Instructables

Homemade Skee Ball Game

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Deep down, we all secretly wish we had a Skee Ball game in our own homes. If you're unfamiliar with this, it's a bowling-type of game where you get nine balls to roll up a ramp and off of a jump, trying to get the them into different holes for different amounts of points. It's a fun and simple game, and very addicting.

But to buy your own they're just too darn expensive.

So I decided to make one. It uses golf balls and has no electronics whatsoever (by design). It has an automatic ball return system which places the balls in separate lanes to indicate each ball's score, which is visible through a plexiglass window at the bottom of the ramp. A ball-drop lever is pulled to release the balls back into a storage compartment at the front of the game.

This was a fun and challenging project. The finished size is 86 inches long, 17 1/2 inches wide, and about 49 inches tall. It weighs a lot, and is awkward to move. I'm not sure exactly where we're going to put it. I should have thought of that before I made it...
 
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Step 1: Basic plans

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I had an idea of how I wanted to make this, but when I began to plan out the details it became much larger in size than I had imagined. It also proved to be much more challenging than I had expected.

The entire structure is designed to accommodate the size of a golf ball. The plan I laid out uses two 49" by 97" sheets of MDF (one 1/2" thick and the other 3/4").

I also used some 1/4" MDF, a few pieces of PVC, an old plastic mudflap, a piece of used plexiglass, and a handful of other little things.

These photos are of the plans that I sketched out. Many things changed as the project progressed, but you can get an idea where it all started.
bradgross3 months ago
What is the surface the ball travels on after the Plexiglass. is it just painted wood.
bradgross3 months ago
I guess what would help me more than anything would be actual measurements.
bradgross3 months ago
is there any way you could show the plans in a more basic step to step way for us dummies. your plans are awesome but hard to read on here for a novice.
seamster (author)  bradgross3 months ago
I'm glad you like it, thanks!

Making this was not a cut-and-dried process, and I had to make it up as I went along. All the information I have regarding this project is already posted here, and I can't really boil it down any further than it already is. So I'm sorry, but this probably isn't the best project for a novice! Have you seen my cardboard captain america shield? That's a great one for beginning makers.
TP_inc4 months ago
maybe some day I could make this out of metal cause by dad has a plasma cutter and a oxy cutter
colonelb34 months ago
Not video instructable lol
colonelb34 months ago
I posted a while back on this this video, but i have to say this is soooo cool. I dont think my parents would let me build one at the time, since i finished digging a pond while they were gone to work haha
kleahy8 months ago
Your table is great! I built a skeeball table as well, but what I did for the return was a bit simpler: I cut the PVC tubes longer, then made angled cutouts to determine which direction the ball would leave the hole. I matched up the ball lanes from under the table to the lanes from the return. The bottom most hole emptied straight down. The one above it skewed left. The one above that skewed right. The one above that skewed left, but a simple divider made it go further left than the lower hole.
This is awesome my dad said it should not be to hard to make my mom does not want us to build it though I was going to argue that my room is big enough but she would probably tell me to clean my room but I guess it would be worth it
seamster (author)  partypanda23458 months ago
I think it's worth it. Clean your room first, and then ask your dad to make you one. With your room nice and clean, how could he say no?

Good luck, I hope he makes you one!

