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Thread: All-electric simulated machine gun?

  1. #1

    All-electric simulated machine gun?

    I have often daydreamed about my own replica WWI or WWII fighter, complete with faux machine guns, just like Eric Clutton's original FRED in its "FRED Baron" guise. It still wears the replica gun today, but in a yellow 1940s RAF trainer scheme.

    I have seen some propane-powered gunfire simulators in use by the replica Nieuport Dawn Patrol and others, but that solution strikes me as complex, heavy and potentially dangerous. It strikes me that there has to be a better way.Has anyone tried, or does anyone have any bright ideas on, an all-electric machine-gun simulator?

    The way I see it, there are three components to making it work: 1) the flash, which should be easy to do with bright modern LEDs; 2) the noise, which could be as simple as an MP3 recording of a real machine gun firing played through a hidden speaker; and 3) the smoke, which ought to be possible with light machine oil or glycerine squirting on an electric element as used in electric trains. Of the three, I'd say the smoke is optional (flash and noise would already be pretty cool, cleaner and require less maintenance) but it would be the icing on the cake.

    I definitely see some challenges in terms of sychronizing the three effects and I wonder if the noise would be loud enough and the smoke visible enough. Maybe something other than a speaker would work better, some sort of snapping relay or spark effect? Maybe the glycol mixture used in smoke machines would be an alternative? It might be good to find a way to generate the smoke at a single point and pipe it to as many guns as are needed.

    Just imagine a replica Hurricane or Mustang tearing down the runway with all guns blazing!

    Suggestions welcome!

    Cheers,

    Matthew
    fred baron detail.jpgfred yellow raf.jpgSindlinger Hurricane.jpgAussie Loehle Mustang.jpg
    *******
    Matthew Long, Editor
    cluttonfred.info
    A site for builders, owners and fans of Eric Clutton's FRED

    Voici ce que j'ai fait...vous pouvez en faire autant!
    "This is what I have done...you can do the same!"
    --Henri Mignet (1893-1965)

  2. #2
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    I think you'll have a hard time getting a loud enough "bang". If you want the noise self-contained in the machine gun, that really limits the size of the speakers you can use.

    Getting a decent flash might be a problem, too. Can't pack many LEDs in a barrel diameter. With something like a Vickers, you could cover the whole disk area of the end of the cooling shroud. That would look good at a distance, but would look funny close up, especially when the gun WASN'T firing...

    Ron Wanttaja

  3. #3
    I was thinking that this would be a "stand off scale" effect only, so the speaker could well be elsewhere, perhaps a powerful car subwoofer with built-in amp in the rear fuselage pointing 45 degrees down and forward. I doubt anyone on the ground would be able to tell where the sound is coming from. On the LEDs, I don't agree, those new surface mount ones are pretty darn bright, blinding even.

    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    I think you'll have a hard time getting a loud enough "bang". If you want the noise self-contained in the machine gun, that really limits the size of the speakers you can use.

    Getting a decent flash might be a problem, too. Can't pack many LEDs in a barrel diameter. With something like a Vickers, you could cover the whole disk area of the end of the cooling shroud. That would look good at a distance, but would look funny close up, especially when the gun WASN'T firing...

    Ron Wanttaja
    *******
    Matthew Long, Editor
    cluttonfred.info
    A site for builders, owners and fans of Eric Clutton's FRED

    Voici ce que j'ai fait...vous pouvez en faire autant!
    "This is what I have done...you can do the same!"
    --Henri Mignet (1893-1965)

  4. #4
    About 35 years ago there was an article in The Vintage Airplane about a guy who built a full scale Fokker DVII with a 200HP Ranger turned upside down (i.e. cylinders on top, like the Mercedes). He made a "working" machine gun which I seem to remember used oxy-acetylene gas and an intermittent electric igniter for the muzzle flash and Ground Speak speakers mounted behind the dummy radiator grille, playing a loop tape for the sound. These apparently made for a highly authentic machine gun effect, both visually and aurally. He had enormous fun beating up airfields and bouncing other aircraft, until he picked on a Stearman, which, unknown by him, was flown by a WW2 fighter ace, who showed him how it was really done.
    Jeremy Leasor

  5. #5
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Long View Post
    I was thinking that this would be a "stand off scale" effect only, so the speaker could well be elsewhere, perhaps a powerful car subwoofer with built-in amp in the rear fuselage pointing 45 degrees down and forward. I doubt anyone on the ground would be able to tell where the sound is coming from. On the LEDs, I don't agree, those new surface mount ones are pretty darn bright, blinding even.
    Don't have any experience with modern LEDs, but would love to experiment. I'd use a 555 timer, but would probably need a power transistor or relay, assuming those bright LEDs suck a bit of juice. Could probably power it with some C-cells (or even AAs). I'd love to play around a bit, could you pass some part numbers/references for those LEDs?

    Noise-wise, I'm a bit skeptical about getting a speaker strong enough to be heard a couple hundred feet away over the sound of the engine. On the PLUS side, you don't need good sound quality, just a hugmungous spike every 20th of a second or so. Just discharging a capacitor into a speaker might be enough for that. You'd need a bank of capacitors to get a high enough rate, of course. A Gatling gun! :-)

    Another way might be strictly mechanical. Imagine a speaker cone with a wire connected to the apex, anchored by a strong spring. If you could "pluck" the wire at the right rate, you'd get a series of pulses from the speaker. A motor with a cam might do it.

