Ping Pong Popper

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About: My quickest way to problem solving: start by admitting a problem exists.

"Ping Pong Popper" (named by our nieces, nephews and grandkids) is an easy to make 3D printed toy for the young ones (and some old ones) in our family, and they all love it!

Just two 3D printed parts, a spring, some string and a ping pong ball saves the grandparents / aunt / uncle (my wife and I) around $25.00 USD for a trip to the local indoor pizza parlor / arcade in an attempt to win one of these. And if we do win one, well, they're broken within an hour. Now I just print another!

And if you're an Autodesk Fusion 360 user, I've included the file "Ping Pong Popper.f3d" (the cad file for Ping Pong Popper). With this file you can customize your Ping Pong Popper handle with your grandkids names (which I am currently printing right now), kids names, husband or wife's name, or whatever (the green Ping Pong Popper is for my youngest grandson Gabe)!

As usual, I probably forgot a file or two or who knows what else, so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to point them out as I do make mistakes in plenty.

Designed using Autodesk Fusion 360, sliced using Cura 3.5.1, and printed in PLA on an Ultimaker 2+ Extended and an Ultimaker 3 Extended.

Step 1: Parts I Purchased.

Parts I purchased:

  • Ping Pong Balls.
  • Springs (1 3/8" x 23/64" x .027" section or 35mm x 9.3mm x .7mm section).
  • String.

Step 2: Parts I Printed.

UPDATE:

12/17/2018.

I recommend using "Handle Updated.stl" instead of "Handle.stl". After a few weeks of "destructive testing" (e.g. kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews testing), I thickened the release lever spring, increased the size of the release lever stop, and altered the grip design.

END UPDATE.

Parts I Printed:

  • One Handle.stl.
  • One Spring Holder.stl.

I printed both parts at .15mm vertical resolution, "Handle.stl" at 100% infill, "Spring Holder.stl" at 20% infill and no support.

Step 3: Assembly.

Using the small diameter end of "Spring Holder.stl" as a template, draw a circle on the ping pong ball surface.

Using a sharp modeling knife, cut out the inside portion of the circle (make sure to cut inside the pencil line). Alternatively to the draw and cut method, I used a 12mm step drill to cut the hole.

Test fit the spring holder in the hole. If the hole is too small, use a small round file to slightly enlarge it until the spring holder fits securely in the hole.

Insert the spring into the spring holder, then place small dots of thick cyanoacrylate (or hot melt) glue around the surface of the small end of the spring holder.

Slide the spring holder and spring into the ping pong ball and hold in place until the glue cures.

Tie one end a 3 foot length of string around the spring holder shoulder, and the remaining end in the hole in "Handle.stl" (I secured these knots with a small dot of thick cyanoacrylate glue).

Press the ping pong ball assembly onto the handle as shown, then pop away!

And that's how I printed and assembled "Ping Pong Popper".

Hope you enjoy it!

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21 Discussions

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afrancis123

Question 2 months ago on Step 3

hello gzumwalt!
i am new to 3d printing and i do not have fusion 360 software installed. is there anyway the templates you have provided can be opened on tinkercad?

thanks

1 answer
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gzumwaltafrancis123

Reply 2 months ago

Hi afrancis123,

I have no experience with Tinkercad, but yesterday I took the time to look into your question and, unfortunately, I do not believe so.

Greg

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M.C. Langer

4 months ago

Simple, beautiful and awesome! Great job! You have my vote.

1 reply
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gzumwaltM.C. Langer

Reply 4 months ago

Thank you very much, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Greg

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agis68

4 months ago

brilliant toy wins boredom!. thanks. a mod could be a pingpong ball painted as vampire's eye.

1 reply
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gzumwaltagis68

Reply 4 months ago

Thanks agis68!

Our local "box store" has ping pong balls in soccer ball, football, baseball and other themes. I just stuck with the plain old ping pong ball to make it simple.

Thanks again!

Greg

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Johnkaye

4 months ago

I am a 70-year-old having a blast with my new 3d printer. This was a great, simple project to play around with. I didn't have a ping pong ball so I downloaded and printed a moon model from Thingiverse. www.thingiverse.com/thing:3242080 The small model is about the right size and the hole in the bottom fits the spring adapter. The only spring that I had was a little larger than a ballpoint pen spring. I made a quick trip to Tinkercad to design a plug to put on the spring to help it compress better. A great fun project with no frustration. Sort of "Shoot the Moon" instead of a Ping-Pong Popper!
Edit: Apparently the video needs to be downloaded to view. I uploaded a photo.

Shoot the Moon Photo.jpg
1 reply
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gzumwaltJohnkaye

Reply 4 months ago

Congratulations Johnkaye, great work and best wishes!

Greg

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weeni

4 months ago

Great and simple, but wouldn't it be better to fix spring on the gun?

1 reply
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gzumwaltweeni

Reply 4 months ago

Hi weeni,

It would be indeed easier to design and assemble it as you suggested, but if you've experienced kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews as have I, hiding the spring in the ping pong ball is a good idea.

When I design toys for the kids / grandkids / nieces and nephews, I try to minimize the exposed mechanical operation in order to make it simple.

Trust me on this one, they tend to "investigate" (e.g. disassemble) everything, like their grandpa / uncle (e.g. me).

Greg

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jperch

4 months ago

Would it be possible for you to provide some ideas where I might be able to get the springs?

Thanks,
Joe

3 replies
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agis68jperch

Reply 4 months ago

search for soft springs in any hardstore.

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gzumwaltjperch

Reply 4 months ago

Hi Joe,

I purchased mine at a local hardware store (I try to shop local) and it is a quite common spring. They are available quite a few places on line in an assortment such as "Maxcraft 7707" and "Glarks 200pcs Zinc Plated Extension and Compression Industry Spring Assortment Kit". The assortment is also available at Harbor Freight, part number 67562

Best wishes,

Greg

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jperchgzumwalt

Reply 4 months ago

Thanks, Greg.

I only asked because I don't think I have ever really sought out a generic spring before.

Kinda weird now that I think about it.

Thanks again,
Joe

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Disasterific

4 months ago

There are also fly guns you can buy that just have a fly swat on it instead of a ping pong ball.

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Johnkaye

4 months ago

I just received a Silhouette Alta 3d printer and am looking for simple projects to learn with. This one is simple, practical and fun. Thanks for posting.

1 reply
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gzumwaltJohnkaye

Reply 4 months ago

Hi Johnkaye,

I'm glad you enjoyed this model. It should easily print on any 3D printer. Best wishes towards your success, and you are welcome!

Greg

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gzumwaltAlessandroT15

Reply 4 months ago

Great! Our grandkids, nieces, nephews and kids love them!

Thanks.

Greg

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Matlek

4 months ago

This is very cool! I really like how you used the spring inside the ping pong ball. I guess your grandkids spend a lot of time playing with it!