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Putting Numbers and Names on Chexx Bubble Hockey Players

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Players I did with the decal paper

If you’re like me, you’ve been wanting to put player names and numbers forever on your Chexx bubble hockey players.  The problem?  A severe lack of info on how to do it.  Every place you go to, they give vague instructions or have nonexistent links or reference products that aren’t available anymore.  In order to fix that, I’ve done the research myself and figured out how to do it.  Is it perfect?  No, but that’s more because of limitations of my printer than anything else.

Step one, get the materials.  In order to do this, you’re going to need an inkjet printer and to order some decal paper to go through it.  I looked all over for good decal paper before finally finding this stuff here on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004JZYXXW

And here’s a picture of what the package looked like:

Decal paper I used to do the players with

Once I got the glossy vinyl decal paper in, it was time to get the fonts ready to go.  I had to figure out what kind of jersey font I needed, what size, and what color.  I found the perfect font here:

https://www.dafont.com/jersey-m54.font

I downloaded that font, and brought it into Microsoft Word 2016.  From there, there’s an outline option, and you can see the different options I tried below:

Chexx bubble hockey jersey names and numbers on the decal paper

Problem is, my printer doesn’t print white, which wouldn’t be an issue except for my players are all wearing away jerseys, lol.  So unfortunately, I had to go with the solid black numbers and letters all around because the other ones just weren’t dark enough.  If I had white jerseys though, they would have been perfect.  Maybe someday I’ll have a printer that can print white and I’ll be able to make them a lot better.

In any case, after I printed my jersey numbers and names based upon the mid 90’s Blackhawks and around the year 2000 Avs, I started cutting them out and installing them.  You’ll want to let the ink dry before installing, and not press too hard or the ink will smudge some (but not too bad).  I took a bunch of pictures below to show the end result.  I’m very happy with the end result, much better than the plain jerseys that were there before.  Hopefully this helps someone else out too.  If this does help, I’d appreciate it if you’d like my Facebook page or at least share it with your friends that might be interested.  Good luck!

Forsberg Chexx Player
Chexx rink after decals
Belfour chexx player
Amonte chexx player

Replacing your Chexx Bubble Hockey goalie

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Old chexx bubble hockey goalie on left vs newer style on the right.

If you’ve ever tried to upgrade your old bubble hockey goalie, you’ve probably noticed that the old goalie and new goalie styles aren’t compatible.  The old goalie style had a square peg coming out from the bottom and the new style is the opposite, it has a round hole that sits on peg base.  This may not come into play if you’re always using the old style players, but if you upgrade to the new NHL teams or newer style players, it’s sure to come up.  In order to help show you how to do it, I’ve made a video that shows how to remove the old goalie mechanism and put in the new mechanism.

Here’s the video, hopefully this helps someone out.

 

Replacing the gearbox on a Chexx Bubble Hockey

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The brand new gearbox I got to replaced my stripped one

If you’ve owned a Chexx Bubble Hockey for any length of time, eventually what happens is one of the gear boxes gets stripped.  It doesn’t happen very often luckily, but when it does it helps to know how to fix it without calling an expensive repairman.  All you really need to do this repair is a small hex tool to remove the collar that hooks the rod to the gearbox.

I made a video below to show how to replace the gearbox.  I had to do it one handed so it’s not the greatest, but hopefully it will show you how it’s done.  I actually ran into problems the first time I did it because I pushed the rod in too far into the collar, which didn’t all the collar to clamp down on the gearbox properly.  Once I backed it off a little, it all worked fine.  I must also say, I didn’t realize how bad some of my gearboxes had gotten, the new one is much smoother than the old one.

Removing the ice on a Chexx Bubble Hockey

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What the game looks like before removing the ice

I made a video tonight on how to remove the ice from a Chexx bubble hockey game.  It’s pretty easy but if you’ve never done it before it can be a little daunting.  The one difference that might happen on your game vs the video is that the goalies on some games are held in by a little pin that you have to remove first and don’t just pull out like mine.

 

Pinball High Score App Review: Pindigo

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Pindigo main screen

One of the problems with pinball machines is that the technology that drives them is largely derived from 80’s and 90’s, meaning that things like internet access just aren’t a thing in pinball.  Comparing scores is difficult as a result, and in home use it’s unlikely that a guest would ever have a chance to put up a top 5 score on that machine.  Enter Pindigo, the pinball high score app.

Written to take advantage of modern technology, finally people have a way to share high scores with an easy to use app.  To test out the functionality of everything, I played a quick game of NBA Fastbreak.  When I finished my game with a paltry score of 54, I clicked the ‘+’ at the bottom and found NBA Fastbreak.  I entered my score, took a quick photo, and it immediately gave me my world ranking.  See picture below:

Pindigo App Screen after NBA Fastbreak score was entered

I’m very impressed with the functionality of the app and how well it all works together.  The author obviously spent a lot of time testing and perfecting everything.

