current status

My First Tagger

In January 2007, my 10-year-old daughter went to a laser tag party (at the Ultrazone Sherman Oaks). It was an indoor maze, where the players were given a vaguely gun-shaped "phasor" and a sensor vest, and sent through the maze in pursuit of each other. She enjoyed it a lot, and it reminded me of some police training scenarios that I'd enjoyed participating in. But Ultrazone wasn't perfect. I'd rather play something outdoors, with longer ranges and something where marksmanship requires at least a rudimentary use of sights.

I had found the Miles Tag website a while ago, and put it in the back of my mind as an interesting project. The open signal format was a key factor in my interest, as was the site's orientation towards the hobbyist. It also helped that the system was designed for outdoor use in full sunlight, with 100 meter ranges common and 300 meter ranges claimed by some. I decided to build a pair, so my kids could play, and I'd be able to decide whether to build more.

The construction had several distinct activities. I started them in roughly this order, but (as one would expect) I would revisit earlier decisions, jump around to do whatever tasks seemed best at the moment, and generally follow a less organized process than what it sounds like when I write it all down. This was, after all, a prototype. The activities were:

The Result

I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. I'd planned to make a pair of nearly identical taggers, and bought parts with that in mind. For the second one, I'll be changing a few things, in the hopes of making it easier to assemble. I'll be moving the trigger forward of the grip a little, and I think I can design it for a less clumsy stock. Otherwise, it should look similar.

Sequence of Overviews
sequence 1 sequence 2 sequence 3 sequence 4
Status 1 Status 2 Status 3 Status 4

The stats on the tagger: