Intro: How to Make the Best Beer Pong Table on Campus
Are you tired of playing beer pong on lame fold up tables? Or maybe tired of taking your friends door off the hinges every time you want to play? Ever wonder how they build all the cool beer pong tables online with automatic ball washers and custom lights.
Well look no further.
Today, on behalf of Outsmarting Technologies, I have the pleasure of showing all who are interested the art of building the ideal beer pong table. Constructed in about seven days, from idea to drawings to finished product, The Formidable Beer Pong Table, as I have named it, encompasses a wide variety of features not normally found in standard beer pong table constructions. However, what good would these features be if they were not supported by a rock solid frame and construction, capable of with standing the dreaded "beer pong slamdunk" last seen in the great inter-fraternity match of 1974.
Some of the many features include
- Dual Automatic Ball Washers
- Gutter Collection system on side to collect run off from table
- Illuminated Lettering and under table illumination
- Six lockable casters making table easily moved by one person
- Fully supported frame capable of withstanding impact of a 215 lbs individual
- Surface oak stained with beautiful waterproofing sealant covered with polyurethane
The best part is, I have showed and documented how to build all of these awesome features. Many websites show cool looking beer pong tables without providing any insight or solid documentation of how to build. I tried to include as many photos and instructions as I could so anyone can build this table, or any variant. Feel free to add or not include any features; I have tried to include as many features as possible in mine to show the possibilities
I have organized each step of this Instructable into 5 sections to try and make it as clear and easy to follow as possible:
1) Step Aim: where I discuss what we will accomplish/create in this step.
2) Tools: which tools will be required to perform this step.
3) Materials: what materials from the part list will you need in this step.
4) Directions: step by step directions for this particular component's construction.
5) Tips: where I make note of any problems I ran into and ways to avoid them during your building process.
Of course, there will be countless photos, diagrams, drawing, and links to supplement each step and avoid any confusion (you may need to view full size to see all the dimensions and notes properly).
Again my name is Christian Reed (junior at MIT this year in Mechanical Engineering) and feel free to look at my company, personal, or blog websites. Of course, feel free to message me or otherwise contact me with any questions or problems you have and I would be happy to help.
Step 1: Materials Parts and Tools
Shopbot CNC Router*
*Used in my design but can certainly be constructed without their use using other commonly found hand power tools
(8) 1/2"x8" Carriage bolts
(8) 1/2" Hex Nuts and washers
Box of 3" Decking Screws
(6) Lockable Casters
Box 1" flat head wood screws
4'x8' Oak Veniered Plywood
Gallon of Exterior Paint (color of your choosing)
(2) 10' Vinyl Gutters
(4) 185GPH Sump Pumps
25' 1/4" ID Hose
25' 1/2" ID Hose
(4) Vinyl Gutter Endcaps
(8) Vinyl Gutter Hangers
(2) 5 gallon buckets
10' 1 1/2" SCH 40 PVC
(6) 1 1/2" to 2" PVC Reducer
(4) 1 1/2" PVC Tees
(2) 1 1/2" PVC Endcaps
(2) 2" to 4" PVC Reducer
8' Shop Vac 2 1/2" Hose
Gallon of Exterior Stain
Gallon of Polyurethane
50' EL Wire with connectors
(4) High CFM Computer Fans
(2) Bottles Goop
25' 1/2" Blue LED Rope
Various hose fittings- see respective steps as they depend on which features you plan to incorporate
Step 2: Table Frame
Here, we will construct the frame for the beer pong table which will be the central component of the entire table and provide a rock-solid foundation to build off of.
-1/2" Speed Bor Bit
- 2x6 8' Boards
- 4x4 8' Boards
- 1/2" x 8" carriage bolts with nuts and washers
- Wood Glue
- (6) Lockable 3" Casters
- Box of 3" deck screws
- Box of #10-1" bolts and washers (for casters)
1) Begin by cutting the necessary lengths of the boards. Use the cut sheet attached on this page as a reference. It is best to cut everything in one shot then assemble everything once the cuts have all been made.
2) Assemble one half of the horizontal supports on the ground. Use the deck screws to first secure everything together.
