Fancy a Game of BBC micro:bit Table Football?



I dusted off my Subbuteo (you can find out what it is, buy some, and dust it off yourself, or just use your fingers for this project) and got playing foosball with this awesome BBC micro:bit project from Technology Will Save Us. I'm going to make another goal and start up a micro:bit World Cup.

This is one of his favourite projects to be featured in Micro:bit Gadgets.

For this project you will need:

Project Time:  1 hour +
Skills required: Electronics, Coding, Craft, O Jogo Bonito
Age: 12+
Difficulty Level: Intermediate


I made a shell of the goal by cutting down any old cardboard box to 14cm x 7cm x 7cm. It can be slightly bigger or smaller, but this size fits the downloads kindly provided by Tech Will Save Us! I wasn't feeling very creative, so stuck to their designs.


I lined the back of the goal shell (the inside, where the ball will go) with kitchen foil, making sure it was applied as smoothly as possible. It turns out this wasn't very smoothly.


Here, the craft got nice and tricky. Tucking the end of jumper wire under the bottom right corner of the goal, I secured the wire on the back with tape. As always, I used a few different coloured wires to stop things getting confusing.


Using the downloadable net template as a guide, I cut the shape from card. I had to make sure the net had enough clearance between the edge of the goal and the inside of your box so it could swing. This took a bit of tweaking.


Next, I covered the back of the net with foil.

You might be starting to get a sense of how the project works right about now. But if not, let's take a brief moment to run through what we've done and why.

The frame of the goal is covered in foil. The back of the net is covered in foil. They are positioned at the two ends of an incomplete circuit, with the BBC micro:bit at its centre. When the foil covered net and the foil covered goal are made to touch by a ball something happens... You'll never be able to guess what. You probably already have. If not, everything will become clear in Step 8.


The front of the goal was looking a bit bare, so I downloaded and glued a net pattern to it (you can use this template). You might want to hand draw the net pattern, or quickly skip to the bottom where I have an interesting idea about conductive thread...


This part is a little technical. Image courtesy of Tech Will Save Us.

I cut the end off another jumper wire and pulled off about 1cm of the casing to leave some exposed wire. Then, I made a small hole in the very top right corner of the goal shell and poked the wire through. (The hole was small, but big enough to poke the exposed jumper wire through!)


Placing a strip of tape on top edge of your goal net, I positioned the goal net about 5mm from back of goal shell, securing it firmly along the top edge to top of goal shell. The idea: the net hangs from the inside of your goal box, but does not touch the back, and does not touch the bottom of the goal. When pushed by a ball, it should swing back and the two aluminium surfaces connect, and make contact with the back so that an electrical current can run through.

I played around with the tape it until it I was happy.


Image courtesy of Tech Will Save Us

Once I'd adjusted the amount of exposed wire on the back of the goal (remember Step 7) I secured it in place with some tape. Then I connected the free end of the wire to a crocodile wire. Then I repeated this with another wire. To stop things getting messy I used one black and one red wire.


Finally, it was code time! Fortunately, the BBC have been kind enough to host a really in-depth tutorial on how to make a scoreboard. If you've found the crafting a bit of a struggle don't worry, this coding is nice and easy.

Once I had completed the code, I flashed it to your micro:bit using a micro USB cable. 


Once I had attached my red crocodile wire to Pin 3V on the micro:bit, and the black crocodile wire to Pin 0 on the micro:bit the incomplete circuit had been set up and I was almost ready to play.


All those wires! Now you see why we need a couple of colours. Image courtesy of Tech Will Save Us.

To end the crafting, I grabbed my buzzer and attached the remaining two croc clips to the buzzer wires. Then, I attached my black wire to pin GND on the mico:bit and the red wire to PIN 2 on the micro:bit. 

Finally, I attached a battery to the micro:bit and powered up the device.


But all was not well! So I had to bug test. Checking if the buzzer buzzed when I pushed the goal back and stopped when I release? It turns out the net wasn't a making proper connection with the back of the goal.


Once everything was in working order it was time to create my ball. I decided to make it out of conductive dough so that I could use the leftovers for more cool circuitry experiments. I made sure to mount my micro:bit securely on the top of the goal and got a friend to be the goalie.

Your goal will receive quite a force from kicks, so needs to be mounted on a long base that you can place a weight on to stop it moving, or rest it up against a wall.

¡Ole! The Mexican Waves are coming.

Extra Thoughts

What could be really cool is if you used some conductive thread, and sewed it into the net itself, so that it replaced the foil cover.

The Kitronik Electro-Fashion Sewable Light Kit comes with conductive thread and a couple of red LEDs, which you could put on top of the goal, either side of the micro:bit and connect to the buzzer so that the code wouldn't need to be altered. Champions League final, anyone?