Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Battle Box

I'd like to introduce the 'Battle Box'. This is a unit that is similar to the Milestag domination tube, but adds new twists to the game style, implementing three separate games:
Game 1. Used in pairs, with one box assigned to each team, the game has a timer which starts counting down as the game starts. If this counter reaches zero, the box 'explodes' (playing a sample)and the team assigned to that box loses the game. The team assigned to the box must shoot it to stop the countdown, whilst the opposing team shoot the box to continue the countdown. A beacon on to flashes to indicate the countdown is active and a countdown beep plays. To conform with tradition, the beep pitch increases as the countdown approaches zero. The following video shows the operation, but the siren is not present in the final software. Game 2. Again in pairs, each team has a box assigned to them. When in possession of their box, the timer counts up from zero, and stops counting when it is shot by the opposing team. Each team has a box and must keep the timer active for as long as possible. The team with the longest possession time wins. The following video shows the operation, but the siren is not present in the final software. [url=][/url] Game 3. A simple shot count game. The display is used to show the hit counts of each team up to a maximum of 99 hits. The strobe light flashes continuously. The video below is pre-release. The final software plays audio as each team hits the box. [url=][/url] The game configuration can be field set using the cloning feature of any core board. The fire mode selects the game type, the health setting is used to configure the countdown time (from 5 to 60 minutes) and the team clone is used to assign the box to a team. This has been implemented to work with AS kit, but could easily work with normal MT gear.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Chinese Conundrum

I've been buying IS1790 playback chips from AliExpress. These are about 1/3rd the price of the 'official' chips from DigiKey. Lately though I have been experiencing failures of around 50% of the chips that have been delivered.

The supplied chips are obviously copies, and when they work they work 100% of the original. However, the only way to check if they function or not is to solder a 28 pin SOIC down and hope for the best. A bit inconvenient if it proves faulty.

So to allow me to check the chips before sticking them down I came up with this:

It's a Tagbits UMT board wired into a 28 pin SOIC ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) socket. This lets me plug in a chip and test it without requiring me to solder it to a PCB.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Punch Drunk

I started work on my CNC router over the weekend. It's a moving bed design with an aluminium frame fitted to a 25mm base of MDF.
To get the holes for mounting the linear rails and extrusion I printed a huge 1500x600mm 1:1 print of the CAD drawing of the base onto vellum. This was then stuck to the MDF with spray mount.

I used my optical centre punch to get the holes centred. These are fantastic. Here is a 1:1 print of the mounting holes at the end of one on the linear rails. The holes are M4.

And looking through the centre punch:

It's easy to see how accurately the holes can be positioned when using a tool like this. The one I use is from Dankroy Ltd.

Here is the base made up with a piece of MDF used for the moving bed. Once I'm happy with the layout I'm going to drill some 15mm aluminium plate for the bed itself.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Ivor Biggun

Now I've acquired an A0 printer, I've been able to start on my CNC router. It's a moving bed design as I believe this kind is better suited to milling metals. It's a bit big at around 1500mm x 600mm and I need to drill some accurately positioned holes.

So I've printed a 1:1 scale diagram of the SBR20 linear rails and the machine bed so I can start drilling some holes.

I got several different kinds of paper when I got the printer. I'm using HP Vellum paper for the engineering prints as this is a dimensionally stable paper which is translucent. This will allow me to overlay it onto the parts I wish to drill and align the outline of the part with the real thing.

Here is the print for the linear rails:

The holes each have a cross-hair which I will use in conjunction with my optical centre punch to get precise hole positioning.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Hot Rocks

Found a video of a prototype project I worked on a few years ago:

A bonus feature for a 3 player gaming machine we were doing. All the machines are linked with a proprietary bus which allows them to synchronise the effects, and the volcano has an Ethernet connection to all 3 machines so any one can start the bonus. The lighting effects are all written in Pawn scripting language, and uploaded to the lighting controller at the start of each session. Looked good, but we never put it into production.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Milestag sniper rifle

Visit Tagbits to see the full range of tagger products described in this blog.

Finally got around to trying out my Milestag sniper rifle at Steve's (Operation Lasertag) site in Wakefield. Fantastic day out with son Joshua as usual. Rifle performed well in situations where enemy was attacking from a distance. Useless close up though! All 3D printed as usual.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Need to learn...

I really....really need to learn to say no when work offers me things that they are throwing away...

HP Designjet 500 with about £300 of paper. Coincidentally I am in need of a large format printer as I'm starting on my CNC router.