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Once upon a time I was looking over projects on this site, and I stumbled upon this http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Skee-Ball-Game/. That is an inspirational read, but it wasn't quite what I wanted to accomplish. I wanted mine to be slightly larger in size, have electronic scoring, and to basically take ideas I've found across the web to make my skee ball machine one-of-a-kind and over-the-top. So, much like the previous skee ball instructable, I am not going to be able walk through each step with meticulous detail. It would be 100 pages long and nobody would ever build it. 

OK you're thinking, what is this instructable going to do for me? Let me tell you! I will give you everything you need to accomplish this project even if you've only done minor woodworking in the past. I am also going to tell you all of the materials used, which is a treasure hunt of it's own. We will go over some of the more complicated steps in detail such as the scoring rings and wiring the electronics. I will give you all the plans I used to build it, all of the parts, and finally I will also give you all of the software needed to make the game work on your PC. When you are finished you will have a fully functional electronic skee ball machine which uses a Flash interface, automatically keeps score, has sound effects, and a siren light turns on for a few seconds at the end of each game.

Let me warn you from the start: this is not easy, cheap, or something you can do in one weekend. It takes endless hours of hard work to make this project. Each step has its challenges, but I'm here to help you through it. To make it easier on my wallet I purchased materials every couple of weeks as needed instead of all at once. 

Finally, what I want is to give you the tools and ideas to make your own table. I encourage you to experiment and to make your own small changes and adjustments along the way. 

Main Materials list (*not a full list):
3 sheets 1/2" plywood 4'x8' (MDF is also an option)
50' Rubber Cove Base (found at Lowes/HD, or online) - this is the material for the rings.
1 roll of Cork 1/8" - 18"x25' (found on ebay. Only need around 10' so you'll have some extra)
wood screws (various sizes)
1 welcome mat 22"x34" - this is really a cheap PVC foam pad - Home Depot
40 rivets 1/2"
40 rivets 1/4"
1x2 wood strips 8 feet long - lost count. Maybe 10 of these
2x2 wood strips 8 feet long - same, I think I used 3 of these
19" monitor
Speakers
old PC - enough power to run a SWF file without hiccuping
LEDWiz Controller +GP (groovygamegear.com) This is used for scoring, game controls, and future LED lighting.
Red Siren Light (amazon)
1: SPDT relay switch
2: arrow shaped Pushbuttons - your choice of colors
1: rectangular pushbutton
1: round pushbutton for computer off switch
9: 2.5" wooden balls  
7: cherry scoring switches (ebay)
20 gauge wire. At least two colors. One should be black. I went through about 40' of wire total.
Felt (optional for sound dampening)
Wood glue
Frost King weather strips (a few small strips)
50 pack Female quick connectors (optional, you can also solder the connections)
40 1" L shaped Corner Braces  
8 felt covered leveling screws (optional)
1 6-8' Power strip with at least three slots for powering all game parts.
2" black Vinyl numbers  - 100, 100, 50, 40, 30, 20, and 10 (ebay) 

Tools Needed:
Jigsaw
Circular Saw/Table Saw (Optional)
Philips Screw Driver
Drill
Drill Press (optional)
Soldering Iron 
Heat shrink tubing
Wire Stripper/Cutter
3" hole saw
Rivet Gun
Staple Gun (optional)
Dremmel tool (optional)
Sander
Tiny flat-head screwdriver for connecting wires to the LEDWIZ

All said and done this will cost around $5-600 depending on how much of these materials/tools you have laying around. You will have lots of left-over material if rings need to be replaced or if you need some more cork on certain areas. 

Let's start with the hard parts, and go from there. 

 
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I am almost finished, but I need your help on the input. The up,
select, and down are not working. On your write up, you call out 1 thru 11
(in) and 16 (out), but your diagram calls out 17 thru 27 (in). Which is correct?

