Sunday, February 25, 2024

Target Lifting Mechanism Goes Wireless

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“WARNING: DO NOT Hammer on this mechanism” sounds like the start of a side quest. A quest is exactly what [CelGenStudios] started when he came upon a strange box with this message.

The military identification tag was printed “Target Holding Mechanism, M31A1”, along with some other information. It also informed the reader that the device weighed 70lbs (31.75kg). Something carrying that much mass just had to be good.

The target holding mechanism didn’t offer a lot of clues – a large box with a shaft coming out. The shaft lived inside a dust boot and linked to a second shaft. Once the box was opened, though, the function became clear. This was a device used in firearm training. If you shoot a target, it drops. This device detects the target being shot and turns on a motor, which drops the target. Later, another contact – probably connected by a long wire, commands the target to be lifted, ready for the next trainee.

The wired connection didn’t sit well with [CelGenStudios], though. So, he ordered a ruggedized remote control unit from overseas. This allowed him to wirelessly drop or raise the target from several hundred feet away. The original vibration switches still work, so a swift kick or gunshot will still drop the target.

[CelGenStudios] plans to outfit the mechanism with a cardboard cutout figure and bring it to one of the Vintage Computer Festival (VCF) events this year. We can’t wait to see Steve Jobs or Seymor Cray pop out to surprise attendees! Of course, we’ve seen a homebrew version of this, too.

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