Most afternoons our cubicle area at work turns into a battle zone. Everybody has standard Nerf dart guns but obviously I have to do something that’s different from the rest. I got this disc gun called the “Vigilon,” fired one test shot, and ripped it apart. My inspiration for the final appearance for this is more or less based on weapons from Fallout 3. First step is paint to get rid of the ugly colors.
On to electronics. I wired up 4 red-orange XP-Es in parallel and set them into holes in the barrel. I also drilled a small hole and glued in a piezo speaker for sound effects.
The muzzle was the only good place to add lighting on the stock gun, so I got creative and put together this tube thing that’s roughly based on the plasma rifle from Fallout. It’s made from a chunk of a small syringe that some thermal epoxy came in and a length of silicone tubing. A copper wire runs through the tubing to make it rigid. I filled the whole thing with hot melt and set a green XR-E in the end.
At the point where the tube “enters” the body there’s a green through-hole LED. These two greens will be pulsed in sequence to give the appearance of glowing green stuff being injected into the gun.
I hadn’t written code at this point, plus I figured it would be nice to be able to upgrade later, so I put in a programming connector near the trigger.
The clock and data lines from the programming header are shared with the two switches I added. These are formed from music wire and hot melt. They detect when the trigger is pulled and when the slide is pulled back.
I hollowed out the handle to fit a 9V battery, and added a toggle switch for on/off on the left half. The control board is a little breakout board for 14-pin microcontrollers that I used as space filler on a recent PCB order. It’s running a PIC16F1824 and includes two MOSFETs that will run the high-power LEDs. The 5V regulator and current-limiting resistors are freeform wired.
The paint job came out awesome. The tube on the left doesn’t look great, until the power is turned on and it lights up.
I put together this version of the code pretty quickly one night. It handles the green pulsing with an interrupt that calls a state machine to set the two LED levels. The muzzle lights stay on low most of the time and then flash and fade back to low when the trigger is pulled. Pulling back the slide activates a short sound sequence, as does firing. When turned on, there’s a power up sequence that fades all the LEDs on with some sound effects. I wasn’t too happy with the loudness of the sound, but it’s just as well because the sound effects are being synthesized in software by my 8-bit micro so they’re not great anyway. Here’s a clip with all the functions:
Here’s the code.
tag: nerf vigilon mod