This project is a pneumatic target range using recycled materials and some common hardware from local stores (mostly PVC pipe and fittings.) The gun uses a 12 amp motor from a discarded Bissell vacuum cleaner to generate the air pressure. The ammo is ping pong size foam balls that have a wooden core for weight. The ammo is automatically loaded into the gun via a venturi tube and they are collected into a bucket after they are shot. Another vacuum cleaner motor loads them into a hopper over the gun for re-use.

pneumatic4The targets are side-lit plexiglas panels with flourescent marker drawings on them. The target lights are controlled by an Arduino Mega and an Adafruit PWM breakout board. The breakout board supplies a PWM signal to a pair of Darlington Array chips (transistors) to provide the 12v current needed to light them. A large number of the LEDs used in the targets were recycled from bulbs that were inadvertently broken. The Arduino lights the target that you need to hit in order to score. The target hits are detected using piezo sensors and a small envelope detector circuit.  (The second Arduino Mega in the picture was added just in case the first one broke.  It's not really connected.)

The Arduino sends signals to a Raspberry Pi computer which supplies video and audio feedback. The video is the scoreboard and the audio is a variety of musical scores by Kevin MacLeod who was kind enough to allow use of his muic under the Creative Commons license (

Maker Projects

ThunderOps Maker Members can participate in a group project or can choose to work independently.