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Homemade Moving Target System


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#1 FJR

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 07:52 PM

Can anyone offer advice for making a moving target system? I am interested in advice for any type of system. Whether it be gravity, motor powered, or manual. I think a gravity type system with a wire suspended from a high point to a low point is very feasible. Or possibly some type of track for a target/hanger to ride in. I would like to have something that is actuated by a falling pepper popper. I would also prefer to have the moving target be made of steel, but this would necessitate having a strong guide wire and a smooth pully/roller system for the target hanger to ride on. Thanks in advance for any and all advice.

#2 Austin Bradley

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 08:16 PM

What type of movement do you want it to do (swing, slide, etc.)?
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#3 FJR

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 08:19 PM

I would prefer that it slides from point A to point B. The range is big enough where it could possible travel 20+ feet across the berm/back stop.

Thanks for such a quick reply.

#4 freeidaho

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Posted 03 July 2005 - 08:28 PM

Can anyone offer advice for making a moving target system?


FJR,
I too searched for moving/charging target plans/ideas.... in about 1999.

Here is what I have learned.

I built a prototype gravity powered rope and pulley system in my shop. It required quite a drop to actually move. I suspect this is why others use a smooth wire for the suspension. I gave up at that point.

Our local automatic-fire club has a mover that is powered by a falling weight, through a block and tackle. The target is suspended on a rope pulled taught between two poles, and pulled along by another rope, pulled by a falling weight. The weight falls about 8 feet and pulls in much more rope than that, due to the block and tackle arrangement. The target gets up a much faster pace than any actual person can on foot, but the sub-machine gun match shooters really like it.... or hate it.

One note, all the suspended movers I have seen, the one above, and the one sold by MGM Targets, need another rope/wire on the bottom to keep the target from flying up at speed.

I found one fellow that had mounted a target stand to a skateboard that has some dumb bell weights added to it. This contraption ran down a series of pieces of plywood, and apparently worked great for an IDPA club.

There is one fellow in Washington with the NWPPA IPDA club that made a self contained track type mover. The track is several sections of parallel pipe. The mover contains a battery, remote control electronics, and of course a DC gear motor. I don't know that he supplies plans, but I have some pix. This mover is usually featured in the Washington State IDPA championship every year.

I have seen movers made from a 3' x 2' piece of plywood with four wheels attached and a target stand bolted down, and pulled along by a helper person. These movers are sometimes pulled along by the shooter himself, by attaching the pull rope to the shooter, round a pulley, and to the dolly mover. I have seen pix of this apparatus used to move the mover left to right too, not just toward the shooter.

There is a fellow that volunteers a mover to the IDPA nationals every year. It is referred to as the JD mover. It is essentially a RC car that runs in an aluminum channel, but has a lot more engineering than that. I haven't seen an individual copy this design, but it would be an excellent mover.

Within IDPA there is another mover with quite a reputation. It is called the Carolina Charger. I have never seen plans for it, but it has a reputation as adding quite a bit of difficulty to a scenario COF.

In 2000 I built a skateboard mover for my club, with a twist. The skateboard was fabricated from steel, and is started along its path with a healthy shove from a "launcher" mechanism. The track for the mover was made from wood. Two 2"x12" planks 12' long for 24 ' of movement, with 1"x4" sideboards. This forms a wooden channel for the skateboard to run in.

In 2003 I built a three wheeled mover, powered by a falling weight, again through a block and tackle arrangement. It worked great, and was powered by 30 lbs of weight. The advantage to this type mover, is that there is nothing downrange except for the dolly to get shot up. Having down range mover parts shot up is always a consideration.

This year I drew up a set of plans for an all metal mover, powered by bungee cord. It has 10 foot sections of track that can be added or removed to change the run. I haven't built it yet, but it will be my next mover project. I may need to make it before September, due to our State IDPA match needs. The unique part of this mover is that if it works as planned, the track will be flexible enough so that it can be temporarily bent into a 5' radius curve, to add some more flexibility to the use of the mover. Even if that fails, it will be an adjustable difficulty straight line mover.

If you are interested in any of these, please send me a pm at the address below. The shooting club photo section has pix of all my targets in use.

Ken Reed

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#5 johnhurd

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 05:59 AM

Funny you should mention movers, I am converting a rower \ Skier exercise unit to give the guys a 9' dash target to shoot at. I do have a 15 yd runner but no pics it is a target trolley suspended on a cable and can be run either gragity or powered. (in the early days of GSSF there were a few matches that had the mover) The gravity powered is adjusted by the angle of cable at setup.

