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View Robert's profile

Space Ball question

by Robert
posted 07-19-2017 04:11 PM


26 replies so far

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1243 posts in 2471 days


#1 posted 07-19-2017 04:31 PM

I’ve never used them, so the only advice I can offer is to fasten your seat belt before you go ‘the plaid’.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1319 posts in 971 days


#2 posted 07-19-2017 04:37 PM

They are 1/4” diameter. I usually allow a heavy 1/8” clearance on either side and compress them some on installation. So my panels are 1/4” to 5/16” narrower overall than the overall length of the rails (tenon to tenon). This seems to work well for me using the standard 3/8” tenons off my shaper cutters. I use eight balls per panel, regardless of the panel size. Two on each edge, located close to the joint.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

5338 posts in 2785 days


#3 posted 07-19-2017 04:47 PM

Read this

http://www.highlandwoodworking.com/woodworking-tips-1106jun/askthestaff.html

I don’t use them myself. Seem like an unnecessary step.

http://www.rockler.com/space-balls-raised-panel-door-spacers

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

4797 posts in 1066 days


#4 posted 07-19-2017 04:50 PM

+1 on the 1/8” clearance. Like Tung, I use them on all four sides of the panel, even though the movement will only be affecting two of them.

One thing you’ll find is that you have to switch up your usual build process, since you can’t glue up the stile with two rails, slide the panel in and add the final stile. Sliding the panel in will mess up the position of the balls. To get around it, I glue one rail to a stile, position the panel in there, glue on the other rail and then attach the final stile, clamping and getting it all square. I also let the first joint consisting of the single rail and stile dry after ensuring it’s square before I add the panel and the other rail and stile. I’ve found that makes the last steps less clumsy and pretty much guarantees it’s all square when it’s done.

Finally, in cases like doors where the groove for the panel is 3/8” or 5/8”, I use gel CA glue to hold the balls in place. For a standard cabinet door with a 1/4” groove they fit tight enough to hold on their own.

-- There's no such thing as a careless electrician

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

4797 posts in 1066 days


#5 posted 07-19-2017 04:56 PM


I don t use them myself. Seem like an unnecessary step.

- AlaskaGuy

Obviously they’re optional, AG. Beautiful furniture was built for ages without them. What I like is that they ensure that the panel will stay centered in the frame, and they also prevent any rattle between the panel and frame.

-- There's no such thing as a careless electrician

View DS's profile

DS

3260 posts in 2897 days


#6 posted 07-19-2017 05:02 PM

Spaceballs are awesome!

1/8” space on all sides is typical. This leaves the panel under slight compression tension which keeps it centered and minimizes movement. Never had a failure in 30 years.

The only downside is they come in large quantity packaging, which sucks if you have just a few doors to make.

In a pinch, I’ve used the 1/4” Poly Drip tubing used for irrigation and cut 1/2” pieces and wedged them in the grooves. YMMV

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Mike_in_STL's profile

Mike_in_STL

952 posts in 1010 days


#7 posted 07-19-2017 05:06 PM

Cool product! Do I need the Schwartz to use them?

I’m filing these away for a use later.

Mike

-- Sawdust makes me whole --Mike in STL

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1319 posts in 971 days


#8 posted 07-19-2017 05:10 PM


Do I need the Schwartz to use them?

ONLY if you are Dark Helmet….

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5669 posts in 4139 days


#9 posted 07-19-2017 05:51 PM

I cut 1/4” spaceballs in half with a razor blade and put a drop of rubber cement on the flat side which in turn goes against the groove. Provides enough cushion to keep the panel from rattling, easier to install, and allows plenty of room for wood movement.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8744 posts in 3053 days


#10 posted 07-19-2017 06:08 PM

Interesting thread

View DS's profile

DS

3260 posts in 2897 days


#11 posted 07-19-2017 06:24 PM

Wurth sells them in packages of 1000 pcs for a fraction of what Rockler retails them for.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5975 posts in 3290 days


#12 posted 07-19-2017 06:28 PM

I use foam self-adhesive weatherstripping to pack floating panels in place. They work in many different groove sizes, and can be cut to fit. Buy them at any hardware store or home center. I don’t bother installing a continuous strip, just a couple of 1” strips on each side of the panel.

I would like to try space balls but lately I have been using 7/8” thick door stock with 5/16” or 3/8” grooves, and don’t think they would work so hot for that.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Robert's profile

Robert

3512 posts in 1957 days


#13 posted 07-19-2017 06:38 PM

I like the idea of cutting in 1/2”.

I’m not too keen about trimming them down to make up for the balls so I’ll skip it on this project.

Its a bathroom vanity the panels are solid wood so I’m actually more concerned about shrinkage since they’re going from my shop to the home.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

4797 posts in 1066 days


#14 posted 07-19-2017 07:04 PM



Wurth sells them in packages of 1000 pcs for a fraction of what Rockler retails them for.

- DS

Yeah, I bought a bag of 1000 on Amazon for about $15. Should last me quite a while.

On a side note, I don’t see the value in cutting them in half. They work perfectly whole, and in a standard 1/4” groove for a cabinet door fit tight in the groove so no adhesive is required.

-- There's no such thing as a careless electrician

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7796 posts in 3390 days


#15 posted 07-19-2017 08:13 PM


I cut 1/4” spaceballs in half with a razor blade and put a drop of rubber cement on the flat side which in turn goes against the groove. Provides enough cushion to keep the panel from rattling, easier to install, and allows plenty of room for wood movement.
- TheDane

I have always used the 1/8in guideline (examples include this and that) , BUT I sure like Gerry’s idea/method. It sounds more predictable and keeps 1/4in dado’d panels from showing.

