March 2nd, 2022—
The classic tabletop game of air hockey has existed in its current form for decades, and while it can be fun initially, the lack of exciting components can make it dull after a while. So, in order to exercise his creative and technical skills, Silas Hansen decided to create his own spin on the game by making an air football table. His project was designed and built from scratch with some very innovative fabrication techniques.
The base of the air football table was crafted by laser cutting various pieces of MDF board into the side panels and the second layer of the top. To ensure smoothness, the top layer was cut from a solid panel of acrylic that also had a series of holes for air to pass through. Lastly, the corner supports, mounts, and game pieces were 3D-printed.
For scorekeeping, each end of the table was fitted with a single IR line tracking sensor which sends a pulse to the Arduino Uno whenever the puck passes underneath. In response, the WS2812B strips surrounding the table light up in the winner’s color and the newly updated score is sent via UART to an attached Nextion 4.3” TFT screen. All of the electronics can be powered off by pressing a red push button, although the large fan at the base must be physically disconnected from its batteries.
For more details on the project, you can check out Hansen’s Arduino Project Hub write-up or see it in action below!