Carl’s “Retro” Ball

My favorite sparkleball may be the one Carl Boro makes with big old-school C9 bulbs, which he calls the “retro” ball.  Carl is a former mechanical technician, and this precision shows in his sparkleballs.  Even for him, the “retro” is pretty labor intensive.  Carl wants the lights to point perfectly like a star, so he designed a plastic disk to fit in the bottom of each cup.  The disk is gored and slit so when the lights are pushed through, they are gripped in place. (see left)    If I ever make  a “retro,” I’ll try it first without the disk to see what it looks like.  Because I’m lazy.  Because I’m not as particular as Carl.  But, really, that’s the beauty of sparkleball-making.  Anything goes.  And  so far, I’ve never seen an ugly one.

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2 thoughts on “Carl’s “Retro” Ball

  1. The center hole in the disk is aligned with the center hole in the bottom of the cup. (I use a 1/2″ step bit to drill these holes.) Then I melt six small holes equally spaced around the big holes. This melts the disk to the cup. Then I cut a slit from the big hole to each of the small holes. I use flat pieces of PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) packaging to make the disks and cut them the same diameter as the bottom of the cup, approximately 2″. You can also buy a 2′ x 3′ sheet of .015″ Lexan. I bought mine at TAP Plastics for around $16. Lexan is much tougher than the PETE packaging but it isn’t free.I didn’t say why I use the disks on the “retroballs”.

    Here’s why I use the disks. I have tried just melting the small holes in the bottom of the cups and then cutting the slits. Sometimes the cups break just doing that. But when I push the lights into the cups many times one or more of the little tabs will break off. Using the thicker disks mostly eliminates this problem. Even then, sometimes they will still break. To fix that cup, I put a disk on the light, stick it through the cup and put a disk on the other side.

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