Dominic Doty

Super Foosball Table

More Foosball 05 Jan 2015

I picked up a bit of a foosball habit over the summer, and I really wanted to play at school. There aren’t any good tables around, so I waited and pounced on one on Craigslist. Tables rarely come up in San Luis Obispo, and when they do, they’re overpriced and low quality. When I saw that this one was relatively reasonably priced at $40, I pounced. When I went to pick it up, it was resting on a strange home made plywood base and some of the men couldn’t reach the edges of the table. I asked the seller why it was on that base and she seemed genuinely surprised to learn that plywood and 4x4s are not OEM foosball features.

First the rods needed to be fixed. Some of the rods were reversed in the table, meaning that the extra length to accommodate the handle was on the side of the table without a handle. This made it so that the handle would strike the edge of the table before the far man could reach the far wall, another strange thing to not notice when owning a foosball table for any amount of time. After that was fixed, I turned my attention to the base. I’ve come to the conclusion that it lost its legs to allow children to play, which would explain the bent rods. All of my friends that play are over 6’ tall so the legs were the first thing to go. I replaced the old 4x4s with slightly longer ones, and while I was at Home Depot I picked up 4 60lb bags of cement to weigh down the table. Most low quality tables are very light and as a result are easily jostled by any aggressive play. The extra weight however, did no favors for the plywood base and 4x4s. I went back and added 2x4 bracing under the table to support the cement bags and cross bracing on the legs. The cuts are rough, but this table has been an ugly duckling from the start.


The table was also missing one of its sets of score beads. No problem with a 3d printer! I drew up a basic design and printed out a set of beads with a wooden dowel I had around as the slide. The holes were thoroughly destroyed so I blasted the posts in with some 3” deck screws. Everything about this table is overkill.


If you’ve ever played foosball on a fancy table like a Tornado, you quickly realize that all other tables are silly pieces of junk. The men on my table were unwieldy and had the touch of an elephant on the ball. I found this model online of a Tornado man and took a shot at printing it to see how it would stand up to play. Turns out that he was more than strong enough to take the abuse, but he took a long time to print. And even though he was miles better than the men I currently had on the table, he still wasn’t quite Tornado quality. So I waited patiently looking at Ebay.


Then it came like a lightning bolt. A full set of used Tornado men with rubber bumpers and roll pins included: $30. To put this in perspective, a new set of men, without the bumpers or pins is about $110. Bumpers are another $30 and pins another $15. So I bought them almost as soon as they came up. When the men came in I had a few surprises. First, it was actually a single goalie set which means I had two missing men on my 3 man goalie rods. Second, two of the rubber bumpers were missing. I used one of the old bumpers on the goalie rod, and used my old guys for the two wingmen on the goalie rod since they don’t see much action. The difference was phenomenal. Add in official Tornado balls, and you’ve got a great table.


Finally I had one more wish. The old table had the balls caught in a little box right behind the goal which is pretty common. I wanted to have ball returns on either side of the table so you don’t have to reach around the end every time I juke your pants off and score. I wanted to route the return inside the table and have a nice little hole just under the serving hole to return the balls, but that had a problem. The underside of the table is filled up with 4 bags of cement and there isn’t any room. So instead I used some leftover aluminum angle I had from the laser, and routed the balls down the side of the table. This actually turned out kind of cool since it’s like a little kinematic sculpture every time a ball rolls down it. So now the table is pretty much where it needs to be for semi casual cheap college student play.

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