A Do-It-Yourself Multiple Turning Target System

by Edwin C. Hall (August 2002)

Note 1: It is recommended to use the frame and motor setup from the ** NEW ** Do-it-Yourself Turning Target System instead of following the description given here. Then connect the link to the 1/4" inch bolt mounted in the end of the motor arm, as appropriate.

Note 2: A solenoid can be substituted for the motor system. Although a bit more costly, it can be made to turn the targets quicker and can be run from 120 VAC. A suggested solenoid for 120 VAC is the Dormeyer model 3000-M-1, which can be obtained through W. W. Grainger, Inc. using the part number 4x242. If you enter that number into the Grainger search block you can read the specifications for the relay.

Three bay multiple turning target system


The multiple system was designed as an inexpensive turning system for ranges without the assets to buy a professional system.  It is constructed of readily available materials and is made in a manner to allow (limited) portability.  The construction is based on using a 2x4 as the main support for the turners.  This 2x4 can then be mounted on a support structure at the 25 yard line by attaching the back surface to a sturdy framework.  The dimensions for the one shown here are based on two-foot wide target frames mounted with centers three-feet apart.  For different dimensions, appropriate changes are easily calculated. The one shown is a three-bay set built into an eight-foot 2x4. The motor used works fine for the three and indeed may even work for twice as many.  This is something I will be testing soon.

The heart of this multiple turning system is the same windshield wiper motor as used in the individual system.  It is described as a 2000-2001 Saturn L motor.  Other types may work, but this one started turning up at surplus places for around twenty dollars.  This type of motor has good torque and an integral switching system which can be used to limit the travel in one direction.  Therefore, only one more switch is needed to limit it in the other direction.  I found that for this alternate direction I also needed to provide a stop due to the inertia of the motor (and targets).  The integral limiter stops the motor by reversing the polarity of the windings, but I didn't want to get that detailed in my construction of the other limit point.  In the present design there is a relay which controls the direction of travel, the integral limiter for face position, and the added switch and bump stop for the edge position.  The targets do have a "bobble" at the end of their swing, but they turn in a relatively quick fashion and the "bobble" ends pretty soon.  The turning time is well less than a second, but is dependent on the weight of the system of targets.

This target system was designed to be faced by a momentary contact device such as a switch or relay.  Such a signal is provided by my Rangebox, a command playback and switching controller powered by a 9-volt battery.

As with the individual system, I decided to place this information into the public domain so others can build them.  If I can provide a means for someone to afford a turning system, then I'm happy to have published this page.  If help or more information is needed, contact me (15 Lakeview Ave, Tupper Lake, NY 12986).

A list of materials I use is at the end along with some source information.  Many of the parts are common type items found at many hardware stores, but some are from other places.  For some of the "others," I've also provided part numbers.  All of the frame and connection material is aluminum which obviously won't stand up to errant rounds.  It is therefore suggested that a shield of some sort be provided as necessary.  The shielding will have to be designed by the user and will of course add to the cost of the overall project.

Of course, no printed instructions can be free of a safety reminder these days.  Due to the inability of me to be by your side through this, you will need to assume all risk involved with the construction and/or use of this system.  This includes, but is not limited to, the use of all tools involved.


Feel free to provide feedback on how this project has worked.  I will try to change it if better parts appear or techniques evolve.  I have reviewed this document countless times, but there is no guarantee of accuracy.  If an error is found, I will attempt to immediately get the correction out.  Please feel free to send me comments.


For this unit, I'll break the steps down into preparing everything and then assembling the parts.  The unit is actually quite simple in its workings with only a few items requiring any type of close tolerance, and even then, not that close.  The steps along the way will include mounting bearings in the 2x4, cutting the connecting pieces, constructing the frames, building the motor bracket, wiring the motor and battery, modifying the motor arm and assembling everything.  Do keep in mind that all the dimensions given here, such as for the switch mounting, are for the parts I use.  Remember to make appropriate changes for the parts you have.

Step one - Mounting bearings in the 2x4

Special Note: For the sake of international readers who may not be aware of this, in the U.S. a 2x4 is merely a common name for a certain type of lumber.  The lumber that is supplied by the lumber yard has been diminishing in size over the years.  Currently, a "2x4" is actually 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches instead of the expected 2 inches by 4 inches.  The length is normally correct, and all my measurements given will be correct for this unit.

Step two - Preparing all connecting pieces

Note: The connecting pieces will consist of the channel aluminum which actually links all the targets together and the individual arms for each target.  The lengths of these arms, or more correctly the distances between the centers of their holes, are what will determine the amount of turn for each target.  The measurements I give will be based on the distance the motor arm travels in its 180 degree arc from Edge to Face.  This dimension is one of the critical ones.  I have built in an adjustment for each target to allow for the correct positioning at edge but this will not affect the degrees of rotation, so do pay attention to the dimensions given for the individual target arms.

Step three - Constructing the frames

Step four - Making the bracket and modifying the motor arm

Step five - Wiring the bracket and motor

Wiring diagram

Note: The connections on the bottom of the motor will be referenced by the numbers given on the connector housing.  In case you get a motor which has different markings, this can be a key: A=53b, B=53a, C=53e, D=31b and E=53.  A-E will be from the left looking into the connector with it on the bottom and the shaft pointing upward.

Note: You can use some of the speaker wire from the 100 foot spool for these connections.  You will only need about 80 feet to connect your target bank for 25 yard use.  These connections will use less than five feet.

** Special Note: The shield of the 1/4 inch connector must not be attached to the bracket, motor or framework in any way.  For this unit I have suggested an inline connector.  You could alternately use a panel type mounted to the wooden 2x4 as long as there is no physical contact with the motor or bracket.  This would cause an overcurrent during the face operation.

Step six - Wiring up the battery and the connecting cable

The battery with connector and fuse holder

Note: I reference 3/16 inch connectors below for the battery.  If your battery has 1/4 inch connectors, substitute appropriately below.

Step seven - Testing and setting up the motor

Step eight - Assembling everything

Final Testing

Tools and Materials List:

Note:  Throughout the above document I was vague on what size some of my chosen parts were.  This is because you may choose a different size.  In the parts and tools lists I have placed the descriptions and sizes I used within square [] brackets after the part.

Parts List: (Source and P/N of part)

Note: Some of the parts I used for this project came from All Electronics.  I am in no way affiliated with them other than being a customer.  There are several other sources for many of these parts or similar.  I provided this list with All Electronic part numbers solely for your information.  Feel free to use alternate vendors.  For items without part numbers, these should be readily available from hardware stores.

Bolt with 1/2 inch shoulder

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