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!

I first cut two pieces of thin material to 24″x48″.

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One of these sheet was 1/8″ melamine, which will act as the table surface.

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I cut two pieces of 1×6 to the full length of the table.

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I drew lines on the end of each piece where the goals would line up later.

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I lowered the table saw blade  to about 1/8″ to cut slots for the panels I’d cut before.

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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.

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The lines I’d drawn earlier showed me where to stop the dado.

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The shorter side pieces were cut end to end.

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I moved the fence over and cut a second dado on each piece that was a little thicker to match the material thickness.

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On the end panels, I measure in 6″ from each end to mark the centered 12″ goal area.

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On the bandsaw, I cut out the goal areas.

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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.

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On some 3/4″ plywood, I drew two circles and marked their center point.

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I cut these out on the bandsaw, just getting close to the line, not hitting it.

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I used the disc sander to get them circular, sanding to the line.

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I sanded off the text from the top of a pvc cap.

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I drilled a recess into the plywood that matched the circumference of the pvc cap.

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I used some CA glue to attach the caps into the recesses.

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These strikers got a coat of primer.

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I used some scrap 3/4″ pine and cut lots of small pieces.

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I glued these pieces onto the bottom panel, avoiding the center section and all holes.

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Before attaching the top, I traced out a pvc  pipe to feed the air to the table.

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I drilled a hole, a little bit smaller than the pipe.

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Then I added more CA glue to the tops of the stand offs.

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I lined up the bottom panel, then added some weight to  make contact with all of the pieces.

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I went back out and sprayed the strikers blue.

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For the goal sections, I set the blades height to match the thickness of some thin plywood.

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I used a sled to chip away the goal area by passing it over the blades lots of times.

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I cleaned this up with a chisel.

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This gave me a recess to add a top panel for the goals.

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I cut the other three ends to match.

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I set the fence to match the thickness of this trimmed area.

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Then I used this space to trim my end panels down to size.

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I added glue to all of the dadoes, to assemble the whole table.

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The thin material I used for the table panels was very wavy and uneven.

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It took quite a while to force both pieces into the dadoes.

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Once they were lined up, I used corner clamps to hold them in place.

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I countersunk two screws into each joint.

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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.

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I cut down two pieces of 1/8″ material for the tops of the goals.

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These pieces got glued in place.

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I used brad nails to hold them while the glue dried.

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I cut down four more pieces of pine to finish out the goal areas.

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One piece acted as the backing at the top, the other was the catcher at the bottom of the goal.

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These pieces got nailed into place.

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I cut some pvc to length and traced it’s outline on the side panel.

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I drilled a hole with a forstner bit, to fit the pipe.

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I did a test fit of the pipes, and sanded down the coupler to fit.

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I glued the pvc together with some pvc cement.

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I used some construction adhesive to seal the pvc to the wood base.

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I taped off the game top with brown paper and blue tape to keep it unpainted.

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I painted the game with several light coats of spray paint.

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While the paint was drying, I cut out three different pucks from wood and acrylic.

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These got sanded to the line on the disc sander.

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I tested these pucks to see which material worked best.

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The vac turned out to be powerful enough to use the acrylic puck, and it works great!

Air Hockey Table_YT_airHockey