Every time I’ve played ping pong at someone else's house, the paddles just aren't right. Either the rubber is ripped off, or it’s too heavy, or it just isn't a great paddle over all. Im sure this doesn’t just happen to me, and even though we aren’t professional ping pong players, it’s nice to have a paddle that we like. That means that the rubber isn’t ripped up, its weighted nicely, and just has overall good dynamics. In this project, we will be making a paddle that meets all of that criteria. It will be 3D printed so that the paddle is lightweight, and durable. Another feature we will be adding to the paddle is a reusable adhesive so that you can switch out or replace the rubber of the paddle.
This paddle was made for fun, but also it was my first time 3D printing. And although the goal of this project was to create a very interesting paddle, it was also to introduce me into 3D printing.
- Table Tennis Rubber: Here is a list from amazon of all different ranges of rubber. You can choose your own based off of your play style, or skill level. (https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=table+tennis+rubber)
- Blu-Tack/UHU tac: Re-usable adhesives for the rubber. (https://www.amazon.com/Blu-Tack-060968-Reusable-Adhesive-75g/dp/B001FGLX72/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488479202&sr=8-1&keywords=blu+tack) (https://www.amazon.com/Saunders-Removable-Adhesive-Putty-99683/dp/B0000AQODM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1488479232&sr=8-1&keywords=UHU+tac)
- Bamboo Filament for the print
- Hockey/baseball tape. (whichever you prefer.)
Step 1: Printing the Paddle
For me, this was my first time ever designing and using a 3D print/printer. One of the goals of this project was to introduce me into the world of 3D printing and I am very interested now. Maybe even more than before. For my print, I designed the paddle a little un-traditionaly. The handle is a hexagonal shape, so that you can get more of a feel and grip for the paddle. Also, one think I would have changed before I printed the paddle, is to make sure the proportions are correct. In my case, the face of the paddle is too small compared to the handle. So if you would like to use my print design, by all means go ahead. But one thing I would warn you about if you make your own, make sure the proportions are correct.
Another option you can add for you paddle is to print it in bamboo filament. I tried this, because I thought it would add a more traditional style to the paddle. Unfortunately though, my printer would get to a certain point with the filament, and it would just become spaghetti. If you are interested in this idea, go for it. I wish it worked for me, but I am still happy with the print I had.
Step 2: Fitting the Paddle Rubber
To get the right shape/fit for your rubber, you can either stack them up, or do them one at a time. I stacked mine and lined them up, lightly taped them together and then taped the underside to the face of the paddle. From here, use the paddle as a guide for your cut.
Step 3: Add Your Adhesive
First, lay your adhesive out in strips. Then, begin spreading it across the face of the paddle. I just pushed it across with my thumps and fingers. Begin to merge the two strips together, and add any other necessary strips if needed. One thing to keep in mind is to try to make the layer as thin and as flat as possible. It should be even as well. This will allow for a great stick.
Now, just add the rubber onto the paddle, and you are good to go.
Step 4: Play Away
Now that you have your paddle, customize it however you want, and play. When the rubber rips, just replace it, and get right back in there.
If you decide to follow along and make one yourself, send me a pic of you playing with your new paddle. Also, let me know what you think I can add, or do better next time.
Thanks, have fun.