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Interactive LED Beer Pong Table

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Create your own Interactive LED Beer Pong Table!

This instructable will guide you through all of the steps to in order to create a one-of-a-kind beer pong table complete with cup detecting RGB pods, automatic ball washers, a 32x12 ping pong ball LED grid, side LED rings for spectators and an RF interface to communicate wirelessly with a PC! It will teach you everything from theory of operation to modifying the table to suit your needs. First, I will take you through the modification and wiring of the table before we dive into the software side of things.

The toughest part about this project is just getting it started. There is a lot of prepping and labour to do before you can get anything real exciting working. However, if you can stick it out until you get the 32x12 LED grid in place, you will do just fine. Once you get up to that point, you can really start to see the potential for the table and it makes working on it a lot more enjoyable. I worked on this table on and off over the course of one year. If I were to build another one and had a set schedule of 8-hours per day to work on it, I could easily finish it within one week. The majority of the time that I spent on this project went into prototyping, development and writing the software rather than actually assembling the project.

Now come and take a tour with me through this Instructable and let us find out if you are up for the challenge!

EDIT
Daily Planet on the Discovery Channel did a short segment with me on this project. If you are interested in seeing it, check it out here .



UPDATE
I have found a great place to get professional PCBs made at a reasonable price. I have created and tested out multiple breakout boards already and even got a quick run of RGB pods done. Everything has turned out phenomenal and I couldn't be happier with the boards. Lately, I have been working on a newer version of the Interactive LED Beer Pong Table. I will spare the details for now, but I will not be making and selling PCBs for this version of the table. All of the gerber files are available for download for this version of the table in case you want to get the PCBs professionally made yourself though! When I first made this project, I just used parts that I already had on hand. Since then, I have specifically ordered new parts for this table that will suit it better and take up less room on the PCBs. This allowed me to reduce the need for four controller boards and instead combine them into one PCB, which is a huge cost saver. I will have more details to come in the future, but it can be a long and slow process when it takes around 3 weeks per set of PCBs. Stay Tuned!

 
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Cr4nk2 days ago

Awesome instructable! Took me some hours to read and understand. How is it going with the RF-Code? Maybe you can start an Opensource project :)

rodrila8511 days ago

Have you looked into using LED strips instead?

Regax (author)  rodrila8511 days ago

Actually I have. One could cut costs down just by using 12 LED strips, but then you would lose the functionality of controlling each pixel.

If you were to use an RGB LED strip with WS2812 chips (or a similiar chip), you could then control each pixel with full RGB functionality, however, they require VERY precise timing to be able to control them. On top of that, the cheapest that I could find was $10/meter and there are 12x 1.60m columns on this table. that comes out to around $192 for the LED grid.

rodrila85 Regax10 days ago

Thats a shame. I just finished wiring all the LEDS myself and it was a pain. Im planning on make 2. so I hope by the time im done with the first youll have that updated master PCB, because that is definitely my weak point. lol

Regax (author)  rodrila8510 days ago

Hopefully! The updated master PCBs (I ordered 10) should arrive any day now, but it is the LED grid that is stalling me. The point to point wiring just isn't very feasible so I am exploring some other options right now. Also, I now keep the grid as one unit instead of separating it into two grids as I did in this Instructable. That alone removes 32 connections and four 8-pin connectors. That's what I plan on doing anyways, I still haven't prototyped it as I'm waiting for the boards.

But I'll keep you posted! I usually check for comments/messages everyday.

dangdal14 days ago

How do I buy this stuff?

Regax (author)  dangdal11 days ago

There is a BOM in the Instructable with a link where you can buy each component, or I am putting together kits that can be purchased for the revised version. I am still working on the prototype though, as it has a bit more features included in it.

elovelace3 months ago

Any luck on getting the PCBs professionaly made? I'm in for a set

Regax (author)  elovelace3 months ago

I'm still pricing out different manufacturers. I'm trying to find a good manufacturer with the best price per set of 24 PCBs.

flyguy93 Regax1 month ago

Any idea of when you will have a price. I would love to start this project. Amamzing work

Regax (author)  flyguy931 month ago

I just posted an update in regards to the PCBs in the Intro step. I am revamping the PCBs to save costs and use parts that are better suited for the job. When I made this table, I just used parts that I had on hand, so I have made a lot of improvements since then. I have a bit more testing and prototyping to do, then I will make a write-up for the new version.

