back, leaving me with a lot of old lead headed nails - cut the head off the nail, and you've got free pieces of lead the size of the end of a finger, weighing about 2/3 oz. If you don't have access to a cheap alternative, don't worry about these) and then by some small cubes of foam. I cut up about one third of the mat into half inch cubes - easy to do. You have to push them in by hand as they won't go through the funnel you use for the sand. Repeat the sand/lead/foam layers process until the ball is full. Tamp down by lifting the ball a few inches and dropping a few times. Fill

- Plug the hole with a tube of cheap silicone

- With the rest of the foam, cut shapes like a skinny American football, as long as half the circumference of the ball to be covered and say 5 inches wide at the widest point. I cut 3 small V shapes out of each side of the foam piece, about 1 inch long by half an inch wide. Tape each piece to the ball - when doing this, you will see that the V shaped cuts let you mould the foam to the shape of the ball. Chances are you will have to cut one or more odd shaped bits to finish covering the ball

- Then tape over the foam covered ball as normal.

This felt pretty good, without being that great. I had a fair bit of foam left over, so thought I'd try putting a second layer of foam on. That really made a difference. The finished ball is about 10kg (22lbs - so I'm sure you could leave out the lead and still get it to 20lb even while putting a fair bit of foam into the ball) and feels good to catch and throw. It is also about 1 inch bigger in diameter than a basketball, which makes it a bit more like a bought medicine ball.

Cost - to me, old basketball, sand, foam mat and lead I already had. 4 x 30m rolls of tape and one tube silicone - Aus$13 (if I'd known I was going to use 2 layers of foam, I would have used less tape on the first layer so you could get away with less tape if you wanted to). Time - it did take a bit of time - covering the ball is fiddly, although once you done the first couple of pieces it speeds up. I'd guess about 90 minutes in total.

So, a little time consuming, and depends on you having a foam mat you can cut up - but a much better end product in my humble opinion!
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Old 07-25-2009, 06:39 AM   #2
Thomas Covington
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Re: A more forgiving homemade wallball

I blew out my homemade slamball this week and I am in need of another. I have tons of foam left over from a project and I will give this a shot. Thanks for the idea.
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