The Robo-Target is a remote controlled machine that randomly displays paper targets to be shot at. The targets are hidden behind the steel mechanism and displayed one at a time or two at time depending on how it is triggered with the remote control. When the machine shows a target it is flipped into view by a regular hobby servo. The target can be flipped to the left or right, which allows for 10 different scenarios using only 5 targets. By using different color targets or targets with faces, it will force the shooter to decide at a split second wether or not to shoot the target. For instance, red and green targets could be loaded in the machine and the shooter could shoot only one color and not the other.
The machine that I built for the video is very durable and was capable of handling multiple hits from various handguns calibers all the way up to .45ACP and 45LC. The steel that I used is mild steel, not hardened. So using a high velocity rifle round would probably damage the steel, so for that reason and safety reasons I did not try any high velocity rounds. Care also had to be taken to make sure that a round that hit the machine did not splatter or ricochet in a dangerous direction. Most of the rounds that hit the steel followed the angle of the steel, which was 45 degrees to either side of the machine.
The machine is built from 1/4" mild steel angle iron that is bolted to a wooden frame. There are 5 servo plates that I had cut on a CNC plasma cutter, then welded to the inside of the angle iron. This provides a safe mount for the servos and also allows for the target to be rotated left or right. The plastic arms of the machine are 3D printed and modular. I made them this way on purpose so that if any of the pieces are damaged it could be easily fixed. You can see in the video that the top target is just a little bit too tall and the top part got shot off while filming the video. To fix this, I will probably just weld a small section of angle iron on top of the existing piece so that the top part of the target is not exposed.
The machine is controlled by a circuit board that is used in another product that we sell. It consists of an Atmel ATMega168 running an Arduino bootloader. The remote control is handled by and Xbee. I also used a 12 button remote control from the same product that we currently sell. This allowed me to control the machine in different ways. By pressing one button, one target could be randomly displayed, pressing another button would cause two targets to be displayed.
We have had a blast shooting at this machine. Different types of targets can be loaded to keep things interesting. Such as loading red and green targets and only shooting one color and avoiding the other. Then once all of the targets of one color are hit, switch to the other color and only shoot at those. Loading different types of faces such as good guys and bad guys will also throw an extra loop in the mix. This requires type of target setup requires the shooter to evaluate the target before taking the shot. All in all this machine has been extremely fun to shoot at.