I’m building an Arduino-controlled Nerf sentry gun. Rather than build it and present the finished project all at once, I’m going to chronicle the build here on Make: Online.

The first step was to add wiring and a two-wire connector to control the trigger circuit. I opened up the Nerf Vulcan (about 30 screws) and soldered an 1/8″ female jack to the fire selection mode switch. This way, I can retain all the regular functions of the gun when it’s unplugged from the Arduino. To control it from the Arduino, I’ll flip the orange switch on top to “off” and then wire the trigger into the “pulled” position (done here with a classy twist tie). Whenever the Arduino’s trigger circuit closes (bypassing that orange “off” switch) the gun will start firing.

To add the connector, I drilled a 1/4″ hole in the gun’s hand grip, fed the sleeve through, and secured it with a couple of zip ties inside for strain relief.

Next, I’m planning to build the Arduino’s trigger circuit using a MOSFET transistor wired to a male 1/8″ jack I can plug into the gun.

In the Maker Shed:



Arduino Duemilanove

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park

John Edgar Park likes to make things and tell people about it. He works at Disney Research and writes for Make and Boing Boing. He is training for American Ninja Warrior. You can find him at jpixl.net and twitter @johnedgarpark — if you like that sort of thing.

  • John Baichtal

    Makerbeam? MicroRAX?

    • John Park

      Hi John, that’s 80/20 beam, the 20mm series.

  • Echelon_Force

    Here’s another build…done a while ago. Have fun doing yours.


    • John Park

      Wow, great job! You guys really built it from scratch, didn’t you. Very impressive. I’m going to lean on the engineers at Nerf for most of the heavy lifting!

      • Echelon_Force

        We left the barrel and darts to them though…we thought it was good engineering on there part :P

  • PJ

    So /that’s/ what the arduino tape measure was for!

    • John Park

      Hey, you totally nailed it PJ! I needed to test out distance measurement as a component of this project. Stay tuned!

  • Nate

    Why can’t *I* get paid to do this kind of stuff?

    No, seriously. Why not?

    • Echelon_Force


  • Theo Flokos

    You could make a target recognizer system with a camera or a motion dedector and with a couple of servos you can make it turn left -right up and down so as to find the target and shoot them.Can you imagine the how the face of someone being hit from your auto shooting nerf ?

    • John Park

      Thanks Theo, I like your thinking. I’m planing to do some motion detection (actually distance sensing) and motorized targeting.

  • Theo Flokos

    sorry for any mistake i dont know very good english.

  • http://david.rysdam.org/blog/

    I’m going to lean on the engineers at Nerf for most of the heavy lifting!

    I can’t tell if that’s a joke or not. Is this a “sponsored project” and just not marked?

    • John Park

      Hi David, sorry for the confusion, no it’s not sponsored — that was a joke. I bought these guns with my own cash and have no contact with Nerf. What my failed joke meant to convey was that I’m not building my fully-automatic, belt-fed, foam dart gun from scratch, but instead relying on all the great work that they did to build the thing themselves.

  • Crow

    You could drill a small hole in the back of the trigger and tie-wrap over to a screw inside the handle.