_Djinni_ Regax1 month ago

PLEASE Keep us posted on this. I'm in for a set, or two, if the price is right.

Have you tried 123D website the make the boards you design.

ginomac1 month ago
Amazing work!!
mtveezy1 month ago

This is really amazing, thank you for making such an in-depth tutorial. I've looked through this a couple times and I'm wondering do the PCB's require through-hole drilling? If so, how can we do that at home (without a drill press)?

Regax (author)  mtveezy1 month ago

Yes they do. I used a Dremel drill press to drill the holes. I'm not sure about a better way to drill out the holes other than that, the bits are small and will break easily if they get bent.

This is the coolest thing I have ever seen.... EVER

Regax (author)  therealtonystark1 month ago

Thanks! I'm glad that you like it.

Hey, first off this beer pong table is hands down the best iv ever seen, I am curious about the ball wash ir sensor. How, where did you mount it at? you would need two of sensors for each ball wash station correct, one for the washer and one for the fan? my table will not be as complex as yours, but i think the ball was feature with the on off sensors would be amazing for out here in the sticks. Any advice or information is appreciated.

Regax (author)  BigCountryBeerPong1 month ago

All of the information for the construction of the ball washers is located in step #30 to step #37. One ball washer uses two IR sensors. One at the entry point where you drop the ball in and one at the exit point where the ball comes out.

When the ball is dropped into the entry point, the water pump will turn on for a couple of seconds to pump the ball down the pipe, the water pump will then shut off and turn on the fan. When the fan turns on, the ball is blown out of the exit hole where the other IR sensor detects it. If the ball is not grabbed within ~10 seconds, the fan will shut off and let the ball fall back down the pipe. This is all contained in step #56 and step #57. I should have made a table of contents for this Instructable, it's so long ;) haha

mhenriksen12 months ago

Hello again.

In the BOM for Master Controller you list

..

1x 0.1µF Ceramic Capacitor

4x 0.01µF Ceramic Capacitors

2x 27pf Ceramic Capacitors

..

And after investigating I can see that the 27pF and 0.01uF capacitors are 0603 SMD.

In the BOM for RGB Pod Controller you list

..

2x 0.1µF Ceramic Capacitors

2x 0.01µF Ceramic Capacitors

2x 10µF Electrolytic Capacitors

2x 220µF Electrolytic Capacitors

..

But in the schematic it shows the four capacitors as C1 = 0.1uF, C2 = 0.1uF, C3 = 220uF and C4 = 10uF. Which of these should be the 0.01uF? Or is it an error in the BOM?

Also, all the 0.01uF looks to be 0603 SMD resistors, correct?

Actually it looks like there is some incosistency between the pictures in the guide of the board layout pictures and the actual boards.

Would you be willing to share the .sch and .brd files for the project?

Regax (author)  mhenriksen12 months ago

Ahhh good catch! It looks as if I was labeling my 0805 SMD capacitors as ceramic capacitors in the BOM. If you check the dipmicro link where you can buy those caps, it shows an 0805 SMD resistor and capacitor value pack (which is correct). I will update this on Monday!

Also, when I get back to my PC I will cross-reference the BOM and my PCBs to ensure that there are no more discrepancies like that. I suspected that even out of 88 steps, I may have overlooked some smaller things like that.

Thanks for the feedback and I'll get you those files.

mhenriksen1 Regax2 months ago

Oh.. I totally missed that excel sheet with the BOM. Thanks for pointing that out :) I was just going from the list in the tutorial (doh).

mhenriksen1 Regax2 months ago
You are so awesome :) Thank you very much!
You can probably hear I am in the process of copying your build haha.
But like you said, and as I can imagine, a tutorial with 88 steps is bound to have some discrepancies :P But I am really impressed that you took the time to write this up!
DevDog2 months ago

I am trying to get the PCB manufactured and they are saying that they need the board outline file ".GKO". I have looked in the Zip files and there not included. If possible could in upload these files.

