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How do I build a metal football?

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  • How do I build a metal football?

    I'm trying to construct a giant wasp for yard art. I'll form the tail section first then build the rest to scale. In looking at images of wasps, the tail is not shaped like a hot dog (which eliminates pipe caps welded to a length of straight pipe.) It's shaped more like a football, tapered at both ends and fat in the middle.

    Anyone have any ideas on how to build a metal football? I got one hint to trace out the individual panels that make up the ball, then cut metal panels in the same shape, form and weld. I don't have an English wheel or sandbags and lack the skill level to form them any other way and have it look even remotely correct for the compound curvature involved. I'm open for hints and guidance. Thanks!

    Ronnie
    cog4151at hotmail dot com

  • #2
    cut out the football pieces out steel between 1/8" and 16 gauge. You can use a mallet and a couple of blocks of wood to start a curve on them. The curve doesn't need to be greatly accurate. Start at one end and tack all the pieces together in a cirlce then start pinching them together and tacking. The shape of the pieces forces it into the right radius as you pinch them together.

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    • #3
      is this gonna be the same size as a regulation ball ??? If so, get some solid electrical wire or old metal coat hangers. Lay them on football and cut to size
      for guides.

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      • #4
        Layout would be somewhat similar to the old pictures of a globe; number of pieces depends on how much forming you want to do. Look at the bottom half of this picture, it will give you an idea. http://www.bjdesign.com/html/images/...orldMap6pt.gif

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        • #5
          How do I build a metal football?

          You said shaped like a football, same sized, smaller or larger. Are you looking to do 3D?

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          • #6
            Weld two 16 gauge pieces the shape you are needing around the outside edges. Add a 1/4 threaded coupling and hook a pressure washer to it. Should be able to find youtube videos on it.

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            • #7
              casting it

              you could also if u wanted to fill a football up with some hard drying foam then cut the football in half then put it on a casting board then u make a mold and pour your metal in

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              • #8
                Ronnie,

                the pattern from a football should work. I have a railroad rail anvil and a plannishing hammer that make OK curves. Also have a few body working tools to shape sheet metal. If you need to used these tools, let me know. Will be out of town for Christmas, but after the 1st sure willing to share ideas on how to make the wasp.

                Bob in Boise.

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                • #9
                  Even if you don't have sandbags, it seems like you could dig a depression into the soil and beat on the metal over the hole in the ground and at least start to form your compound curves.

                  Remember that the metal is likely to get work hardened the more you bend and form it, so you may need to anneal it once or twice by heating with a rosebud or propane torch and letting it cool very slowly.

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                  • #10
                    All you need is a ball peen hammer for tight curves and bigger hammers steel/lead/brass for bigger curves. I have shaped weird objects just by beating them with a hammer and constantly checking shape. You can also cut 20 strips of metal skinny to wide to skinny and weld them all together rolling them slightly as you connect them.

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                    • #11
                      What size ? You maybe able to make a orange peel out of pipe work.

                      http://constructionmanuals.tpub.com/.../14251_109.htm

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