Introduction: Desktop Skeeball

Picture of Desktop Skeeball

I love Skeeball, but it's not often I can get my fix. So instead of trying to get out to the local bar that has a machine, I decided to just make a small one with some cardboard, coffee cups, and hot glue.

It actually works pretty well and came together in about an hour. Check it out.

Step 1: Cutting Up the Cardboard

Picture of Cutting Up the Cardboard

I made an EPS file for all the pieces I would need in Illustrator. I'm using 1/3" ball bearings as balls so I scaled everything around that, making this a 1:9 scale of the full size machine.

Thanks to the folks at this forum where I got the layout for the target area.

With the file handy, I cut all the pieces out on our Epilog laser cutter. I know, I know, you don't have one of your own, but with an X-acto you can cut everything up just fine. For the holes you can maybe use a drill.

Note: I attached eps and svg files so that they can be opened and edited in Illustrator or Inkscape. Since these files are not what I consider final, I am not providing a pdf.

Step 2: Assembling the Ramp

Picture of Assembling the Ramp

The base of the ramp is made by connecting the two cross pieces with the two side pieces and using some hot glue to keep it strong.

For the ramp piece itself, I used an X-acto to slice lines across the back so that the front would have a smoother curve to it. After this was done I used the body of the X-acto as a guide for the curvature of the ramp.

Step 3: Target

Picture of Target

I did this a bit out of order. I should've added the rings before assembling this. Ah well, here's what I did.

I glued the two center pieces together first, keeping them at a right angle to each other. Then I glued the side pieces on one at a time. No real advice for this, just try and keep it even and you'll be fine.

Step 4: Cutting Out Ring Material

Picture of Cutting Out Ring Material

I needed some rings to guide the balls into the drops so I cut off the tops of a few coffee cups.

To make sure they were roughly the same size, I used one cup as a guide while I cut the other one.

Step 5: Attach Rings

Picture of Attach Rings

Keep trimming off ring material until you get pieces that are the right size and glue them down. I was able to use a staple to hold the 20 point ring (the biggest circle), but for everything else it was mostly a matter of putting in a drop of hot glue, placing the ring, and holding it in place until it cooled and stuck.

And there you go! You have your own desktop skeeball set. Just place the cut off bottom of a coffee cup under the target to collect the balls and you're ready to rock.


Step 6: Future Changes

My goal for this project was to see what I could make in an hour. The results are good for goofing off for a couple minutes at a time and I'm happy with it, but of course it could do with some changes. Here's a list of things that could be modified in the future.
  • Ball launcher.A spring-loaded plunger, like on a pinball table, would be great for shooting balls. It gives you ore control of the shot. I tried a few ways to user rubber bands, but it never worked very well. It's too easy for the band to snap under the ball.
  • Narrower ramp. The ramp doesn't need to be as wide as the target area and in fact this makes it easier to go off the side. Looking back at the pictures of the arcade machine, I found that the ramp is indeed narrower with one side used for the ball return.
  • Plastic walls. A clear acrylic side to the target area would be cool so you can see more of what's happening from more of an angle.
  • Score chutes. Make chutes so that the balls fall into them after going through the holes. These can lead to a collection area that holds them in different sections and lets you see what your score is.
  • Ball return. An alternative to the chutes, the ball return could simply be an angled piece of cardboard underneath the target area that rolls the balls back at you.


kittyisboss11 (author)2016-12-23

this is really good i am most likely to make one of these :)

lilysmom21 (author)2016-12-03

Please. I paid for the upgraded membership. Can someone please be kind enough to send me the eps file as a PDF so I can build this?

lilysmom21 (author)2016-12-03

Can someone please send this to me in PDF? I am helping my son with a school project. I would be eternally grateful.

evilmadcow (author)2013-11-16

betcha can't use an arudrino/atmega of some sort and some more cardboard to have a score system AND the ball-recycler (basicly EVERYTHING from most commercial verions)

Deadlocked2 (author)evilmadcow2016-05-18

Actually, I did. I t was a success after 17 attemps.

sub893 (author)2010-12-13

how long should the ramp be?

Deadlocked2 (author)sub8932016-05-18

my machine's ramp was about 3/4 of a regular piece of printing paper. To make the ramp smoother, just tape paper over it.

Deadlocked2 (author)Deadlocked22016-05-18

Easy and fun. All I used was cardboard, tape, scissors, and paper.

kenzi50198 (author)sub8932010-12-29

probably like half a foot, depends how much shooting range you want

Deadlocked2 (author)2016-05-18

Me too. That is because usually people fail and just make the ball roll back on the ramp that you're supposed to shoot from.

where is waldo (author)2011-06-12

great project! i used a McDonalds straw cut in half for a return ramp

I never thought of that. That is a great idea!

jbryant jr.1 (author)2011-06-22

thats kinda cool to just play when your bored.

