BUILDING A FOOSBALL TABLE
We had really been punishing our old, rickety Sportcraft table for a while at work when we realized we needed a new table. A real foosball table. We wanted the Cyclone II from Tornado, but when we saw the $1000 price tag, we were all a bit despondent. We played on a Cyclone II at a local venue and just had to have one, though. What to do?
The parts can be ordered. The cabinet is just solid, simple wood construction. Hmmm.. So we started the research and realized we could have our own Tornado-like table for around $300. If you have a woodshop, the know-how and the desire to play foosball (combined with a little hint of perfectionism), keep reading.
I played on a Tornado table and was amazed. I noticed some specifics that make it a great table, such as:
I started gathering pictures and really studied the table. I measured all the dimensions. This page came in handy for that, too. For a real Tornado table, the following list will help:
So then comes the actual design of the table. Given the dimensions above, it was straight forward enough. Notice the thick side walls and the center ball return. I wanted our table to return the ball to either side (whoever got scored on gets the ball) and not just one side as in the Tornado.
Design sketch [12K PNG format]
Exterior view [4K PNG format]
Also, I needed to figure out the playfield surface. In order to closely reproduce the surface of a Tornado (which is non-smooth), our playfield is made of a base 3/4" inch particle board, a paper playfield, and then 1/8" Plexiglas roughed with 60-grit sandpaper, all sandwiched with a clear artists' spray mount adhesive. This gives it a nice, translucent look while giving the right texture for ball pinning. I drew our playfield using the Gimp. You can download the file here [780K XCF]. So, our playfield cost $29 instead of the $250 for a real Tornado top. It's all about the budget.
4: Gather Materials
Here is the material list. The total cost for the following parts was around $300. Notice there are two major items missing: the rods and handles. These cost an additional $288 (8 rods and 8 wood handles), but we salvaged old rods from our existing table, so that cost wasn't factored into our table.
The Home Depot or Lowe's:
A. First I cut out all the pieces. All the external cabinet pieces came from the 3/4" birch plywood. We chose to alter the design to allow for the cabinet to split in half and open, attached with hinges. Therefore, the large 16" side walls were split into a 6" top piece and a 10" bottom piece. The parts for the bottom 3/4" pieces were therefore:
Well, here it is $261.08 and 50 man-hours later. The finished table installed in the company game room. We're really enjoying the new table and find it forcing us to improve basic foosball skills, which is why we wanted it in the first place. On our old table we couldn't even pin the ball, so you can imagine the night-and-day difference we're experiencing.
Last updated 3.22.02