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Miniature Black Powder Cannon - A Project

Discussion in 'Firearms Certificate (FAC) Guns' started by DrGunn, Dec 31, 2019.

  1. DrGunn

    DrGunn Busy Member

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    Black powder firearms are quite popular at my local club (I have a BP pistol) and a few members have miniature cannon. They look like a lot of fun so when my renewal came up a year ago I applied for (and was granted) a slot for one.

    I had a look though the offerings from Kranks and there are some nice models available. However The ones I like the look of are moderately expensive and I was reluctant to shell out that much for one. Having found some references to people making their own, and looking for an interesting project (anything to put if redecorating the stairway ) I decided this would be the way to go.

    After a bit of research on the internet I decided I wanted to build a model of an Armstrong 12 pound breach loading gun - one of the first successful breach loading artillery. Here is a picture of one of the few remaining examples (image from here:https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/RBL_12-pounder_8_cwt_Armstrong_gun)

    D4836967-C601-44D0-9022-89D66AEA3A79.jpeg

    If built to 1/6 scale this will be 50 cal with a 12” barrel which seems about right. This thread will document my (slow) progress on this project.
    It may not be possible to actually make it breach loading for legal reasons (I guess I’ll have to talk to the local FEO / home office about this) but I couldn’t find any showstoppers in the firearms guidance document. If all else fails the final barrel will be made muzzle loading only.
     
    JoeHeugh, Levelrob, WR14210 and 4 others like this.
  2. DrGunn

    DrGunn Busy Member

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    I couldn’t find many decent diagrams for the Armstrong 12 pdr gun so armed with all the photos I could find, a few basic dimensions (wheel diameter, barrel length etc) a ruler and calculator I set about producing some rough dimensioned drawings. This won’t necessarily be an accurate scale model but I hope it will look about right.

    I decided to start with a bit of wood work - the carriage. After watching a few videos on making traditional carriage wheels I decided to make them properly. I had some oak left over from a previous job so everything is made from that.

    First the hubs were turned and steel bands (from scaffolding tube) shrink fitted. Mortises for the spokes were cut using a milling cutter and indexing head on my ML7 lathe. Brass axle bearings were machined and pressed into the hubs.
    6C7C6A3D-36D8-4226-BD51-0DA018FF7ED3.jpeg

    Spokes were cut to size and the profiles cut using a rounding over cutter in a palm router. The tendons were cut using a makeshift tennoning jig on the milling machine and the spokes all hand sanded and fitted to the hubs.
    1E7C442D-E72D-4B85-A954-D2EBE128F0DF.jpeg A5A567E6-9E9C-46A2-AD89-49020F13FF6B.jpeg
    FFC231D9-F1CA-45A3-9AED-A6A5C534F427.jpeg

    A dowel cutter was machined from a bit of silver steel and then hardened and sharpened and a jig to support the wheels bodged onto the lathe. The end of each spoke was then trimmed to length and a dowel cut onto the end.
    2F2EF63F-FF87-45E6-BB44-F3E7E0A8B131.jpeg D9AAD76F-302B-4EFF-9572-6A9841A27824.jpeg

    Segments were cut for the rims on the bandsaw, sanded, trimmed and then press fitted onto the spoke dowels. Finally bands were rolled from 3/8 x 1/8” steel strip, welded and shrink fitted onto the wheel rims.
    D10EF862-3940-4EC5-A861-EE22AE4AA9FB.jpeg

    The wheels turned out to be way more work than I had anticipated but it was a learning experience and they were fun to make. It’s very satisfying knowing that they are made in the traditional way and are held together just by the shrink fitted steel bands - no glue was used in their construction.
     
  3. That hurts

    That hurts Barely Active

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    ".... a jig to support the wheels bodged onto the lathe" - if that's what you call 'bodged' then I'd hate to see some of your quality work !

    Simply superb and will watch the thread with interest (and envy) :thumb:
     
    DrGunn likes this.
  4. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Excellent - if the work so far is any indication this is going to be epic :cool:
     
    DrGunn and Tadpole like this.
  5. NorfolkDave

    NorfolkDave Donator

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    Wow!

    Dave
     
    DrGunn likes this.
  6. Tadpole

    Tadpole Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Oh I like the sound of this 'build' .. ;)
    Bloody outstanding so far, just love what you you have achieved DrGunn .. :thumb:
     
    DrGunn likes this.
  7. Readie

    Readie Grumpy Old Fart

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    Absolutely fantastic work, please keep us updated.
    I’d so love to be able to do something like that.

    brilliant
     
    DrGunn likes this.
  8. DrGunn

    DrGunn Busy Member

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    Thanks for all the kind words and encouragement!
    This project started a while a go, there is still an awful lot to do but I’ll continue bringing you all up to date over the coming days.

    Compared to the 2-3 days it took me to design and make a jig for the production of a few parts at work, the 15 minutes I spent on this is a bit of a bodge.

    I’ve been wondering about the possibility of making an Airgun action / barrel for the carriage too - maybe CO2 powered? Would be a bit different rom the usual CO2 replicas.
     
