I've always wanted to get more serious into robotics, ever since I first got one of the first-gen Mindstorms kits. However, I've never really had a project to work on until now. Knowing I'm an all-around geek and interested in robotics, my local paintball field (Another hobby of mine) asked me if I could build a new centerpiece thing for their scenario games-a turret-controlled paintball marker. Well, 4 markers. Since they're funding me, I told them I'd do my best.
So, much research later, I've got an idea for the controls, and I'm presenting it to you, the robotics gurus, to see if it will work before I start shelling out.
The base of the unit will be controlled by 2 stepper motors. Specific models to follow...well, once I figure out what I can use. The markers themselves are all electo-mechanicals, meaning that they use a small chip to fire a solenoid. They'll be fired by some sort of electroic on/off switch. The whole system will be controlled by a Phidgets Sensor Interface Kit 8/8/8 hooked into my laptop. That will in turn be controlled via their USB VB Joystick control software (Well, source code, but I can compile it).
Anyways, that's the rough idea. However, like I said, I'm new to anything more complex then simple servos and Mindstorms. I'm sure there's some glaring stupid flaw in the plan, and I hope you guys can tear it apart so I can get this thing running properly.
Also, more specific questions:
1) How powerful a stepper motor can that board control? I'd like to get two motors that can move 40-50 pounds, just to be safe. However, I can scale the project down easily if large enough motors can't be used.
2) Where can I find a electronic on/off switch? The boards on the markers are powered by a simple on/off switch that is pressed when the trigger is pulled. I want to replace them with a switch that I can control from the joystick.
Anyways, please, suggest and correct away!