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#6 Bret Heidkamp

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 07:00 AM

I am going to probably be building a mover soon for our club. One thought for a rifle mover was a commercial garage door opener track mounted on the ground. Generator powered with the whole contraption behind a short berm, just allowing the target to stick up high enough to be shot. Two tracks end to end would make the target run about 24 feet, I think.

The commercial opener was required because it won't overheat and shut down like a residential unit from what I am told. Plus, these usually can be had from overhead door companies when they are ripping out old units. With their help we should be able to scab something together that is functional.

Other than this, we may try a gravity setup, pull pin activated, using a set of garage door side tracks since they hold the wheels captive. A double set of these may work out. Binding may be an issue, but may be overcome with enough speed and alignment. (?)
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#7 Flexmoney

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 09:27 AM

I would prefer that it slides from point A to point B. The range is big enough where it could possible travel 20+ feet across the berm/back stop.

Thanks for such a quick reply.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Often, a moving target system will be place behind a wall (to keep people from shooting it early or late). When activated, it will move laterally, and be exposed by a wide window (usually, both ends of the window opening are guarded by No-shoot targets).

The frame that holds the moving targets needs to be bullet proof to as great a degree as possible. It will get shot.

Many I have seen hang from cable at the top...with pulleys on the target holding frame.

The cable can run down-hill and use gravity as energy. Often, you will need something to stop the target holding apparatus so that it doesn't beat itself apart.

At, last year's nationals, the cables ran up-hill, and used a weight to pull the targets up. The weight was heavy chain (as more links of the chain rest on the ground, there is less weight...helping to keep things from slamming to a stop).
Thank you,

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#8 EricW

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 10:58 AM

I think the boys from Ephrata and I are going to scheme to make one out of a commercial garage door opener. How much of the garage door opener we'll be able to keep is the question. I'm almost positive that the motor will need to be replaced by a continuous-duty unit, but at least the electronics are there. We'll be lucky in that we will be able to mount the unit permanently, which makes life much easier in some respects. What will be interesting is if this is a multi-function garage door opener. It may be possible to configure it to run at multiple speeds.

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#9 Tangram

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 08:49 PM

Would it be possible to use a radio control monster truck to tow a target? Perhaps on a prebuilt plywood road or just on flat ground.

I can imagine some intriguing possibilites if this would work.

Rick
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#10 Azone41

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 04:35 AM

I have been working on a design using some garage sale roller blades and angle iron as the track, pull pin activated. The track is made in 2 16 foot sections (that can be hooked together) mounted to 16 foot 2x6s. Not to expensive and this thing would really scream with roller blade wheels. Still in the planning stage for our next big match.

#11 FJR

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 06:00 PM

Thanks to all for their advice.

I considered getting one of these beam trolleys and hanging a steel target from it and sliding it back and forth across the beam.


Beam trolley

I may be able to get an I beam from one of the companies near my home.


Thanks again.



FJR

#12 codyb

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Posted 07 July 2005 - 01:42 PM

My friend built on that we use here at a local club for rifle matches he sold one to the club and built another for himself. It is a well made mover that runs on angle iron for tracks so you can make it as long or short a run as you wish, by adding more sections of track. It can be activated by shooting a steel plate any size you choose to put on it and will hold another 4 to 5 targets steel or paper makes no difference. The speed is adjustable and it will run all day on its two battries. Very fun to shoot if his wasn't so available I'd have to have him build me one. Cody

#13 vincent

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Posted 09 July 2005 - 05:12 PM

One local range has a mover which pulls the target using a trolling motor with adjustable speeds connected to a marine battery. The system uses a track with cables and pulleys. You put the motor in reverse to get the target back to the starting position. The system was built on the cheap and seems to work OK.
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#14 ParaJoe

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Posted 10 July 2005 - 12:26 AM

One of the local shooters and myself just built one of these for our last match and it worked like a dream. Things to keep in mind. It will more than likely get shot at some point and time so keep extra parts on hand. Built it simple enough so that your average person can figure it out. I'll mosey out to the range tomorrow and take some pics of the parts that we used to give some ideas.

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#15 ParaJoe

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 01:38 PM

Alright then, I got the pictures of the stands and the whole apparatus but I don't have anywhere to host the pictures online. Shoot me a PM and I will email you the pics if you want.
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#16 FJR

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 10:45 AM

Thanks ParaJoe.

