Build Your Own Backyard Bowling Alley

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Build Your Own Backyard Bowling Alley


Wouldn’t it be cool to have a bowling lane in your backyard? Imgur member Makgyver87 thought so, so he built this lane up against the fence in his backyard.

It includes an automatic ball return and a pulley-based pin resetting system that lives up to Makgyver87’s online handle. It also sports lights for nighttime play.


The post includes lots of pictures, several drawings, and a CAD graphic. There are no dimensions on the computer drawing and it’s hard to read the hand drawn sketch, but if you scrutinize it, you can make out the dimensions, materials used, etc. The main materials were 2″ x 6″ deck boards and 4′ x 8′ sheets of 3/4″ plywood. The width of the lane appears to be 42″ and each gutter is 10″ wide.


The pin resetting system is clever, if it works. It sounds like he had a devil of a time getting it all to cooperate. It would have been great if there was a video of the lane in action.

I also wonder about the rounded edges on the deck boards. It seems like those would influence the travel of the ball and that the surface should be as smooth as possible.


The entire lane looks modular so you can store it when not in use. Imagine how much fun it would be to have this in your backyard during an outdoor cookout. You know it would be the life of the party.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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