Did you know the muzzle velocity of a NERF dart out of a toy gun? Neither did [MJHanagan] until he did all sorts of measurement. And now we all know: between 35 and 40 miles per hour (around 60 km/h).
First, he prototyped a single beam-break detector (shown above) and then expanded his build to two in order to get velocity info. A Propeller microcontroller took care of measuring the timing. Then came the gratuitous statistics. He took six different darts and shot them each 21 times, recording the timings. Dart #3 was the winner, but they all had similar average speeds. You’re not going to win the office NERF war by cherry-picking darts.
Anyway, [MJ] and his son had a good time testing them out, and he thinks this might make a good kids’ intro to science and statistics. We think that’s a great idea. You won’t be surprised that we’ve covered NERF chronographs before, but this implementation is definitely the scienciest!
Thanks [drudrudru] for the tip!
[Spork] over on the Netduino forums wanted to push the limits of what his little board could do. He put together a chronometer to measure the velocity of rifle rounds and Nerf darts using an Arduino-compatable CPLD shield.
The project is built around a pair of commercial CED M2 chronograph sensors; because people have the tendency to shoot through these sensors, they’re available as replacement units for much less than the cost of a complete chronograph setup. [Spork] couldn’t figure out a way for his Arduino clone to read pins with a resolution of 1 microsecond, so a Amani GTX CLPD shield was added to the build. This programmable logic chip takes the output from a chronometer sensor, starts a timer, waits for the second sensor to trigger, and stops the timer. From that, the velocity of just about any projectile can be calculated.
Of course, [Spork] needed to test his new device, so he took it out to the range and fired 25 rifle rounds through his chronometer. The result was a very nice, normal distribution centered around 2400 feet per second, exactly as would be expected. Although [Spork] didn’t test out low-velocity projectiles such as Nerf darts, we expect the same reliable results.