Building a Skee-Ball Game, Part 1

We have lots of volunteers working at the Crucible. They’re amazing and without them, we’d be lost. It’s a pretty good trade, volunteer time for discounts on classes or access to specific studio areas to work on individual projects. And once a year we throw a volunteer appreciation party. The staff of the Crucible come together to organize and run a party to help show our volunteers how much we appreciate them. There’s usually a theme around the party. Last year, it was Octoberfest. This year, it’s an evening at the carnival.

To help with the festivities, I came up with a hair-brained scheme to build a skee-ball game. And of course with the usual Crucible twist, there’s fire involved. But I’ll get to that later.

Firing up SketchUp, I came up with a simple design based on what I remembered from years gone past and a bit of online research. The whole game is a bit more than 10′ long and a little over 2′ wide.


Of course, I’m going to solicit help from fellow studio managers to make this happen. Matt’s working on the main ramp and the bump to flip the balls into the air.

And Kevin’s working on the lathe, turning out some balls to use with the game.

In addition to being studio managers, Kevin and Matt are the amazing builders, fabricators and overall goods guys behind Just Fine Design/Build.

Here’s the part I’m currently working on, the catch for the balls. The cups are made from 4″ PVC connectors, a  short piece of 4″ PVC and a 4″ to 3″ PVC reducer.






There’s a lot more work that needs to be done. The trip switches for the poofers need to be installed so that balls that fall through the cups will trigger the poofers. The ball return needs to the added. The circle catches that go around the 3 center holes and the catch for the bottom hole needs to be added. The back, painting, wiring and testing. And the poofer, let’s not forget that. It all needs to be done. But we got a lot of work done today and it’ll hopefully be finished in time for the party.

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