20141213_145419.jpg
nickels (author)  the_PROCRASTINATOR4 days ago

OK, I think I mostly figured this out thanks to the attached photo, the sketch is correct but the wording is not. Slots 1-16 are the outputs for controlling lights. The only one you use at the moment is slot 16 for the relay that controls the siren light. The other output slots 1-14 are for the LED lights, and I have a vibration device using slot 15. Above the output slots on the top of the LEDWiz are the input slots numbered 17-32. So, the scoring switches use slots 17-23, the up button should be 24, select 25, and down is slot 26. The rest of the input slots 27-32 are empty. Do your scoring switches work? Thanks for pointing this out and I will update the instructable with the correct directions for wiring the LEDWiz. Looks like your table is in the home stretch - lookin good! Good luck and feel free to ask any more questions.

LEDWiz.jpg

Thanks for the help. I probe the terminals with a ground to see what function would trigger. Up = 17, Select = 18, and Dwn = 19. My scoring switches are not connected yet.

Here is the Skee Ball machine I am building for my Wife. It is about 80 percent complete... Only a few more days to go before Christmas... Special thanks to Nickels for posting his plans on Instructables. Sorry my video quality is low. I shot it with my cheap cell phone.

http://youtu.be/X9OWSB6rbEA

nickels (author)  the_PROCRASTINATOR3 days ago

You have them connected to the wrong slots. Move them up as a group to 24, 25, and 26 slots. The first slot 17 is for the 100 scoring switch and so on - it is shown in the top sketch on step 5. I bet if you have a game running and hit the up arrow it will score you 100. Great video - love the bg music!

OK. Tonight was the full function test. Wife loves it. She beat me almost every game. She cheated by distracting me during my turn... Plus she has hundreds of games of experience over me. I got some solid 2.25 plastic balls that felt better than the pine 2.5 balls, but the are so heavy that they cause false scoring trigger due to the extra impact to the backboard (Jarring switches). I want to find hardwood 2.5 balls. If anyone knows a link, please post it. I can't thank Nickels enough for the instructable. Big thanks from VillageHaunt.com

nickels (author)  the_PROCRASTINATORyesterday
Awesome! You can check ebay they have wooden balls at times. Here is where you can get them in any size:
http://www.craftparts.com/balls-split-ball-wooden-wood-balls-c-277_279.html


us0769279 months ago

Hi Nickles...I finally put together a copy of your skee-ball game. I will now pass it along to the guy who does the electronics to finish it off. I had the grandkids here this week & they loved it...even without auto scoring. Thanks for your plans & ideas. We added a gate to control the ball return so it holds 9 balls and changed to 2 1/2" balls. Bill

Finished 1.JPG
millwajc us0769279 months ago

I'm trying to build a gate on my skeeball machine. Any tips/hints/ideas regarding how you built the gate to hold the balls back? Thanks in advane for your help!

us076927 millwajc9 months ago

Here is a photo of the gate. Hope it helps. Also used 2 1/4" ball instead of 2 1/2".

Let me know if there is anything else I can help with.

Bill

IMG_0332.JPGIMG_0334.JPG
millwajc us0769278 months ago

Thanks for the photos, this looks like it would work for me! How do you control the motor? I looked online and it looks like you can hook it up to an arduino. Is this how you did it, or does the arm just rotate clockwise when power is applied (and the gate opens)?

Millwajc, you can hack a servo tester to open and close the door by pushing a button. The servo tester can be bought off ebay for as low as 3 bucks!

nickels (author)  us0769279 months ago

Very sweet - love the customization!!! Wow, that looks great. My only concern is that there is only one button on the front. Do you have up and down buttons somewhere near the front? What are you using in place of cork, is that carpet? Looks cool what ever it is! Also, what did you use for those side bumpers - I need to add them as well? Make sure you get the latest game files that I posted in another thread here. Excellent.

Nickels, Big thanks again for all the help. We have all our electronics now. I formed the ramp out out stainless steel and it has sweet transition.

20141201_211755.jpg
nickels (author)  the_PROCRASTINATOR19 days ago

Looks awesome! The ramp is my biggest grip about mine, the transition is too steep and sometimes the ball bounces enough before it gets to the ramp that it acts like it is hitting a wall. What does the green button do? Putting it on wheels should make the height pretty good for an adult player. I'd love to see how you made the ramp, that is really cool.

