Hit it!

For ages – and just for the fun of it – I’ve wanted to build a Batak.

I think that’s short for Button ATtAcK.

I think.

Basically, it’s a reaction game: a button lights up and you press it, and then another lights and you press that, and then anoth… well, you get the idea.

All against the clock.

They are used widely in Formula 1, I believe, to help the drivers improve their reaction times. It takes speed, hand-to-eye co-ordination and good peripheral vision.

I’ve always thought that building one wouldn’t be too difficult, but my programming skills are THAT rubbish, that I could never quite figure out how to do it.

And then I spotted a project to build one, on the Instructables site, by a clever chap called R0RSCHACH and I have pretty much copied his design exactly, but then added a few little bits so that it can either run off of a 12V battery or can be plugged into the mains.

OK, it’s not as impressive as a proper Batak, I suppose, but it does the job and it only cost me about fifty quid to build. Proper ones go for hundreds or can be hired for several hundred a day!

It’s been a lot of fun building it and I’ve learnt quite a lot tooΒ  -though my programming skills are still rubbish.Β  Β My woodworking skills aren’t much better and the wooden framework probably took me longer to build than the electronics (big thanks to my mate Graham, who helped with the woodworking side of things).

And does it work?Β  Well, it’s against the clock, as I said, and the most I have managed to score is 42 (yes, I know: the meaning of life, the universe and everything). Amelia, however, has managed 62… which is really annoying!

Bloody kids!

So, now that’s built, I need another project to keep me busy.



  1. Alan

    And where are you going to keep that I wonder. Just don’t break it trying to beat Amelia.

    • Masher

      Well, I had planned to keep it under the bed, but it’s about 2cms too high, so it’ll probably go in the garage for a while… until I take it apart to use the bits for something else. πŸ™‚

  2. Alan

    Just thought, after a few drinks you will be pressing the yellow spots on the wall.

  3. Graham W

    Thanks for the shout out, glad you managed to complete it.

    I see you had to purchase a bit more wood for the base; I can’t believe you didn’t consider dovetail joints to connect to the tapered uprights though πŸ™‚

    • Masher

      Well, I’d planned to, but my dovetail saw is at the menders.

    • Alan

      Not many doves near the masher & I don’t think ferrel pigeon joints would cut the mustard.

  4. Dave

    That looks like fun. I’d take that down the pub, charge people 3″ to have a go. Best score at the end of the night gets 50% of the winnings. You pocket the other half. Another few years and Amelia can pretend she’s just another punter and she can win the prize as well. Sorted!

    • Dave

      WTF is 3″. That was 2Β£ when it left my fingers!

      • Masher

        Well, it’s going into work next week for a tryout, so we’ll see how it fares.

        Don’t fancy charging anyone three inches though… especially if they want change!

        • Alan


  5. Frances

    Sounds like the sort of thing I would get ” hooked” on! You could charge a nominal sum for a go on it ……(.eg 1 inch…..haha) and give the proceeds to the charity of your choice.

    • Masher

      That’s an idea, Frances. And, as I’m a non-profit organisation (it feels like), I would qualify.
      So, that would be the ‘Masher Charity For Splinters And Sore Fingers From All That Sanding Down’ charity, then πŸ™‚

  6. Rajesh

    My score was 9 πŸ™ , my defence is that i came back from a walk outside in the sun and i did not adjust well to the lights in the room. Also because i m terrible to start at anything new. Lots of people enjoyed it at workplace during the “mental health week”. Well done Mark! πŸ™‚

    • Masher

      That’s a rubbish excuse for a rubbish score, Rajesh πŸ™‚
      But yes, it went well, didn’t it?

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