One cool thing that the app also features is a ‘friends’ list.  Here is where you can compete against your friends without having to compete against everyone in the world, which can be a little too much to take on.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any friends using the app currently to test out this feature.

So how much does this awesome app cost?  Amazingly, it’s free.  A labor of love by Michael Szabo and Brendan Turner, it was built purely to help out fellow pinheads.  I’m really impressed with all the worked they’ve done on it, they should be proud of their efforts.

If you’ve dominated your household competition and are looking for bigger challenges, go install the app and take on some heavyweights.  You can find their home page here:

http://pindigoapp.com/

Good luck!

Versacourt Home Gym

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Versacourt basketball court

Something a little different than the normal home game room stuff I post, I wanted to show what you can do if you have an outdoor building.  When I built it originally, it had no insulation and a concrete floor.  Problem was, it would get extremely cold during the winter and very damp in the spring due to condensation, which would cause the concrete to become slippery sometimes.

After a couple years, I decided to get the inside insulated and have some electric heaters installed.  I went back and forth between gas and electric heating but eventually went with electric for air quality reasons.  I figured that if I was going to play basketball in there with the heater going, air quality was probably slightly more important than if I was just working on cars out there.  I’m sure some gas heaters are less smelly than the ones I’m used to, but it was just easier to go electric and not fool with it.

Once I got the inside finished, the flooring was next.  I looked at a lot of sport court flooring manufacturers but eventually went with Versacourt because they had a nice product, were responsive to emails, and would allow me to install it myself.  I think Sport Court is usually the most popular brand of sport tile flooring but they don’t allow you to install it yourself, making it not an option for me.  Plus it was going to more expensive, and when you’re on a budget like I am then I needed to save on installation costs.

Closeup of the versacourt tiles
Intersecting 3 point lines. My shed isn’t long enough

Unfortunately my shed at 44 x 36 was just a little too short to have the 3 point lines not intersect.  I think if I had to do it again I would have built the shed a little longer but I was also constrained by lot space.

When I got the floor installed, my father found a good deal on an old scoreboard from a school that had upgraded.  It doesn’t get used a huge amount but there’s no denying the cool factor it brings.

Goalsetter basketball goal

The basketball goal and mount are from Goalsetter.  I originally bought the goal off Amazon right after I built the shed.  The goal is very heavy and hard to mount, I had to get a truck bed with a couple of guys to get it mounted.  It’s adjustable up and down but frankly it’s kind of hard to raise so I wouldn’t plan on doing it much unless you get some kind of motorized option with it.

 

How much room do you need for a Foosball table?

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Standard Tornado Foosball Table
How much room do you need for a Foosball table?  Foosball tables are one of those irregular game room tables that don’t have a well defined measurement.  Using my Tornado Foosball table though, I can try and give you a good estimate of how much space you’ll need.  When the rods are pushed in to make it as narrow as possible, a Foosball table still takes up 50 inches wide, making it somewhat difficult to transport (see picture below):
Width of a foosball table
The length of a Tornado Foosball table like the one I have is 55 1/2″.  See picture below:
Length of the foosball table
I found this out when I bought one and tried to haul it in my minivan, most minivans are setup to haul 4 x 8 sheets of plywood but the extra width of the Foosball table meant that I had to angle it some to actually get it in the back.  The rods are also constantly sliding back and forth when moving.  I’d recommend shrink wrapping the rods to prevent them from sliding around much.
When it’s finally set up in your game room, at their greatest width the rods will take up 84″ + two people widths = ~108 inches.  The length of the foosball table though stays constant at 4 foot though, which can help in some spaces.  One thing I’d recommend if you’re tight for space, get one that has the ball return right where you serve the ball and not directly underneath the goals.  If it’s underneath the goals, you won’t be able to put it against a wall due to needing to get the ball out.  With the side return, you can compact the space it needs if necessary.
The height of the table is 36.  See picture below:
Height of a Tornado Foosball Table
One thing to note if you have young children, other children like to slam the rods across the table into each other sometimes.  If that’s the case, I would recommend this Foosball table from Garlando:
The rods on this one don’t stick out the other side, making it a lot safer for younger children.  It doesn’t really help with the space needed though, since the rods still pull out about the same distance width wise.  It will be narrower to transport though since it’s the long rod with two men near the goal that’s the widest one.

Crosley Jukebox, the iJuke

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If you’re a music lover and grew up before the internet was a thing, chances are you plugged quite a few quarters into a jukebox.  Like pinball, arcades, and roller skates though, jukeboxes have slowly disappeared from bars and other places like Pizza Hut.  I always wanted to have a jukebox in my home when I got older, and now I have with the Crosley Jukebox, the iJuke.  The picture of the one I have is below:

Crosley jukebox ijuke

The iJuke I have is an older version the CR12-2.  It has the radio, CD player, iPod input, and aux input.  The newer versions have Bluetooth instead of placing the iPod on the jukebox itself, which is probably more convenient overall.  Most of the time it’s either used for the radio or the iPod input, the CD player and aux are rarely used.  One of the things I’d definitely recommend is the extra stand that you can buy for underneath, that makes the thing a lot taller and more natural looking.  Without it, it’s too short in my opinion.  The stand is available from amazon below:

https://www.amazon.com/Crosley-Jukebox-Stand-Full-Size/dp/B0124G0MK0/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1504895420&sr=1-2&keywords=crosley+ijuke

Of course, the most important question is, “how does it sound?”.  To my ears, it sounds fantastic.  It has enough power to be loud in basement without breaking up.  If it isn’t loud enough for you, it has outputs on the back that you can use to add additional speakers or wire it to another amp.  I’ve been happy enough with the sound though that I haven’t felt the need to do that.

When people come over, it’s one of the first things that gets turned on.  Kids especially like to turn on the light and radio and start dancing (I’ve also got a rotating light).  The combo makes a pretty good dance floor area.

Building an Airstone Fireplace

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Airstone Fireplace bottom half

One of the things that’s often desirable in a game room, bar, or basement area is a faux stone wall.  I’m going to talk about one of the easiest methods to making this wall, which is a product that most people get from Lowe’s called Airstone.  You can find the product online here:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/AirStone-8-sq-ft-Autumn-Mountain-Faux-Stone-Veneer/50247201

Airstone is a product that looks like real stone but is really a very light stone like material (hence the name Airstone).  Instead of using stone tools to cut and shape it, you use a standard hacksaw or power saw (with appropriate blade) to cut it.  I did my fireplace wall with a hacksaw, if I had to do it again though I’d probably invest in a power saw.

I used the Autumn Mountain veneer (pictured below).  It has a brownish hue to it that goes well with most things.  When buying it, there are two different kinds of boxes, one with only straight pieces and one with only corners.  Depending on your project, you may or may not need the corner pieces but you’ll for sure need the straight pieces unless you’re just doing a square column.  I had two major corners with my Airstone fireplace that required quite a few corner boxes.

Autumn Mountain Airstone Fireplace

When assembling it, it’s fairly easy to start constructing your wall.  The hardest part is keeping your wall level.  You may want to draw some lines to provide a good starting point.  In my case, I put up a 2×4 horizontally across to build my first row, then built upon it after that.  That may or may not work for you depending on what you’re doing, if your wall has a lot of spaces the board thing may not work.  Letting your first couple rows dry will help with later assembly, the stone isn’t too hard to take off later if you make a mistake.

The adhesive I used was the manufacturer recommended adhesive pictured below.  You can buy it here:

https://www.lowes.com/pd/AirStone-Interior-Adhesive-128-fl-oz-Stone-Veneer-Adhesive/3594596

The good thing is that it’s very easy to work with and if you make a mistake it’s pretty easy to correct.  The negative to that is that some smaller pieces may fall off eventually, some of the really small (1″) pieces I cut to fill in spaces fell off and had to be reattached.  Luckily they usually fell off in the first week, so if it makes it that long you’re probably doing pretty good.

I’ve now had my fireplace up for a few years now, would I do it again?  Absolutely.  In fact I’m considering adding Airstone to my bar area now.  It’s easy to install, cost effective, and looks fantastic when done.  If I ever get it done, I’ll post and update with that project when it’s finished.

Lord of the Rings Pinball Machine

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Lord of the Rings pinball with LED's
If you’ve ever thought about owning a pinball machine, one of the ones that will be at the top of a lot of people’s lists will be the Lord of the Rings pinball.  Based upon the classic movie trilogy, the game features all the music, sounds, art, etc that everyone loved about the movies.
What makes Lord of the Rings pinball one of the best?  The thing that usually catches everyone’s eye at first is the flying ramp shot up the middle.  This shot flies off the ramp at high speed into a magnetic ‘ring’ in the back center of the playfield.  There it sits suspended while the first of 6 modes starts.  The ‘modes’ are basically 6 different scenes from the movie, everything from Gandalf to the Witch King.  All of them feature speech from the movies along with great music.
Lord of the Rings center playfield
To go along with the modes, there are 3 main multiballs, one for each movie.  The Fellowship multiball is based up on getting them across the bridge before the Balrog catches them.  The Two Towers multiball is about defending helm’s deep while the orcs attack until Gandalf arrives.  The Return of the King multiball is about climbing the 7 tiers of the city to the top to save everyone.
A more in depth rulesheet is featured here:
What are the drawbacks of the game?  The main drawback is that compared to other games, the games can become rather long as you get better and better at the game.  It’s not uncommon to have 30 to 40 minute games on it after you win a bunch of extra balls.  At the end of this time, sometimes the flippers become overheated and weak.  If that’s the case for you, consider installing these:
That’s really it though, if you like the theme it’s really a hard game to beat.

I’ve installed a Color LED display in mine.  Honestly though, I think I’m going to switch it out for a Color DMD, I don’t really care for the triangle dots, they’re too bright and spaced apart too far.  I wouldn’t recommend Color LED for this particular game, I don’t think the color scheme goes well with it.