How Are Bowling Balls Made? (A Fascinating Process)



  • Bowling ball materials have evolved from Lignum Vitae and hard rubber to modern urethane, reactive resin, particle, hybrid, and nano-tech options.
  • The manufacturing process of bowling balls involves creating a mold for the inner core, applying heavy substances mixed with resin to form the core, and adding outer layers of coverstock material using injection-molding techniques.
  • Customization options allow players to personalize their bowling balls by choosing weight and size options, surface texture and finish options, color and design options, as well as drilling finger holes tailored to individual hand shapes.


Have you ever wondered how the seemingly simple yet meticulously designed bowling ball came to be?

From its origins as a solid Lignum Vitae wood sphere to the advanced materials and technologies used today, the evolution of bowling balls is a fascinating journey.

In this blog post, we will explore the history of bowling ball materials, delve into their manufacturing process, discuss customization options, and examine how art and science come together to create these essential pieces of bowling equipment.

Let’s take a look.

How Are Bowling Balls Made?

During the manufacturing process of bowling balls, a mold is created and the core is made using heavy substances such as bismuth graphite or dense plastic along with resin before the outer layers of coverstock material are applied.

This fascinating process combines science and art to produce a perfect sphere that fits individual preferences and performance needs.

Mold Creation

Creating the mold for a bowling ball is an important part of the manufacturing process. The first step is to design and create the metal mold that will shape the inner core of the ball.

Once the inner core mold has been created, it’s time to move on to creating molds for each layer of coverstock material that will be applied over it. These layers are built up gradually using different materials, textures, and colors according to customer specifications or sample designs.

Core Creation Using Heavy Substances And Resin

Creating the core of a bowling ball is an important step in the manufacturing process. The weight and density of the core can determine how the ball will react on the lane.

To create a dense and heavy core, manufacturers use materials such as bismuth graphite or high-density particles mixed with resin.

The size and shape of a bowling ball’s core can also affect its performance. Some modern balls feature asymmetric weight blocks that create more hook potential while others have symmetric blocks for a straighter roll.

Application Of Outer Layers Of Coverstock Material

After the core is created, the next step in the manufacturing process of a bowling ball involves applying layers of coverstock material to its surface. Coverstocks can be made from various materials, including plastic, rubber, or polyurethane.

The outer layer of a bowling ball plays an important role in determining how it reacts on different types of surfaces and oil patterns. For instance, plastic balls are best suited for dry lanes as they provide less friction while reactive resin covers offer greater traction on oily surfaces.

Finishing Touches Such As Sanding And Polishing

The final steps in the process of manufacturing bowling balls are sanding and polishing. Once the coverstock has been applied to the core, it is sanded smoothly by an automated machine.

The level of polish on a bowling ball can affect its performance on the lanes. A highly-polished ball will glide smoothly across the surface, but may not have as much grip as a matte-finished ball.

It’s important for bowlers to find their preferred finish based on their playing style and lane conditions.

Customization And Personalization Options

how are bowling balls made

Weight And Size Options

When it comes to choosing a bowling ball, weight and size are important factors to consider. The weight of the ball should be comfortable enough for the bowler to handle while also providing enough power and accuracy.

Most bowling balls range from 6 to 16 pounds, with many bowlers opting for balls between 12 and 14 pounds.

Customization options allow for even more personalization when selecting a bowling ball’s weight and size. From adjusting weights within the core of the ball to fitting finger holes specifically tailored to each individual’s hand shape, manufacturers offer various customization choices that can affect overall performance on the lanes.

Surface Texture And Finish Options

When it comes to surface texture and finish options for bowling balls, there are a variety of choices available to bowlers. The surface of the ball can be sanded in different ways to create varying levels of grit and friction, affecting how the ball interacts with the lane.

In addition to sanding techniques, bowlers can also choose from different finishes such as matte or glossy. Some manufacturers even offer specialized finishes designed for specific lane conditions.

Color And Design Options

One of the most exciting aspects of bowling balls is the endless options for customization and personalization. When it comes to color, there are a variety of hues available to suit every taste and preference.

From bold primary colors to glittery metallic finishes, bowlers can choose from a wide range of shades and textures.

In addition to color options, there are also design choices available on the coverstock of bowling balls. These designs can range from simple patterns like dots or triangles to more intricate graphics featuring logos or images.

Drilling The Finger Holes

One of the final steps in creating a custom bowling ball involves drilling the finger holes. This is where personalization options come into play, as each bowler has a unique hand size and grip preference.

Professional bowlers often have their balls drilled to fit their specific fingers and hand angle to maximize performance.

The process of drilling the finger holes requires precision and accuracy to ensure that they are evenly spaced and balanced around the center of gravity.

The Evolution Of Bowling Ball Materials

Early Materials: Lignum Vitae, Hard Rubber, And Polyester

In the early days of bowling, Lignum Vitae was the go-to material for making bowling balls. This type of wood was extremely hard and durable, which made it ideal for use in automotive components as well.

In addition to this, other materials such as hard rubber and polyester were also used to make these early bowling balls. The first rubber ball called Evertrue came out in 1905 with multiple pieces put together around a weight block covered by a rubber shell.

Polyester quickly replaced both lignum vitae and hard rubber, due to its cheapness and ease of use in mass production. These early materials had their own unique properties that affected ball performance- lignum vitae wooden balls delivered high accuracy at medium speeds while harder resin-based polymers like polyester allow more hook potential, especially on dry lane conditions allowing higher scores comparatively.

Introduction Of Urethane And Reactive Resin

One of the major innovations in bowling ball technology occurred during the 1980s with the introduction of urethane and reactive resin materials. Urethane was first used as a coverstock material, providing more hook potential than traditional polyester covers.

Reactive resin, on the other hand, combined both urethane and resin to create a material that produced even greater friction with the lane surface.

The result was an increase in hook potential and carry for bowlers, ultimately changing how players approached different oil patterns on the lanes.

Advancements In The Latest Materials: Particle, Hybrid, And Nano Tech

In recent years, bowling ball manufacturers have introduced new materials to keep up with the changing demands of competitive bowlers. Some of the latest advancements include particle, hybrid, and nano-tech materials.

Particle technology involves infusing particles like ceramic or glass into the coverstock to create more surface area for increased traction. Hybrid technology combines two or more materials such as reactive resin and urethane for a balance between control and hook potential.

Bowling balls made from these modern advanced materials offer unparalleled performance compared to traditional balls made from Lignum Vitae or rubber.


In conclusion, the process of making bowling balls has come a long way from its early days using Lignum Vitae wood to today’s high-tech materials and manufacturing processes.

The evolution of bowling ball technology has changed the game forever with advancements in the core design, coverstock material, and customization options for bowlers.

Bowling ball manufacturers continue to push the boundaries with innovative technologies and designs that improve performance on the lanes.

Last updated on May 23, 2023