You are enjoying a ping pong game, and suddenly you hit the ball with a lot of force and bam there is a dent on your ping pong ball. Usually, this is not a problem because you replace the ball and keep your game going. But what if this was your only ball? Then you would have to fix it. Do you know how to undent a ping pong ball? Don’t worry.
We have several ways to bring a dented ping pong ball to its original condition. Sounds too good to be true? Well, try one of our methods. Your ball is already dented. You have got nothing to lose. And if you do follow the instructions just right, your ball will be restored and would feel as good as new.
All the methods shared here have an excellent success rate. However, if there is a crack in your ping pong ball, none of these methods would work. Cracked balls are beyond salvage. Alright, without further ado, let’s find out how to get dents out of ping pong balls.
The Hot Water Method
The easiest way to make undent a ping pong ball is by using hot water. Do you know when a car gets dented, how do they get its dents out? You guessed it right; they use the hot water method. Isn’t it amazing?
What it does to ping pong balls is that it heats the air inside a ball, and that makes the ball expand. All you need for this method is a cup and some boiled water. The rest of the stuff is taken care of by the chemistry of pressure and temperature.
Step 1 – Put some water in a pot and let it boil until you see bubbles and pour it into a cup.
Step 2 – Put the dented ball inside the hot water in the cup. Please do not put the ball directly into the water while it is still on the flame and boiling; doing that would harm the ball.
Step 3 – The ball will float on top of the water in the cup. Using a spoon push the ball down in the cup so that it is under the water. This way, the pressure on the ball will increase, and consequently, the ball’s air will become hot quicker, and with any luck, the dent of the ball will go away.
Step 4 – Once the ball has regained its original shape, take it out of the water using a spoon. Do not try taking it out with your hands so that your hands stay safe from scalding that the hot water can cause.
Step 5 – Now dry the ball by letting it sit on a towel or hanging it inside a tissue for some minutes. Do not let the ball dry on a hard surface as it might still be hot and can form another dent on its surface.
If you have followed all the steps correctly and your ball didn’t have a lot of dents, your ball should be dent-free now, and you should be able to bounce it. Keep in mind that the undent ping pong ball won’t be as good as a new ping pong ball because the heating process might have compromised its round shape.
You may notice that the fixed ball doesn’t bounce as much as before, but its useful life has increased, and you can play some suitable matches with it.
The Science Behind It
If you have undent a ping pong ball with the hot water method, you might feel it’s a magic trick with the dent popping out and disappearing. However, there is no sorcery in all this, and it’ sits all plain science.
When the particles of air inside the ball heat up, they start expanding. This way, the pressure inside the ball increases and makes the dent pop out.
The Hairdryer Method
The hot water method is the most recommended, but if your ball is not fixed, you can try the hairdryer method. You would need a towel and a hair drier for this method.
The towel is vital as you don’t want to burn your hand. So you will hold the ball with the towel.
Hold the ball using the towel, turn on your hairdryer on a high heat and point it towards the ball. Like the hot water method, the particles of air inside the ball will heat up and expand to put pressure on the dent and eventually pop it out.
If you want to have some fun with this method, try doing it without holding the ball.
If the ball becomes very hot or starts losing its shape, turn off the hairdryer for some time and cool down the ball before you give it another try.
Once you undent ping pong ball, it is best to hang it inside a tissue if it is very hot like we suggested in the previous method.
The Round Stick Method
Take a round stick or some similarly shaped object. Slowly and gently, press it along the edge of the ball until the dent pots out. There are high chances for this method to work as long as there are no cracks in the ball. If you don’t have a round stick available, try doing it with a round-shaped pen holder or roll a round pencil on the edge of the ball.
The Thumb Method
If the hot water method or the hairdryer method is not successful in bringing the ball back to its shape, we will have one more way to restore it. This is called the thumb method. It is not a very high-fi method; it just needs you to put slight pressure on the ball around the dent in an attempt to pop the dent back in place.
This method is not going to work every time you try it. Many times the dent can become more prominent due to your ministrations. Use this method as your last resort. However, if you do it with utmost patience, it is still worth trying.
Why Does Heating The Ball Work?
If you paid attention to physics at school, you would know how fascinating it can get. This scientific method of heating the ball works on the principles of physics revolving around volume, temperature, and pressure.
The particles of matter, in this case, the air particles, tend to expand when their temperature is increased. We have used this little knowledge to our advantage. The dent of the ball popping back into place is all just good old science at work.
When Will Heating Not Work
Like we mentioned earlier, not every dented ball can be fixed by heating it. If a ping pong ball has got a crack in it, there is no way to repair it. It is time to get yourself a new ping pong ball. With a crack present, there is no way to increase the air pressure inside the ball. A crack would just let the air leak out. So the hot water method or the hairdryer method won’t work in case of a cracked ball.
There is one more instance where heating might not be fruitful, and that is when the dent is too deep. You can give these methods a try if your ball is also dented. But keep in mind that it won’t always work as sometimes the ball is beyond repair.
Wrapping It Up
There you have it! Fixing a dented ping pong ball is very easy, especially now that you know many methods of how to undent a ping pong ball!
We have mentioned this earlier, and we’d repeat this. The best, most effective, and the fast method to fix a dented ball is the hot water method having the most success rate.
These easy methods can be a lifesaver for you if you have spent too much money replacing ping pong balls. Sure, the fixed balls aren’t going to be as good as new ones, obviously, but they would be good enough for many recreational games.
Mark is a Bloomberg BusinessWeek-based digital entrepreneur, blogger, and table tennis enthusiast. He is a former professional table tennis player with the career-best USATT ranking of 2689. He is also an ITTF Level 3 certified coach and conducts weekend coaching programs in and around the New York area. Mark is also a pool player by passion. He was first introduced to the game of pool at a very early age by his granddad. He had a natural knack for the game and quickly learned the ropes, and by the time he was 15, he was already participating in local leagues. He aims to make it into the APA league someday! Mark started his own blog by starting Indoor Games Zone, where he loves to share his years of experience with the audience. He covers ping pong, pool, air hockey, shuffleboard, and foosball.
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