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How to model the Russia 2018 World Cup Football in SOLIDWORKS

Thursday June 21, 2018 at 9:21am
The World Cup is here again! The geometry of the football itself is always a little interesting. What panels make up the surface? Looking at the ball closely, I could see that it was one shape tessellated 6 times - a weird cube as it were. So, how can we model this up in SOLIDWORKS?  

The World Cup is here again! The geometry of the football itself is always a little interesting. What panels make up the surface? Looking at the ball closely, I could see that it was one shape tessellated 6 times - a weird cube as it were. So, how can we model this up in SOLIDWORKS? Will we need complex surface tools? Weird lofts? No! We use a split line or two, copy a couple of surfaces and pattern, pattern, pattern.

Step 1: Draw a spherical surface section 220mm diameter.

This is the standard size of the competition ball, at least as far as Google would tell me.  I drew a semicircle at the required diameter and created a mid-plane revolved surface over 90 degrees.

Step 2: Create a ‘quarter-square’ face

If you examine pictures of the ball, you will see that it is made of just 6 pieces. The faces are also rotationally symmetrical every 90 degrees, so we will start with a simple trim.

The line is just angled up at 45 degrees.

Step 3: The Split

Now comes the ‘fun’ bit. We need to create the shape for the actual face. We only have to do a small section, but we will make sure it matches up as nicely as we can.

We want a 2D sketch; it is a simple stepped design. I just need to ensure that the centre line passes through the origin and that the two shorter horizontal lines are equal. Two dimensions and we are done.

Next for the Split command - it is on the Direct Editing Tab.

We are then left with 3 surface bodies.

If all has gone well then the model should look like this:

Step 4: Thicken

We want to thicken the three surfaces. This requires three separate operations and you need to ensure that the merge result box is kept clear. We will then have three bodies in our part (shown in different colours for clarity):

Step 5: Move the Split Bodies

Now we need to rotate the coloured bodies 180 degrees to form the section of the panel. The Move/Copy bodies command is also on the direct editing tab of the Command Manager. You can choose the edge between the red and grey parts in the centre to use as the axis of rotation.

Then we will use the Combine command to Join the bodies together.

Step 6: Finish the section

Now we need to finish our section, since we have a quarter of the panel we can just create a simple circular pattern. We will pattern the body and not the features:

Then we Combine and add a fillet to finish the section:

Step 7: The finished ball

Now we just need to create an assembly of 6 panels. Insert the first instance at the origin and then a second and mate in place.

We now have one third of the ball. You could repeat the last step to add the remaining faces, but we can do it with just one circular pattern.

First, create the Axis:

This goes between the two corners of the two panels as seen above. We can then use a circular pattern to finish our ball:

Conclusion/Penalty Shoot out

So, there we have it: the Telstar 18 Ball. If we tweak the shell thickness we could get an accurate weight for the ball as well, or perhaps we could use Flatten surface to find the cut shape required for the flat leather sheet. You could also add decals and generate the image at the top of the page.

With that done, I think I can go and watch some football...let's hope all the Home Nations (England) do us proud!

By Gordon Stewart

Product Manager

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