Let's Make Robots!

Laser Tag and Recoil


It's me and my laser tag project again. This time you'll read about me trying to find a solution to simulate the recoil of real weapons to make laser tag more realistic and cool to play.

First part of the page will be, as usual, the brainstorming part. That means that i really do not know what i'm gonna use for the recoil mecahnism (and if i will be using one, if it gets too complicated or costly i'll just abandon this idea) so i ask you for suggestions.

 What does it have to do to properly simulate recoil?:

- it has to be a fast mechanism considering i might get up to 15 virtual bullets per second (it might also work once every to bullets, bringing the count down to 7 "loops" per second at most)

- it is preferrable if the mechanism works with electricity and not gas or air

- it has to be a bit powerful, not too much but at least it has to give you the "blowback" feeling

 What i have considered so far: 

not much actually. I have read that solenoids might do the job, but i don't know whether they are fast enough and where to buy them. I also checked out linear actuators but they seem to be costly and slow. Dual shock-like motors (the ones you find in xbox/ps/wii controllers) are the easiest and cheapest solution, but i'd keep this as a last resort, in case i can't come up with anything else, because they don't give you a "kick", they just make the gun vibrate (not very realistic). 


I am concentrating especially on solenoids. They look interesting, but i really do not know where i can get fast and powerful ones. My idea is to attach a weight to the solenoid arm and switch it on and off everytime the user presses the trigger.

Any suggestion/idea? 


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Here is a video of an Elect Engine that I made using a 12vdc Pull-type solenoid. The video does not show the speed well but with a 9vdc battery it spins at 360 rpm. That is 6 cycles per second on the solenoid. It will go faster when using 12 vdc. Just with a 9vdc battery it gives the real "recoil" feel that you are looking for. I have the datasheet for this solenoid at work and can post it tomorrow if you find this useful. It uses a Hall Effect sensor and magnet on the flywheel to fire a transistor. Total components are a magnet, Hall Effect sensor, TIP10a Transistor and a 1N004 Diode. The magnet could be glued to your Airsoft motor gear and a small extension spring to pull the solenoid plunger back out for the next pulse. I used the 3mm dia magnet from the end of a small screwdriver. The solenoid measures 20mm in diameter x 50mm length.

Really cool!

I think you guys got me on the "solenoid path". :-)

6 pulses is definetly ok, now i only have to buy the solenoid and a weight. (unfortunately electronics goldmine doesn't ship to italy though, gotta find me another shop!) I think i'll go for 9V, not that i wouldn't like a faster one, but it's hard to stick a 12V battery in an airsoft rifle...

wait... i just got this new idea just now: i could have change voltage depending on which rifle i use.. so for example bigger ones would get 12V (bigger= more space= 12V!) on smaller ones 9V ones, that would also make it more realistic! 

  If you can't find a solenoid available locally, I will send you one just like whats in my video. You just pay shipping to your home. I imagine it should not cost more than $5 to send it to Italy as the weight is about 75 grams.

 PM me if you want to go this way and we can arrange something. I want to see your project when completed. One last thought... you can run the solenoid with (2) 9vdc batteries no problem. It really gives you the "recoil" sound and feel you are looking for.


That would be great! But i don't want to bother you that much....

I've searched for 2 days or so and i didn't come up with anything. I've only found 3 solenoids with springs so far: electronic goldmine, allelectronics, farnell.

Problems are: E.Goldmine doesn't ship, allelectronics only has the 24v version, farnell's solenoid has a way too small plunger. No results locally :( 

It seems I`m not the only one having trouble with Electronics Goldmine. Don`t answer emails and just sit on orders... Good way to ru(i)n a business.

You could make your own solenoid with a nail or bolt and several metres of copper wire wound around a pen tube.

In defense of Electronics Goldmine, I've ordered from them a bunch of times.  Delivery was always prompt and I always got what I ordered. They are not exactly customer focused, but I think they are a fairly small shop and so they do what they can.

Your option could work if i had to produce just one of them, but i plan on installing them on many weapons so it might be hard and time consuming to make one for everyone of them, not to consider they would be much less reliable (more prone to jams).


Try this link... Solenoid they may ship to Europe
That link sends me to this discussion :=)

Sorry Captain...

Not sure what happened there. Here is the link that I intended to send you.