Ebonite Blueprint Software

Recently, I came across an interesting piece of software.  Since I already have Digitrax which was licensed to Ebonite, I was curious about this new software they have developed.  On the surface, it seems aimed at the pro shops and ultimately intended to help sell Ebonite International brand bowling balls. However, it is still fascinating in it’s own right so wanted to touch on it for those who haven’t heard of it yet.

 

BluePrint Logo

 

So what is it?
Ebonite Blueprint is a software intended to allow the ball driller to evaluate the ball reaction for a given bowler prior to ever actually punching any holes in an actual ball. In simple terms, you use this computer software to virtually punch holes in a given ball, tell the computer detailed specs about a bowler and the lane condition and it will then draw a ball reaction for you. It’s sort like getting a CATS reading but not off of an actual toss, but a simulated one.

How does it do this?

  • First, it needs to be told very specific information about the bowler. This includes a detailed drilling sheet, your speed, tilt, rotation, rev rate, etc.
  • Second, it needs to have information about the condition.  It has a bunch of preset conditions including typical house shots and sport shots.
  • Third, it needs to have very detailed specifications for the bowling balls.   It’s clear the the bowling specs, including RG, differential, mass bias, exact weight, pin to CG distance, top weight, surface data, and coverstock final finish, are critical to getting this right.

Here’s the catch.  It’s preloaded with Ebonite International balls and only them.  This means Ebonite, Columbia, Track, and Hammer.  This is where the system is held back from very broad use.  I see it as a very clear way to help market Ebonite International equipment.  I can’t blame them at all but I have to just temper my enthusiasm as a neutral observer by this fact.  It would mean I would get no use out of this software if my student did not have current Ebonite bowling balls or weren’t considering a new Ebonite International bowling ball.  It also comes at a steep cost to pro shops or other potential buyers when considering its limitations.

More detail…

Once you enter the bowler information, this is stored in the program.  Now, you select a ball from the lineup and virtually punch it up.  The user will enter the specs for a drilling, say 50 x 5 x 50.  The program will then drill it and tell you if the static weights are still legal.  It will also show you the affect of the drilling on the RG, differential, and mass bias.  So you can see if the drilling has decreased or increased the differential, for example.  You can drill weight holes as needed.  You can change depths of holes, etc.  One particularly interesting aspect was being able to see the change in pin location based on drilling.   What we don’t realize, particularly with assymetrical cores, is that the pin, or the top of the weight block, can actually shifts when the ball is drilled.  So you may have intended to drill a ball with a 5 inch pin to PAP distance, but the pin could move as far as an inch, leaving you with a 6 inch pin to PAP.  Now, the driller can see that impact before putting holes in a ball to ensure they get the specs they intended.

Once the ball is “drilled”, you can just select the ball you want to drill and the condition you will bowl on.  Then you will select the laydown board, launch speed, target, etc.  Then the system draws a ball reaction for you.  It can also take into account the level of the bowler using standard deviations to show you the variations in ball reaction over several tosses.  Then, you can compare different bowling balls.  The view is endless really.

Further thoughts to consider…

There is a demo of the software available at powerhousebowling.com.  I haven’t downloaded it yet, but one of my readers did.  He mentioned that he tried 2 substantially different drillings and saw little change in the overall ball reaction.  I can imagine this observation will be pretty typical.  I mean how different can a software demonstrate a relatively small change on a scale version of a lane that is max, 8 inches on your screen??  In the end, a substantial amount of knowledge is required to put this software to use.  It doesn’t take into account that if you drill a low speed, high rev bowler Drilling and VAL angles that add up to less than 50, that ball will likely have a pretty awful ball reaction; not on a single shot, but from shot to shot.  That’s because the bowler is not a machine.  So the software might tell you here’s what a single ball reaction will look like to hit the pocket.  It could also tell you how many balls thrown may be scattered  based on standard deviation, but it doesn’t account for the fact that when a bowler sees a certain ball reaction, they make adjustments.  When a ball over reacts, we do something to adjust and that tends to lead to an over/under in the example I gave specifically. So here, this bowler may be able to get one ball to do this for real with this drilling, but will hate how hard he/she will have to work to hit the pocket with any frequency.  An experienced ball driller would know not to put you in that drilling.

It would be even more interesting if it showed that your error rate would increase because the drilling is not appropriate for the bowler type, but I doubt it’s that sophisticated.

 

Final thoughts

This looks to be a pretty sophisticated software and very interesting.  I think it’s quite visionary and is a good marketing tool to drive increased market share for Ebonite International.  On the merits, it offers something never seen before.  I think it can only be effectively used by an experienced ball driller, coach, or bowler.  Seeing some lines on a computer screen is not going to help the average bowler feel like they will like or not like a bowling ball’s reaction when they actually throw it.  However, their driller could get a better sense if the bowler will like the reaction or not.  From a neutral perspective, it’s unfortunate that it is limited to one group of balls.  I have to imagine that Ebonite International is banking on the assumption that if a pro shop operator spends the money on this software, they will likely steer bowlers towards balls they can visualize using this software.

 

To check it out, go to PowerHouseBowling.com.

