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How Do They Make Those Balls?

Ball Assembly

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. 

Drying Balls

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.

Weighing Balls

Once completely dry the balls are again weighed and divided according to their weight.

Now comes the second time the balls are polished. The purpose of this polishing is to make the ball surface rough and to control weight. Polishing stones are used in this step where balls of the same weight are polished together. Heavy balls are polished for a longer period of time and light balls for a shorter period of time so that after polishing all balls will have the same weight. Just like after the first polishing, the balls are cleansed of celluloid powder by shower.
 
 

Checking for Cracks

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 final two steps before the balls are stamped and packed separate the premium ball from the training ball. First is the slope test and second is weight test. In the slope test, balls are rolled down a slope, those that roll straight are destined to be premium balls. In the weight measurement, balls that are too heavy or too light become training balls.

Rolling Table

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!

Nittaku 3-Star Premium 

Nittaku 3 Star Ball

Nittaku Super Training Ball

Nittaku Top Ball

Nittaku Large 44mm 3-Star

 

 

2 Comments

  1. I found this a very interesting. Just a question out of the wild and I got a complete answer.

    Thanks!

  2. my ping pong balls that i use are crapy cheap ones

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