COMPONENTS (MEASUREMENTS ARE EXPRESSED IN MM)
Some of these measurements are standard european measurements. So if you are American these might vary a little. This means that you cannot make an exact copy of this project and need adjust the project to the materials available to you.
The drawings might clarify what materials you'll need. They show the basic construction and measurements.
Construction frame (of whitewood)
Expenses: 27 euros (about $37,-)
Playing surface (of MDF)
Expenses: 13 euros (about $18,-)
Expenses: 8 euros (about $11,-)
Plate opposite to the surface (of chipboard)
Expenses: 11 euros (about $15,-)
How to calculate the the required volume flow and pressure rise: see attached PDF file below (I'm not sure if the specified jet speed is correct, though).
The required output for a 7 to 8 feet air hockey table is about 400 cubic feet per minute. Regular household vacuum cleaners have an average air output of around 140 CFM. You'd need at least 3 vacuum cleaners to make the puck float. This air source would therefore be to expensive. There are more powerful industrial vacuum cleaners, but are hard to get and expensive. Centrifugal blowers are highly specialized. The output ranges from a few CFM to a 1000 CFM or more. These blowers are used in air hockey tables as well. You might want to try to get one for cheap. Overall centrifugal motors are pretty expensive.
Leaf blowers are very powerful. Their output ranges from 350 CFM to 600 CFM. We believe that getting a cheap second-hand electric leaf blower is the best option. We therefore bought a new leaf blower with adjustable output (max. output: 490 CFM). We tried out the leaf blower at the lowest speed (7000 rpm) and it worked fine. The noise produced was significantly less than at higher speeds. It should have a circular outlet. The blower cost 40 euros (about $56,-).
Puck and Mallets
Note: these are the tools we used, but you might find that other tools can be used for the same job as well.