Many table tennis players have long considered Nittaku 3-Star Premium balls the best balls in table tennis. So how does Nittaku make them? Take a look at this step-by-step process and pictures to find out.
The Nittaku 3-Star Premium balls are made of celluloid. Celluloid is made of cotton. The first step to the perfect ball is to circle-cut celluloid pieces and dip them into an alcohol liquid mixture (70% water and 30% alcohol). This makes the celluloid softer.
The soft celluloid material is next pressed by a mold into a half sphere. This is done with the help of boiling water (90 degrees Celsius). Once this first mold is done the half-spheres are dried for two days. As the material dries it gets harder.
Next the half-spheres are trimmed. There is an extra edge around each half-sphere that is cut away by machine one ball at a time!
When the trimming is done the balls are measured for thickness. Each ball is measured by machine and divided according to their thickness. Half-spheres of the same thickness are joined together. This is called coupling and is done with glue to make one sphere. At this stage the surface of the balls is still shiny.
Once joined the balls are sent to a dry room for one week.
When the balls are dry they are weighed. This is the first of three times the balls are weighed. This measurement is one of the most sensitive matters during the balls’ production. Each time the ball is weighed to within one-hundredth of a gram. At this stage all balls are divided according to their weight.
After their first weigh-in comes their first polishing. They are placed in a roller together with polishing powder and rolled for a short period of time. The purpose of the first polishing is to clean the surface of the ball. Next comes a cleansing shower to take away the polishing powder from the surface of each ball.
Up until this next process the ball is not a perfect sphere. That comes from the second molding procedure where each ball is placed into its own perfectly round mold. At this same time the surface of the join line becomes flat. A one-month drying period follows this step.
Next is the painstaking process of checking each ball for cracks by hand. One by one! This process is done under a light and any ball with a crack is rejected.
The last two steps include stamping and packing. Nittaku’s dedication to detail and perfection continues to provide table tennis players with quality balls worthy of its reputation. Enjoy!