Open Source Artillery

Thanks to [Josh, Kyle, and Mike], it is now possible to wage (Nerf) war with an Arduino. The turret designed around it is capable of shooting 6 foam projectiles in close succession, between reloads. The faux weapon interfaces with a computer through the Arduino’s onboard serial link (via USB). Software on the PC sends commands to the Arduino, which then executes functions, such as panning, tilting, firing, and rotating the cylinder. The power for the firing itself comes from a 5 gal, 80 psi air compressor. The Java software on the host PC also does smarter things, like show streaming video from the turret’s webcam and even performs basic object tracking (with mixed success). All the code for building the brute is available on [Josh’s] website.

24 thoughts on “Open Source Artillery

  1. Cool, but not “artillery.” Artillery is indirect fire guided by a forward observer.

    It would be cool to be able to enter in coordinates at a shell prompt and have the cannon lob in projectiles from the other side of the room.

    root@cannon01:~]# “direction 1800, add 100, left 100, out”

  2. JAVA software is under GNU GPLv3 (see new code link on blog). If you’d like some other license officially just let me know. I want it to be open and useful.

    -Code previously available is under same license, I would recommend getting the new .zip (Eclipse project), it’s a lot cleaner than the hastily posted jar.

  3. Yes Dear…Working late..Yeh tough project..Ok..yeh..well dont wait up…


    Nice phone conversation in the background,,

    Excellent build too btw..Love the external compressed air!

  4. Hmm, Mediafire’s not loading for me, any chance of a re-host of the source?
    I’m brushing up on Java and attempting to make it use serial over USB using RxTx, so I’ll give GiovynetSerialPort a look too if I can get hold of this.

  5. I’m aware of the options. Others have been able to get to it on mediafire though. So it’s an issue for Cynic (unless more are reported)…so I want Cynic to pick one…If mediafire didn’t work for him who’s to say one of the others will?

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  7. @Mikey/Josh: It is documented, along with more build pics and code @

    You’ll notice in the final photos I added bump sensors to stop it chewing the motor out, which was what I was afraid of doing when I slowed it down to take that video.

    As for the whole “you can buy it already” thing, you might want to take a closer look at what I’ve done. This is not a $60 deal like yours (which shouldn’t even require a microcrontroller, let alone an ‘duino). This one was $10 and ran on AAA batteries. I can run it without a computer, as with the Wii Nunchuck, or via serial.

    Still, a webcam would be cool :)

  8. @Subby I wasn’t talking about yours being undocumented…of the 3 missle launchers on only 1 has an API (listed)…and I think all of them are inferior in range and number of shots…They don’t cost as much as ours did, but on the awesome scale they are pretty low compared to custom ones…

    Yours looks pretty sweet…

    There is another nifty one posted by a employee:

  9. Update: While this used to operate with the compressed air tank visible in the video, I have since sold that and found it works quite well using the compressed air cans used for dusting electronics…even better for office warfare :)

    I take the little air tube that comes with the air can, glue it into the can’s nozzle and then wrap the little tube up with tape until it is the right diameter to fit inside the (fish tank) tube on the turret…

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