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DIY Air Hockey Table: Using an Arduino to Keep Score

Air hockey is a popular game that brings fun and excitement to both kids and adults. If you're a fan of air hockey and want to take your gaming experience to the next level, why not build your own air hockey table with a built-in scoring system using an Arduino? In this DIY project, we will guide you through the process of creating your own customized air hockey table that keeps score automatically.

Materials Needed:

Plywood board (4 feet by 8 feet)

White acrylic sheet (4 feet by 8 feet)

Two air hockey paddles

Air hockey puck

Arduino board

IR sensors (2)

LED displays (2)

Jumper wires


Power supply

Screws and screwdriver

Transparent adhesive tape

Marker pen

Velcro strips

Step 1: Building the Table

Start by cutting the plywood board to the desired size for your air hockey table. Smooth the edges and sand the surface for a polished look. Lay the white acrylic sheet on top of the plywood board and secure it with screws along the edges. This will create a smooth playing surface.

Step 2: Installing the IR Sensors

Position the IR sensors on opposite ends of the table, close to the edges. These sensors will detect when the puck passes over them. Connect the sensors to the Arduino board using jumper wires and resistors. Make sure to follow the wiring diagram for the specific sensor model you're using.

Step 3: Setting Up the Scoring System

Connect two LED displays to the Arduino board using jumper wires. These displays will show the score for each player. Use the Arduino IDE to program the board to keep track of the score. When the IR sensor detects the puck passing over, increment the score for the respective player. Customize the program to display the score on the LED displays.

Step 4: Mounting the LED Displays

Create a scoreboard section at the center of the table. Cut a rectangular hole in the acrylic sheet and mount the LED displays securely from underneath. Ensure the displays are visible and won't obstruct the gameplay. Use transparent adhesive tape to cover any exposed wiring.

Step 5: Adding Player Controls

Attach momentary push buttons or switches to the table on either side, near the paddles. These buttons will allow players to reset the score or start a new game. Connect the buttons to the Arduino board using jumper wires.

Step 6: Securing the Paddles

Attach Velcro strips to the bottom of the air hockey paddles. Apply corresponding Velcro strips to the surface of the table, aligning them with the goals at each end. This will ensure that the paddles stay in place during gameplay and prevent them from sliding around.

Step 7: Powering the System

Connect a power supply to the Arduino board to provide it with the necessary voltage. Make sure to use the appropriate voltage and check the power requirements of the components you're using.

Step 8: Testing and Calibration

Before playing a game, test the system to ensure that the IR sensors are detecting the puck accurately and updating the score correctly on the LED displays. Adjust the sensitivity of the sensors if necessary.

With these steps completed, your DIY air hockey table with an Arduino-based scoring system is ready for action! Gather your friends or family, grab the paddles, and enjoy countless hours of competitive air hockey fun. This project not only allows you to personalize your gaming experience but also provides an excellent opportunity to learn and explore the world of Arduino programming. Get creative and customize your table with additional features such as sound effects or LED lighting to enhance the overall experience.

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