Intro: Make a "Plinko" Prize Board (or Costume!)
In this instructable, I'll teach you how to create a "plinko" board for prize giveaways. Alternatively, you can use it as a tribute costume to the Price is Right, like I did! For those not in the know, Plinko is a game on the gameshow the Price is Right. A puck or chip is dropped into the top of a pegboard where it bounces around until finally coming to rest in a prize slot at the bottom of the board. Plinko is a play on the word pachinko.
Step 1: Test Spacing
To begin, I just started with a piece of cardboard and a large handful of drywall screws. I wanted to test out the spacing of pegs so that the disks I had chosen would work well. I was using the plastic disks/donuts that came from the inside of a large paper roll at my neighborhood drug store / photo counter. They would have been in the trash otherwise, so I was helping out! They were about 2.5 inches in diameter, so I initially guessed at making the triangle at 3.5 inches (to allow for plenty of room in case of a bounce). I pushed the screws through the cardboard from the back and then tried dropping my puck down the board. It worked great! You'll have to adjust your spacing (and test) depending on what you choose as your puck. I used the triangle piece of paper as a template and just kept moving it. You could be more precise and make sure your pegs were colinear, but I decided just eyeballing it was enough.
Step 2: Transfer to the Plexi
I was satisfied with my placement from the cardboard/screws, so I used the cardboard as a template to mark holes on the plexiglass for drilling. If you were being more exact, you'd have to recreate the pattern on the plexiglass after testing with the cardboard and screws.
Step 3: Drilling
Place the plexiglass on top of the back board in the proper placement. You may wish to tape down the plexi to prevent it from twisting with the drill. I used a piece of sacrificial wood underneath my backing board, and would drill straight through the two layers on top of it (plexi, back board). Hold down the plexiglass as best you can, and as close to the hole as you feel comfortable. If you are not careful, the plexi will want to jump when transitioning from the plastic to the wood underneath. If this happens, you will get a hairline crack in your plastic, and it will make you a sad panda.
Step 4: Add the Pegs
Do a test fitting of the pegs with the plexiglass. The plexiglass is held off of the backboard with nylon spacers. The pegs themselves are just machine screws with locknuts on top of the plexi. During the test fit, you shouldn't need to tighten down the nuts very much at all. The plinko board works best if the spacers can "spin" slightly on the machine screws, rather than being locked down tight. This prevents pucks from possible perilous placement (the puck getting stuck while coming down the board). In preparation for testing, I've added side rails. The side rails are just pieces of square dowell (hobby shop). I held them in place with masking tape for this incarnation, but in the final assembly, they are hot glued to the backer board.
Step 5: Test It Out Before Paint and Assembly!
Step 6: Decorate (paint)
Now we disassemble everything and make it look like Plinko!
Step 7: Final Assembly
After paint, we put everyting back together. The pegs are easier with two people (thanks Michelle!). The side rails were hot glued in place, then covered with the same yellow electrical tape. Smaller square dowells were used to make "slots" under the pegboard area. The catch for the pucks was made from "corner guard." I cut a "V" in the corner guard (one side of the "L"), and then bent the plastic to form a 90 degree bend.
We put crisscrossing shoulder straps on the back. The straps were made of denim, and were held in place by screws and nuts.
Everyone really enjoyed running up and getting to play!