-Devin

Regax (author)  DevDog2 months ago

The board outline is the ".GML" file. I used Seeedstudio's PCB specifications to greate my gerber files. I just checked with OSH Park and their website states:


The Quick Fix

BatchPCB wanted the board outline on another layer, like top
silkscreen, or top copper. The quickest path to converting your
gerbers for use at OSHPark is to simply make a copy of the file
that has your board outline in it, and give it a “.GKO” extension.

So you should be able to rename the ".GML" extension with a ".GKO" extension instead. According to OSH Park that will work, but let me know if you have any problems. Here is what each layer is represented in each file:

  • Top Layer: pcbname.GTL
  • Inner Layer: pcbname.GL2(for 4 layer)
  • Inner Layer: pcbname.GL3(for 4 layer)
  • Bottom Layer: pcbname.GBL
  • Solder Mask Top: pcbname.GTS
  • Solder Mask Bottom: pcbname.GBS
  • Silk Top: pcbname.GTO
  • Silk Bottom: pcbname.GBO
  • Drill Drawing: pcbname.TXT
  • Board Outline:pcbname.GML/GKO
ecsaul232 months ago

awesome! I get to be the 1000th person to favorite it

N.fletch2 months ago

Called it.

Congrats on the win!

C0UTZ2 months ago

After I started doing this, I came across an old dusty chalk line in my garage - turns out this is a really good way of marking these lines quickly (especially if you have somebody helping you on the other side of the table)

mhenriksen12 months ago

Awesome build, and great instructable!
I am in the process of ordering parts for one of these.

I dont see where you have the LED's and resistors for them listed. Am I blind?
Did you buy the LEDs on ebay?

Regax (author)  mhenriksen12 months ago

Wow, I can't believe that I forgot about the LEDs in the grid! haha You're right, I'll add them to the cost of the project when I get home. But yes, I just got the LEDs on eBay, the resistors are already included on the LED Grid Controller board as 150ohm network resistors. Here are two links for 500x 5mm Diffused Blue LEDs:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/111086308429

www.ebay.ca/itm/121158357842

mhenriksen1 Regax2 months ago

Arh, great, thanks alot :D Don't worry about it, they don't play a big role anyway ;)

ASCAS2 months ago

Wow this is a monster ible! Your project definitely deserves a grand prize!

C0UTZ2 months ago

Not sure if you're aware, but there is a method to removing the "Produced by an Autodesk Educational Product" stamp by using the "DXFOUT" command to export your drawing in the DXF format. You then take this new exported file and open it in AutoCAD. This file can now be saved as a .dwg file using the "DXFIN" command. Note that this only with a commercially licensed (full, non-educational) version of ACAD.

That being said, I wanted to ask you if you were willing to share your drawing files, as I'm interested in building a shorter, 6-cup version for the man-cave. Having the initial drawing would help a bunch as it's way easier to play with the dimensions that way.

Either way, thanks for posting such an awesome 'ible!

Regax (author)  C0UTZ2 months ago

No problem, I'll post it in step #3 right now! And I can't remove it as I only have the student version of AutoCAD, it's nice to know that others will the full version can though.

smoore362 months ago
How much would it cost to buy the materials?
Regax (author)  smoore362 months ago

It will differ for everybody, depending on where you buy the hardware from. My Lexan sheet cost $83, I spent $7 on a 4'x8'x7/16" sheet of OSB, $18 on a 4'x8'x1/2" sheet of plywood, $30 or so for the ball washer pump and fan motors and hardware, $40 for 288 ping pong balls, $15 for the LED rings, $20 for the ABS pipe and couplers and $30 for the table itself.

That gives a total of $243 worth of materials. Add that together with the electronic components ($120) and that puts us at $363. Then one has to make the PCBs themselves or get them professionally made (professionally will cost more than the former), putting this project in the ~$400 - $~500 range.

craftclarity2 months ago

Holy cow, that looks like a lot of work. The image you have at the top is awesome! Great work. Thanks for sharing this!

angel922 months ago

best project ever!

willydog272 months ago
Have you thought about making that 32x12 led grid rgb?
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