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[4]

4" Hollow Sphere

January Project of the Month [3]
[10] Like what you see?
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Fabrickator

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#1
4” Hollow Sphere

I’ve been thinking about making a hollow vessel in metal for some time now but I’ve decided that it just can’t be done safely without CNC. But a hollow “box” is possible if you make the project in two-pieces like one I made many years ago, in wood.

My plan was to create a ball in 6061 aluminum (4”X 6” billet) and soon found that I had to make a custom tool to cut a ball large enough for this project. I cut a 4” ball, parted it into two pieces and worked each ½ into matching twins that fit together. To hollow the inside, I used step cuts while carefully measuring the wall thickness to ensure that I didn’t cut through (1/4”). Once this was complete, I decided to make jewel-like cuts to provide maximum light refraction using my set of ball-end mills.

I wanted to tease viewers to wonder what’s inside so I made ”windows” all around it. I tried something new and skewed the rotary table about 40*. The skewed table along with the round form makes it appear to have lazy “S” windows, when in fact they are straight cuts. I fashioned a small handle from the top tenon to invite viewers to lift the lid and look inside. One of the bonuses I hadn’t considered is it is not only pleasing to the visual senses, but it turned out to have audio characteristics because it chimes a bit when opening and closing the lid.

This project took many steps, many set-ups and a lot of detail work to complete. I made nearly 700 precision cuts on it (650 inside alone) and many hours of finish work. When assembled, you can barely notice the part line. I mounted it on a base of natural-edge Mesquite wood. Peeking inside draws attention because the light passing through it gives it a very special, one of a kind look.

Factoid: What started as a 7 pound billet ended up weighing less than 1 pound. I nearly filled up one 33 gallon trash can with swarf and then recycled it for a couple of bucks.

Equipment:

Grizzly G0602 with custom 4” Ball Turner

LMS Mini Mill w/ 4” rotary table and angle plate

ER25-5/8” Collet adapter plate

Set of Ball-End milling tools
 

Attachments

roadie33

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Dec 11, 2014
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#2
Nice.
You could definitely make some green selling those for high end art.
 

mzayd3

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#4
Holy moly! That's amazing to look at. Nice work. Wish I had the patience to do your level work.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

BFHammer

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#5
Just AMAZING! That should be in a gallery somewhere. Thanks for sharing the wonderful work!
 

wawoodman

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#6
Now if you could put the halves back together without a seam... :blues:
 

DHarris

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#7
Absolutely beautiful design and execution!
 

woodchucker

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#9
Nice work. Looks like it was very satisfying to do.
Wish I had the artistic gene. Just the fix it and make it work gene...
 

brino

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#12
@Fabrickator,

Absolutely stunning once again!
Thanks for sharing this.

I believe you think in more dimensions than I do. :confused:

-brino
 
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