Projekt ARES

The camera

ARES WebcamFor ARES, the camera should have a frame rate of at least 25 frames per second. All new webcams have at least this frame rate. However, during the development of ARES, research showed that some (very cheap) webcams send individual images several times to simulate a higher frame rate. It is also essential that the drivers allow manual adjustment of white balance and exposure. This is not possible with all cameras and unfortunately can usually only be checked after purchase. The resolution, on the other hand, is of secondary importance since ARES only uses a camera resolution of max. 640x480 anyway. However, the position detection of the laser points is much more precise than the camera resolution because the centre of all pixels that capture the laser point is calculated.

In the shop you can buy a camera that has been specially selected for the needs of ARES and that is also equipped with a colour filter.

Of all the other cameras tested, the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema has so far proved to be the best. Therefore, a stable filter attachment was developed especially for this camera, which can be purchased in the shop.

Microsoft WebcamIt is important that the colour filter can be easily mounted on the camera. A mounting must be found that allows the filter to be positioned in front of the camera or removed without shaking the alignment of the camera. Simple filter foils, such as those used in theatre, are very suitable as filters. If necessary, an overhead foil painted with a waterproof felt-tip pen can be used, but this is more recommended for testing the principle function than for actual operation.In general, the transmissive range of the filter should match the wavelength of the laser as well as possible, while other wavelengths should be suppressed by the filter as much as possible. Each laser controller purchased comes with a piece of filter foil optimised for red lasers.

Infrared laser

ObjektivFor safety reasons, all ARES products do not have infrared lasers. If you want to build a laser gun with an infrared laser, you have to do it yourself and at your own risk. Since an infrared laser is invisible, special caution should be exercised in handling it, and only weak lasers (< 1mW) verwendet werden.

If you want to operate ARES with an infrared laser, you need a camera that recognises it.Basically, all image sensors built into webcams are sensitive to infrared light as it is produced by commercially available infrared laser modules (wavelength approx. 780 nm).However, since precisely this light is not desired in normal use, all webcams contain a filter that filters out this light.However, with some webcams it is possible to remove this filter. If you want to use ARES with an infrared laser, you have to find a camera whose infrared filter can be removed. Cameras for surveillance purposes often do not have infrared filters.

With the ARES camera from the Shop The ARES camera in the shop does not have an infrared filter in the lens and is suitable for both normal lasers and infrared lasers.

for do-it-yourselfers...

The electronics

Laserontroller und FilterfolieThe task of the electronics is to control the laser.This must flash briefly when the trigger is pressed.The time span for this is between 10 and 200 milliseconds and depends on the luminosity of the laser and the sensitivity and frame rate of the camera.The shorter the laser can be pulsed, the better.

A small microcontroller circuit was developed to do this job. Since there were repeated requests for it, a small series was produced, which can be ordered here in the shop. Each laser controller also comes with a piece of colour filter foil. There is also a complete conversion kit that includes the laser controller, a trigger switch, battery holder, laser, magnetic switch and magnet.

The Projekt-ARES-Lasercontroller is a control electronics with which it is possible for every technically experienced layman to build a laser pistol or a laser rifle for his own shooting theatre. The electronics take over the evaluation of the trigger switch and the control of the laser. It can be combined with any suitable laser module, switch and battery, so that maximum freedom is retained when building the laser pistol. All details as well as some tips for building a laser pistol can be found in the instruction manual.

Lasercontroller.pdf Operating instructions for the laser controller (4 pages, 0.4 MB)

The wiring of the laser controller can be seen in the picture below. When using an infrared laser, a clearly visible warning LED should be connected in parallel to the laser.Since an infrared laser is not visible, it is otherwise impossible to determine whether it is in operation.

Schaltplan Laserpistole

The task could also be solved with an analogue circuit or a discrete digital circuit, but the use of a microcontroller offers many advantages. On the one hand, the circuit is very small and robust, and on the other hand, it can be easily configured and equipped with additional functionality. For example, the laser is switched on permanently if the trigger is already pressed when it is switched on.This is very helpful when checking the laser detection and calibration.You can also set the duration of the laser pulses in this mode by pressing the trigger several times.

Building a laser gun yourself

LaserpistoleA softair pistol is a good basis for building a laser weapon for ARES. How easy it is to convert a softair into a laser weapon depends on the model and can unfortunately only be seen afterwards. In general, the use of an electric softair - also known as an AEG (Automatic Electric Gun) - is recommended, as this has a trigger-operated switch that can be used directly to trigger the laser pulse.Although a spring-loaded softair can also be converted for use with ARES, the installation of a switch in particular can prove to be difficult.

The basic procedure for conversion is the same for all softairs.The pistol is unscrewed and first thoroughly analysed.Rash action is usually regretted later.It is important to plan thoroughly how the required parts are attached in the housing. These are the laser, the control electronics, batteries, a button to trigger the laser pulse and a switch to turn it on and off.Of course, parts of the original mechanics of the softair have to be removed for this.However, some parts can also be converted for the new purpose.Thus, parts of the barrel can often be used to attach the laser to it. This is useful because the laser has to be placed exactly at this point in order to shine through the muzzle later.The laser should also be attached in such a way that it can be adjusted.The mechanics of the trigger can often be used to operate the button for the laser pulse.When placing the battery holder, it should be borne in mind that the batteries have to be changed from time to time.However, since the electronics are very economical and the laser only lights up for a very short time at a time,it is possible to play for about 100 hours with one set of batteries.

We had the best results with the conversion of the electric softair pistol CM.030 (see photo).This comparatively high-quality softair is available from about 80 € and is very suitable.The upper part can be removed with a handle so that you can quickly and without tools change the batteries, which we have placed in this area.Also, the laser can be easily adjusted.To trigger the laser pulse, the already existing switch was used, which can be operated via the trigger.Here, springs provide a pleasant counterpressure when pulling the trigger. The good workmanship of the softair is still clearly noticeable after the conversion.The pistol fits very well in the hand and has a pleasant weight.The plastic feels high-quality and no parts rattle even when shaken vigorously.As an on-off switch, a reed relay (magnetic switch) was attached inside the pistol,which is actuated via a magnet that was glued into the magazine.The laser pistol is thus switched on by inserting the magazine and switched off again by ejecting the magazine.

Privacy policy © 2014 - 2023 Philipp Meißner