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Square block with round steel balls inside

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BOB BLACKSHAW16/10/2020 09:10:35
427 forum posts
104 photos

I am stuck indoors still recovering from a operation so I'm a bt bored at the moment so asking this question. In the early seventies my father who was on maintenance at Vauxhall motors Luton was in the apprentice school and he told me at the time that a competition with Opel Germany , how many balls in a square block can be turned. By all accounts Luton won I think six balls, if this is true is there a web site that can explain the process.


Paul Lousick16/10/2020 09:22:48
1845 forum posts
659 photos

I have not seen balls machined in a square box but this is a Youtube link to a Turners Cube, cubes turned inside of cubes


turners cube.jpg

BOB BLACKSHAW16/10/2020 10:20:15
427 forum posts
104 photos

Thanks Paul, it was a long time ago so my memory got it wrong.


Henry Brown16/10/2020 13:24:24
473 forum posts
104 photos

I had the "pleasure" of making one of those cubes as Paul's photo when I was at Worcester Tech on my block release while doing my apprenticeship. I remember it was pretty straight forward until I got to the last side of the cube and the tutors insistence on accuracy of both bore size and depth became apparent, I remember when breaking into the other bores it was a bit scary!

The block was put on show at the college, I was promised that I could have it when I finished my course but that didn't happen. I wish I had bothered to collect it as it probably went in the scrap bin...

roy entwistle16/10/2020 14:04:33
1404 forum posts

I have seen one ball inside a cube and several cubes inside a cube, done by woodturners

JohnF16/10/2020 16:16:04
1094 forum posts
166 photos

If my memory is good I recall a great many years ago the couple Armand & Michaela Denis had a programme showing some “indigenous people” in a far flung land using the most rudimentary tools on probability a pole lathe turning balls within balls within balls from — horror of horrors Ivory I think ? So possibly somewhere on or close to the Indian sub continent? The balls were subsequently engraved or carved on the outer surfaces.

Anyone else remember this ?


edit spelling!

Edited By JohnF on 16/10/2020 16:17:26

Dave S17/10/2020 16:53:41
205 forum posts
41 photos

My father has such an Ivory Puzzle ball. I think it came from China, but my family has some connections with India, so maybe it’s from there.


Emgee19/10/2020 12:51:20
2148 forum posts
265 photos

This was done some years ago when the article appeared in the Digital Machinist mag, final cuts had to wait until a suitable 45 deg dovetail cutter was available, final cuts still not done many years later.



ready for final cuts 2.jpg

Henry Brown19/10/2020 13:37:19
473 forum posts
104 photos

I made mine on a lathe, was that done on a CNC mill Emgee?

Emgee19/10/2020 13:59:08
2148 forum posts
265 photos

Yes Henry, using a HSS 2flute 3/8" cutter at 2000rpm, the max spindle speed.


Derek Lane20/10/2020 00:17:14
507 forum posts
95 photos

In woodturning Chinese balls can be turned by using the David Springette set of tools made by Crown. I doubt they would be strong enough to turn metal.

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