Having had a successful run at Warped Ops with the early prototype, we were motivated to create a more robust frame and incorporate the feedback we had collected. Based on the feedback from our first outing, we added more electronic components such as an OLED screen, flashing LED strips, and more buttons. We loved the messy, home-made look so we opted to hold the components in place using plexiglass. Ryan mocked up the layout and used a cordless drill to make a few holes for screws and buttons. With the layout set, Travis finalized the outline of the plexiglass to sit nicely in the case – things were starting to take shape (pardon the sawdust).
While Travis could cut most shapes, there was no way we would have the consistency or accuracy we wanted if we cut the plexiglass by hand so at this point, I offered to finally set up my Glowforge to start cutting the plexi with a little more precision. The team was skeptical that we could make the fine cuts needed using this massive laser, but after drafting the frame using our non-existent CAD skills, we realized this was a game changer! As the days went by, we figured out how to use OnShape (online CAD program) to design all of the little holes, rounded corners, and even a speaker grill!
At the same time, Ryan, who’s never satisfied (and probably a little ashamed of his handiwork thus far), started to design an actual PCB to connect the lights, switches, Arduino and battery. To everyone’s surprise, he shipped the plans to China and 2 weeks later he got a working board! I believe this was his first PCB he ever designed and built… This drastically cut down on the rats nest we were building and made the project look a little more professional. We continued working on it getting it ready for the next game I hosted at Hollywood Sports Paintball. We brought the prototype with us but we had too many no-shows to secure a private game. However, during one of the breaks, one of the refs yelled at our team for leaving a magazine in one of our airsoft rifles. For better or worse, our instinct was to ask him, “Hey, do you wanna see a bomb?” He was so interested in what he saw that he offered us money for it immediately, but we knew that we could do so much better and offered to come back in 2 months with a finished product.