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 Everyone wants Gowballs, stop whining and your own... (Maximized for beginers.)
Author: Marz Kelly 
Date:   05-30-02 20:24

Hey all, its the mad scientist again coming to tell you how to make your own silicone jacketed glowing balls in any size with a perfectally illuminated exterior (No bright spots due to LED's or dim spots due to charger jacks.). Huzah!

(Tip: For only one ball this costs around as much as an aerotech ball but the second one you make costs 1/3 that. Plus they can be MUCH brighter even than the aerotech balls. PLUS: It costs basically the same amount of money to make a 2" ball or a 4", you just need to figure out what you want and alter the equipment list to match.)

WHAT YOU NEED (Instructions for 3" ball):

1: 3" wooden ball (Woodworking store 'WS')
2: 2" wooden ball ('WS')
3: Pack of 150 grit sandpaper ('WS')
4: Plaster of paris (Craft store)
5: 2 rechargable AA batteries (Wal Mart)
6: Cheap battery charger (Wal Mart)
7: 2.5" peice 3/16" diam. solid coper wire
(Hardware store 'hs')
8: 3" square of thin copper sheeting (hs)
9: Dragon Skin silicone (
10: So-stong colorants (
11: 4 feet of 5mm EL cable (
12: IF-4 or IF-8 inverter (
13: 2" foam sphere (craft store)
14: 'on/off' pressure switch (radioshack)
15: 3' of speaker cable (RS)

*The cost of all this is aprox $70, but you get enough silicone for $26 to mold aprox 5 balls, multiply # 5,7,8,11,12,13,14 by the number of balls desired.*


1: Cut the 3" and 2" balls in half (Be exact), discard 1/2 of each.

2: Attach flat of 2" hemisphere to a handle and cover the curved side with sandpaper (Glue down).

3: drill a shallow hole at exactally the center of the flat of the 3", place the tip of the 2" sander in the hole, and spin it untill the 2" hemisphere fits fully into a matching depression in the 3". (You may have to change the sandpaper once or twice) What you now have is a 3" hemisphere with 1/2" wall thickness (In other words: if you put two of them together you get a 3" sphere with a 2" spherical chamber in the center.

4: Make a mold of this shape with plaster of paris (Tapping the mold while wet to seperate out the bubbles.

5: Mold two of these hemispheres out of silicone, adding colorants as desired and , again, tapping like a madman to get rid of bubbles. (Dragon Skin mixes 1:1, easy) (If you do not color the silicone the ball will glow whatever color the EL cable you use is but will be white when not lit; if colering the silicone, use white or light blue EL cable.)

6: Rip open the battery charger and strip the wires leading to the battery recepticles. Twist the posotive leads into one bunch and the negative leads into another. Attach speaker cable to leads (On wire per lead, make certin you keep track of which is positive and which is negative.)

7: Strip all coating on the SOLID (One peice, not many wires twined together.) copper wire and cut it so that you now have 2 peices; one 1" long and one 1 1/2" long. Sharpen one end of each of the copper wires with the sandpaper and attach the flat end to the speaker wire (Posotive to 1 1/2", negative to 1").

8: Form two cylinders of the copper sheeting that will allow the new wire ends of your charger to be tightly fitted. One cylinder should be 1"long and the other 1/2" long, they MUST have closed ends on one side so that the charger wires will not slide in too far.

9: Cut the foam sphere in half and hollow it out so that the inverter will fit inside. Put the batteries in the inverter and attach a wire to the leads on opposite sides of the battery sequence. Run a short wire to each of these and attach the other ends (of the wires) to the closed ends of the copper tubes (Posotive to the 1" and negative to the 1/2".).

10: Open up the inverter and remove the on/off switch. Wire the on/off pressure switch in its place with 2" wires so it can sit outside of the inverter box. Attach your EL cable to the inverter and test it.

11: Cut in to the surface of the foam sphere with a knife, all over its surface, to a depth of 5mm or so. Stick the pressure switch and coper tubes through the wall of the foam sphere from the inside (You have already hollowed out space for the inverter.) so they stick out 5mm from the surface in this array + o - (With o being the switch and +/- being the leads), make certin there is 6mm space between them. Glue the foam sphere together around the inverter and wrap the EL cable to cover the entire surface in a spiral pattern (Glueing down as you go.), placing wire in between the lead/switch array (Now +,el,o,el,-). Cut off excess wire.

