Introduction: Self Targeting Laser Turret

This instructable is to show that a little ingenuity with left over parts can create hours of entertainment.

This laser turret is perfect for popping those hard to reach balloon or other applications one might think of.

What you have is a turret that is controlled manually.

Using a little software you can have a self targeting laser turret.

This project resulted in a self targeting laser turret with:

1. 250 mw red laser

2. USB controlled relay (phidget branded)

3. Turret (dream cheeky usb missile launcher)

4. Camera (VGA Endoscope)

5. Software targeting (roborealm)

I designed the turret to pop balloons.

Step 1: What You'll Need

List of the hardware, tools and software used.

1. Wire

2. 250 mw red laser, battery powered

3. Balloons, assorted colours (used just blue for this project)

4.Tiny flat head screw driver (commonly phone is phone repair kits)

5. 6V Power adapter

6. Elastics

7. Wirestrippers

8. USB controlled relay (Phidget Inc. branded)

9. USB Missile Launcher (Dream Cheeky)

10. USB Camera (VGA endoscope)

11. Windows 7 PC


1. USB Missile controller software

2. Webcamera Software

3. USB Relay control Software

4. Roborealm (if you want the easiest method, I would use this software)

Step 2: Assembling the Laser Turret With the Camera

A few quick steps on assembling the laser turret with the camera.

Note: The USB missile launcher, phidget relay and camera are powered off the USB however you'll need to power the laser using the 6V power adapter.

1. Remove the laser from the housing and connect a lead wire to the terminal of the end of the laser.

2. Strip the connector off the 6V adapter so both leads are exposed.

3. Attached the laser back to the housing running the wire which is connected to the terminal through the housing and out the end of it.

4. Attach the bare wire from the 6V power adapter to the other terminal on the laser which is threading of the laser.

5. Attach the two remaining leads to the phidget relay. (one from the back of the laser housing and one from the terminal)

NOTE: test the circuit before attaching it to the phidget relay by touching the leads together.

ANOTHER NOTE: If it worked in the test but not after you hooked it up to the relay, it might be a polarity issue.

6. "Tie" the endoscope to the laser housing with elastics.

7. Attach the laser housing to the USB Turret.

NOTE: The endoscope will be skewed, you'll have to turn it to level out the picture.

8. Connect the USB devices to the Windows 7 PC.

Step 3: Software: Targeting and Fire Control

There is 3 controls for the turret:

1. Camera

2. Turret

3. Laser

To manually I used:

1. Roborealm

NOTE: Roborealm will allow the self targeting system.

2. USB Missile Launcher (Dream Cheeky)

3. Phidget Control Panel.

Step 4: Self Targeting Module

I used roborealm to provide a self selecting and targeting system.

The "Bot" had three subroutines running in series.

1. Turn off laser

2. Read Input from the camera

2. Filter for target properties (Colour filter and Blob filter)

3. Determine location. (COG of Blob)

4. Initiate USB_Missile module to move towards appropriate target. (8bit variable)

5. If COG of target is within the COG of the camera close the circuit of the phidget board.

6. Goto 1.

Step 5: Completion

So I aimed it at two blue balloons. It popped both.

Full Spectrum Laser Contest

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest