One of the improvements we wanted to make this year, was to the laser pointer we used for our cannon. I had the bright idea of buying one last year that had a cross hair, I thought this would really help with aiming, it didn't. It was next to useless as you could barely see it on the targets (see below).
So, the cross hair one had to go and I've opted for something a little more conventional.
Below you'll see I managed to find one on eBay for just under £2.00. Of course despite it being listed as coming from the UK, it came from China, but to be fair it was here in just over a week, so I'm not too fussed.
I wanted to be able to turn the pointer on and off remotely and to have it powered from the robot. So we set about dismantling it and working out which components we needed to keep and which ones we could discard. The following photo was taken after I'd already started soldering the wires on, I remembered half way through that I was supposed to be blogging about this :)
As it happens, we managed to discard most of it, including the white LED, the buttons, key ring and of course, the batteries. Soldering new wires onto the board was quite fiddly and I manged to damage a surface mount resistor in the process, but this was quickly resolved with a through hole resistor used inline.
We cut the aluminium tube down a little and finished it all off with a little white heat shrink tubing, just to make it look pretty.
All in all, I'm quite pleased with this little modification. Granted I've not done anything ground breaking here, but it's a definite improvement over the aiming method we had last year. Will it help us hit 100% of the targets this year? Who knows, I guess we'll find out.