Introduction: Make a Ping Pong Net for Any Table, Anywhere

Picture of Make a Ping Pong Net for Any Table, Anywhere

Playing Ping Pong is a one of my favorite things to do, but when we leave to go to a friend's cabin, there is nothing to play Ping Pong with.  With this little attachment, you can attach a Ping Pong net to any table in the world (as long as it isn't too wide).  The net is even regulation size.  All you need is a Ping Pong ball (more than one is handy) and two Ping Pong rackets.  I hope that you enjoy the Instructable.

Step 1: Get the Materials

In this step, you will be gathering the matterials.  I'm not going to cover how to cut a peice of dowel to the right size, so I assume that you will just do it in this step.  Below is the list of matterials and the lengths of each piece (if necessary).

-2 x 4cm by 9cm by 10cm block of wood (I cut this from a 2 by 4)
-1 x 6cm long 1/4" dowel
-2 x 15cm long 1/2" dowel **
-2 x 3/16" x 2 1/2" Stove Bolts (This doesn't have to be exact, but this is what I used)
-2 x Nuts that go with the above bolts
-1 x 25cm by 25cm piece of 1/4" plywood (This doesn't have to be cut perfectly.  Any scrap wood will do.)
-1 x A bunch of string...This will be covered in the latter steps.
-1 x Really short self tapping screw (use the smallest wood screw you have)

**My 1/2" dowel wasn't exactly half inch, so in the following steps you will notice I include things like sanding down the one end.  If yours is exactly 1/2", you don't need to do any of that.  Just use your discretion (and trial and error).

Step 2: Cut the Initial Stands

Picture of Cut the Initial Stands

I used a band saw for this step, just because I really like to use it and mine cuts thick wood like a hot butter knife and butter, but you can use any saw you want.  First you will want to cut the block to the specification given in the picture.  You have to do this for 2 of them, but I only marked the dimensions on one side of the picture.  You will also want to sand the sides.  I used a belt sander for this.  You can cut the two blocks of wood first, then you can sand.  The dimensions don't have to be really specific. Another thing that I suggest is using a spindle sander to sand the inside.  I didn't spray paint mine (I like the look of raw wood), so you want it to look really nice.

Step 3: Add the Clamp

Picture of Add the Clamp

This step has a couple of parts.
The first part is cutting a circle.  Take some of that scrap wood that you gathered in the first step and draw a circle with a 1" diameter.  It is good to be semi-accurate with this part.  You can then cut this out.  I used a scroll saw to do this, but I'm sure you could use any saw for this.
The next part is drilling a hole in the bottom of the stand and in the disk.  It should be symetric, so you don't have to worry about which side is your bottom.  You need to find the middle of the area that you cut out.  It will be 1" from the outside edge.  This hole needs to be big enough for the bolt to go through.  You will also want to drill a hole the same size in each of the disks.
You are almost done.  If you don't want to, you don't have to do this little part, but it makes it all look better.  It also makes the nut a little stronger.  Just drill a hole big enough to fit the nut in on the very bottom of the stand (only drill in about .75cm so that the nut is just sunk in).
Almost there...You need to glue the nut to bottom part where you drilled the larger, sinking hole.  Next, thread the bolt through the nut and glue the wooden disk to the bottom part of the bolt.  See the second picture for more information on what that looks like.

Just to make sure that it works, at this step I recommend trying to turn the bolt.  This will be the part that clamps onto the table.  Also, make sure that you did all of the steps for both of the stands.  Now, once this all works, you can continue to the next step.

Step 4: Make the Two Net Connectors

Picture of Make the Two Net Connectors

These are relatively easy.  I'm sure you remember the long and thick dowels that you cut in the first step...Those will be what we are working with in this step.  They are going to become what you attach the string to.

To start, you need to get the big, long dowel that you cut in the first step.  Measure down 13cm from the top (it doesn't matter which side is the top) and mark it with a pencil.  Next, take the dowel over to your belt sander and sand down the little bit at the end to create a tappered end.  If you don't understand those directions, look at the pictures.

Next, you have to mark four dots starting at the top.  Each dot should be 1" apart.  See second picture for more details on this.  Take your work over to the drill press (or bring your hand drill over) and drill the four holes.  You will also have to drill one hole as close to the top as possible.  This will give you a total of five holes.

Check to make sure your stick looks like the pictures below.  Note that the hole at the top and the second hole will be slightly less than 1" apart.  This is okay...It should be like that.

Make sure that you did this for both of the large dowels.

