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MiniFireDragon
06-16-2006, 01:46 PM
Some of you might have guest what it's for, for those who didn't, HDRI. The question is, :stumped: WHERE DO YOU FIND THEM!!! :help:

It's making me :bangwall:

and now I think I am :screwy:

But all I been able to locate was a 2" ball on ebay and a couple companies going you want wa?

Bog
06-16-2006, 02:13 PM
Go to your nearest New Age or Wiccan shop and buy a crystal ball.

Spray it silver, or if you're feeling flush have it electroplated.

Job's a good'un.

byte_fx
06-16-2006, 02:20 PM
overstock.com usually has them in sizes from 4" to 12" - sometines up to 18".

depending on your rig something in the 8" to 12" range tends to work best.

byte_fx

Bog
06-16-2006, 02:21 PM
*scoots to overstock.com with notable rapidity, shouting "Cheers, byte!" over his shoulder*

MiniFireDragon
06-16-2006, 02:31 PM
?? Went to overstock, found nothing.

bsales
06-16-2006, 02:33 PM
When I was looking for silver spheres to shoot HDRs, I found a couple of useful resources listed below. There are a few different options and all have tradeoffs. I ended up getting the garden ball ("gazing sphere") variety, but it definitely has imperfections both geometric (bumps) as well as surface (streaks around light sources). The ball bearings are a little smoother, but are heavy if you plan on shooting at exterior locations where you need to hike to get there.

Best of luck... Here are a few links to get you going.

http://www.orb6.com/2004/06/finding-reflective-sphere.php
http://gl.ict.usc.edu/HDRShop/tutorial/tutorial5.html
http://www.mcmaster.com/

Brian Sales

MiniFireDragon
06-16-2006, 02:51 PM
I have thought about the lawn ornament stuff, but like you pointed out, they aren't perfect, and I need something I can rest assured is fairly accurate. And been on McMasters and found a 3" ball for $100 (where 2" balls are $12)

byte_fx
06-16-2006, 03:10 PM
You can buy several of the gazing spheres for $100. Increases odds of getting a good one.

Don't buy the glass ones - they tend to have imperfections and break easily.

I use hollow stainless steel Maybe I've been lucky but haven't had any problems with imperfections.

Light weight. The 8" and 12" weigh less 3 lbs - closer to 2 - and I use padded bowling ball cases to cart them around.

Alternatively - since the ball has to be rigidly supported for best results the entire ball doesn't have to be perfect.

Just the ares the camera will see. Take a shot - move camera - rotate ball - take next shot.

Sorry overstock was out. Winter is best time to get them there. Most of their stuff is off-season items.

byte_fx

T-Light
06-16-2006, 03:46 PM
Byte-FX

Winter is best time to get them there. Most of their stuff is off-season items
There's a point, what about a silver Christmas tree ball? :santa:

Or is that what you're talking about :foreheads

byte_fx
06-16-2006, 08:03 PM
That's what I started with.

Found that they were simply too small for outdoor use and on the low end of marginal fo indoor use.

byte_fx

Silkrooster
06-16-2006, 08:54 PM
Go to your local hardware store and look at trailer hitches. They make balls that are seperate from the hitch - making them interchangable. They go up to 3", Not sure but you may need to buy the whole set. Best part is they are already chrome plated.
Silk

T-Light
06-17-2006, 05:37 AM
Byte-FX-

That's what I started with.

Found that they were simply too small for outdoor use and on the low end of marginal fo indoor use.
We used to have one that was about 5 or 6 inches across, mind you, I'm going back to a time when TV's came in wooden cabinets and didn't have remote controls.

Good Luck.

T-Light
06-18-2006, 07:00 AM
Talking to my Mom this morning, that giant chrome decoration was from a posh deparment store's Christmas display back in the 60's. My mom got to keep them after they were taken down, so they might not be as common or affordable as I thought. Sorry.:thumbsdow

T-Light
06-18-2006, 08:26 AM
Cheap & Cheerfull HDRI :thumbsup:

This costs about 10 or 12 pounds and is available in the UK from Woolworths and B&Q. It's called a bullet bin, knew there was something around the house that might do the job, it didn't hit me till today. The lid can be taken off via a couple of screws at the back. It's stainless steal, no MAJOR imperfections although strong points of light do catch the polished surface leading to streaking.

1) What it looks like in it's natural habitat - our unfinished bathroom.
2) HDRI'esque - taken with my 'titchy' cam :)

If anyone wants to see a true HDRI taken with this I'll make one and post it here. My other camera's batteries are dead, otherwise I would have posted one now.

hairy_llama
06-18-2006, 12:08 PM
http://gl.ict.usc.edu/HDRShop/

Go there, click on FAQ. the FAQ has a few locations that you can get spheres from.

T-Light
06-18-2006, 03:27 PM
Most of those spheres are already mentioned above. BUT, one link is to a site that sells a variation of worry balls. Weird that, I was thinking of those earlier this afternoon when taking the above pictures. I have a set (somewhere) but I don't think they're very big (2 inches max). The balls on that link are for jugglers balls, the same as worry balls but larger and without the bells on the inside. They're also only $18 for the largest size (v-nearly three inches).