Comments

  1. Interesting. Too many variables to get a “true line” but I like it to get a general idea of what the ball would do if drilled a particular way. I would like to reverse it, such that you enter all of the bowlers data then request the software to show you where to drill it in order to get a specific ball reaction. Personally, I prefer to throw an olde school down and in line, so after entering my data, I’d like to see where we can drill it to get that controlled line….OR….where to drill it to get the most angle to the pocket with a late breaker. etc

    • Hi John. Interesting point you made about reversing the concept. I didn’t see it as a possibility on the software but I haven’t downloaded the demo to say with absolute certainty. The trouble is that the difference on paper between 2 drillings (even the absolute extremes) is not that big, especially when taking scale into account. In other words, seeing a difference of a few boards is possible, but identifying the real reaction difference is going to take some detailed assessment of the breakpoint, pocket entry board, entry angle, board the ball leaves the deck, etc. It’s not straightforward at all. In addition, you may think that you prefer a ball reaction when you see it on blueprint, but there is a possibility that it is ultimately not the best drilling for your style bowling. In your case, I know that you were speed dominant. If you drilled a ball with very wide Drilling and VAL angles, you may find a line to the pocket on Blueprint, but in reality that ball turns over so slowly, you may hate it when you really throw it.

      I’m going to download the demo soon and experience will ultimately tell how useful this tool will be. If I happen to have a ball that is available in demo mode, I might test it out. I think we have to keep in mind that we don’t usually know exactly what the house shot really is. It’s usually modified to the liking of the owner. How to reflect something we don’t know ought to be interesting but I’ll tinker around and see what I get out of it.

      I just want to say I’m not knocking it. I still think it’s pretty ingenious. Real life applicability is the real test.

      • Just wanted to chime in here. I use the software. I’m not a pro shop owner, but help out a friend who owns two locations. I/We have mapped out and drilled up dozens of balls for customers and have not had one complaint as of yet.

        It’s kind of odd that you’re discussing information that appears to be in a review format without ever trying the software yourself first. By the way, I am not affiliated with or have stock in Ebonite or any of it’s other branches of business. I think this is a fantastic piece of software that offers benefits to the pro shop owner and not just the customer and is long overdue to aid in providing the best drilling possible for the customer. I will say that this software does NOT replace an experienced driller who understands ball motion, but is a great aid to help fine tune a layout for each individual.

        Here’s a few items that help the pro shop:

        1. No need to weigh the ball after you drill it to make sure it’s in spec. Saves time pro shop.
        2. Customer records of specs and layouts are stored in the product with actual ball numbers after drilling (good for both owner and customer).
        3. Drilling arsenals for clients becomse much easier for the pro shop due to having exact post drilled numbers from ball to ball (i.e. RG, Diff, side weight, etc…)
        4. Knowing the true pin and MB locations after drilling (you did mention that)
        5. Flirting with layouts that could possibly cause a client to roll over the thumb hole won’t be an issue any more.

        I can’t tell you how many people will come in to your shop and want a ball that will do something less or more than a specific ball they already have. I have to weigh the ball, then watch the person throw it, then make educated desicions without knowing exact numbers I’m dealing with. The software makes that job much easier when adding balls to a customers arsenal.

        Also, there are products out there like the “determinator” that will help you know how much one ball will hook more than another. Well, this software, which is much less expensive, gives me those numbers automatically.

        I believe all other manufacturers will have to come out with an equivalent software because I personally won’t buy anything but ebonite for now because the software is too valuable for me personally for my own game. I have mentioned this to reps of other ball company’s as well.

        To me this is the best thing to come out for ball drilling in a long time.

        • Hi Caveman. Thanks for the input. I believe the information I provided is simply objective for the most part and not really subjective since I have not used it myself. However, I shared your enthusiasm about the product. If I can rephrase your last sentence, “…the best thing to come out for ball drilling (EBONITE INTERNATIONAL BALLS ONLY) in a long time”. Otherwise, I have no doubt it’s a useful tool.
          Now it’s up to the pro shop operators to decide if it’s worth the cost.

  2. As one of the software developers behind Powerhouse Blueprint, I’d like to thank you for the review of our product. This is a great bowling site and we’re honored to be included.

    Blueprint does indeed currently support only Ebonite International bowling balls. As of this post, that amounts to 54 bowling balls from Columbia 300, Ebonite, Hammer, and Track. Each ball in the software utilizes the actual core geometry used during manufacturing and they are all put through a set of rigorous tests at Ebonite’s research center in order to quantify on-lane performance.

    We certainly agree that Blueprint is not a substitute for proper pro shop education and experience. In working with our customers, we tend to find that Blueprint can make good ball drillers great and great ball drillers phenomenal. Some of our advanced users are doing some really interesting layouts that were too risky “pre-Blueprint” due to fear of flaring over holes…we’ll try to share some of this via our website in the near future.

    If anyone would like additional information about Powerhouse Blueprint, feel free to visit our website and download our free trial.

    • I appreciate your visit and am glad to review Blueprint. I think it’s an exciting product and definitely on the cutting edge. Having a science background myself, albeit in a different field, I very much enjoy seeing new technology pushing the boundaries. I can only imagine the inordinate amount of research and scientific rigor that’s required to get this right.
      I’m hoping to get more hands on and possibly offer more “intangible” information about the product for the reading audience.
      We obviously also have a very knowledgeable audience so glad to have their input and yours to provide the most useful information to bowlers.
      Thanks again!

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