This is awesome I have to find a place for this in my room my room is like an L shape
eagleeye217410 months ago
Here's the one I built
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seamster (author)  eagleeye21749 months ago
Awesome! Sorry I didn't respond sooner. I love the paint job. It looks almost exactly like mine size and shape-wise. How did it go? Lots of hiccups, or did it go pretty smooth?
Most of it went pretty well. I broke the jump in half at one point, and it got sprayed by a sprinkler on accident but other than that it went smooth.
joelhunn9 months ago
I'd been thinking about making a very basic version of this to use for some children's games I run every week - but WOW your's looks totally professional! Well thought out, clever, good use of low tech where proper (glued cardboard!) Just an excellent project. Thanks for posting!
seamster (author)  joelhunn9 months ago
You're welcome! Thanks for the compliments, I'm glad you like it.
colonelb39 months ago
Thats an awesome instruct able im soooo showing this to my dad lol :)
nickels1 year ago
Wow, that looks fantastic. Tempted to try this, but your skill level >>>> mine. This is a top notch instructable. Nice job!
An idea just occurred to me: How about adding an LED or LCD screen and some switches to register the different areas of the table. My guess is this already incredible instructable can be kicked up a notch with some intermediate arduino electronics added to it for keeping score automatically. I'll update if I ever get it working. This project seems out of my league, but I am going to attempt it anyway. Here goes nothing!
seamster (author)  nickels9 months ago
Glad to see you took this on, and bumped it up a few notches!
nickels seamster9 months ago
I only wish I had your tools and skills! Thanks for the inspiration. I never would have tried making my own, or even considered it, until I read this instructable. My kids thank you :)
eagleeye217410 months ago
I tried to stick to your general plan, but i didn't do the ball drop lever because it looked too confusing and I was working with a deadline
Your scoring system is brilliant! Great build, and nice design!
seamster (author)  Brian Henderson10 months ago
Thank you! It was a fun project.
afreeland10 months ago
Why is it every instructable I like....you write lol =) ... Keep up the awesome work.
Iron Cowbell10 months ago
Nice design. I've been trying to think something like this up myself.
So how easily does the main ramp slide out after the side rails are put on? Did you have to raise the rails up at all to make more space? I just don't want to put the rails in so tight that the ramp won't slide out.
seamster (author)  eagleeye21741 year ago
Everything fit snug, but I could disassemble it all to reach any part of the game if needed. I would recommend designing yours likewise, just in case an errant Hot Wheels car or some other toys gets stuck somewhere... I speak from experience.
seamster (author)  seamster1 year ago
It also makes painting different parts much easier if you can assemble it completely beforehand, make sure it works, and then take it apart to paint.
Hey how big did you make the space out of the main ramp that the jump sits in?
seamster (author)  eagleeye21741 year ago
I don't remember exactly. It seems like the opening from the end of the ramp to the target board was about 8 inches or so. There was a lot of trial and error at this point in the project. I recall having to reshape and tweak angle of the jump quite a bit.
Yup I see it, thanks! Also, how far did did you cut down on the top of the side frames to make the slant? It looks like 6 inches on your diagram, but it looks less than that in the pictures.
seamster (author)  eagleeye21741 year ago
Ah, eagle eyes you have. Apt username.

It looks like you're right, but I don't know exactly if I changed it or why, or what the new dimensions would be. I sold the thing a while so I can't measure it. One step I never included here is that I added some casters to make it easier to move around. When I did that I believe I made it so the back would sit a couple inches higher, and this might be why the slant angle appears in some photos to be less than in the layout. But like I said, I can't remember for sure!
How did you attach the target board to the frame? Did you just glue it?
seamster (author)  eagleeye21741 year ago
I put some cleats onto the frame sides, and the board is screwed to these from behind. You can see them in a few shots. They are just 3/4" by 3/4" strips of wood that were glued and nailed to the sides.
seamster (author)  seamster1 year ago
I take that back. You can only see what I'm talking about in one photo--2nd photo in step 17, right side.
cmor21251 year ago
Hi there, so I was planning on making this, and just to be clear the only materials that i need are 3/4, 1/2 and 1/4 inch mdf and pvc to make this build? Thank you!
seamster (author)  cmor21251 year ago
Ah, I can't say exactly since I made this quite a while ago. There are many more things you will need than those you listed. 

I say this with no intention of sounding rude, but you'll have to just read the whole instructable for the details. This is my record of the project, and I don't have any more information than what I have already included here.  

Good luck with the project if you decide to make one for yourself!
Going to try and make one of these, although a bit smaller. Still using golfballs, but the overall frame. Have you ever thought of building vending machines? I have made a soda machine. Not one to put out by a store or anything but just a cool little table top one? By the way, all your instructables are really cool. I don't know how you think of them.
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seamster (author)  bobthebuilder7281 year ago
Thanks. It looks like you've got more than enough woodworking skill to make your own skeeball game! You should totally go for it.

Good luck, and let me know how it goes!
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