Jose Julio’s daughter loves air hockey. So as any amazing Dad with DIY know-how and tinkerer skills would do, he built her a robot air hockey opponent — by converting a 3D printer. The printer’s parts were repurposed and he used an Arduino-controlled system for its vision. According to Julio, the robot has enough precision and speed to beat a child, but with some small improvements, it may even be difficult for an adult to win against it.
Based on the idea of use standard RepRap 3D printer parts : NEMA17 stepper motors, drivers, Arduino Mega, RAMPS, belts , bearings, rods, printed pieces … I started to develop the project. The main advantage of use these parts is that they are cheap and easily available. First I started with the construction of the air hockey table. I choose a medium size (my house is small, ;-)) I wanted something easily transportable but comfortable to play. The final dimensions are 100x60cm.
I Bought some wood boards and wood slats and began to mount the table. First I started to build and airless version but it really lacks the feeling so I decided to make a table with air. I tried different possibilities until I test a very simple combination with 2 old PC fans that works very well. I made the table holes (it seemed a hard work but it was not so hard) and I now I had a fully playable Air Hockey table! Time to enjoy it an play!!
Julio has posted the code on GitHub  and is open to all contributions to the project. You can see the air hockey robot in action below:
[via Boing Boing ]