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Special Shape Hot Air Balloons

Apex Balloons can manufacture nearly any possible special shape hot air balloon that can be imagined. Appendage shapes are very straightforward, and even the most complex shapes can be engineered with a methodical approach and our attention to even the smallest details. Pricing is significantly less than what the leading balloon manufacturers must charge to remain profitable. Contact us with any concepts, requirements or design suggestions you may have, and we'll be glad to quote you a fantastic price on the shape of your dreams.

We recently conceived and designed a 77,000 cubic foot Oil Drum special shape for Blaser Swisslube. Balloon builder and repairman Ron Cassidy did an expert job constructing the envelope from our pre-cut panels and plans at his workshop in New Hampshire. This special shape product replica was designed with easy handling and world traveling in mind. Lightweight 1.3oz silicone coated ripstop nylon was used throughout the envelope, which finished up at a weight of around 225 pounds. That's less than half the weight of a traditional can shape from any other manufacturer, at about one-third the cost.

Photos ©2009 Ron Cassidy

The following balloon, "Nailed!", is Jon's personal fun system, a 42,000 cubic foot Ultralight envelope with nail appendages added on (approx. 3,000 cubic feet inside the appendages). It is constructed of lightweight 1.3oz silicone ripstop in the top 3/4 and regular weight Aerostar Diamond Weave nylon in the bottom three panels. Total weight is 92.5 lbs in the bag, as measured on an airline baggage scale. It weighed 80 lbs before the nail was tacked on - and that figure is higher than average because of the heavy fabric used in the bottom three panels. If using 1.1oz calendared ripstop in the bottom half, weight can be kept way down for easy handling and painless traveling. This balloon is an excellent example of a simple appendage shape that has a pointed personality!

Photo ©2006 Mike Shipley

3D computer aided design was used to calculate the shape of the appendages and the specific curvature where the bases meet with the envelope. Cutting patterns and the oblong appendage base lines were developed from the computer model (see patterns). This ensured perfect positioning and straightness of the nail appendages when affixed to the envelope.


All content and images copyright ©2000- Jon Radowski unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.