Tuesday, August 13, 2013

RapidStrike goes Laser Tag!

Before JohnsonArms manages to go M41A all over the new Nerf RapidStrike CS-18, I'll hopefully have one of my own repainted and running as my first reshelled Lazer Tag Augmented Reality (LTAR) rifle.  I've yet to dive into one of these for a recasing since the LTAR was released last summer... and that just seems wrong to me.

To the left, you can see one of the repaints already completed by Lee Vincent on the Xplorer Facebook page.  Mine will be following suit, as the RapidStrike CS-18 bears a strong resemblance to the iconic M41A Pulse Rifle... a blaster I've already fielded as a Laser Challenge rifle.  As my own Pulse Rifle sits and collects dust, waiting for somebody in my laser tagging group to make an Arduino-based custom OS to run it on, I'll be building yet another recasing to be painted to mimick the M41A's Black and OD Green colorscheme.

I also plan to utilize a modular system on this blaster to change to different lenses, much like the RE-CON that Sundawg built for the Laser Challenge lineup.  The LTX is able to add hardware like a Shotblast, RapidFire, or SniperShot accessory.  There's no planned equipment for the LTAR to physically upgrade the blaster (just gimmicky app-based upgrades), so a Sniper Lens attachment will certainly be in the works to allow this new blaster to go toe-to-toe with long-range foes while being able to compete easily in mid-ranged combat for the majority of the combat I typically see.

This will also be the first blaster completed in my new workshop... which happens to be in my new home!  So, for those of you keeping track at home, this blaster has quite a few "firsts" it'll be checking off.

  • First reshelled LTAR
  • First Laser Tag-converted RapidStrike CS-18
  • First blaster completed in my new home
  • First planned modular platform for LTAR
Keep it here for updates on this new project!  I'll likely dig into it once the MLTA's 8th Summer Season concludes this Friday.  The Off-Season for laser tag is usually prime-time to start up new projects and test 'em out at the occasional games we'll have until Season 9 starts up in May of 2014.  That's PLENTY of development time to get the kinks worked out of this blaster!


  1. Okay, so I'm going to sound like a massive fool asking this probably, but what is the reason that you wouldn't give your laser blaster the lens configuration with the best range? Is it because of the larger spread of a less focused beam?

    I've never played home laser tag before, so I'm utterly clueless. I'm currently looking into ways to integrate laser blasters into the dart blaster games I run, though.

    1. Generally speaking, the longer range you give your blaster, the tighter the beam gets. Having a little bit more wiggle room with a 500-600 ft lens is much easier to use in general combat. Especially when you're on the move, having a tight focused beam that can hit 1000 feet doesn't help you very much since you're probably missing 80% of your shots because that beam is so tight. Having the option to switch from a good combat lens when you're engaging targets that can hit you back as opposed to sitting back, taking your time, and hitting targets at long range with the sniper lens is a very appealing option to have. Building a dedicated sniper rifle and running with that blaster the entire game means that, while you can shoot the moon any day of the week, you're going to be less effective for normal combat and probably have your rear handed to you.

    2. So how spread can the beam get before the sensor can no longer read it? (How shotgun-y can laser tag blasters get?)

      Also, would it be possible to make a telescopic barrel that can be slid forward for range and backward for spread?

    3. Some folks have made telescopic barrels for laser tag, but they're usually pretty finnicky/tough to really control/tell what your setting has done to the focus. Mike Yates has made an electronically-controlled one that's pretty sweet. There's not really any study that I know of that shows how spread = distance, especially considering the fact that you're not just changing distance between the IR LED and the Lens, but there are all sorts of different size lenses that you can use that will make for millions of different range/spread combinations.

    4. Thanks, I think I might just go and start tinkering with a LTAR myself...