SketchUpdate | News & Updates

SketchUpdate | News & Updates

Electronic Cornhole: Learn to Build a Light-up, Arduino-Controlled Cornhole Game

SketchUp is a pretty fantastic tool for a lot of things. For this project, I wanted to see how it would work across multiple disciplines. In this case, CNC, vinyl cutting, and electronics.

I was tasked with making some branded cornhole games for SketchUp's 3D Basecamp conference. While these by themselves would be pretty cool, I decided to seize this opportunity to make it more  complex  awesome!

SKETCHUP & SPARKFUN ELECTRONIC CORNHOLE GAMEThis set of cornhole tables was CNC milled from a SketchUp model. The game features LED strips that allow players to keep score via arcade buttons in the rear of each table and syncronization across the two boards wirelessly. Find them on 3D Warehouse here.

I wanted to create a game that combined a digitally fabricated table, fun graphics, and the coolest part of all: lots of flashing lights. I called up our friends at SparkFun Electronics to see if they'd be able to pitch in. I can solder, but these folks can do amazing things with electronics. It was clear after my first call with them that we had a lot of great ideas, but they needed to be communicated properly.

That's when I pulled out my laptop and fired up SketchUp. Armed with some tech specs from SparkFun and a headful of ideas, I drew this model – using LayOut for all of my notes – and sent it off to SparkFun:

SKETCHUP & SPARKFUN ELECTRONIC CORNHOLE GAMELayOut document showing the various features of this light-up Arduino-controlled cornhole game.

 

I also documented my process with this Dozuki guide to help others create this game. Click through the guide below to follow the step-by-step instructions for this build.

Here's how we built ours; we would love to see how you build yours!

The next call I got from them went something like, "Wow, that looks awesome! We'll get started on the wiring and coding." In the meantime, I CNC cut, finished, and shipped them tables waiting for electronics. When they received them, they were able to wire them up easily because they were built according to the drawings. Here's a video of it in action:

 

Now I know what you're thinking: this is awesome… but crazy expensive. You'd be right on both counts. If we look a little deeper, there's a way to make this incredibly cheap and still a great learning experience.

Sure, we CNC cut our plywood, but you don't have to do that. A circular or table saw and a skill saw could be used to make this up. You could even augment an existing table with electronics. The electronics, as fancy as they are, can be had for a small amount of money. With just a basic Arduino board and a few light bulbs, you could make a very similar setup and add complexity as you gain more experience.

The real magic of this project is preparing and programming the electronics for the Cornhole game. If you are just starting to learn electronics and building, you could start with the basics: just a simple board and a flashing light for a score. You can build on the programming in small steps; add a few buttons, add a few more lights. After you get the hang of the programming, you could dive deeper by adding accelerometers and wireless functionality, like we did in this project.

A simple game like this offers a ton of latitude on how you build it and what it can do when you're done, which is precisely why we did it. You can make it complex and expensive like ours, or for a few dollars and some basic hand tools – you can create an exceptional game. No matter what you create, documenting your ideas will always improve your build. SketchUp and LayOut are essential tools for doing just that. Check out the Electronic Cornhole Build Guides here.

 

Eric Schimelpfenig

When Eric isn’t using SketchUp, he’s turning his models into real world objects. Anything from Maker Benches, 3D prints, full size buildings, and even geodesic domes.

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