GlowBlaster Uses 405 Nm Laser To Make Its Mark

Ever wish you could do a little target shooting in a galaxy far, far away? Well then you’re in luck, as the Star Wars inspired GlowBlaster designed by [Louis Abbott] can help you realize those dreams with a real-life laser pistol — albeit a much weaker one than you’d want to carry into a Mos Eisley cantina.

Inside the 3D printed frame of the GlowBlaster is a 5 mW 405 nm module, an Arduino Nano, a speaker, a vibration motor, and a 9 V battery. When you pull the trigger, it pushes down on a 12 mm tactile button which causes the Arduino to fire the laser and sprinkle in a bit of theatrics by way of the speaker and vibration motor. There’s also a second button on the side of the blaster that lets you pick between firing modes.

The idea behind this project is that even a momentary blast from a 405 nm laser will excite a phosphorescent material enough that it will show a hit. So all you’ve got to do is draw a target on a glow-in-the-dark sheet, and you’ll be able to see where your shots land from clear across the doom. Admittedly it will have to be a dimly lit room, but still.

Technically that 5 mW figure puts the GlowBlaster’s output on par with a laser pointer, but in the documentation, [Louis] cautions that laser modules sourced online are often more powerful than their labels claim. So you, and anyone else around, would be wise to wear eye protection while the laser is being fired.

This is a far simpler solution than previous laser marksmanship projects we’ve covered, as the target side is totally passive. Although we have to admit, seeing the target actually get knocked down is a lot of fun.

24 thoughts on “GlowBlaster Uses 405 Nm Laser To Make Its Mark

  1. Neat build! I probably would have used an 18650 or LiPo pouch instead of a 9V though, probably because I have a lot more of those than 9V batteries. You might want to add a disclaimer though since it looks like some of those firing modes would violate magazine capacity limits in some states.

  2. To complete the illusion, wear green-tinted “night vision” goggles that would both block the blue light, and increase the conspicuity of the green phosphorescence.

  3. A camera sensor pointed at the target would be an easy way to get feedback on the target too. Design constraints would be low because you’re just looking for a change in an otherwise static image.

    (No need to wire up a bunch of sensors)

  4. Nice project. Note that you don’t need a phosphorescent target to use this type of setup. There are plenty of mobile apps that will use the camera to track hits on plain, paper targets. There are also laser pointer modules in standard chamber sizes, e.g 9mm or .45cal for use in existing hardware.

    1. i dont think you understand the point of this… this isnt for marksmanship training where visual stimulation isnt priority… this is just for entertainment, a toy, satisfying to see all the dots build up and glow.

    1. But 30 mW of 405 nm light would be seriously bad for your eyes, can you say cataracts? 405 is far into the violet and not very visible at all, as well as each photon having significantly more energy than green or red light, not a good mix.

  5. It could be nice to have the laser operate at a low power level when the tension is taken up in the trigger, followed by a bright flash at the point of sear release. That way, the impact of asymmetric trigger pressure on aiming could be observed (a very common mistake).

    1. Decades ago, I bought “My First Laser Pointer”[TM].
      I was showing it to a couple of neighbor kids, and they wanted to try it.
      Before handing it to them I said “don’t point it in anyone’s face!”
      The first thing the kid I handed to, laughing, immediately pointed it at his friend’s face.
      I took it back.

      1. It’s actually really odd that there are so many people with 2 working eyes since the invention of the cheap LASER when you think about it.
        But then again it’s also odd that not 100K per million die from cars existing.
        And there are many more of such oddities.
        It all defies logic.

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