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Building a ping-pong table can be a cheap alternative to paying hundreds for a manufactured one, but it isn't as simple as stringing a net over a tabletop. Ping-pong tables, whether manufactured or handmade, need to adhere to the dimensions and the materials specified by the International Table Tennis Foundation (ITTF). An outdoor ping-pong table requires extra consideration on top of those regulations: the materials and construction should be waterproof and weather-resistant. But as long as you take time to plan, you'll be able to enjoy a game of ping-pong for less money.
Items you will need
Wood composite board, 5/8-inch thick
Aluminum bars, 1 1/2-inch wide
Ping pong net
Mark the space outdoors where you want to set up the ping-pong table. You'll need to clear a space of 9 feet by 5 feet for the dimensions of the tabletop, plus additional space for players to move and maneuver in. Make sure the table site is well away from windows or fragile objects.
Sand the board, and cut to your dimensions. A standard ping-pong table measures 9 feet by 5 feet, according to ITFF regulations.
Cut the legs and supports of the table out of the aluminum bars. Use a grinder to cut through the aluminum. In addition to one table leg for each corner, you'll need to make supports for additional stability. Mark the center of the table where the net will go. Measure and cut four legs for the table on both halves of the net. The ITTF states that the table must be at a height of 29.92 inches from the ground. Then, cut four supporting beams to brace the legs for each half of the table.
Weld the legs together. Attach the legs to the underside of the table with epoxy. Finish the top of the table and apply paint. Standard ping-pong tables are chalkboard green with white stripes. Refer to an image or diagram of a standard ping-pong table to paint the markings. Use a tape measure and painter's tape to help you make straight lines. When done painting, finish and seal the wood to protect it from the elements.
Stretch the regulation-length ping-pong net over the center of the table. Make sure the net is 6 inches high when positioned across the center of the table. You can find ping-pong nets at a sporting goods store. Secure the side posts of the net in place at either end of the table with epoxy.
Michelle Labbe has been writing online and for print since 2004. Her work has appeared in the online journals Reflection's Edge and Cabinet des Fées as well as in Harvard Book Store's anthology, "Michrochondria." She is pursuing a Master of Arts in publishing and writing at Emerson College.