Upgrading a Foosball Table with Salvaged Scraps

Woodworking Workshop
Upgrading a Foosball Table with Salvaged Scraps

After finding a foosball table with no legs next to a dumpster, Harry Silvio decided to turn it into something awesome. Silvio salvaged wood from an old waterbed frame that he wanted to get rid of and made a structural frame for it using 2×4 lumber.

Frame and Basic Table


Though Silvio claims that 2×4s weren’t the best choice for lumber — he end up needing shims after some warping issues — his mistakes are covered up by the nice skirt he created for the stand. Once the frame was in place, the table itself was constructed using the sturdy wood from his former bed and metal inserts to attach the side pieces to the front and back planks.

The goals were made using a combination of plywood and OSB engineered wood. A swinging door was added to each side in order to keep the ball from bouncing out of the goal after a score.

Alignment and Rod Bearings


Once the table was nominally attached, it was time to add the control rods. These rods as well as the players were scavenged from the discarded table, but he had to extend them to fit his larger foosball table. He did this using inserts and threaded rod. Though this worked, one might ask why Silvio didn’t just replace them entirely. To this he replies that, “You’re asking the right questions. Sometimes you have an idea and run with it… and there’s no looking back.” Given how great his table looks, it’s hard to argue with him.

Once the rods were sufficiently extended, he noticed that his alignment was a little off and that he’d managed to tear some of the wood out while drilling. To solve this problem, he added a dark accent piece to the sides to cover up his mistake. This ended up looking really nice, like they were meant to be there.

It should also be noted that his rods were not a standard size, so he had trouble finding the correct plastic bearings for the rods. Eventually he was able to source them from China via Amazon, and had to use extra plugs to get everything to fit. He also had to polish the rods to get all of them to move well. On a related note, the handles, which he made last, were turned on a lathe out of scrap wood. Though they are slightly different, Silvio reports that it’s barely noticeable.

Wooden Play Surface

The basic design of this table is interesting, but where it really shines is the play field. Instead of painting lines on the table, Silvio instead divided things up with different types of wood. After all, as he puts it:

I got ambitious and decided instead of painting the lines on the field, I would use wood. It is a woodworking project, after all. Don’t be fooled by how simple it looks. It took many hours to figure this out, measure it out, and cut the 13 pieces to fit as perfectly as my skills allow.

Despite his apparently very good woodworking skills, things still did not come out perfectly. Silvio attributes some of this to using warped plywood, and corrected for this by filling the gaps with polyurethane mixed with sawdust. It’s a clever idea that was inspired by a similar technique he had seen YouTuber Izzy Swan using.

Painted Characters


Although the wooden play field might be the coolest thing about this build, the fact that he repainted all the characters himself has to be a close second. He didn’t remove the players from the rods, and generally did a good job on things. What makes it great is that, as shown in the picture here, he added himself to the game as a very believable self portrait/sculpture!

Time and Expense

If you want to try something like this yourself, and you happen to have a junk Foosball table and and old bed, Silvio reports that the build cost him $150 or less. He also says that it’s a good project if you’re on a budget, as it’s flexible once you get the basic functionality of it worked out. On the other hand, it took him about a year to make. Like most DIY projects, he only worked on it intermittently, and if he had to remake it, could probably get it done in a few weekends of concentrated work.

[via Reddit]

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Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

View more articles by Jeremy S Cook


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