Instructables
Picture of Interactive LED Beer Pong Table

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 #2

I have pretty much everything ready to go for the improved/revised Interactive LED Beer Pong Table except for the LED grid. I am currently waiting for another order of materials to be shipped to me so that I can prototype a way to make a grid so that it can be shipped and easily installed to the main PCB with a single connector. I ordered the materials that I needed, only to have the supplier send the wrong type of material. This is a bit of a set-back, but if nothing else, I can start providing PCBs and leave the LED grid setup up to you, the customer. I would rather provide the the completed LED grid as a whole, so hopefully this next shipment is the correct materials and I can do that. Cheers!

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
1-40 of 102Next »
AustinR1yesterday

If anyone would be willing to make a table like this for me i will pay good money! Just email me ajravenscroft@mix.wvu.edu

Regax (author)  AustinR1yesterday

I will have kits available for this soon, as well as selling full units on request if you're interested. It should be about 2 months time before I have everything ready to go, the new prototype has a lot of new features added to it also.

Cheers

AustinR1 Regax19 hours ago
Is there anyway of you contacting me when they are ready?
Regax (author)  AustinR118 hours ago

Yep, I have your email from above.

mtveezy made it!3 days ago

Thanks for the tutorial man, it inspired me to create my own: http://youtu.be/mZWQJHbjwcA

pic.jpg
Regax (author)  mtveezy3 days ago

That's awesome, way to put a brand new spin on it! The wood work on the table seems really nice and finished too. Kudos!

This is amazing. as I'm not very good at building things from scratch, is it possible that you can build and sell one of these tables?

Regax (author)  javier.berrios.106 days ago

A full built table would end up being quite expensive. It's definitely possible for me to build a complete one, but the cost of the table, the build and shipping would be enormous.

I am on my final revision of the project and want to create an easy to assemble kit. I post an update at the bottom of the Intro step every month or so, but I should have all details hammered out and a kit ready to go by December/January at the latest.

cmccallum113 days ago
Thank you!
cmccallum114 days ago
Has the list of materials required been updated? I saw a few posts mentioning some minor errors and just wanted to know before I start purchasing the necessary parts. Thanks for the wonderful instructable!!
Regax (author)  cmccallum114 days ago

It sure is. I had mislabeled the SMD 0805 capacitors as ceramic capacitors and forgot to add a link for the LEDs on the LED grid.

All has been fixed and there are links to purchase the materials in the downloadable BOM in step #5.

Cheers!

_Djinni_17 days ago
I have been buying parts as I can afford them anxious to start putting it together. It sounds as if you will soon be able to provide the PCBs. I would love to know more, as homemaking them has been unsuccessful so far. To have them made I'm finding cost prohibitive.
Will the Bluetooth connect to the same spot as the other wireless chip.
Does the Pod CAM file make one pcb, or four?
I look forward to the next version.
Regax (author)  _Djinni_16 days ago

The pod cam version only has one pod in it. You can download a program called Viewmate (the limited free version) which will allow you to view the gerber files. Just drag the zip folder into the program and it will load it up, displaying each gerber layer.

The bluetooth module actually connects through the UART module, opposed to the SPI module that the nRF24L01+ uses. The reason I chose to go with bluetooth is because most devices already have it built in, thus reducing the need for a receiver PCB that needs to be plugged into a USB port.

Also, the fact that this project needs 20 PCBs for the RGB pods can make the project really expensive for a one-off. In high numbers, costs can be brought down considerably, so as long as there is still interest in the project, I will keep developing it. Just waiting on that LED grid before releasing everything! haha

Cr4nk1 month 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 :)

Regax (author)  Cr4nk1 month ago

It took me many, MANY hours to write up... hahaha Glad you got through all of it though!

I plan on making my revised version a complete open source project! I have taken the nRF24L01 out of the new version though and instead communicate through a Bluetooth-UART module. This way people will be able to design their own apps to communicate with the beer pong table from a phone or any other device that supports a bluetooth module.

rodrila852 months ago

Have you looked into using LED strips instead?

Regax (author)  rodrila852 months 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 Regax2 months 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)  rodrila852 months 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.

dangdal2 months ago

How do I buy this stuff?

Regax (author)  dangdal2 months 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.

elovelace4 months ago

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

Regax (author)  elovelace4 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 Regax2 months ago

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

Regax (author)  flyguy932 months 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_ Regax3 months 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.

ginomac2 months ago
Amazing work!!
mtveezy3 months 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)  mtveezy3 months 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)  therealtonystark3 months 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)  BigCountryBeerPong3 months 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

mhenriksen13 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)  mhenriksen13 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 Regax3 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 Regax3 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!
DevDog4 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)  DevDog4 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
1-40 of 102Next »