Step 5: Create the First Net Stand

Picture of Create the First Net Stand

This is the step where the two stands are no longer made exactly the same.  I'm going to start with the easier of the two.  You need to take one of the stands that you made in the third step.  That will be the only stand we are working with in this step.

The first part is making a small mark for where to drill.  That mark should be right above the other hole.  You may want to look at the pictures to figure out the position.  Then you have to drill a 1/2" hole there.  Only drill the hole about 0.75" deep...Not all the way through.
Next, dry-fit one of the dowels.  If it doesn't fit perfectly, you need to go back to the belt sander and sand more off.  It should fit in there, but not move too freely.
Once you have it dry-fit, you can take some wood glue and glue it in there.

You are now done the first net stand.  Great work.

Step 6: Make the Gear-Type-Thing

For this step, you will really need to use a scroll saw.  I don't know how else to do this step, but I'm sure that there are other ways.  The first part is cutting out the PDF file attached below.  It is called "Star for Cutting.pdf".  Note that I didn't cut out this pattern for mine.  I used a different one, but it looked a whole lot worse...So use the one I attached. 
Next, you will want to find the middle.  I forgot to mark it, you will just have to guess.  Perfection is really needed in this step.  Then, drill a hole.  You should use a 1/2" drill bit.
Next, dryfit the gear-type-thing onto the long dowel that isn't already attached to the stand.  Make sure it goes onto the long end.  If it does, continue to the next step...If it doesn't, you can use a scroll saw to make it fit better.
Just note that you are only doing this step once...Not twice like most of the previous steps.

Step 7: Attaching the Pole to the Second Net Stand

Picture of Attaching the Pole to the Second Net Stand

For this step, you will need nothing but a drill.  You can use either a hand or a drill press for this step (it really doesn't matter).a
Depending on the size of the really small, self-tapping screw that you chose in the first step, you will want to drill a hole based on that size.  Drill the hole at the very bottom of the pole (see pictures for information on that).

Put that dowel aside and pick up the stand with nothing but the clamp attached to it.  You will first need to drill a 1/2" hole all the way through on the top.  The hole should be centered.  the second picture showes the position (sort of).  It is the as the other stand, just this time it is all the way through.

This is the easy part of this step.  Just stick the dowel all the way through the hole you just drilled.  Then screw the screw into the little hole you just drilled.  Note that there shouldn't be any woodglue (or any type of glue) used in this step.  The dowel needs to turn freely.
Once you have all that done, you can continue on to the next step.

Step 8: Set Up the Locking Mechanism

Picture of Set Up the Locking Mechanism

First, you need to take the stand that you just made in the last step and the star-type-thing you made in step 6.  Slip the gear onto the dowel.  It should go down all the way.   If it doesn't go down all the way, you will need to use a scroll saw to cut off a tiny bit on the inside.  Glue it in place there.  I used wood glue, but hotglue is another alternative if you are in a rush to make it.

In the pictures, you will see two things that differ from the plans.  The first one is the shape of the star-type-thing.  I found a better star for this Instructable, so I chose to use it instead.  Another is the fact that I glued a gear on top.  That was just for decoration.  You can cut any picture on the internet out and use it.

Step 9: Drill the Locking Hole

Picture of Drill the Locking Hole

This is the easiest of all the steps.  It involves drilling one little hole.
The hole should be positioned so that it locks the star in place if a piece of dowel were to be stuck inside it (that is exactly what we do in the following steps).  See picture for more details.  Also, the size of the hole should be a little more than 1/4", although 1/4" exactly should work too.

Step 10: Test the Locking Mechanism

Picture of Test the Locking Mechanism

This is another easy step.  All you have to do is take the dowel that you cut in the first step and stick it in the hole.  Make sure that the large dowel doesn't spin when you do that...However it should spin when you take out the dowel.

Step 11: Add the Net

Picture of Add the Net

In the first step, you may remember when I said you need a bunch of string...This is the step where you really need it.  I only did the top part of the net, and it works fine, but if you want to go above and beyond, you can add all five strings.

To attach the strings...
First clamp both stands to a table...I own a Ping Pong table so I used it, but any table should work.  Then take a spool of string and tie one end to the stand that doesn't pivot.  Any type of knot will work.  Next, unwind the string over to the other stand.  Cut it slightly too long (about a foot or two) then tie the cut end to the other stand, leaving slack.
If you would like, you can add the strings below the top one.

Step 12: Using Your Ping Pong Net

Picture of Using Your Ping Pong Net

This is really easy.  To use it, you just clamp it onto the table and twist the dowel to tighten the net.  It should be as tight as possible.  Just stick the small dowel in the hole to lock it.

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