Air hockey can now be contested at a professional level, but it is still most widely known as a fun two-player game that can be played at your local arcade. The object of the game is to score a goal in your opponent's net, by sliding a puck into the goal using a hand-held mallet. It is possible to construct your own air hockey table, to bring a fun arcade atmosphere into your own home.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Whiteboard or other smooth surface
- Wire hanger
- Plastics sheets
- Cloth or netting
- Puck (plastic disc)
- Two mallets
Locate a long, smooth piece of sturdy material, which can be used as the surface for your air hockey table. Whiteboard would be perfect for this, as it is very smooth and the white colour will resemble an ice rink. The surface must be smooth to allow the disc (puck) to glide up and down.
Measure out four lengths of wood, equal in length, to be used as legs. Choose a length that is suitable for the height of the main user. Cut the legs to length using a saw, and smooth any sharp edges using a piece of sandpaper.
Drill four holes in the corners of the table surface, and screw the legs to the table. Find a piece of netting or cloth, which can be used for nets. Cut two net shapes of equal length and height.
Create two small goal frames, which can be cut from either a small piece of plastic or some of the remaining wood used to make the legs. The frame should be about 3 inches high and 5 inches long. A wire coat hanger also can be bent to make the frame shape. Attach each net to a frame using superglue.
Position one goal net centrally at the back of the table surface, approximately one inch from the back of the surface. Attach using screws or superglue. Do this for the other net on the opposite end of the table, ensuring that it has been positioned the same distance from the back of the surface as the other net.
Cut lengths of plastic or timber to be used as the perimeter for your table, to stop the puck from falling off. Attach these to the table using superglue, ensuring that the entire perimeter is covered, excluding the two nets.
Purchase two mallets and plastic discs from a sporting goods retailer, or make your own mallets by cutting out a T-shape from a piece of plastic that can act as a mallet. It is best to buy a sturdier version, however.
Drill approximately 10 small holes in two lines up and down the surface of your table. Sand the holes down to ensure that they do not stop the movement of the puck. Attach an electronic fan with a high power setting underneath the surface of the table, using screws and/or superglue. Switch it on, and you can now begin playing, as the air from the fan passes through the holes. You can still play with the fan switched off, however this will mean that the puck cannot move as smoothly and quickly along the table.
Tips and warnings
- Monitor the smoothness of your surface. After continuous play, some rough edges may appear on the surface, which will slow the puck down. Sand these edges down to keep the game fast-moving.
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