PM sent.

#17 GENE S

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 12:47 PM

[quote name='ParaJoe' date='Jul 11 2005, 01:38 PM']
Alright then, I got the pictures of the stands and the whole apparatus but I don't have anywhere to host the pictures online. Shoot me a PM and I will email you the pics if you want.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

[/quoteSounds great send me a picture.

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#18 ParaJoe

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 01:16 PM

OK I think this turned into a Dial-up killer.

I set me up a PhotoBucket account so let's see if I can do this.
Here is a pic of the bases. Each one has a threaded coupler on the top so that we can screw the upper piece into, for easy storage.
Posted Image

Here's a pic of the threaded coupler. The pipe is something that the guy had laying around in a junkpile so it was free to us.
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Here is a pic of the trolley that holds the target(s) up. Basically it is a piece of 2x4 that has those clothes line pulleys screwed in to the sides. We have pieces of 1x2 screwed into the backside that reach downwards to actually hold the target. We did it this way so if we wanted to make a no shoot/shoot/no shoot mover we could just make a longer trolley. The trolley rides on steel wire and is pulled taught with a little come-a-long. Kinda like the ones that you see on cargo straps for trucks.
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Here is a better picture of the clothes line pulleys. We had to make the little metal tab so that the wire that it rides on wouldn't bounce out. It just spins into position and screws down tight.
Posted Image
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#19 ParaJoe

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 01:16 PM

This hook is what the pulling wire attaches too. The wire that attaches to this drags the target trolley along the top wire from one end to the other.
Posted Image

Now the chain that you saw in the above pic attaches into this little device that we made. Basically it's a piece of 1" square tubing missing a side, then welded to the pipe at the correct heigth. When the chain is fed through this a cotter pin sticks through holes in the sides and holds the chain in place. Our system uses constant tension on the trolley so that when the cotter pin is pulled by the activator; popper, door, swinger, the trolley takes off. Here's a pic of that.
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Now here's the side that the weight that does the actual work is suspended from. That pulley I got from Home Depot. I think it's called an industrial pulley. All of the goodies that we used were in the same location at the Depot. As you can see it is more or less just a huge "L" bracket that we fashioned to the top. It is about two feet long. The distance that we had to move our mover was about 12 feet so we needed our weight to drop that far down. Well, the weight dangling from the one pulley wasn't far enough so we doubled it up by drilling another hole in the end of the bracket and anchored the wire to their. So it was anchored on the end, ran through the pulley on the bracket, and over to the hook on the trolley. We put out weight in between the anchor and the pulley so that when it fell it actually pulled 12 feet of cable.
Posted Image
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#20 ParaJoe

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 01:31 PM

Now if you look carefully there are two hooks close to the tops of the targets that when setup are going to extend inwards. These are used to hold the wire that the trolley rides on. One end actually attaches while the other side feeds through and goes down which goes into our little come-a-long. This come-a-long ratchets the wire tight and is attached to the pole right above the coupler.

We have a little problem with wind where we are at. It's windy about 330 days a year here so we have to build around this. Well in the design phase it was windy so to stop the target from swaying back and forth in the wind we attached this hanger.
Posted Image
This little dohicky is just some 1/8" steel rod that we bent to fit. I think it came from a realtor sign. We ran some wire across the bottom of the stands so that the loop wire ride on the outside of it and stop it from swaying. :::Not condoning stealing signs, the sign just happened to be in the wrong place at the right time.:::

I didn't have any pics of the weight that we used but it was a milk jug that we filled sand. We used sand because it's easy and doesn't make a muddy mess if your jug busts. Also, we ran some wire through the handle of the jug and through the loop of the industrial pulley you saw above. This made it go like butter. This thing will really zip if you want it too.

I think I have it about covered. I have never written a three part post and wasn't planning to but the board software wouldn't let me get all of it into one. My minds kinda fried right now so I'll do more later if it comes to mind. Also, I cannot take all of the credit for this. The fellow that helped me design and build this is an Ex-Army Field Engineer. He has been shooting and constructing targets for the club for quite some time. A big thanks goes out to Bob Kirchmeier for the help. Thanks for the interest and for looking.

Joe Burroughs
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#21 FJR

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 07:30 PM

ParaJoe, Excellent Pics and explanation. Thank you very much for your effort.




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