Electronic Fencing Target





Introduction: 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

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

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

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

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!

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

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 http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/Nrf24L01-2.4GHz-HowTo
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

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!



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29 Discussions


6 months ago

I got mine working and its really awesome! If anyone is interested in the details I can post them here....there's some modification to the code required if you want to use the updated 4 digit display from sure-electronics.

Many thanks to the author :)

8 replies

That would be fabulous! I'm starting to pull together everything now to build it, and any help/additional info/warnings would be great.

Many thanks to BOTH of you!!

Hi....you can retrieve my latest working code from here:


You may want to get it sooner than later because I clear out my google drive pretty often :)

I haven't been able to get the RF-buzzer portion of the project working yet....the Mirf library and all of its operational requirements may be a bit above my pay grade so if anyone else can assist that would be great. Otherwise everything else works fine with this code.....good luck!

It will be wonderful if you could share again your material.

Great. Thank you very much.

I hope I will have some time to dig into this soon!

No problem...I would recommend loading the code into your Arduino mega as a first step just to assure that your system is stable before attaching the peripherals.

I did some digging around and found some newer RF24 libraries....there a "lite" library which offers very simple Tx/Rx operation....I think it would be ideal for this application because all you really need to do is throw a byte or two out to the weapon to activate the pager motor....the Mirf library is disastrously complex....I'll give this a shot but it'll probably be spring before I have any results....too many things going on right now :(

Hi I trying to make this for my daughter the fencer but am completely new to arduino. Could someone help me out with an updated code and if possible a wiring diagram. The one above is a bit above my level of understanding as I am not sure where the board and the jumpers are. I am only looking at builders the target not the reciever / transmitter modules.Many thanks Nick


6 months ago

As an addendum to the below I was also able to get the bounce.h library working so no more switch bounce issues especially in Exercise 2. If I hear crickets on this page for the next couple of weeks I'll assume the thread is dead otherwise pls request updated code.

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!

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.

How did you best position this on the sword?

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 http://www.ebay.com/itm/lot-of-10-Pager-and-Cell-Phone-Vibrating-Micro-Motor-With-Two-Leads-/151570231649?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item234a4a3161

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