    That hurts likes this.
  9. DrGunn

    DrGunn Busy Member

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    The axle was cut from another bit of oak and the ends drilled at a slight angle to take the stub axles. Stub axles and washes were machined from scraps of mild steel. The outermost washers have eyelets silver soldered to them - for ropes I presume? Linchpins were machined from mild steel and retaining springs made from bronze spring wire. The straps were bent from mild steel strip and M4 studs welded on. The strip may be a bit thick but was all I had to hand.
    301216F5-35BA-4CD5-8582-0281137D599A.jpeg 2EE42614-CD63-4DFC-8859-AF4866CFD339.jpeg
    The wheels are retained only by the lynchpins and so are easy to remove without any tools - may be useful for storage.

    A4DCE132-AC8B-4F34-BD00-05ED291E88F7.jpeg

    Complete axle and wheel assembly, a 12g CO2 capsule is includes for scale. Wheels spin freely and run true.
    B5DB5C3D-908F-47BF-842C-1A31F1BF93CD.jpeg
     
    tinmanofkent, ped, Popgun and 2 others like this.
  10. zeeco

    zeeco Donator

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    Don't forget scope mounts :D
     
    DrGunn likes this.
  11. DrGunn

    DrGunn Busy Member

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    Dovetail or picatinny?
     
  12. cruisingaround

    cruisingaround shooting my load

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    Dovetail :thumb:
     
    DrGunn likes this.
  13. NorfolkDave

    NorfolkDave Donator

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    Co2 definitely possible. Pm me if you want.

    Dave
     
    DrGunn likes this.
  14. Brooksy

    Brooksy Posting Addict

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    My ., this is pure genius!
     
    DrGunn and Popgun like this.
  15. Paul Chell

    Paul Chell Posting Addict

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    splendid work
     
    DrGunn likes this.
  16. DrGunn

    DrGunn Busy Member

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    I couldn’t find many useful dimensions for the main carriage so decided it would have to made and adjusted until it looks right. This requires a barrel but I’m not ready to make a proper one so elected to make a wooden dummy barrel for the time being. As well as giving me something to work with this can also go on the carriage when the real one is locked away gun cabinet.

    The Armstrong gun has a slightly unusual breach loading mechanism. The breach is blocked by a removable “Vent Piece” which is sealed against the breach with a copper gas check by a large but hollow breach screw. To load, the breach screw is slackened off and the vent piece lifted out. The projectile and charge are then loaded from the back through the hollow breach screw. The vent piece is primed, dropped into peace and the breach screw tightened to seal the breach ready for firing. This sounds cumbersome but apparently it was quicker and easier than muzzle loading. The diagrams bellow should make this clearer and are the main source of dimensions.
    887C550E-AB4F-48D8-8CDE-B295D1657A9C.jpeg 66899792-032E-4F21-8ADA-48B5AC9D7D5F.jpeg

    As tempting as it is to fit a scope, the sights should be tangent / trunnions sights fitted to the right hand side of the barrel as shown bellow:
    9F88B6A4-7C84-4592-8D11-A70233C6ED46.jpeg

    My dummy barrel is made from Iroko (as I had a suitable sized bit lying around). Trunnions were turned from scraps of mild steel and silver soldered to a convenient sized bit of brass tube. This was glued onto the wooden barrel. A bit of scaffold tube was glued to the back of the barrel to get the balance right and machined to size / shape. The barrel is drilled through at 1/2” and the breach end opened out and threaded 3/4” whitworth (as I had a tap and some studding handy). The breach screw is machined from a length of studding and the handle welded up from a a couple of bits of turned miles steel. The recess for the vent piece had been cut but I’ve not made a dummy vent piece yet or added other details such as the sights. Once completed it will be fillered and painted.

    The pictures bellow show the general construction of the dummy barrel. I may have to make a CO2 powered barrel / action as well as a BP one, there should be plenty of room as shown in the last picture.
    4F256467-5924-434F-A999-C177A2568B5E.jpeg 103D11DD-35C5-42D4-9715-DE85E4608D6F.jpeg 8544250B-255F-4C12-95D4-EDB35E793732.jpeg
     
    tinmanofkent, rmcn82, ped and 4 others like this.
  17. Vard

    Vard Unicorns are fluffy

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    Think this is the one of the best threads I have read on this forum. Lovely craftsmanship and tech skills. Thanks for sharing .
     
    DrGunn likes this.
  18. telephonepete

    telephonepete Donator

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    Absolutely Jaw Dropping. I remember once reading a story about a couple of kids who had a miniature Black Powder Cannon shooting at a toy ship in the duck pond. The idea stuck with me all these years and this brought it back.
     
    DrGunn likes this.
  19. DrGunn

    DrGunn Busy Member

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    Thanks, glad your enjoying it!

    Thanks!
    I’m sure it would also have made a good punt gun...
    Our range doesn’t have the best drainage so I could probably float a model boat out at 25m when it’s been raining heavily... I think all the other cannon owned by club members are naval models so this could be an appropriate competition :thumb:
     
  20. NorfolkDave

    NorfolkDave Donator

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    A few years back, I followed a "diary" of a guy building a punt gun from scratch. It was an amazing read. Can't find it now, worth looking at if anyone has a link.

    Dave
     
    DrGunn likes this.

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