12: Place a small amount of nail polish on the ends of the leads sticking out of the resulting ball and place it (While the spots are still wet.) inside one of the silicone hemispheres. Remove it and peirce the silicone through from the inside in the marked places with a needle. With a knife, form small dimples on the outside where the needle came through (These are necessary as markers)

13: Stick a large needle into each of the copper cylinders, smear the inside of said silicone hemisphere with clear adhesive, and put the two together so that the needles come out the holes you made in step 12. Remove the needles and allow to dry.

14: Glue the other silicone hemisphere to the resultant shape and allow to dry.



Stick the sharpened leads of your charger into the recepticles in the ball (As one cylinder is shorter, the posotive lead will not fit in the negative recepticle.) and plug in the charger.

(!IMPORTANT! If using the IF-4 inverter the ball will be around as bright as a globall from aerotech and will last 20+ hrs. on a charge; if using the IF-8 inverter it will be the brightest thing you have ever seen and last 8+.)


Press the spot between the charging dimples. To turn off press it again.


1: A glowing, chargable, sillicone ball in any color with no dim spots anywhere, in any size.

2: Bragging rights.

e-mail me if you have any questions.

Marz Kelly (

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 That should say build your own
Author: Marz Kelly 
Date:   05-30-02 20:28

OOPS, ran out of space.


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 Re: That should say build your own
Author: silver 
Date:   05-30-02 22:07

don't you just LOVE EL wire, i have a suit of this stuff, brag, brag....

<a href=""></a> here, have a look! (yes those are aerotech strobing clubs of the programmeable kind)

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 Re: That should say build your own
Author: Ryan 
Date:   05-30-02 22:16

My God Marz!

Ok, I'm sure this sentiment will be echoed by many other people following this post, but the second you are open for production, if someone had verified the quality of the balls, put me down for some balls. I am looking on behalf of two juggling retailers here in BC to try and find a reliable source for acrylics and other balls, and before I point them to Engineering Labs I'd like to see some of your work.

I would love to produce my own equipment, but I simply do not have the time or techical know-how. So best of luck to you in getting together your small business... I hope we continue to hear from you.


BTW - shifty or someone.. do you want to archive Marz' posts and compile them as an essay for the essay section?

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 Re: That should say build your own
Author: michael glenn 
Date:   05-31-02 01:29

Wow! It's nice to know we have a mad sphere scientist in the community. Keep up the craziness and good luck on your business venture!


balls of lightning rolled along....

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Author: joha 
Date:   05-31-02 01:38

id love to see a picture of these! can you post one (or more if you can) in the gallery for us? thanks.

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 Re: pictures and stuff
Author: Marz Kelly 
Date:   05-31-02 18:07

The picture angle is a bit difficult at the moment as my computer is currently singing with angels. I have to shlep off to the library to even put up a post. Plus, the only one of these balls I have made was a present for a friend of mine; once I have a chance, I will whip one up for all to see. That will be 1 1/2 to 2 months from now as all of my supplies are packed and in storage (I am moving to Boston July 1st.). Rest assured that I will do all in my power to comply with everybodys desire to see pictures and stuff.

On another note:

I am primarily a juggler and, a while ago, I began making my own balls so I could have compleatly custom gear. Once I have moved, I will start making balls and other gear for people who ask it of me, however, I am only one person and will NEVER be able to support the kind of production that I would need to supply shops on a regular basis.

So, what that means is that I will soon be producing LIMITED quantities of handmade balls for people who just cant get what they want elsewhere. What these posts of mine are all about is that I have been trying to get a few other people interested in making gear themselves. Therefore, if I dont have time to make a ball for someone, I hope there will be 2-3 other people out there in the community that will be able to help them. I will keep posting directions on how to do casting and other things, and ANYONE is free to write me if they should so desire. If you want to know if something is possible ask me and I will tell you either how to do it, or give you a good alternative.

Remember, I see equipment making as something I do when I am not juggling, and, If I ever become horribly famous and/or rich I will no longer have time to do it. So, lets start a conspiracy to keep me poor.

*Grins widely while his body slowly disappears.*

Marz Kelly (

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