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Chance Wolf
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Hey guys,
Anyone have any tips on manufacturing typical soft sponge balls?
Thanks
Chance
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

http://www.wolfsmagic.com
Craig Dickens
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Can't remember where I heard it, but... a length wire with a half-circle bend in it is heated ( ?) and spun into a piece of foam. Also heard that the fumes are very dangerous to the eyes and lungs. Not sure if this is accurate. Worth a try though.
e-mail at:magicaldickens@aol.com
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shomemagic
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I read, heard, or dreamed the fumes contributed to Al Goshman's health problems and eventually death...
l
Magically,

Mike King - Sho-Me Magic

You can e-mail me at: shomemagic@gmail.com
hugmagic
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I know the fumes from Al's business when it was in the garage killed the neighbor's tree. That story came directly from AL.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Father Photius
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You take a block of foam, a pair of scissors and cut away everything that doesn't look like a sponge ball. Smile My guess, to do it profitably you would need some sort of die and press.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
raywitko
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Eddie Ace from Pittsburg carves mine for me. http://www.tabmantables.com/spongemagic.html
Ray
Sometimes it seems there are more than one of me.

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jay leslie
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Chance.. It's a hot wire process

There is also a technique where you freeze the sponge so you can carve it.

Atomizing foam, releases VOCs and you'll need a suit and a booth to stay safe.
Bill Hegbli
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Sponge balls are now made with an injection mold process. The press cost in the hundred of thousands of dollars and to have the mold made at a tool an die shop would cost in the thousands range.

The government standards for the mixing of these liquid chemicals are really high, I don't think it is a garage operation any longer.

If you need a special sponge ball, just contact Goshman Co. for a quote. If you are asking to go into business, then it would be more informative to seek a manufacture in auto parts, like the foam lining for car inside parts and steering wheels.

I use to make foam steering wheels that are used on cards today. Harder foam but the process is the same. Then contact a chemical company that like DuPont that deals in this type of product.

By contact, I do not mean a phone call or Email, I mean you go in person to wherever you need to see the people. They have to know you are serious.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

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tabman
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Quote:
On 2009-08-27 15:22, wmhegbli wrote:
Sponge balls are now made with an injection mold process. The press cost in the hundred of thousands of dollars and to have the mold made at a tool an die shop would cost in the thousands range.


Why couldn't you just get a mold made and farm the work out to a company that already owns the press???

-=tab
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

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BSutter
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Quote:
On 2009-08-27 15:22, wmhegbli wrote:

I use to make foam steering wheels that are used on cards today.


None of my cards have steering wheels. I need to look into this.

Bill
Ray Pierce
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Craig's right about the hot wire. It's a simple tool that cranks out the sponge balls and yes the fumes are very toxic. Imagine taking a stiff 2" loop or even semicircle of nichrome wire and pressing 1" into a block of foam, then revolving it in a circle...you get a sponge ball. There are a lot of subtleties to it but that is the basic technique.

For me it falls under the catagory of things that are much better to buy!
Ray Pierce
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Bill Hegbli
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Back in the 1960's I seen a sponge ball machine that was similar to the potato peeler. It would have sponge balls in it and they would tumble around while being cut into a round shape. They did not turn out perfectly round.

Prior to that they were hand made by cutting each one a little at a time.

As sponge improved so did the process. I think Goshman was the forerunner and only person/company to invent and improve on the process.

This kind of business is not an operation that runs all the time. They simply hire part time workers for a few months a year to make the inventory they believe they will sell throughout the year.

Machines set idle for some time, before being used again.

Yes you can farm out the work, but Goshman is the person that can do this and has the knowledge. For a factory to stop production to make something new, it takes a team of engineers to calibrate the machines.

