In my basement, growing up, we had an air hockey table. It was a ton of fun, but it was HUGE. Not too long ago I got to thinking about how much fun my kids would have and how I didn’t want to have a huge 4’8′ table to add to our already cramped house.
Instead, I decided to make a smaller version that we would put away when not in use. I also didn’t want to have a dedicated blower, so I obviously thought about using a shop vac right away.
Here’s how I put the whole thing together!
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- SawStop cabinet saw
- Dewalt 20v drill driver combo
- Dewalt compound miter saw
- Pancake compressor/nail gun combo
- Grizzly G0555LANV Bandsaw
- Grizzly Drill Press (WAAAAY overpriced (3x) on Amazon, buy from Grizzly directly.)
- Shop Fox Hanging Air Filter
- 2HP Dust Collector with 1 Micron bag
- Speed square
- 90˚ corner clamp (4 pack)
- X-Carve (CNC)
- Ridgid wet/dry vac (for air source)
I first cut two pieces of thin material to 24″x48″.
One of these sheet was 1/8″ melamine, which will act as the table surface.
I cut two pieces of 1×6 to the full length of the table.
I drew lines on the end of each piece where the goals would line up later.
I lowered the table saw blade to about 1/8″ to cut slots for the panels I’d cut before.
I started the blade, then set the wood down onto it before pushing it through. I didn’t cut all of the way to the ends of these long pieces.
The lines I’d drawn earlier showed me where to stop the dado.
The shorter side pieces were cut end to end.
I moved the fence over and cut a second dado on each piece that was a little thicker to match the material thickness.
On the end panels, I measure in 6″ from each end to mark the centered 12″ goal area.
On the bandsaw, I cut out the goal areas.
I used my CNC machine to drill the hole pattern on the game surface, but you could also draw out a grid and drill them by hand.
On some 3/4″ plywood, I drew two circles and marked their center point.
I cut these out on the bandsaw, just getting close to the line, not hitting it.
I used the disc sander to get them circular, sanding to the line.
I sanded off the text from the top of a pvc cap.
I drilled a recess into the plywood that matched the circumference of the pvc cap.
I used some CA glue to attach the caps into the recesses.
These strikers got a coat of primer.
I used some scrap 3/4″ pine and cut lots of small pieces.
I glued these pieces onto the bottom panel, avoiding the center section and all holes.
Before attaching the top, I traced out a pvc pipe to feed the air to the table.
I drilled a hole, a little bit smaller than the pipe.
Then I added more CA glue to the tops of the stand offs.
I lined up the bottom panel, then added some weight to make contact with all of the pieces.
I went back out and sprayed the strikers blue.
For the goal sections, I set the blades height to match the thickness of some thin plywood.
I used a sled to chip away the goal area by passing it over the blades lots of times.
I cleaned this up with a chisel.
This gave me a recess to add a top panel for the goals.
I cut the other three ends to match.
I set the fence to match the thickness of this trimmed area.
Then I used this space to trim my end panels down to size.
I added glue to all of the dadoes, to assemble the whole table.
The thin material I used for the table panels was very wavy and uneven.
It took quite a while to force both pieces into the dadoes.
Once they were lined up, I used corner clamps to hold them in place.
I countersunk two screws into each joint.
There was an area that didn’t stay in the dado, so I added a strip of pine to seal it up and support it.
I cut down two pieces of 1/8″ material for the tops of the goals.
These pieces got glued in place.
I used brad nails to hold them while the glue dried.
I cut down four more pieces of pine to finish out the goal areas.
One piece acted as the backing at the top, the other was the catcher at the bottom of the goal.
These pieces got nailed into place.
I cut some pvc to length and traced it’s outline on the side panel.
I drilled a hole with a forstner bit, to fit the pipe.
I did a test fit of the pipes, and sanded down the coupler to fit.
I glued the pvc together with some pvc cement.
I used some construction adhesive to seal the pvc to the wood base.
I taped off the game top with brown paper and blue tape to keep it unpainted.
I painted the game with several light coats of spray paint.
While the paint was drying, I cut out three different pucks from wood and acrylic.
These got sanded to the line on the disc sander.
I tested these pucks to see which material worked best.
The vac turned out to be powerful enough to use the acrylic puck, and it works great!