Maker Space: A Cool Craftsman Designs Model Cannons Only From Scratch

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Everyone is born with his or her unique potential. There are people who love to create something special by the common things. Here is a talent whose hobby is to work with model cannons from scratch. He shows his masterpieces including 9″ Dahlgren, gun deck which goes back to hundreds of years ago. His gun could shoot res hot cannon balls into wooden ships to set them on fire. Some viewers believe that this guy may know more about the military things. That may sounds amazing .but it really exists and you have to be highly appreciative of his skills and crafts. ( via: reddit , imgur )

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

Here’s a picture of the kind of cannon I want to make. It’s called a 9″ Dahlgren and was primarily used for the broadside armament on larger ships during the late 1850’s and 1860’s. It had a bore of 9″ and shot a spherical shell that was 8.9″ in diameter out to nearly 2 miles with 13 pounds of powder. The barrel weighed 9,000 pounds. Once iron clad ships arrived, it was practically obsolete. It just didn’t have the power required to punch through iron armor. I’ve always liked this kind of cannon because my great great grandfather manned one on the CSS Virginia during the Civil War. His gun was the starboard “hot shot” gun which means they could shoot red hot cannon balls into wooden ships to set them on fire. This technique was used to destroy the USS Congress.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

Here’s a view of the gun deck of the USS Pawnee showing six 9″ Dahlgrens. Each gun had a crew of 17 men unless there were casualties or those assigned to be boarders were called to board and capture the enemy ship.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

I plan to make my model out of a piece of seamless 4130 tubing, three rings, and a breech plug from 1018. It’ll be 3.1″ in diameter and 15″ long. To make a safe cast iron cannon, the metal around the powder needs to be the same width as the bore. So 1″ bore = 1″ wall thickness, or 3″ outside diameter. Today’s modern steel is so much better that the walls could be a lot thinner, but the proportions would be totally off.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

Turning the center ring on my lathe. The hole through the center will hold the “trunnions”, or the little stubby cylinders that allow the cannon to pivot up and down.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

I used a reamer to ream the hole in my rings .001″ *smaller* than the outside diameter of my seamless tubing. Steel expands 6.5 millionths (.0000065) of an inch per inch per degree Fahrenheit. I can heat the rings with a torch so they’ll expand larger than the OD of my tubing, slip them on, and when the ring contracts, it’ll lock on so tight it’ll take a hydraulic press to budge it.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

I started with the center section and used a shaft collar on the tubing so it ended up in the right place. Shrink fitting stuff is always nerve wracking.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

Here’s all three rings shrunk onto the tubing.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

Finished turning the outside profile on my lathe.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

I’m not so good at woodworking, so I decided to make a later style iron carriage for it. This picture is from the USS Kearsarge.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

Here’s the parts. I had them cut out at work from 11 gauge stainless steel on a laser cuter.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

I decided not to go for a full blown model and got rid of all the rivet holes. The wheels are 360 brass and trunnion caps are 954 aluminum bronze.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

Here’s the cannon mounted in the carriage. I added the bronze skids to the back. They helped keep the carriage from chewing up the ship’s deck during recoil. The elevation screw is 3/8″ diameter 642 aluminum silicon bronze and has square threads. 12 TPI, .083″ pitch. Square threads are so smooth when you turn the screw, but they are an absolute pain to cut.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

Painted! I added the wooden bumper to the front of the carriage. It was used to spread out the force of the gun when it was run up tight against the side of the ship.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

This gun shoots 1″ diameter steel ball bearings with 100 grains of Fg black powder. The powder is wrapped in tin foil so there is no chance for a stray ember in the bore to light it. Wooden sabots help keep the ball from bouncing down the bore and dinging it up.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

Here’s a removable scope mount I made out of scrap aluminum I cut out on the table saw. It indexes on the trunnions and is quite repeatable. At 25 yards I put it on and took it off a few times and it always pointed at the same place.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

Down at the local gun range. About to give a water mellon a whiff of steel ball bearing.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

Fire!

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

5% of real time. And no that’s not me, it’s my father. I’m just an average 26 year old guy with way too much time on his hands.

hobby is building working model cannons from scratch.

Headshot, n00b!

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