Magnetic Slide out cupholders - my answer to the cup holder debate

Jake14mw

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Hi all,

I have always had a strange sort of obsession with making the "best" solution for the poker table cup holder debate. I definitely have certain opinions about cup holders:

1) I don't like drinks on the table surface, so slide unders, or cupholders built into a racetrack or surface have been a no for me.
2) Similarly, I have never wanted cup holders in the rail. I don't like them so high up, they seem to be in the way, and the spot is fixed.
3) Side tables are great, if you have a lot of room, but they can get in the way.
4) My compromise for the first two tables I built were swing out cupholders on lazy susans. They were basically dual cupholders that swing out between every pair of seats.
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I really do like this solution. They are off the table surface, to be more out of the way, and don't take up much room. They sit lower than in-rail cupholders, they are built into the table, and hide away completely when players don't want to use them. Really, the only issue I have with them is that their location is fixed. In some seats, your cup holder has to be on your right, other seats on your left.

I wanted cup holders that are low and out of the way and can be placed wherever the player wants them, directly in front, to their left, or to their right. If they don't want one, it doesn't need to be there. If they want jumbo, they can have jumbo, their choice. The solution - slide out cupholders that slide into a slot and use magnets to hold them in place. This was my original diagram,
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And here they are done in my recently completed 58" round table. I love playing on round tables!
TA704181.JPG


Several options are available. Most are just the standard size cupholder, but jumbos are available, even small integrated tables for phones, or a snack plate. There is also one with a wireless qi phone charger that plugs into the usb ports in the table.
TA704177.JPG


Magnets in the wood of the cupholder hold them solidly in place.
TA704187.JPG


I was able to test them out in a small family game on Friday. I'm really happy with them. No complaints at all, they worked great! Some people had them on their left, others on their right, and one in the center in front. I tried it directly in front of me, but didn't like that at all. Too much in the way for me.

So, what are the cons of this method? The main one is that it is a royal PITA to implement. I had to cut sheet metal for the magnets to place under the surface edge around the entire table perimeter and glue it. Also had to attach that perimeter wood around the table to create a slot to slide them into. That was also a LOT of work. It was very difficult to get the gap just the right width so that the fit was tight, but not too tight. Neither the magnets nor the slot would work by themselves, but together they work great. For most people, having a better cup holder system is not worth all that work. I don't know how many hours I had into the thing. The second downside is storing all of the cup holders when not in use. I haven't found an elegant way to do that yet, but I have some ideas. Anyway, I'm extremely happy with the result.
 
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BGinGA

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This is fucking perfect. Well-done.

Please add to the Resources section for easy reference.
 

Jake14mw

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To retrofit a table with this, I can see it being a huge pain.
If you start a build with this in mind, it seems quite simple.
You're right, the fact that it was a retrofit made it MUCH harder. One of the biggest problems was the fact that both the sheet metal and the new bottom lip were now going to cover up screws that you need access to to either remove the rail or change table cloth. I wound up having to drill many holes for access, and they had to be lined up correctly. Also had to work around existing wiring for the usb ports, etc. I'm not a woodworker, so maybe someone with more knowledge and the proper tools would find the process easier. Working with the sheet metal was not fun.
 

Rebelwork

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The other option... the new 10 man table will have them built in...
 

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BGinGA

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I'm thinking that small cobalt/rare earth magnets expoxied into both the table and the holder bases would eliminate the need for sheet metal altogether. Cleaner install, and probably more secure, too.
 

Jake14mw

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I'm thinking that small cobalt/rare earth magnets expoxied into both the table and the holder bases would eliminate the need for sheet metal altogether. Cleaner install, and probably more secure, too.
Maybe. So do you see that working where you install magnets under the table maybe 4" apart, and the person using the cupholder would slide it in and then slide it laterally until the magnets grab each other?

Or, maybe the sheet metal is placed on the cupholders and the magnets on the underside of the table.
 

BGinGA

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maybe the sheet metal is placed on the cupholders and the magnets on the underside of the table.
^ This seems simpler to install to me (vs putting metal in the table).

But personally, I'd just put magnet clusters on each side of the chair positions, assuming that nobody would want their drink poking into their gut.

Rare earth magnets can be quite strong, even in very small sizes (and when used with very small pieces of metal). I think their use is key.
 

DeeVee8

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Amazing idea. If you make the trays long enough, do you really need magnets?

Also, how thick are the trays and how thick is your table surface?
 
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DZPoker

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I absolutely love these. Well done!
 

Jake14mw

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Amazing idea. If you make the trays long enough, do you really need magnets?

Also, how thick are the trays and how thick is your table surface?
I suppose if you design the table with this in mind from the beginning, you could make the groove that the cup holders slide into deeper, maybe not requiring the magnets. The hard part about that is making the gap just the right size so that the wood of the cup holders can slide in easily enough, but not flex at all. By using the magnets, under normal use, they keep the cupholder from tilting down at all even if there is a slight gap.

The trays are standard oak stock, 3/4" thick. My table surface was an actual pre-existing table, I think it's about 1 1/2" thick. You can see a picture of it in the first post here.
https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/starting-my-budget-58-round.51349/

Also, in case anyone is interested in how this method was determined, I asked for advice here. @Thomacetti suggested the neodymium magnets. https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/help-me-create-the-best-slide-out-cupholders.58095/
 

DZPoker

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Honest question - any concern with wood expanding/contracting/warping as the seasons change etc? That’s the only potential issue I see!!
 

Jake14mw

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Honest question - any concern with wood expanding/contracting/warping as the seasons change etc? That’s the only potential issue I see!!
I suppose that is possible. The cupholders are oak, the top that the metal is glued to is plywood, and the extra layer on the bottom to create the slot is actually made from Azek trim boards. I had them laying around. I'm not sure how much each of those change with humidity, but I think all wood does to some extent.
 

roosta

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Looks really cool. great job. I'm thinking of making slide out cup holders, a twin set between each pair of seats, but vertical shape rather than horizontal likr your image...did you make a video of how they open/close? looks like you need to manually insert cups once in place rather than having them there the whole time?
 

Jake14mw

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Looks really cool. great job. I'm thinking of making slide out cup holders, a twin set between each pair of seats, but vertical shape rather than horizontal likr your image...did you make a video of how they open/close? looks like you need to manually insert cups once in place rather than having them there the whole time?
Thanks. Not sure what you mean with the last comment. The metal cupholders stay in the wood the whole time. I do remove the whole cupholder slide in when not in use. I will try and make a video.
 

roosta

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Thanks. Not sure what you mean with the last comment. The metal cupholders stay in the wood the whole time. I do remove the whole cupholder slide in when not in use. I will try and make a video.

Sounds good, thanks!
 
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