Deadlocked2 (author)jbryant jr.12016-05-18

Yea, I always just play around with it when I have nothing to do...

Deadlocked2 (author)2016-05-18

I made it. It was so good! It was so good I earned $23.45 at a school homemade carnival. I LOVE IT!

yapoyo (author)2012-12-01

This is pimp, my friend. I will build one tomorrow morning.

cornonthecobert (author)2011-09-05

I remember when i made a working mini bowling alley with a ball return, pin sorter, out of some carpet, a step stool, some small boxes, tape, hotwheel tracks, and a few other knick-knacks... It was pretty cool, this reminds me of it.

gamelvr5 (author)2011-06-28

It would be nice if I could view the file...but I cant. Nor can I find a converter that can successfuly convert it without an error.

~•SMART•~ (author)2011-06-22

This seems like an awesome project! I can't wait to build it! Thanks

klercke (author)2010-11-14

this website:
has a great svg to pdf converter.

uytksa (author)klercke2011-05-01

how do you use it

zap8004 (author)klercke2011-02-25

how does that work

klercke (author)zap80042011-02-26

it is very simple to use. you just download the svg file attached and convert!

zap8004 (author)klercke2011-03-29

yeah , but my computer downloads itas a VCR file

myakka (author)2011-03-14

ill try and post some pictures

myakka (author)2011-03-13

im working on another one now made completely from circuit boards!

fungus amungus (author)myakka2011-03-13

Cool, I'd love to see both!

myakka (author)2011-03-13

i made mine completely out of 5 gallon paint bucket stirrers. :P
its 2 sticks wide(3 inches) and 13 1/2 inches long.

it was kinda hard to make because for one, the sticks were made in china. two, the sticks were made of scrap wood and as strait as Ellen Degeneres .

Air_Assassin (author)2011-01-15


thing 2 (author)2010-05-06

 have you tried one of those toy car launchers or battle b daman?

fungus amungus (author)thing 22010-05-06

Don't have either of those. Never even heard of the second one until now.

gunman15 (author)fungus amungus2010-12-31

i remember those those are fun

chaoshawk (author)2010-12-21

do u think u can make plans in pdf plz

TheKnexDude (author)chaoshawk2010-12-22

My computer turned them into PDF's instantly

sub893 (author)2010-12-11

thats so cool!!!!

Quazzaazazazaazaza (author)2010-10-10

Yesterday I made this, mostly out of hot glue and popsicle sticks with the ramp made out of card board. I also added a return ramp underneath the first. Thanks for the idea!

jukkum (author)2010-09-24

it's just awesome, thanks man!!

chaoshawk (author)2010-09-19

do u think u could make a pdf version of the plans.

it wont open in the other formats

thesnoball13 (author)2010-09-01

i didnt have small marbles so i sized everything up and used ping pong balls

Awesome. Post some pics here. I'd love to see it.

Mischy-Renee (author)2010-08-08

I can't open this either a pdf would be very helpful

wolf555hound (author)2010-07-20

aha. I am making this very soon and adding the ball return. Might post pictures if I can find my bloody camera.

emotschwiller (author)2010-07-16

love it, i'd love to make a mini floor version.. maybe 6 ft long instead of the 10 or 13 in arcades. you could try to use some sort of firing device similar to the crossfire game too thanks!

andrew242 (author)2010-06-28

can you please make a pdf file instead because whenever i try to open it it says the document cant be opened so can oyu make a pdf file instead?

arudiver (author)2010-06-13

Dear fungus amungus, i am 1 of the happy few to own a laser, and i would like to cut cardboard, but dont' know which setting to use on my 75W machine. Hope you can help me, i just have my machine for a month, so a lot to learn. thnx

fungus amungus (author)arudiver2010-06-13

It depends on the cardboard a little. I think it was 100 power / 40 speed, but not sure. Just do some tests first. Cardboard's cheap and it'll only take you a couple minutes.

camelsamba (author)2010-05-18

Fun! This also needs to be connected to some kind of flashing lights and a noise maker - but I suppose there are instructables for those if I look hard enough :^)

dkfa (author)2010-05-13

This automatically calls for a Large Scale Version. With a ball return. Thanks for the idea's. Now I need to ask my mom where I can put the large scale version.

sfcsarah (author)2010-05-12

This seems like an amazing instructable (props on the video), but does it last for long? It seems to me that all those collisions would rapidly bend yours out of shape.

ahmad5204 (author)2010-05-11

 Next time please make it in pdf file thanxxx

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.
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