Introduction: Electronic Fencing Target

Picture of Electronic Fencing Target

How awesome it would be if you can build something that helps you train in fencing and have fun at the same time, right!?,
My name is Enrique Alvarez, I am the fencing master for the Fargo-Moorhead Fencing Club and I was tired of seeing my students playing video games in tournaments and not paying attention to what they should have been paying attention, ;) I had the idea to bring the electronic world and fencing together and have some fun with it, I am sure everybody is familiarized with electronic targets, devices that usually contain a set of lights and pressure sensors that determine which region of the target is being hit, very similar to the electronic memory game of Simon. I wanted to bring this idea to the next level, and that’s why I created the MMFT (multi modal electronic target).

Step 1: Cut Play-wood and Place the Targets

Picture of Cut Play-wood and Place the Targets

First step is to get the plywood cut and drilled,
I got half an inch Birch plywood and cut it 18 by 20 inches approximately
then I drilled 7 holes destined for the seven targets/push-buttons from All Electronics and finally placed them in the positions shown in the picture.

Step 2: Prep the Lights

Picture of Prep the Lights

The push-button from All Electronics come with the regular white bulb,
what I did, was to switch those bulbs for RGB leds, driven by an Arduino Mega
I also added some resistors to control the current sent to the LEDs.

Step 3: Prepare the Arduino

Picture of Prepare the Arduino

The Arduino Mega is limited in current output, so I included a set of n-channel Mosfets to beef up the power to the leds.

Step 4: Display Board

Picture of Display Board

The Electronic Fencing Target includes a 4 digit display to show the fencer the results of the exercises and any other info messages.
The 4 digit display uses an SPI interface with the micro-controller, messages with the data to display are sent through the SPI link and received by the sub-system. More details are explained in the code section.

Step 5: Wrie It Up!

Picture of Wrie It Up!
Now, you just have to wire the output from the N-channel Mosfets to the RGB leds and the push-button inputs,
in this particular model, there are:
- 7 outputs for the red leds,
- 7 outputs for the green leds,
- 7 inputs for the push-buttons.
The eagle schematic is also shown in the images files and the schematic in Eagle cadsoft is included.

Step 6: Wireless Module

Picture of Wireless Module
The wireless module is composed of:
- 1 Arduino nano
- 1 link pair of nRF24L01+
- 1 cell phone micro motor
The submodule is based on this wikisite
The wireless module receives messages form the Arduino Mega an when needed activates the micro motor to provide vibration in along the blade.The module is attached to the weapon with a couple of Neodymium magnets.

Step 7: Software Code

Picture of Software Code

The project uses:
1 arduino Mega + Arduino Nano emitter
[code attached above]
Arduino Nano receiver
[code attached above]

Step 8: Vinil for the Front and Enjoy!

Picture of Vinil for the Front and Enjoy!


ArtJ11 (author)2017-11-19

Not sure if I missed something but can you show the hookup between Arduino and 4-digit display? Also, are there operational instructions available? Thank you, Art.

Silvester10528 (author)2017-07-19

I've been wanting to do something like this for SCA armored combat for some times, but electronics and programming are not my strong points - this is a HUGE help!!

Thank you!

mrupp99148 (author)2015-04-22

I made the unit so it does exercises #1 and #2. My brother (the fencer) is trying it out and will make suggestions on other exercises. Took a long time...started in August 2014. The switches were constantly out of stock. Used LEDs from All Electronics (PN LED-259) with 1K resistors running off of 12 VDC. The LEDs are more than bright enough. Bought ribbon cable from Jameco but it is not needed...just makes the wiring look neater. The LEDs were most difficult part; they are surface mount and I had trouble soldering to them. Mounting them in the switch was also an annoyance. Other than that, it is just a lot of soldering. Without a fine tip soldering iron (from work) I would not have been able. I was completely unfamiliar with Arduino which slowed things down. Could not get the development system to install on my Windows Vista machine had to use a Windows 7 machine. I think I got a slightly different display than the author so had to modify the software.

22hansen22 (author)2015-02-18

glued neodymium magnets

dwmcqueen (author)2015-02-18

How did you best position this on the sword?

dwmcqueen (author)2015-02-10

I am in the process of making a similar version of this - so far this is my parts list:

Any feedback or comments are welcome!

22hansen22 (author)dwmcqueen2015-02-10


dwmcqueen (author)2015-02-04

I am curious about the LEDs - which ones did you go with and what resistors did you use?

22hansen22 (author)dwmcqueen2015-02-04

I used these

Because i had them laying around but any RGB led should work,
Im not positive right now which resistors I used, looking at the datasheet you could even connect them directly

depends on how dim you want the lights,

regarding the vibrator on ebay

and the entire piece attaches with neodymium magnets to the blade,


dwmcqueen (author)22hansen222015-02-04

Thank you! Any chance of a close-up of the whole thing attached ot the blade?

Jobar007 (author)2014-12-01

Smaller targets make for a more accurate fencer. When I was fencing in college, we would take tape and stick a penny to the wall. We would then practice with it as the target. It really helped me to be a more precise, and faster, fencer.

Maybe smaller buttons would fit your needs? It should be an easy retrofit if you go that route. Just get buttons that match your current hole size.

22hansen22 (author)Jobar0072014-12-01

the current size of buttons fits my needs,

but the device is given as an open GPL project so feel free to recreate it with smaller targets if that works for you

Paladin6004 (author)2014-11-30

I fence épée. Will the buttons break or shatter?

22hansen22 (author)Paladin60042014-11-30


Viperhawk (author)2014-11-28

Wont the buttons go bad or r u using dulled blades (i work with sharp dont ask why)

caitlinsdad (author)Viperhawk2014-11-29

If you know anything about the sport or weapons, you know they would not be sharp. Fencing is a great skill to learn, practiced and enjoyed safely.

22hansen22 (author)2014-09-14

I have them listed here

shortly, I'll put there a link with every item

rtysantos (author)22hansen222014-09-14

Thanks. I am interested in the ribbon wire you used as well. I have little experience with building electronic devices so any details about what components are required is really helpful and greatly appreciated.

rtysantos (author)2014-09-14

This is a really neat project. Do you have a complete parts list with make & model for the parts?

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