Air hockey pucks flying off the table can be very annoying. It interrupts the flow of the game and although pucks are usually plastic and shouldn’t damage anything, having to constantly fetch the puck won’t make your game enjoyable.
Before we start talking about ways to fix this problem, let us have a quick look at why the puck flies off the table in the first place.
Why Does an Air Hockey Puck Fly Off the Table?
It is very common for people to assume that if their puck is flying off the table, the problem could be related to the air hockey table. But this is not the case. The problem usually lies with the puck and not the table.
Pucks fly off the table mostly because the airflow from the table’s blower is too strong. When the air is strong, it can lift the puck from the surface of the table. When you hit the puck, it then simply flies away. Unfortunately, most air hockey tables do not allow you to adjust the blower.
In some of the cases, the issue can also be caused if the puck is dented or damaged. Due to this, it is not able to even sit on the table surface.
Focusing on making the puck slide better will help keep it on the table.
Here are 5 tips on how to stop air hockey puck from flying off the table:
1. Use Sandpaper
The simplest solution if the puck is deformed and unable to sit even on the table is using sandpaper. You can purchase fine-grit sandpaper and rub it on the area which sits flat on the table. When you are done, ensure that the surface is smooth and clean and the puck sits evenly on the table.
In case if the puck is deformed to the extent that you cannot fix it with sandpaper, it is better to simply replace the puck. You can purchase a quality puck of the same weight to get rid of this problem. But purchase the same weight puck only when you are sure that the problem is due to the deformity and not puck weight.
2. Clean Clogged Holes
While it is difficult to see, the air hockey table’s surface has several small symmetrically-drilled holes. These holes help minimize the friction between the table and the puck. It is through these holes that a continuous stream of air blows. To keep the puck on the table, the air coming from these holes should be consistent throughout the table surface.
If you have been using your table for some time now, it is possible that some of these holes might have clogged up, due to which the airflow is uneven. These can be easily cleaned by poking a toothpick through them.
If most of the holes on your table are clogged, the table might need a professional deep clean. Once the holes are de-clogged and the airflow is even across the table, the puck shouldn’t fly.
3. Buy Heavier Pucks
If you’ve purchased a new air hockey table that came with the puck that just fails to stay on the table surface, an easy fix is to purchase a heavier puck. It is common for air hockey table manufacturers to include lightweight pucks that just won’t work with the blower of your table.
While the right puck for your table can vary between the size and brand of the table, here is a quick overview- If you have a full-size air hockey table like the ones you generally find in arcades, go for a 3.25-inch puck. Smaller tables should do fine with a 2.5-inch puck.
If the blower air is strong for the puck you currently have, purchase a heavier puck should fix the problem.
4. Buy Lighter Paddles
Just as the puck might be too lightweight for the table, the problem could also arise if your paddles (of mallets) are too light. Heavier paddles apply higher force on the puck… Adding to the probability that the puck may fly off the table.
If the paddles are the problem, you will see that the puck flies off the table after hitting the table rails. As the rails are unable to absorb the high force, the puck flies off the table after hitting them. Replacing the paddles with ones that are light in weight can help eliminate the puck flying problem.
5. Replace Air Hockey Table
If the air hockey table is fairly new, one of the solutions above should definitely work for you. In case if you’ve recently purchased the table and it is still in warranty, you can also get in touch with the manufacturer/seller to find a solution.
But if the table is old and none of the solutions listed above work, the last resort and the only way out is to purchase a new air hockey table. While this might not be a pocket-friendly solution for a lot of people, if you truly love air hockey, you definitely should consider investing in a quality air hockey table.
And if you really want to take your game to the next level, do consider a full-sized arcade air hockey table from a reputed brand. High-quality tables last longer and generally do not cause such issues.
What’s the rule when the air hockey puck flies off the table?
The puck flying off the table is covered by air hockey rules. These rules differ depending on whether playing in a tournament (with a referee) or at home.
When the puck leaves the surface of the table, play is suspended while the puck is retrieved and play will resume with possession going to the player who last struck the puck, not the side of the table IT WAS LAST ON
These rules differ slightly to tournament play, where a referee can deem a player has caused a foul by striking the puck off of the table.
The puck flying off the table, although annoying, is not really a major issue. There are multiple simple solutions that can help you fix this problem. In most cases, sanding down the puck or replacing the puck or paddles work for most people.
Consider getting your air hockey table deep cleaned to get the air holes de-clogged. If nothing works, maybe it’s time for you to get the air hockey table replaced.