General Questions for Custom Made Bowling Balls

1. How much is a custom-made bowling ball?

This depends on a lot of things like the materials the bowling ball is made up of and what type of customization has been done on it. A normal low-cost plastic bowling ball may cost anything from $40 to $60. If you want an intermediate level bowling ball with a customized core for a better grip, you would need about $75 to $150. If you want a pro bowling ball you could pay as high as $300 for one. If you want to customize these balls, the amount you pay depends on who is customizing your balls, the quality of the work and what type of customization you need. If you want to drill in extra holes to give you a better grip, you should have to pay somewhere around an extra $50 to $75. If you want to have your own unique design embossed into your bowling ball, you will do that for an extra $35 to $150. Again, this depends on who is doing that for you and the quality of the work. Putting this all together you should be able to get a cheap customized ball for around $75 and about $450 for a professional, top-notch customized ball.

For more information on pricing on different custom bowling balls, read this article

2. How do you make a bowling ball?

The bowling ball is not as simple as it looks. It is not just a spherical rubber ball or something that simple, the modern bowling ball has different parts that gives it improved stability and grip. So, how is it made?

3D Kid with bowling ball
  • First, the core mold is designed by a computerized process and the cores are molded. The core is not necessarily spherical-shaped. The shape and material used to make the core determine how hard the bowling balls hit their target. Ceramic cores do not absorb energy on impact so they are used to make the hardest-hitting balls. The cores can be made of a very dense plastic made by adding heavy materials like bismuth, barium or graphite to a resin; or from ceramic.
  • The core is then finished either by firing ceramics in a kiln or other refinement processes to strengthen the core.
  • The core is then placed inside a larger spherical mold and covered by the outer material. Polyesters are the cheapest materials out there and are used for the cheapest balls. Urethane is somewhere in the middle but reactive urethane is the most expensive and for the pros. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages.
  • Next is to fill in the gaps. The core would not just suspend itself in the spherical mold would it, something would have been needed to hold it in place so it remains at the center. This creates a hole that would need to be filled. A plastic dowel is inserted into this hole and cemented in place.
  • A logo can be added to the ball, it can then be trimmed to its desired size, polished, and packaged for distribution.

3. Should I polish my bowling ball?

The short answer to this is yes and for many good reasons. You will just need to be careful about polishing the ball. Unlike most other objects, polishing your bowling balls does more than just adding to the beauty. The chemicals used to polish your balls can increase or decrease the friction of the bowling balls and affect the impact your balls make. Over-polishing your balls can make it very glossy and cause it to lose its grip. Also, if you do not polish your balls often, they can wear out and lose their grips. Depending on the quality of your balls or the materials they are made of, they can start wearing out after 6 to 12 games. If you use a polyester ball, you have to polish it after every 4 to 6 games because they wear out faster. Reactive urethane balls are more durable so you need to polish less often like say after every 10 to 12 games.

Learn more about cleaning the bowling ball here:

4. How heavy of a bowling ball should I use?

The Ways Bowling Balls Can Be Customized

The answer to this depends on you. The maximum legal weight allowed for a bowling ball is about 16 pounds. However, it is not necessary for you to use the heaviest balls on the list because you just might break your arms and it is not efficient. Many bowlers agree though that heavier is better because heavier balls tend to deliver more “damage” when they hit the bowling pins. Many people say you should get a ball equal to 10% of your body weight or less than 16lbs (because it is illegal to use a ball greater than 16lbs). Even if the ball is less than 10% of your body weight, you will have to try it out and see if you are comfortable using it.

The details article with examples can be found here:

5. Why use a heavy bowling ball?

The reason is simple. The kinetic energy you need to knock out your pins is directly proportional to your mass and the square of your velocity. You can calculate it by the equation:

Where m is the mass and v is the velocity. What this means is that the more the mass of the ball the more the energy your ball can give you. Since mass is directly proportional to weight, it means the heavier your ball is, the more damage it can deliver. You also have to note that energy is also proportional to the velocity. In fact, increasing the velocity is twice as efficient as increasing the mass. the more the speed, the more impact you can make. If your ball is too light, it would be all over the place and you will sacrifice control for speed. If it is too heavy you will end up sacrificing control for weight and your hands will be sore. In order to maximize your efficiency, use the heaviest ball you know you can throw at the fastest speed without losing control.

6. What are the top-rated bowling balls?

Some of the best-rated bowling balls are Brunswick Rhino Reactive for dry lanes, Hammer Black Widow Legend for oily lanes and different situations, which has a great hook,  Motiv Venom Cobra, and Storm Code Red. Some of these balls are made of reactive urethane or hybrid materials to give them better grips and properties

7. What are bowling balls filled with? Or Is a bowling ball hollow or solid?

Bowling balls are not hollow but are solid-bodied as we have discussed under manufacture. They consist of a solid core surrounded by filler material which can be polyester, urethane or reactive urethane.

8. How do I make my bowling ball shiny?

First, it is important to understand what makes a surface shiny or rough. Smooth surfaces generally reflect light in a single direction. Our eyes interpret this as a shining reflection. Rough surfaces, on the other hand, bounce light haphazardly. That is why we think it is rough. When you first throw your bowling ball on the lane, friction chips off some parts of the ball. This makes your ball rough and not shiny. However, if you regularly clean and polish your ball with ball cleaners and polish, it will remove dust and other materials that roughen the ball. This would give your ball a smoother and shinier appearance.

Learn more about cleaning the bowling ball here:

9. What is the best speed for a bowling ball?

In theory, increasing the speed doubles the velocity of the ball so you should just throw the ball as fast as you can, right? No! Just as we said about weights, you have to use the optimal speed. If your ball is too slow, it won’t hit the pins with enough energy. Too fast and you may lose control of the ball and not get it to hit the pins at the best angles. Most pros throw their balls in a way that hits the pins at around 17 to 18 mph. Anything less is suboptimal. Since friction reduces the speed of the ball as it approaches the pins you would have to throw the ball at a speed of say 21 to 22mph to achieve great results.

10. Why do bowling balls float?

First, let us make a correction to that statement. Not all bowling balls float in water. Some float and some sink. The question is why the difference? The reason has to do with the density. If the density of the ball is greater than the density of the water it will sink. If not, it will float. This is related to the Archimedes principle I think.

The standard volume of most bowling balls is 5447cm3. The determining factor is the weight. For a ball to float, its density has to be less than that of water. The density of water is about 0.001kg/cm3. A 12lbs (5.44311kg) standard size bowling ball has a density of just 0.0009993kg/cm3. It would barely float in water is it is almost 0.001kg/cm3. Any heavier ball would sink. Hence, for most bowling balls with standard sizes, only balls of 12lbs and below would float in water. Heavier balls would sink.

11. Why do bowlers use two balls?

Bowlers simply use more than one bowling balls to handle different situations. In some cases, a bowler may need a ball with much grip while in others the grip may be a disadvantage. It all depends on the bowler’s assessment of the situation. Hence, it is better to have different balls with different features to make it easier for a bowler to adapt to situations.

Read more about having multiple bowling balls in the article

12. Is it OK to clean a bowling ball with rubbing alcohol?

This is quite controversial as many people may say rubbing alcohol can damage resins used to make bowling balls. However, there is no proof that rubbing alcohol actually damages bowling balls. We advise that you use it to quickly clean wax and oil that sticks to the ball from oiled lanes before the oil dries on the bowling ball. So yes, you can clean a bowling ball with rubbing alcohol.  

Learn more about cleaning the bowling ball here:

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