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New user
Houston / SA, TX
4 Posts

Profile of StraX22
Are there any slight of hand routines out there that use steel balls or could be adapted? I've got a lot of 1 1/16" shiny carbon steel balls (pinballs) lying around, and I usually always carry one around in my pocket as a conversation piece. It gets people's attention when I'm digging around for change.

I just think it'd be really cool to have a little story and do a quick impromptu performance.

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Inner circle
St. Louis, MO
1419 Posts

Profile of MacGyver
Can you classic palm them? You could probably do a coin routine or one coin flourish with the ball.

While this isn't impromtou like you want, Paul Gertner's Cups and Steel uses ball bearings for balls, and finishes with HUGE ball bearings.

A great routine!
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New user
Houston / SA, TX
4 Posts

Profile of StraX22
Yeah, I palm them all the time. The only downside is that they're a bit heavy so I have to be careful.

There's been a few instances where I'd be walking down a hallway and all of the sudden *CLANK* and I have to chase the ball across the floor. But I've gotten to the point of handling it so I don't have to worry about it too much (unless my hands are too moist).
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Veteran user
317 Posts

Profile of GaryW
I do a bare-hand matrix with Pachinko Balls. I probably have a dozen old pinballs lying around I'll have to give it a try!
Gary Ailes
Hot Shot Magic
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New user
Houston / SA, TX
4 Posts

Profile of StraX22
Cool! I completely forgot about Pachinko Balls, I've got a ton of those lying around too. They look pretty decorative with the kanji and katakana inscribed on them.

Thanks for the ideas!
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Regular user
Stockholm, Sweden
186 Posts

Profile of snilsson
In Nouvelle Magie Blanche Devoilee, a book published in 1853 (!), Ponsin describes a cups and balls routine by Conus senior (who was dead by this time). It uses copper balls about one inch in diameter. The book also contains an early version of "cigarette thru quarter", but in this case it's the spectator's finger that penetrates the borrowed coin!

You can't help but wonder what a good magic performance was like 200 years ago. I suspect we could learn a thing or two from the old masters.
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Eternal Order
24107 Posts

Profile of Dynamike
The Zombie looks like a heavy steel ball. How about using a 1" - 2" hollow aluminum ball.
Frank Tougas
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Inner circle
Minneapolis, MN
1712 Posts

Profile of Frank Tougas
Don Alan had a routine much like a spongeball two in the hand and one in the pocket type effect. He used marbles and ended with a large sized marble. I do much the same with some steel ball bearings, they are much smaller than a pinball however.

If you are interested the routine can be seen on the old Magic Ranch series. I doubt if it is in print, but again it is obviously a sponge routine, so begin thinking it that direction.

If you are only going to use one, you may want to read some billiard ball manipulation material. A couple of vanishes, a flourish or two might give you something on which to build a short routine.
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
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Loyal user
211 Posts

Profile of rcad
There is a "Marble Matrix" trick sold at the Trickery that could easily use steel balls.
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious." Albert Einstein
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Special user
821 Posts

Profile of Maestro
What about Gertner's Cups and Balls? I think it's described in his book Steel and Silver. I don't own this, so if you want more details I'm not the one to ask.
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New user
77 Posts

Profile of TrickeryMagic
Hi StraX22,

A multitude of effects are possible using steel balls. As mentioned in the other replies, Paul Gertner's Steel and Silver is a great read. One in the Pocket and Two in the Hand with jumbo ball as a climax works very well. A Ball and Vase can be modified to adapt a steel ball routine as can a Chop Cup. The old classic Steel Ball and Tube is still being manufactured.

Imagine showing your hands empty, reach into the air with one hand and pour out a shower of little ball barings on the table. As your other hand scoops them into a pile, with one magical pass, the mini balls vanish and in their place is a large ball baring. This can be accomplished with a T.T. and Raven, as well as other methods that do not rely on dealer props. A matrix routine can be done as mentioned earlier on this thread.

PK effects are possible without the use of magnets where the ball begins to roll on the table towards you or away from you. Multiplying Steel Balls can be fabricated, although there is one version currently on the market.

Combining a combination of different methods, a floating ball is very possible. Imagine rolling a ball under cover of your hand on the table. When you lift your hand, the ball has turned to a mess of melted solder. A silver silk turns into a steel ball when tucked inside your fist. A steel ball magically turns into a long mylar streamer. A steel ball is pounded onto the table where it turns into a silver dollar.

The coffee was strong this morning. Many more thoughts and ideas, but I have to stop here and get back to work. With a little imagination the possibilities are endless.

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