Foosbar: The World’s Best* Foosball Robot From Scratch

[Xander Naumenko] is back with another bonkers project. This is the same creator that built a working 32-bit computer inside a Terraria world. This time it’s a bit more physical of a creation: a self-playing foosball table.

We’re not sure of the impetus for this idea, but we’re delighted to see the engineering it took to make it work. It sounds so simple. It’s just servos mounted on linear actuators, right? Oh, and some computer vision to determine where the ball actually is on the table. And the software to actually control the motors, pass the ball around, and play offense and defense. So maybe not so simple. All the code and some other resources are available under the MIT license.

As to while the claim of “best” foosball robot has an asterisk? That’s because, although we’ve seen a few potential competitors over the years, there isn’t yet a world foosball competition. We’re hoping that changes, as a tournament of robots playing foosball sounds like a sports event we’d show up for!

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Homebrew Linear Actuators Improved

[Harrison Low] published some 3D-printed linear actuators, which generated a lot of interest. He got a lot of advice from people on the Internet, and he took it to heart. The result: an improved version that you can see in the video below.

The original design used carbon fiber and Kevlar and was quite stiff. The actuators could move very fast, which was important to [Harrison]. However, they were also prone to wear and had issues with the force required to assemble them. He also wanted the design to be more modular to facilitate repair. The new design removes the bowden tubes, and the resulting actuator is both easier to assemble and easier to service.

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The end result - motorized window in a silver stainless steel frame, with the linear actuators and gas struts, shown from the outside half-open.

Swing Gate Motors Come To Help For Opening A Giant Servery Window

[Martin Roberts] wrote to us, telling us about a build that his company, [Ocean View Workshop], was tasked with. Creating a four meter wide window able to open vertically is no small feat, and it had to be custom-built because the local company building such windows wasn’t comfortable working with anything other than aluminum — insufficient for the window’s scale. With massive weight of the glass alone, structural requirements for supporting it, and the mechanical loads to be applied, some careful planning was in order.

To start with, this window had to be motorized, as an average person wouldn’t be capable of pulling it upwards. Not satisfied with the linear actuator choice available, they went to a hardware store and found some swing gate actuators that, in workshop tests, proved themselves to be more than capable of handling way over the weight required. In fact, they were capable of lifting [Martin] himself off the ground without much hassle.

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A 1981 Centaur pinball table rebuilt into a coffee table.

Clear Off The Coffee Table, It’s Pinball Time

Like many of us, [BuildXYZ] has always wanted to own a pinball machine, but doesn’t have the space to justify buying such a big and heavy toy. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. [BuildXYZ] figured that if they could build a pinball machine into a coffee table form factor, they’d be at least halfway to justification.

[BuildXYZ] didn’t choose just any pin. After doing a bunch of research, they settled on 1981’s Bally Centaur because it’s an early solid-state machine, and it’s one of the best. It has no secondary playfield levels to deal with, making it much easier to do this project.

Where do we even start to describe this beautiful labor of love? There are too many details to list, but know that it seems to be equal amounts of restoration work and custom work that brought this table together. The build video after the break is definitely worth your time, and you’ll gain a much better appreciation of the amount of time that went into this, from the custom score decoder chip built on an FPGA to the 3D printed replacement drop targets and new acrylic bits to replace the yellowing ones from the playfield.

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