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.

skeeball.eps(1261x1068) 308 KB
skeeball.svg(1067x1260) 96 KB

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.
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evilmadcow1 year ago
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)
yapoyo2 years ago
This is pimp, my friend. I will build one tomorrow morning.
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.
I made a ball return
gamelvr54 years ago
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.
thats kinda cool to just play when your bored.
This seems like an awesome project! I can't wait to build it! Thanks
great project! i used a McDonalds straw cut in half for a return ramp
klercke4 years ago
this website:
has a great svg to pdf converter.
uytksa klercke4 years ago
how do you use it
zap8004 klercke4 years ago
how does that work
klercke zap80044 years ago
it is very simple to use. you just download the svg file attached and convert!
zap8004 klercke4 years ago
yeah , but my computer downloads itas a VCR file
myakka4 years ago
ill try and post some pictures
myakka4 years ago

im working on another one now made completely from circuit boards!
fungus amungus (author)  myakka4 years ago
Cool, I'd love to see both!
myakka4 years ago
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 .
thing 25 years ago
 have you tried one of those toy car launchers or battle b daman?
fungus amungus (author)  thing 25 years ago
Don't have either of those. Never even heard of the second one until now.
i remember those those are fun
sub8934 years ago
how long should the ramp be?
probably like half a foot, depends how much shooting range you want
chaoshawk4 years ago
do u think u can make plans in pdf plz
My computer turned them into PDF's instantly
sub8934 years ago
thats so cool!!!!
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!
jukkum4 years ago
it's just awesome, thanks man!!
chaoshawk4 years ago
do u think u could make a pdf version of the plans.

it wont open in the other formats
i didnt have small marbles so i sized everything up and used ping pong balls
fungus amungus (author)  thesnoball135 years ago
Awesome. Post some pics here. I'd love to see it.
I can't open this either a pdf would be very helpful
aha. I am making this very soon and adding the ball return. Might post pictures if I can find my bloody camera.
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!
andrew2425 years ago
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?
arudiver5 years ago
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)  arudiver5 years ago
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.
camelsamba5 years ago
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 :^)
dkfa5 years ago
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.
sfcsarah5 years ago
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.
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