Introduction: Desktop Skeeball

About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.

I love Skeeball, but it's not often I can get my fix. So instead of trying to get out to the local bar that has a machine, I decided to just make a small one with some cardboard, coffee cups, and hot glue.

It actually works pretty well and came together in about an hour. Check it out.

Step 1: Cutting Up the Cardboard

I made an EPS file for all the pieces I would need in Illustrator. I'm using 1/3" ball bearings as balls so I scaled everything around that, making this a 1:9 scale of the full size machine.

Thanks to the folks at this forum where I got the layout for the target area.

With the file handy, I cut all the pieces out on our Epilog laser cutter. I know, I know, you don't have one of your own, but with an X-acto you can cut everything up just fine. For the holes you can maybe use a drill.

Note: I attached eps and svg files so that they can be opened and edited in Illustrator or Inkscape. Since these files are not what I consider final, I am not providing a pdf.

Step 2: Assembling the Ramp

The base of the ramp is made by connecting the two cross pieces with the two side pieces and using some hot glue to keep it strong.

For the ramp piece itself, I used an X-acto to slice lines across the back so that the front would have a smoother curve to it. After this was done I used the body of the X-acto as a guide for the curvature of the ramp.

Step 3: Target

I did this a bit out of order. I should've added the rings before assembling this. Ah well, here's what I did.

I glued the two center pieces together first, keeping them at a right angle to each other. Then I glued the side pieces on one at a time. No real advice for this, just try and keep it even and you'll be fine.

Step 4: Cutting Out Ring Material

I needed some rings to guide the balls into the drops so I cut off the tops of a few coffee cups.

To make sure they were roughly the same size, I used one cup as a guide while I cut the other one.

Step 5: Attach Rings

Keep trimming off ring material until you get pieces that are the right size and glue them down. I was able to use a staple to hold the 20 point ring (the biggest circle), but for everything else it was mostly a matter of putting in a drop of hot glue, placing the ring, and holding it in place until it cooled and stuck.

And there you go! You have your own desktop skeeball set. Just place the cut off bottom of a coffee cup under the target to collect the balls and you're ready to rock.


Step 6: Future Changes

My goal for this project was to see what I could make in an hour. The results are good for goofing off for a couple minutes at a time and I'm happy with it, but of course it could do with some changes. Here's a list of things that could be modified in the future.
  • Ball launcher.A spring-loaded plunger, like on a pinball table, would be great for shooting balls. It gives you ore control of the shot. I tried a few ways to user rubber bands, but it never worked very well. It's too easy for the band to snap under the ball.
  • Narrower ramp. The ramp doesn't need to be as wide as the target area and in fact this makes it easier to go off the side. Looking back at the pictures of the arcade machine, I found that the ramp is indeed narrower with one side used for the ball return.
  • Plastic walls. A clear acrylic side to the target area would be cool so you can see more of what's happening from more of an angle.
  • Score chutes. Make chutes so that the balls fall into them after going through the holes. These can lead to a collection area that holds them in different sections and lets you see what your score is.
  • Ball return. An alternative to the chutes, the ball return could simply be an angled piece of cardboard underneath the target area that rolls the balls back at you.
Coffee Cup Challenge

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Coffee Cup Challenge