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How to Build Your Own Electronic Clay Pigeon Thrower

by Timothy Burns
Shooting skeet requires two men, unless the clay pigeon thrower is adapted with wireless, electronic controls.

Shooting skeet requires two men, unless the clay pigeon thrower is adapted with wireless, electronic controls.

Skeet shooting is a high-profile, competitive shooting sport. Bird and waterfowl hunters also use skeet shooting to sharpen their marksmanship skills during the off season. The only obstacle for those practicing their skills is that it requires one man to operate the clay pigeon thrower while the other fires the weapons. With a few radio controlled (RC) enabled devices, marksmen can adapt a standard clay pigeon thrower to a one man, electronically controlled device.

1.

Select your clay pigeon thrower. The devices have a spring loaded arm that swivels toward the rear of the device, where it's locked into place with a small, spring loaded clasp. You adapt the device so that this clasp is operated by the electronic servo.

2.

Mount the servo. When operated by hand, a rope is pulled backward or to the side to release the clasp on the throwing arm, and slings the clay pigeon into the air. Position the servo so that as the control arm on the servo spins, it will pull the light duty rope which operates the thrower. Most throwers are built on a tripod. Determine the specific location for your servo based on the rope, and the orientation of the clasp. Once you identify the optimal location, mount the servo rigidly to the thrower's frame.

3.

Mount the board and battery. The servo connects to a battery-powered circuit board. Mount these to the thrower frame, or set them near the thrower, and connect to the servo with long wires. Most hunters transport their throwers to and from the range in the back of a truck or car trunk. By planning a removable system for the circuit board and battery, you will prevent accidental damage to the controls.

4.

Connect to the switch. The controller and board are wirelessly connected to the activation switch. When the switch is pushed, the servo motor should turn a complete revolution. When selecting the servo, board and switch combination, make sure you purchase the correct type of servo, and a switch that is easy to operate. Controls can be complex or simple.

5.

Test fire the servo. Connect the thrower's release rope to the server control arm. Cock the device, and then test the servo. When you activate your switch, the servo should rotate, pulling the release rope, and activating the clay pigeon throwing arm.

Items you will need

  • Clay pigeon thrower
  • Wireless electronic servo
  • Wireless servo control board
  • Wireless servo control switch
  • 6 volt rechargeable RC hobby battery pack, or hobby battery
  • Battery harness
  • Electrical tape
  • Cordless drill with assorted drill and driver bits
  • 1/4-inch self-drilling screws

Tip

  • The three electronic devices -- the servo, control board and RC control switch -- are manufactured by many different electronic and RC hobby companies. The key to this project is selecting the right parts for the job, and parts that communicate with each other. Talk with your electronic parts supplier. Tell him your plans, and ask for his help selecting the proper parts for the project.

About the Author

Since 2003, Timothy Burns' writing has appeared in magazines, management and leadership papers. He has contributed to nationally published books and he leads the Word Weavers of West Michigan writers' group. Burns wrote "Forged in the Fire" in 2004, and has published numerous articles online. As a trained conference speaker, Burns speaks nationally on the art, science and inspiration of freelance writing.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images