3) Insert the 4x4's into the corresponding slots and drill through with the 1/2" speed bit. Insert carriage bolt and secure into place
4) Using a partner to help (or you can cut some custom clamps/supports) Install the secondary horizontal wood supports. Be sure they are level and that the 4x4's will be perpendicular to the ground. Make sure to measure often to make sure everything remains square to one another.
5) Secure lockable casters to frame at the bottom of the 4x4's
6) Finish off by painting on several layers of exterior paint (assume it will be covered in beer/water/whatever). Make sure every area is covered in multiple layers of paint.
- Measure often and check levels and squares to ensure you are building a proper frame
-This is critical for the success of the table so make sure you are careful constructing and painting the frame.
Step 3: Table Top
We will construct the table top in this step. You have a lot of flexibility in this step and I am going to document the way I built it but again, feel free to design it however you want (putting your own letters/logo in the center).
- Shop Bot CNC Router
- Hand router
- 3/4"x4'x8' Veneered Oak Sheet (you could use much better wood than this)
- Scrap wood to act as clamps
1) Using your favorite CAD Program, design your table top layout keeping in mind the capabilities of your CNC Machine / personal cutting abilities as well as the size of your work piece. Note: I assume many do not have access to a large shop bot router in which case you can cut the basic shape by hand with a jigsaw and some sanding. Use your creativity to come up with a design you are able to produce)
2) Save your file as a DXF and import into your CAM program of choosing (PartsWorks), Here you set the toolpaths (where you want the cutting device to travel) and its depth.
3) Secure work piece to CNC tabletop and begin.
4) Remove piece and vacuum off any dust. Use the hand router to route the edges (I did both the top and flipped it and then did the bottom).
5) Stain both sides with exterior grade decking stain. Choose whatever shade youd like. We will also be putting polyurethane on later once we have completed the lighting install.
- Make sure you apply the stain evenly and get in the slits we made on the shopbot.
Step 4: Gutter System
In this step, we will attach the gutters to the side of the frame as well as the water intake and return lines and connections.
- Drill with Bits
- Hack Saw
- Vinyl Gutters
- (4) Vinyl Gutter Endcaps
- (10) Vinyl Gutter Hangers
- Various Brass fittings (see diagram)
- Plastic Tubing
1) Start by cutting the gutters to the correct size for both sides of the table. Once cut, attach them to either side of the table using the gutter hangers. Place the center of the gutter 1.5" from the top and either end 1" from the top, giving a slope to the gutter where it will eventually pool in the center.
2) Drill a hole on the center of the gutter length big enough for the return fitting.
3) Install end caps on all 4 ends of the gutters. Drill a hole in each for the water in lines.
4) Run the tubing however you see fit following the diagram for guidance. You can do it however you want as long as the lines wind up at the center of the frame as this is where the bucket will sit.
5) It may help to do a water test at this point to ensure everything is working and there are absolutely no leaks, in which case dry and cover affected area with goop.
- Make sure the gutters are slopped towards the center so we ensure that the water will flow from the inlet to the drain.
Step 5: Mounting the Table Top
We will attach the top of the table to the frame.
- Drill with Bits
- 1/2" Screws
- 1- 1/2" L brackets
1) With another person helping, align the table top so that it it sits centered on the frame.
2) While your partner ensures the tabletop does not move (sit on the table top), screw in the L brakets to secure it down.
- Ignore the blue rings, you do not need to put hose on (or even have made them) yet.
Step 6: Ball Washing System
We will build the complete ball washing system with is a central component to this design.
- Hack Saw (to cut PVC Pipe)
- Laser Cutter (optional to make cool looking rings)
- Soldering Iron
- 1/4" Acrylic
- 1 1/2" PVC SCH 40 Pipe
- PVC Rubber Sheet
- (3) 1 1/2" to 2" PVC Reducer
- 1' Section 2 1/2" Shop Vac Hose
- Ventalation Fitting (not sure what its called, it goes from like a 5"x10" rectangle to a 4.5" Circle at the other end)
- 4 High Output (CFM) Computer Fans
- Power Supply
1) Begin by figuring out how to wire your computer fans. Whether you salvaged them from an old computer or bought them new, there will be countless different ways to power them. Figure out which way works best for you. For mine, I used dual fans taken from old Apple G5 towers and powered it with an old computer power supply.