Good call hairy_llama :)

http://www.dube.com/ball/8.html

MiniFireDragon
06-19-2006, 12:09 PM
http://gl.ict.usc.edu/HDRShop/ --->

"King Bearing, Inc., a subsidiary of Applied Industrial Technologies"

King Bearing, Inc. no longer exists as of 3 years ago. They are known as Applied Industrial Technologies and I hit a brick wall calling them.
--->Sorry we can only order bulk<---

DOH!

MiniFireDragon
06-19-2006, 12:48 PM
I found em! :)

Salem Specialty Ball Company, Inc.
877-844-4885

3" Chrome Steel Ball Grade 50
Price: $60

T-Light
06-19-2006, 04:09 PM
Can you post a photo when you get it?

I'd like to see how good they are. Here's a pic from a 'chinese worry ball' (2 inches approx). Not bad, some imperfections and some scratches, I think someone bought these for me back in the eighties.
They could have been in far worse condition, but thankfully, I don't worry too much. :D

RudySchneider
06-19-2006, 05:42 PM
Good one, T-Light. Complete with oven mits, kitty (?) bowls, and fridge. All the mod-cons.

What, Me Worry?

faulknermano
06-19-2006, 08:58 PM
i also use a "chinese ball" and found that for my purposes, the scratches weren't all that bothersome. as long as the balls keep a good spherical shape, i think it's fine. and if the HDR image is to be used to lighting, you dont really need a high-res lightmap, and you end up convolving it anyway. for reflections, i never the see the scratches in my final 3D renders. :)

T-Light
06-20-2006, 02:51 AM
faulknermano, what do you stand it on? I was thinking of using an old speaker magnet attached to a stick, otherwise drilling a hole in one and attaching it to a tripod bush (be a shame).

We were hoping to get out to the Lakes this week, wouldn't of minded giving the worry ball a road trip.


On another note: Tried autobracketing with the kitchen image above. Bit rubbish. Made an HDRI with only 379:1 ratio. Didn't have to auto bracket but it seemed like a time saver.

The camera I used was a canon S70, maximum bracketing is two stops either side. Software I'm using is Photomatix Pro. It recommends only taking three images as more is waste. So the question is...

How many images does everyone usually take, and how wide apart are your exposure settings?

ps S70 has full manual shutter and aperture control, so I'm not limited in that area.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions :thumbsup:

Link to Photomatix
http://www.hdrsoft.com/download/download20win.php
I'm using the free download version - allows HDRI creation.

faulknermano
06-20-2006, 03:00 AM
faulknermano, what do you stand it on? I was thinking of using an old speaker magnet attached to a stick, otherwise drilling a hole in one and attaching it to a tripod bush (be a shame).

unless it's very windy, i simply use a 3M double-sided adhesive, cut small enough that it does not become obstrusive.

in some cases i find a "cup" for it and just let it stand there. but having ruined one of my probes due to accidental fallings, i use adhesive.


On another note: Tried autobracketing with the kitchen image above. Bit rubbish. Made an HDRI with only 379:1 ratio. Didn't have to auto bracket but it seemed like a time saver.


The camera I used was a canon S70, maximum bracketing is two stops either side. Software I'm using is Photomatix Pro. It recommends only taking three images as more is waste. So the question is...

How many images does everyone usually take, and how wide apart are your exposure settings?

ps S70 has full manual shutter and aperture control, so I'm not limited in that area.


the important thing, i think, is getting a correct camera calibration. after you correctly calibrate your camera's response curve to HDRShop, taking 3 exposures is okay. but to calibrate your cam you need as many stops difference as you can. in fact, if you can go 1/3 of a stop all the better. i used about 13 images (1/3 stop bracketing) to calibrate my D70 to HDRShop. however, i still take five to seven pics (1 stop bracket) for a sunny environment. if indoor with lights, probably a bit more. if i had all the time in the world i'd probably do it 1/2 stop bracketing and take double the shots i do. :)

EDIT: the magnet seems like a good idea. :D

T-Light
06-20-2006, 03:11 AM
Thanks for the quick response :)

I believe I can go down to a third stop on autobracketing. Far as I know Photomatix handles the curves automatically so you can't callibrate for different cameras. Tried to download HDRShop 1 on Sunday, but once you get through the form the download page is broken.

faulknermano
06-20-2006, 03:16 AM
if photomatix documentation has explicitly told you that your particular camera (e.g. S70) is "supported", in a sense that the purported response curve is stored in the software and is applied when dealing with HDR, then you dont have to calibrate your camera to Photomatix, since the info is already there. BUT, if that's not the case, then it may not be a very accurate software. if you have three images, and no guarantee of correct response curves, either due to lack of options or presets, then that's an oversimplification of HDR and photography. i have HDRShop, but i dont think i'm allowed to distribute it. :(

EDIT: hey! i just tried the download. it works fine. you sure you typed in everything required?

T-Light
06-20-2006, 03:20 AM
I'll give it another go :)

T-Light
06-20-2006, 03:24 AM
GOT IT !