Note to BSutter: Sorry, spell check did not check my grammar, I meant cars as in automobiles.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Chance Wolf
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Thanks for the info folks.
My guess was the injection mold process.
I figured the mold could be made ( which I have the resources) and I was hoping it was a simple process of pouring the liquid foam into the mold, let it set and release from the mold.
I guess the million dollar question is the actual chemicals to be mixed etc.
I am actually more interested in farming this out anyway so maybe I will dig up some foam manufacturers and see what happens.
For the record, these will not be traditional sponge balls rather a custom form.
Thanks again
Chance
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

http://www.wolfsmagic.com
tabman
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Quote:
On 2009-08-27 23:24, Chance Wolf wrote:
For the record, these will not be traditional sponge balls rather a custom form.


Well, I knew it wouldnt be two inch round red sponge balls. Good luck with it.

-=tab
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
Bill Hegbli
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Foam today is made from highly dangerous and toxic liquids that mix at the mold level. It is not just a simple process of pouring some liquid into a mold. The mold is in a large clam press, top and bottom. The molds heat up to around 750 degrees. The clamp mold closes and through hugh pressure the foam is formed. The mold will be 200 or 300 pounds. With one mold you should be able to make at least 2 dozen sponges at a time.

Why so hot, because you will note that foam does not melt in the sun. It take high temp to create a material that will not melt in the sun. If you take a sponge to the desert, it will not melt, that means its melting point is higher then the earths heat. If it was lower, we would not have many product that would last through normal wear and temps.

Other people have made competing products, like the late Mike Rogers made his sponge Multiplying Rabbits, and other have done this as well.

Good luck in your research. I would start with the huge chemical companies and go from there.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
Ray Pierce
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Yes, if you're making a "shape" with a finished surface injection molding is great. A traditional sponge ball has an open cell stucture that allows for better compressibility so the hot wore forming might be better. Sadly, it only works for symetrical or square cut shapes.
Ray Pierce
<BR>www.HollywoodAerialArts.com
tabman
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Bill, you seem to know a lot about the high end manufacturing processes, is there a liquid that will dissolve a standard sponge ball??

Check out what my cousin and I manufacture at http://helifire.com and click on PyroShot to see the fire products. We farm out the CNC machining and anodizing and do a lot of hand machining in the shop and final assembly with a couple friend/employees. I have applied most, if not all, of the skills I learned making magic and exploiting those skills into the PyroShot venture which we started five years ago. We were firebugs when we were kids, still are.

Good luck with your project Chance and Ray, you are the best!!! One of the most knowledgable guys behind the scenes in Magic. I know.

-=tab
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
Servante
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Back in the 70's we were cutting foam rubber masks and props with a hot wire set-up we built ourselves in the theatre shop. Trying to remember...but I think we were using pre-existing heaters or something and stretching out the wire.

We learned later we were releasing fiercely toxic fumes.

Ah, the ignorance of youth.

Extending the thought...what you're looking for is an electric melon-baller of sorts.

However, on another technique...in theatre and film we make foam latex makeup pieces with negative and positive molds. It seems to me the same technique could be used for foam balls.

I've got lots of books on the subject on the shelves here.
You might look at "Techniques of Three-Dmensional Makeup" by Lee Baygan.

My copy is so old there's no ISBN number!
formfoam
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I use the razors, knifes and scissors.
Here it is possible to see my manual production.
http://www.morphopolis.tv
Or it is possible to see video YouTube - formfoam's Channel
http://www.youtube.com/user/formfoam
It is better to name it morph foam sculptures.
I do not trust that it is possible to make similar, using a mold (pouring the liquid foam into the mold). I have ideas for the control convoluting cutting machine, but all my morph dogs and dragons (probably you already use them in to routines) it is made by my hands. Hot wire it is awfully to read. The smell arises in a nose instantly.
Yuris Lesnik.
Stucky
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As far as I know Goshman are the ONLY ones who make supersoft sponge as it is a chemical process that is not easy to do. A lot of the sponge products made by others are too stiff or dense. The sponge eyeballs that came out a while back are a good example. Felt like couch foam.
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