I always hated working against the SpaceBall pressure when trying to properly space panels wher they ACTUALLY belonged.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View lew's profile (online now)

lew

12840 posts in 4232 days


#16 posted 07-19-2017 08:31 PM

This stuff works just a well and is less expensive. If you drop it on the floor, you don’t have to wonder where it rolled.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5669 posts in 4139 days


#17 posted 07-19-2017 08:40 PM

... BUT I sure like Gerry s idea/method. It sounds more predictable and keeps 1/4in dado d panels from showing.

- HorizontalMike


It also keeps me from having to chase the damned things across the floor when they roll off the assembly table!

I use this same technique when I am installing a floating base in a turned vessel.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View ClammyBallz's profile

ClammyBallz

449 posts in 1613 days


#18 posted 07-19-2017 08:46 PM

I ain’t got time to cut up a 2 cent rubber ball.

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

4797 posts in 1066 days


#19 posted 07-19-2017 09:00 PM



I ain t got time to cut up a 2 cent rubber ball.

- ClammyBallz

Ditto. Extra work, and you’re halving the distance they can compress. Each to his own, but I don’t see the point. Maybe if I had paid $6.50 for a bag of 100 like Woodcraft charges I’d try to be more frugal :)

-- There's no such thing as a careless electrician

View JackDuren's profile

JackDuren

388 posts in 1436 days


#20 posted 07-19-2017 09:07 PM

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7796 posts in 3390 days


#21 posted 07-19-2017 09:19 PM



I ain t got time to cut up a 2 cent rubber ball.
- ClammyBallz

Ditto. Extra work, and you re halving the distance they can compress. Each to his own, but I don t see the point. Maybe if I had paid $6.50 for a bag of 100 like Woodcraft charges I d try to be more frugal :)
- RichTaylor

Yup, Fk-ups are forever… FOR SURE! Enjoy your personal woodworking, but you may want to be a bit selective about when and where you share your modified woodworking projects. Just sayin’... Sorry for being so blunt.

Choose yours wisely…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

4797 posts in 1066 days


#22 posted 07-19-2017 10:06 PM


I ain t got time to cut up a 2 cent rubber ball.
- ClammyBallz

Ditto. Extra work, and you re halving the distance they can compress. Each to his own, but I don t see the point. Maybe if I had paid $6.50 for a bag of 100 like Woodcraft charges I d try to be more frugal :)
- RichTaylor

Yup, Fk-ups are forever… FOR SURE! Enjoy your personal woodworking, but you may want to be a bit selective about when and where you share your modified woodworking projects. Just sayin … Sorry for being so blunt.

Choose yours wisely…

- HorizontalMike

I have no idea what you’re talking about. What modified woodworking projects are you referring to?

-- There's no such thing as a careless electrician

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5669 posts in 4139 days


#23 posted 07-20-2017 12:04 PM

I ain’t got time to cut up a 2 cent rubber ball.

- ClammyBallz

Ditto. Extra work, and you re halving the distance they can compress. Each to his own, but I don t see the point. Maybe if I had paid $6.50 for a bag of 100 like Woodcraft charges I d try to be more frugal :)

- RichTaylor

There cheap enough to just buy….
https://www.amazon.com/Space-Balls-Bag-of-1000/dp/B001BLZ692

You guys are evidently under the mistaken impression that I do this to save money. Wrong!

I do it because I cut my panels to much tighter tolerances and it makes glue-up and assembly go a lot better (witness my remark about chasing the damned things across the floor when they roll off the assembly table).

It takes, maybe, 5 seconds to cut one of these in two, so I don’t see it as a big time-waster. And I don’t know how much compression you need to keep a panel from rattling.

I don’t know how much tolerance the OP allowed when he made his panels, but it is possible that using my technique might keep him from having to cut his panels down any further.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

4797 posts in 1066 days


#24 posted 07-20-2017 01:14 PM



Ditto. Extra work, and you re halving the distance they can compress. Each to his own, but I don t see the point. Maybe if I had paid $6.50 for a bag of 100 like Woodcraft charges I d try to be more frugal :)

- RichTaylor

You guys are evidently under the mistaken impression that I do this to save money. Wrong!

- TheDane

I wasn’t suggesting you do it for economy, I was just making a lighthearted comment about the only reason I would cut them.

Any debate on the benefit of cutting them would be pointless, however, I do think you might have a business opportunity for a new product — Space Domes, or maybe Space Mounds. You could corner the market on hemispherical spacers.

-- There's no such thing as a careless electrician

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5669 posts in 4139 days


#25 posted 07-20-2017 01:21 PM

Any debate on the benefit of cutting them would be pointless, however, I do think you might have a business opportunity for a new product — Space Domes, or maybe Space Mounds. You could corner the market on hemispherical spacers.

- RichTaylor

Nah … I’m retired. I do this stuff for fun.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View builtinbkyn's profile

builtinbkyn

2942 posts in 1417 days


#26 posted 07-20-2017 01:30 PM


Spaceballs are awesome!

1/8” space on all sides is typical. This leaves the panel under slight compression tension which keeps it centered and minimizes movement. Never had a failure in 30 years.

The only downside is they come in large quantity packaging, which sucks if you have just a few doors to make.

In a pinch, I ve used the 1/4” Poly Drip tubing used for irrigation and cut 1/2” pieces and wedged them in the grooves. YMMV

- DS


I’d think you could use quite a few different compressible materials for this with no need to buy these things.

This stuff works just a well and is less expensive. If you drop it on the floor, you don t have to wonder where it rolled.

- lew


Just what I was referring to. You could also use strips of styrofoam from packaging material as well. I have rolls of backer rod left from jobs that would work too and it’s also pretty inexpensive and not tedious to work with like I’d imagine those little balls are to work with.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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