The green button will operate the servo to drop 9 balls at the start. It
was one of those extra arcade details I wanted. The alley starting
height is 1 inch higher than the sketch-up model. The wheels are only
temporary, but we did add adjustable feet, so we should be able to gain
an inch or two. The ramp is made out of sheet metal and I am using 2.5"
balls. I scaled out my ramp patten. Can't wait to get it all done.

20141129_151133[1].jpg20141129_162348[1].jpg20141202_152705[1].jpg20141202_151827[1].jpg20141130_145801[1].jpg
nickels (author)  the_PROCRASTINATOR17 days ago

You certainly upgraded the guts of the return area! Very cool. I just want you to know some future games require balls to come fast and furious, so I hope you have a way to keep the return open. The one I am working on now uses more than 9 balls in a row during game play and you will certainly not want to push a button because there is a time limit to complete each level. Did you find the base cove plastic for the rings? It is called Flexco TP Rubber Wall Base 4" tall 1/8 gauge with no adhesive. I am back working hard on coding the next game thanks to all of these recent discussion about it.

MORE GAMES! Alright! The servo will have the option to hold open. My ball area is designed to slow the return, so I hope it still works with the super fast future games. If not, I will buy 10 more balls... HA! HA! HA! I found wall base on Craigslist for only 3 bucks a box, but it is grey... I think I will buy it anyway. If it does not work out, maybe I can trade you a steel ramp for your extra Wall Base. Coding is cool. Do you think you will do an instructable on the Flash creation??? That would be sweet!

We worked on the side walls and marked the ramp location. I noticed that the alley seems low for adults. What it your opinion about the alley height during adult play? Thanks for the help.

nickels (author)  the_PROCRASTINATOR25 days ago

Alley height is not a big issue for me. I made it for the kids, but it is 80% scale from a real skeeball machine so it isn't much lower than a regular sized one. If I made it taller it would have required more plywood. My design was made to get the most out of the least amount of materials. Sometimes I play on my knees, other times I just bend over a bit. Just add a few inches to the bottom of the table if you want it taller. Here are some measurements of a regular sized table for comparison.

023-SkeeBall.jpg

Nickles, my wife LOVES Skee-ball. I tried to buy an old arcade game, but they are hard to find and a little big. Then I looked at the box stores and those are just too cheap! I found your Instructable and thought perfect! So my daughter and I started today 11/23. I ordered the 2.5" wood balls. Cut 3 sheets of MDF using your G-Sketch. NICE WORK! I do have a couple questions for you. 1) Is there any reason your G-Sketch ramp base is less than 8' long? 2) Is there any reason I can't use the 32 port LED-WIZ? 3) Where can I buy the Arrow Buttons? Thanks in advance!

nickels (author)  the_PROCRASTINATOR27 days ago

1. I am not sure what you are asking me here? Everything is measured and scaled from dimensions of a real table. The final cuts and dimensions are all based on getting the most out of 3 full sheets of plywood. Feel free to make any adjustments to the plans.

2. I use the LEDWiz GP+ because it has not only output control for the LEDs, it also has input slots to register hits from the buttons and scoring switches. If you use the 32 Port LEDwiz you will still need something like an iPac controller to get input from the switches. In saving money I tried to get one device to do both the LED control and switch monitoring. The LEDwiz GP+ has 16 output slots and 16 input slots, perfect for this table. I use two LEDS per scoring hole (10, 20, 30 40, 50, 100, 100 x2), a siren, and a buzzer - that is 16 output slots all being used. That is plenty of controlled lighting and effects for the games I am creating.

3. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Triangle-Low-Profile-Pushb...

Good luck with your build - let me know if you have any further questions.

ElizabethB1 made it!29 days ago

We found your skee ball instructions and loved it! We made a few modifications to the outside. We made it to use at our school carnival and it was a huge hit all night! Thanks for the amazing software and instructions!! We are really excited for phase two and more games!

image.jpgimage.jpg
nickels (author)  ElizabethB127 days ago

I see you made more than a few adjustments to the design - very nice! Love how this looks, thanks for putting mine to shame. That is really impressive. If you documented any of your design change I'm sure people would love to know how you did the side ball return. Wow!!!

nickels (author) 3 months ago

Guess what is almost done... phase 2 is coming.

phase2-teaser.jpg
millwajc5 months ago

Nickles.... Could you provide instructions as to how I can set up the keywiz to recognize/register a "0" or "miss"? From reading your instructions above it doesn't seem like it was incorparted into the keywiz but is incorporated into the flash game.