2) Cut out the rings seen on the top of the table. If you have access to a laser cutter, you can make some pretty cool designs. Ensure that the inside radius of the ring you cut will cover the hole and PVC pipe from the ball washer so it does not stick up.
3) Begin to assemble the system as seen in the photo and diagram.
4) Glue with PVC Cement the PVC connections and seal with Goop the other areas. Make sur eyou do not glue the shop vac hose down as this is useful to come loose in case balls get stuck in the system.
5) Attach fans to Ventalation piece and seal in place with rubber and tape.
6) Attach ball washing units to table. They should be held in place from there own fit but you can use epoxy for added strength.
7) Mount the fan unit. Make sure it is elevated relative to the water stream so that water does not back flow into the fans.
8) Cut rubber as seen in the pictures for the inlet holes on either side so that the rings cover them.
9) Bolt rings into place. Make sure to pre drill holes.
- Here is a useful trick for coloring laser cut rasters.
Step 7: Install Lighting
Here we will install the EL Wire and the strip LEDs on the bottom of table
- Soldering Iron
- Wire Stripper
- (50') EL Wire (whatever color)
- (10) El Wire end connection kit (should include shrink wrap of 3 sizes and connector)
- Painter Tape
- Paint brush
1) First, lay out all of the EL wire in the grooves we made earlier on the shop bot. Press into place. It may help to use painters tape to secure everything in place.
2) Drill two holes for the EL wire to come up from the bottom of the table and then go back down again.
3) Solder the connector on one end of the EL wire and the end cap on the other. Here is the tutorial I used. Feel free to google one if that one does not work for you.
4) Use loops or any other way to fasten the 1/2" LED strips to the underside of the table. I attached mine right where the frame meets the tabletop. This seemed to work well. I also drilled a 1/2" hole to leave the actual plug and inverter on the inside of the table and
5) Secure all wires and inverters to the underside of the table. Use whatever method of fastening you feel is appropriate.
6) Cover the entire table top with Polyurethane. This will provide a great surface that wont absorb water and also prevent water from staying in the cracks.
- Soldering upside down sucks. In retrospect, I would have made every section from a single strand of EL Wire by snaking it up and down through the table so you only need to solder one connection rather than 8 as in my case.
Step 8: Bottom Drapes and Letters
Finally, we will add some drapes to cover the bottom and some custom letters.
Really is up to you. I bought yellow and blue felt for the letters and Martha Stuart window curtins for the drapes (needed some modifications). I'm sure someone else can think of a more practical idea or maybe sew your own.
1) If you are Laser cutting letters, just design them in any CAD Program and then cut them. I just made a set then another copy with a .25" offset to give the yellow background for the blue letters. Laser cutter worked very well for cutting felt.
2) I secured the drapes to the side using 1/2" screws with a large head. I screwed into the gutters and they were covered by the overhang inside the gutter. This worked reasonably well but I am sure there is another way.
3) The way I secured the drapes was one large one that covered 3 sides. The other one just covered a single side and allows for access underneath the table
-Make it neat as this will be what most people see when they first look at the table.
Step 9: Enjoy!
Congratulations and enjoy the table. Please contact me if you have any questions or need clarifications, additional pictures, etc. I would be more than happy to help in any way I can. I can help you come with alternate ways to do things if you do not have access to certain tools or need some help with whatever CAD program you are using.
Again, feel free to remove or add any features you see fit and be sure to post your pictures too, I would love to see some other tables.
Some other ideas that I considered but felt would not work for my table:
- Table top made out of Acrylic (yellows after time and scratches easily, super expensive)
- Route out slots for the cups (limits the reracks that can be made and the games that can be played on the table)
- Paint the table a color (wanted to keep the natural look of wood and not make it look too modern, the lights next to the oak wood makes a nice contrast)