For all coin-op pool tables, it is a big problem when the balls get stuck. We had often taken the ball return system in bar and billiard hall tables for granted, but it is way easier if your balls return automatically rather than searching for them throughout the space. If your pool balls get stuck, the main solution to get them unstuck is by removing the slate beneath the table.
If the current system is original molded plastic, balls will constantly get stuck, especially at the opposite end of where you pick them up.
To tackle this, we have a number of solutions, including buying cheap pockets or making a sweet ball return with the aid of some lumber and fabric.
Getting Pool Balls Unstuck in Coin Operated Pool Tables
The goal is to make a V shaped path for each pocket such that it goes towards one corner of each table, with the left 3 pockets having a slight incline and the right 3 angled such that they would roll across to the corresponding left side. This could be one of the cheapest solutions.
You can also take a look underneath a gold crown with a ball return and try to replicate it. In some cases, we can also use the cue trick. You can stick the cue into the spot where the rack goes when not in use to help clear the jams. Setting the cue ball down right in front of the pocket in the bottom left corner of the table and then shooting it at 45-degree angle will let it roll until it drops into one of the corner pockets.
We are not aware of the dimensions, but if, for instance, the table measures 5 by 10, the ball is going to end up in the bottom right corner. If we extend the width of the table to 10 or 11, the path is going to be totally different, and the ball is going to end up in the top right corner.
We are sure that most of our readers are familiar with the coin operated billiard tables present at restaurants or arcades. When we look at them, the main question that arises inside our heads is: how does this work to restore the cue ball to us if it gets stuck?
Coin-Op Ball Return System
Here comes the explanation for that. We can see that the 6 pockets on the pool table are connected with a system of chutes, with each chute sending pocketed balls to the collection chamber, where all the balls line up in a single file.
While making sure the pocketed numbered balls stayed put in the collection chamber, table manufacturers also had to figure a way to let the cue ball be returned to the game. The solutions they proposed included:
- Installation of light sensors which would sense the light reflected off the cue ball.
- Use of metallic core balls, so that some separating mechanism could be triggered when the ball would pass through an electromagnetic(EM) field.
- Separating heavy cue balls from the lighter numbered balls via a balance mechanism.
For further knowledge, there are 2 types of balls used in coin operated tables that can be easily separated:
- An oversized ball separated by a radius gauging device.
- A magnetic ball that is detected by a magnetic detection system.
Both of these, the larger than usual balls and also the attractive signal balls, may be utilized similarly on most of the present-day coin-worked tables. However, each type has its own little problems. In the event that you are a starting pool player, the bigger ball will probably not influence your play, but it could definitely disturb more high-level players who are accustomed to shooting with the typical 2 and 1/4-inch ball.
Moreover, a few players will also detect the variation in the features of an attractive ball from a plain one, which, once in a while, does not have a genuine roll. Additionally, considering that the attractive ball has attractive material embedded into its surface means that it consequently has a higher chance of breaking whenever dropped on a firm surface.
Choosing Pool Balls for Coin Operated Tables
Pool balls may come in varying prices due to the differences in their quality and the material they are made of. Cheaper pool balls are made of acrylic or polyester, while the expensive ones contain phenolic resin.
Phenolic balls are of better quality, would last longer, and would create less friction, giving smoother shots and greatly reducing the chances of getting stuck. Therefore, if price is not an issue, try choosing phenolic balls over those made of acrylic or polyester.
We recommend this phenolic pool ball set by Aramith. Aramith is the leader in the industry when it comes to high quality pool balls. Aramith pool balls can last up to 40 years when they are properly maintained.
Prevention is always better than cure. Let us talk about what could be done in order to prevent the balls getting stuck at all, instead of looking for the options to retrieve them once they have gotten stuck. A basic precautionary step to this is cleaning and proper care. Presence of dust, oil, or chalk on the table not only reduces the attractiveness of the balls and makes their shine fade away but will also cause a different sort of movement with the table.
A layer of any of these would enhance the frictional forces on the balls, thus causing them to get stuck. Cleaning of billiard balls hence becomes necessary to ensure nice, unhindered shots. Nevertheless, pool is all about geometry. The way you shoot your shot is all that matters first.
Then comes the system beneath the table that is used to collect the balls. And then of course, keeping the balls and table clean is what ensures a satisfying and more hassle-free pool game. Along with these basics, you can choose whatever ball return solution is more comfortable and convenient for you out of the ones discussed above. They’ll make your life easier for sure!