Still gave me an error, but this time it also gave a link.

Warning: pg_exec(): Query failed: ERROR: value too long for type character varying(100) in /var/www/graphics/HDRShop/download/DB_Stuff.php on line 182

Thanks again :)

T-Light
06-20-2006, 03:55 AM
Cheers Faulkerno, very quick calibration with the three kitchen images resulted in a ratio of 1014:1. As soon as I get some time, I'll do this properly.

Thanks again.

zapper1998
06-20-2006, 04:28 AM
A few years ago, I went to KAMAN bearing and bought a 3" and 4" Ball bearing for $20.00 and they were used but in perfect condition.
The people that sell bearings for Indusrial use.

starbase1
06-20-2006, 07:19 AM
Just a thought but if you can get a good shaped spherical glass ball, the surfacing should be very easy - just check out amateur telescope supply type places.

Plenty of astronomers grind their own glass mirrors than get them aluminised - and that is intended to give a surface smooth enough to be accurate to 10% of a wavelength of light!

Do not under any circumstances attempt the old style 'silvering' you may read about in very old astro books - it can be spectacularly dangerous!

Nick

badllarma
06-20-2006, 09:57 AM
I've a place near by I can (used to get hold of these have to checked in a while) I actually sold them to people in Europe at one point as no one could get hold of them I'll check if any one in the UK is still need them. (Balls are 2" and 4" BTW).

BTW has anyone used thse balls to use with them plugin that creates and array of lights in a scene file from the images captured (cannot rember the plugin but I found it near impossible to get results) the lights needed to go down to 0.x% in brightness to get anything like and you had to delete all the lights below the base plane before you started, i'll try and find the name of the plugin.

edit
Lightgen is the plugin

badllarma
06-20-2006, 10:48 AM
Ok well to save every one postage an me a load of hassle :D

The place where you can buy these balls (or used to like i say it's been a while) is Au Naturale

http://www.aunaturale.co.uk/ check out the store finder here

WALLET WARNING
This is the place most normal chaps avoid it's full of scented candles and wicker storage containers, under normal circumstances it's the place your better half will go into and you will have read Computer Arts mag cover to cover TWICE before they come out, you take them with you it's going to cost! :D :help:

T-Light
06-22-2006, 03:11 PM
Just been given a grand suggestion for safely holding a worry ball in place.

Use a suction cup on a stick. aka kids bow and arrow.

courtesy of Esotericas (New LW User, from around these parts) :thumbsup:

gordonrobb
07-27-2006, 06:36 AM
Not sure if this is of any help, I just ordered it to see what it was like.

http://www.rawgarden.co.uk/RawGardenSite/product/Gardening_Ornaments/10303.htm

Matt
07-27-2006, 07:40 AM
Out of interest, what are the pros using, surely there's someone out there making these spheres for this exact purpose?

gordonrobb
07-27-2006, 09:55 AM
My understanding from looking about is that you can get them in the states, but I haven't even found that. The chrome garden ball was recomended to me.

T-Light
07-27-2006, 04:51 PM
The largest one's 30cm, can you imagine carrying that around in a backback?

colkai
07-28-2006, 03:05 AM
I picked up a chrome ball about 4 or 6 inches in diameter at a garden centre, going cheap in their bargain bucket. It's not super-shiny, but for reflection maps and such, total sharpness is more of a hinderance than a benefit anyaways.

badllarma
07-28-2006, 11:28 AM
Out of interest, what are the pros using, surely there's someone out there making these spheres for this exact purpose?

Using fish eye lenses on high meg DSLR's E.G Canon 1D II N The lenses cost a fortune.

Also as seen in the making of Star Wars EP III (new one) you can see them use a sort of grey/chrome hybrid.

Medi8or
07-28-2006, 01:13 PM
You could use a cheap Peleng 8mm lens... ;)

jasonazure
08-08-2006, 10:58 AM
Hi there !

Just went shopping in Cambridge (UK) and picked up an 8" stainless steel gazing globe in "The Natural World" shop for 8 !

It's not perfectly smooth, but I think it will do just fine for HDRI reflection maps and lighting.

Just thought I'd let the UK community know :)

MiniFireDragon
08-08-2006, 12:55 PM
Well, pickup issue 2 of the HDRI3D magazine and you will find what the pros are using. A 10" steel chrome ball bearing. I'd like to know where he found his for cheap. He does point to the site listed in the beginning of this thread. I purchased a 3" Ball for $60.

And no, no one is making them that I could find. I talked to my father to see if he could make me a glass one, but he lacks the glass lathe and large enough tubing. He is getting a glass lathe some day and when he does I am gonna see if I can find the tubing he needs. He already has the silvering finish to do it. Maybe if enough people request it I can get him to move on the issue faster.

www.sculpturedglass.com

But I don't think there is a large enough market for a custom made object like that, since those that usually need them are large CGI factories, who would have enough cash flow to buy a chrome ball of any size they need.


As for a photo, here you go:

Keep in mind this ball hasn't been shined up much. It's pretty much just out of the oil lined bag and hand washed.