Arduino Controlled Nerf Vulcan




About: I am a human being that enjoys to build things. I also say GNU/Linux instead of just Linux. Yeah, I'm that kind of person.
Yes, this is exactly what the title says it is. This instructable will teach you how to control any Nerf Vulcan, with your Arduino. The provided tutorial will just shoot for 2.5 seconds, stop for 2.5 seconds, and so on. It is like a "hello world" program for controlling your Nerf Vulcan. It can easily be expanded to do whatever you want, you could use a proximity sensor to make security system, you could use an ethernet shield to shoot it remotely, the possibilities are endless.

Here's a quick demo video:

Step 1: Supplies

Here is the list of what you'll need:
1 Nerf Vulcan
1 Arduino or clone
1 5v Relay Switch
1 NPN Transistor
1 Diode
1 10k ohm Resistor
A Soldering Iron
1 Breadboard
Duct tape

Step 2: Making the First (and Only) Cut

In order to do this mod, you must open up Nerf Vulcan. It would be a pain to open up the whole gun, so you need to make just one cut. This will allow you to open up just specific region of the gun.
Begin by marking the region of the gun you are going to cut. (See second picture)
Then use what ever method you would like to cut along the line to the spot where both sides of the gun meet. There are many methods of doing this. I just used a saw. Choose you method of cutting, and slice it down the line.

Step 3: Open It Up

There are a few screws that you need remove. Take out all of the screws to the right of the line you cut. Once the screws are removed, you can just take of the top part. It should be fairly straight forward if you did the previous step correctly.

Step 4: Remove the Cover to the On/off Switch

To have access to the on/off switch itself, you are going to need to remove to little orange cap that goes onto it (see picture). This will allow you to see the on and off switch itself, without the thing that makes it look better.
Removing this cover is a remotely barbaric process. There is one accessible screw on the bottom of it, loosening and removing it won't get you very far though. I took out that screw, realized that I couldn't get to the second screw, and decided to just tear the cover off. It may be a bit crude, but it works.

Step 5: Pulling Out the On/off Switch

This process is even more crude. Perfectionists should look away right about now. The on and off switch sits surrounded by plastic, which can be just cut away. Scissors don't normally work, so I use a sharp, sturdy knife. All you need to do for this step is to remove the switch from its place and keep it exposed.

Step 6: Setting Up Your Arduino

For this, you should have a 5v relay switch that is controlled by pin 13 of your Arduino, and you can set it up really however you would like. You could try to use my method just by looking at the picture, but I will unfortunately assume that you know how to use a relay with your Arduino.

Step 7: Remove the Switch

Remember that switch you worked so hard to expose? Yeah, we're hacking it off. You should see two wires soldered onto the bottom of the switch. You should cut those right at the top in order keep as much wire as possible exposed. If you cut it and you don't think you have a good amount of wire exposed, don't panic, you can just use a wire stripper on it.

I'm afraid I forgot to take a picture for this one!

Step 8: Soldering

This is the only soldering you are going to need to do. You are to solder the two loose wires on the Arduino (view picture two) to the two exposed wires on the Nerf gun. This is probably the most important step in that it it where the Arduino and the Nerf gun finally come together. The Arduino wires can be soldered to any of the Nerf gun wires.
Remember that the wires on the Nerf gun can be stripped if necessary.

Step 9: Duct Tape the Trigger Shut

This one of the easiest steps. All you need to do is, as mentioned, duct tape the trigger shut. This will make it so the relay (the on/off switch essentially) is in complete control over the gun.

Step 10: Load a Program, and Shoot All the Things!

You are now finished! The only thing left is to program it. You can make it do whatever you want; writing HIGH to pin 13 is all you need to do to shoot it. A good test is to use the example "Blink" program, usually everyone's first Arduino program, and change "delay(1000)" to "delay(2500)".

Remember, if you have any question or suggestions, you can leave them in the comments and I will get back to you right away!



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    16 Discussions

    Hi, I just got a Nerf gun similar to the one you have but it doesn't have an on/off switch. Should I attach the to wires to the trigger button or what!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    yeah, thats exactly what you should do on something like this, but you might want a servo turning the trigger on and off instead


    2 years ago

    What type of engineering is this?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Alecnotalex, I really think your project is great and would like to build it in the near future, but I really need to learn more about Arduino first. Could you please recommend some books by any chance? Thanks.

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    If you're looking to learn about Arduino, I can offer some advice.
    In terms of books, I would suggest the Arduino Cookbook, Getting Started with Arduino, and Programming Arduino. While these books are helpful, you can actually learn easily without any books. For me, owning the Sparkfun Inventor's Kit was enough to be able to learn everything I needed. The way I learned best was trying to come up with a project far beyond my skill level, and then searching the Internet to learn how to do each component of it. There is a lot of free information out there, I don't think you're going to have any trouble learning the world of Arduino, even if you didn't get any books.
    I wish you luck!


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the replying and suggesting the books, I greatly appreciate it. I was looking at the reviews of these books online before but still wasn't sure; you advice has helped me make a decision. I'm more of a book reader because of the way I learn. I need several books and have to see the large and small picture at the same time plus the information laid out a certain way. For me the internet is kind of like the encyclopedia and periodical/magazine section of the library. I still need books! Thanks again for everything.

    Tobor 2.0

    6 years ago on Introduction

    use this with: and chaos is sure to follow!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Wonderful ! You must take it to the next step and include servos on the feet and a movement detector to trigger the fire !

    1 reply

    Yes, I was thinking about doing something like that, but I didn't have the supplies, or the time, really. I think later on I'll try something of that nature.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice project!
    If you ever want to upgrade it, here is a nice one:


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm inspired. I want to build a turret mounted remote control paintgun. It would be mounted on top of my car and used only in freeway traffic. Yellow paintballs would be best, I think.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Make two and sell me one.

    I've always fantacised about something like this.

    Can you also include a feature to obscure my license plate and retract the gun to a hidden configuration.

    I promise to only use this when appropriate.

    Very nice! I just posted a similar project and I hadn't even seen this one yet! There's just *something* about a turret that's not controlled by any human being that is awesome and kinda frightening! Nice hack!

    1 reply