Ninja Flex Sports Balls

Tell us the story of your project: 

We are 2 students from Ms. Berbawy's Intro to Engineernig Design class. We decided to make a waterpolo blall and volleyball, which are the sports we like to play. We are also on those Varsity teams and dedicate lots of hours to practice. We wanted to experiment with the Ninja Flex filament and see if the prints would still act like normal balls that we could use .


The Process:

(This is the process that was created by us through experimenting with Inventor)

*( Autodesk Inventor was used to create the CAD files for this project) (P= Water Polo Ball V= Volleyball)

Step 1:Create the Hemisphere 
  1. Start a 2D sketch in the XZ Plane, and create a circle in sketch mode, with the desired diameter(P= 8.522 V=8.15)

  2. Finish the sketch and extrude the circle by its radius (P= 4.261 V=4.075)

  3. Fillet the top edge by the radius (P= 4.261 V=4.075)


Step 2: Create the Plane
  1. Create a “Tangent to Surface and Parallel to Plane” plane that is tangent to the top of the hemisphere and parallel to the flat bottom of the hemisphere.


Step 3: Making the sketch for Indents
  1. Start a 2D sketch on the new plane

  2. Create the bottom of your design by using arcs, and the offset tool to create the gaps you need to extrude.

  3. Make a construction line in the middle of your ball, and then mirror the bottom design to the top so it is uniform


Step 4: Extruding and Creativity
  1. Finish the sketch and then extrude the gaps you created(Your gaps will not extrude if there are overlaps with the lines or gap in between them so you will need to go and extend or trim the problematic lines to make it extrude)

  2. Extrude the horizontal gaps the least amount you can with the line still extruding and fully appearing on the ball( *Order is by farthest to closest to the center P=  4.2 (Vertical), 3.6 (Horizontal), 2.2 (Horizontal), 1.2 (Horizontal) V= 3.9 for all lines)

  3. You can personalize your ball by extruding more designs on top of it. For example: Jacob extruded a ten on the top of his ball because ten is his number in water polo.

Step 5: Printing and Assembly
  1. Save the file as an STL file and use that file to 3D print two versions, try to keep the density low ~15-20

  2. P=Lulzbot 3D Printer, Buildtak plate(temperature had to be adjusted), Lulzbot HS tool head with a diameter of 0.8 mm.        V(and polo ball first draft)= Lulzbot 3D Printer, normal Lulzbot plate, Lulzbot Mini AeroStruder Too Head with a 0.5 mm diameter.

  3. Take the two hemispheres and put a lot of superglue on one side and make sure to line up the gaps and to keep pressure on the ball while the glue dries. Wipe away any excess glue that seeps out.

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Ninja Flex
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Project Lead
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We created a volleyball and a water polo ball, using Ninja Flex hoping to be able to play with them or if they were unusable, as models.
Aha! moment: 
Jacob figured out of how to extrude lines on the ball surfaces to create the indents between the ball's different sections. Autodesk Inventor only extrudes on flat surfaces, so we had to experiment and try to discover how to extrude the lines on the hemisphere.
Uh-oh! moment: 
When Jacob first tried 3D Printing, the sides of the ball were loose because the extrusions were too deep. Jack tried to extrude his name on the ball but it screwed up his whole design, and the name was also too long for his ball. He decided to start over again and then put his initials only.
Show & Tell video as default: 
Creation Date: 
Friday, November 30, 2018 - 14:30