Thanks in advance for your help! I'll be sure to post pictures of the final project!

nickels (author)  millwajc5 months ago

http://www.johnkalnin.com/skee/Profile1.cfg

Save that file and replace the one you downloaded in the "JoyToKey_en" folder. That adds "W" to button 11. Let me know if it works. Thanks!

millwajc nickels5 months ago

Worked like a charm! Thanks! I can't wait to share pictures of my skeeball machine with you!

nickels (author)  millwajc5 months ago

D'oh! I do not use the gutter or miss on my table which is why forgot to map it to the keywiz, but yup, a miss is programmed into both the original Skee Ball game and also Skee Wars (and all future games). I need go back into the JoyToKey software and figure this out. I'll attach a new config script as soon as I get it working. Sorry about that!

Ol_Rusty7 months ago

This is perfect!! I have been trying to figure out how to repair an old Sportcraft skee ball game and this will work just right plus I have all the electronics already there for me along with the ramp!!

nickels (author) 10 months ago

Check it out:

http://johnkalnin.com/skee/games/skeewars.html

nickels (author) 10 months ago

Game select screen finally working. Also attached is a screenshot of Skee Wars in action with four people playing (one-four players) - Round one "Tatooine" with a x100 multiplier. It is player 2's turn, shown by their player number being active. Each round has its own background and there are sound effects for each hole in the game. I am thrilled that I finally have another playable game. Two more games are in the works with many more planned for future release. The next game on deck is Time Bomb. I am sure that will be a hit, followed by Wild West.

Game-select.jpgSkeeWars.jpg
jimenezeg nickels10 months ago

Nickels, this is awesome! Is the next game ready for download?

nickels (author)  jimenezeg10 months ago

Yes, and it makes this machine a zillion times more fun.

http://johnkalnin.com/skee/games/instructableUpdat...

About 15 megs because I included a flash player and some of the music is long. There is also a game select screen now. More games coming soon.

nickels (author) 11 months ago
Renamed and changed the theme for Super Skee - It is now called Skee Wars. Just need to design the main game screen and add sound effects. The core code is done and the game works fine. Now that I have a theme the rest should fall into place pretty quickly. Can't wait to add this to my machine...
SkeeWars.jpg
millwajc nickels11 months ago
Ohhhhh man, I am excited to see this!!!
jimenezeg11 months ago
Nickels, another update. The build is 98% complete and we just finished the installation of the scoring switches. After extensive testing this morning, my son says the machine rocks! Still gotta install the front panel buttons and clean up the wiring. Thanks again for the inspiration and we look forward to the next phase with the LEDs and games.
14, 11:13 AM.jpg
nickels (author)  jimenezeg11 months ago
Looks fantastic! One question, are you putting on the front panel buttons: up, down, and select? Those three buttons are used for controlling all the menus, changing the volume, and picking games. I have been working on the new games non-stop. I will get them to you before the next instructable is done. I'll message you when I have them ready to go... still have weeks to go, maybe a month. Creating, designing, and programming these games is more difficult than it looks.
jimenezeg1 year ago
Thanks for the inspiration. Next is the painting and Phase 2: the electronics! :-)
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nickels (author)  jimenezeg1 year ago
!!!OH MY GOD - SWEET!!!
It appears that my skeeball table is no longer one-of-a-kind :(
Hopefully the painting and electronics go smoothly for you. Let me know if you have any questions, as I had to consult many people to get that part working correctly. How does your table play? I'd love to redo my ramp but it is what it is, and works well enough. So glad to see that someone used this instructable, nice work! Keep us updated with more photos as this progresses! Awesome, this made my day.
The table plays very well. I agree with you on the ramp. There is one section that if the ball is not rolled properly it will serve more as a wall than a ramp. There is also an issue with balls getting stuck between the 50 pt well and the back wall. However, my son thoroughly enjoys playing the machine and can't wait to get into the electronics phase!
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