    Remember, when guns on FREDs are outlawed, only outlaw FREDs will have guns....

    Ron Wanttaja

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    Don't have any experience with modern LEDs, but would love to experiment. I'd use a 555 timer, but would probably need a power transistor or relay, assuming those bright LEDs suck a bit of juice. Could probably power it with some C-cells (or even AAs). I'd love to play around a bit, could you pass some part numbers/references for those LEDs?
    Here are some examples of what I had in mind as components: http://www.superbrightleds.com/cat/c...0001,28,25000:

    Noise-wise, I'm a bit skeptical about getting a speaker strong enough to be heard a couple hundred feet away over the sound of the engine. On the PLUS side, you don't need good sound quality, just a hugmungous spike every 20th of a second or so. Just discharging a capacitor into a speaker might be enough for that. You'd need a bank of capacitors to get a high enough rate, of course. A Gatling gun! :-)
    I was thinking of a powered subwoofers, something like this: http://www.crutchfield.com/p_108BASS...nk.html?tp=114

    Another way might be strictly mechanical. Imagine a speaker cone with a wire connected to the apex, anchored by a strong spring. If you could "pluck" the wire at the right rate, you'd get a series of pulses from the speaker. A motor with a cam might do it.
    Not sure about that but the mechanical solution would be a lot harder to adjust.

    Remember, when guns on FREDs are outlawed, only outlaw FREDs will have guns....
    ;-)
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    Matthew Long, Editor
    cluttonfred.info
    A site for builders, owners and fans of Eric Clutton's FRED

    Voici ce que j'ai fait...vous pouvez en faire autant!
    "This is what I have done...you can do the same!"
    --Henri Mignet (1893-1965)

  7. #7
    danielfindling's Avatar
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    Here is a link on a gas powered machine gun. (Oh, I am looking for Lewis Machine Gun parts - anyone?)

    http://www.kcdawnpatrol.org/machine-gun.htm

  8. #8
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Long View Post
    Here are some examples of what I had in mind as components: http://www.superbrightleds.com/cat/c...0001,28,25000:
    Mentioned this project at EAA Chapter 26 last Thursday, and one of the members put me on to a local electronics store that carries a bunch of high-intensity LEDs. Bought a 5W unit that runs on 12V. They had a 10W unit, but it needed 30VDC and I figured you didn't want to pack 20 AA cells. :-)

    Got some other goodies with which I hope to gimmick up a flasher. Perhaps by next weekend I'll be able to post a video showing the daylight visibility over a distance.

    A local Boredom Fighter builder named Bill Sayre has been monitoring this conversation, and sent me some pictures of his dummy Vickers guns.

    gun1.jpg

    One advantage of the Vickers is that the barrel is at the bottom of the cooling shroud, which gives you a big, flat surface at the business end for mounting your flashing light. Bill has flashlight reflectors mounted in his. He's also got small LEDs mounted on the sides of the shrouds as an indicator that the guns are firing (as if the sight of flaming Huns wasn't obvious enough.... :-).
    gun2.jpg
    This is a neat way to get a broad light-emitting surface without wrecking the appearance of the gun. Obviously, you could make little covers for the reflectors on those times when the groundlings are going to be close to inspect the airplane. Just remember to whip them off if you're going to go fling some photons at the local Cessnas.

    Bill also sent me the schematic he used for the flasher circuit. It appears to mess with the control input of a standard voltage regulator chip. This works on Bill's incandescent bulbs, but I don't know if it'll work on a high-intensity LED. In the immortal words of Commander Montgomery Scott, "I'll let ye know."
    gun_schematic.JPG

    Ron Wanttaja

  9. #9
    danielfindling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja

    Bill also sent me the schematic he used for the flasher circuit. It appears to mess with the control input of a standard voltage regulator chip. This works on Bill's incandescent bulbs, but I don't know if it'll work on a high-intensity LED. In the immortal words of Commander Montgomery Scott, "I'll let ye know."
    [ATTACH=CONFIG
    2798[/ATTACH]

    Ron Wanttaja
    An Arduino micro controller would seem appropriate for the project as well. The flashing LED is simple code and a MIDI file for the sound. . .

  10. #10
    Great stuff, guys, glad to see that I have planted a seed!

    Ideally, it would the great to this developed as an open-source solution for at least light and sound that could be easily adapted to suit different types and numbers of guns by changing firing rate and changing the MP3 file if recorded sound (or otherwise adjusting the sound if generated otherwise). I have some contacts in the gun collecting world that might be able to provide MP3 files of the sound of key historical guns: Lewis, Vickers, Spandau, Parabellum would cover most WWI types for a start. I'll pass the word and see what I can come up with.
    *******
    Matthew Long, Editor
    cluttonfred.info
    A site for builders, owners and fans of Eric Clutton's FRED

    Voici ce que j'ai fait...vous pouvez en faire autant!
    "This is what I have done...you can do the same!"
    --Henri Mignet (1893-1965)

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