On rare occasion, the celestial bodies that control engineering and design awesomeness move into alignment and cast their blessed star dust upon a hacker. Today, we can witness the glorious outcome of such an alignment. Although almost unheard of, it’s a good omen that such a blessed hacker also be adorned with a wickedly furry face.
[Joel] wanted to up the ante for a yearly work gathering. He set out with the concept of Crushtoberfest, a test-your-strength game where a stake is hit with a mallet and the resulting force rings a bell. But bell ringing is for normal projects, [Joel's] muse required LEDs and fire as a reward for success. In fact, Tom Selleck (god of all things mustache) becomes angry at successful contestants to the point that his eyes will flash red and flames shoot out of his ears.
The mechanical input is a clever design. The stake used as the target is a 6×6 block with some old tire tread affixed to the top of them. The stake rests on a piece of radiator hose that is sealed on one end and connected to a pressure sensor on the other. Radiator hose is resilient, so it takes quite a blow to cause much compression, which is then translated into a value by an Arduino via the pressure sensor. [Joel's] gone to the effort of building gravitational deceleration into the progress tracker of the vertical string of LEDS. Too bad he didn’t have access to an addressable LED rope to make this easier, but he did pull it off nicely. He also goes into detail about prototyping and building some fireball modules.
Go now and read his blog (oldest at the top, newest at the bottom). We can call the experience nothing short of delightful.