You can download a 3D model of the DIY Air Hockey Table here. This will help you understand the project better. In order to view the 3D model you need to install the free application SketchUp.
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Step 1: Requirements and Measurements
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)
- Two long sides: L=2530 ; W=45 ; H=70 (no. 1, see this component in the drawings)
- Two short sides: L=1310 ; W=45 ; H=70 (no. 2)
- Two long sides: L=2440 ; W=20 ; H=35 (no. 3)
- Two short sides: L=1220 ; W=20 ; H=35 (no. 4)
Expenses: 27 euros (about $37,-)
Playing surface (of MDF)
- L=2440 ; W=1220 ; H=6 (no. 5)
Expenses: 13 euros (about $18,-)
- Small beams of scrap wood with heigth of 35mm (no. 6)
Expenses: 8 euros (about $11,-)
Plate opposite to the surface (of chipboard)
- L=2440 ; W=1220 ; H=12 (no. 7)
Expenses: 11 euros (about $15,-)
- Leaf blower, centrifugal blower or vacuum cleaner (no. 8)
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,-).
- One or two meters of tube with a diameter of about 90mm (depends on size of leaf blower outlet)
- A sheet of PVC measuring 250mm by 250mm, with hole in which the tube fits. (no. 9)
- If the tube doesn't directly fit into the hole, use a PVC muff (which does fit around the tube and in the hole)
- Two pieces of plywood measuring 250mm by 250mm (no. 10 and 11)
- Wooden beams with a length of about 400mm
- Strong piece of fabric measuring 400mm by 400mm
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.
- Proper tenon saw
- Regular saw
- Hole saw
- Wood glue (regular and polyurethane glue)
- Drill with adequate drillbits
- Dremel with adequate drillbits of 1mm (or 1/32)
- Sanding machine with very fine and super fine sandpaper (P180 and P1200)
- Hammer and suitable nails
- Screwdrivers and suitable screws
- Thermoplastic adhesive (hot glue)
- Duct tape