First Golf Ball design for me - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-19-2020, 10:19 AM Thread Starter
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Default First Golf Ball design for me

I am usually on the weaponsguild forum, but a couple members recommended I check my thoughts with you fine folk. So here I am.

Background: I am a welder by trade and have been manufacturing roller coaster parts for a major theme park here in Orlando for about 20 years. We perform repairs as well as manufacture new components out of steel, stainless, aluminum, and various alloys. We must be certified by AWS for any material or position we weld. I have an AS degree in Welding Technology and have been a shop foreman for quite a while. I am also in the Florida Army National Guard where I turn wrenches on Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters. I have built a lot of firearms from parts kits and in the process have fabricated numerous items from scratch. So far I've built all semi-auto (I like to stay completely on the good side of ATF) versions of Uzi's, STEN MK 2, 3, &5, H&K MP5, MP5K, MP5SD, G3, and 93, Yugoslav M53 (copy of German MG42), and am working on a Finnish KP44 now. I have also made a couple of Form 1 Suppressors. I have a Lathe, milling machine, Mig welder, Stick/Tig welder, parkerizing set up, and an oven for Cerakote/powder coating.

I am not a novice, but wouldn't call myself a pro either.

I would like to venture into the world of black powder cannons and think that golf ball artillery would be a good start. I have been looking through the posts here and think I have come up with a relatively safe design, but please let me know if you see anything that doesn't look right with my design. I took the dimensions for the powder pocket in the breech plug from the KISS golf ball mortar. I would like to make a one barrel that could be either used as an infantry style mortar, or put on a small carriage to look kind of like a scaled down towed howitzer. Please forgive my crude Paint drawings.

Does this look reasonable? Safe?
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-19-2020, 02:50 PM
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Your skill level would be much better served staying away from golf balls. With your ability to make various firearms you would do well to find a pre 1898 artillery piece and copy as close as you can. Full patterns can be had for just about everything you can find . What you can't find can be developed from photos. very satisfying end product.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-19-2020, 04:04 PM
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Well your welding skills and engineering skills appear just fine, excellent in fact. Wish you lived closer, I have work for you.

You cannon design skills, well we can help. What you show is probably pretty safe. The problem is the next guy to own this will not know what you have built and will have no way to know if your gun is safe, because it doesn't appear to meet minimum standards . The material exceeds minimum standards but we only know that because you have told us.

We here try stay with antique designs to start with. That is what this board is about. We can help you with plans to build golf ball cannon of an Antique design. But the first thing we will is point you where you find zinc round ball to shoot.. You will not be very satisfied shooting golf balls,

Last edited by double d; 05-19-2020 at 09:04 PM.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-19-2020, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by double d View Post
Well your welding skills and engineering skills appear just fine, excellent in fact. Wish you lived closer, I have work for you.

You cannon design skills, well we can help. What you show is probably pretty safe. The problem is the next guy to own this will not know what you have built and will have
no way if your gun is safe, because it doesn't appear to meet minimum standards. By material it exceeds minumum

We here try stay with antique designs to start with. That is what this board is about. We can help you with plans to build golf ball cannon of an Antique design. But the firat thing we will is point you where you find zinc round ball to shoot.. You will not be very satisfied shooting golf balls,



I think you mean he will not be very satisfied shooting golf balls.


Zulu

Zulu's Website
www.jmelledge.com

Last edited by double d; 05-20-2020 at 03:53 PM.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-19-2020, 06:38 PM Thread Starter
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I am not really interested in the historical designs hence what I drew. What is it about my design that is not safe? I seem to have MUCH more wall thickness than the KISS golf ball mortar and am using MUCH stronger material. What am I missing, please educate me as this is not my field of expertise.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 08:26 AM
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I don't think there is anything about your design that is unsafe. From your description if is very strong and very safe. EXCEPT

How do we know that just by looking. We cant tell. You have to tell us. And the next person who owns this cannon has no way of knowing what your cannon is made from and how safe it might be. It is about appearance. If your gun looks like a pipe with a plug welded in the end then people are going to think that is what it is. If it looks like a cannon, even a contemporary cannon like you want, then people will think it is safe, and if you take the time and pay attention to details it probably will be safe. Antiques designs usually were made with safety built in, That is why we suggest them.

Please take a few moments to read our stickies on safe design and construction.

What is the diameter of the powder chamber? Based on recommend guidelines the maximum diameter of your chamber should be .675

This board is primarily about building and shooting Antique cannons. We require this for two reasons, proven safe designs and antique status. Contemporary cannons, how ever can be exempted by using an antique ignition. To protect us and you, we require a letter from ATF to confirm that Antique ignition exemption for your design. We have a number of these letters posted. I have such a letter posted for my bowling ball mortar. We do allow contemporary cannon building, we just require the ATF letter first.

That being said let me make some suggestion to help you with your current build.

The reduced chamber was used in mortars and howitzers. These chambers were usually some sort of taper and not a straight cylinder. In a cannon this type, a reduced and cylindrical chamber is hard to load, especially using cartridges. Pouring loose powder down the barrel and seating a ball on it is difficult. Try pouring it into a sub chamber. Cartridges are safer and easier loading . The number one reason people use a sub chamber is so they can use a smaller diameter steel wit a larger bore.

Building a sub-chamber in a mortar is fine as you greater access to the chamber and the mortar is low velocity "lobbing" gun. The cylinder chamber was used in keeping with the design theme of the K.I.S.S. Mortar-simplified construction techniques. I have worked on building a K.I.S.S cannon a number of times, but always gave up mainly because of the difficulty of loading issue.


We can help build this gun and make one you will be proud of. You have the construction skills and we have the cannon skills
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 09:02 AM Thread Starter
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This is the exact information I was looking for! I didn't detail the diameter of the powder chamber, but was planning on 1/2" using a ball end mill to make it a hemisphere. I may also taper the powder chamber as well and would use a funnel for loading powder. I was also going to drill a wick hole (maybe a liner for this as well)...seems like 3/16" is the generally accepted diameter, but am still in the planning phase. I like the idea of a slap hammer using a nipple and either #11 or 209 primers, but that could be added afterwards, however I do understand the weight issue with a pull cord and the possibility of "yanking" the cannon out of position at the moment of firing and the associated danger (so it will most likely be cannon fuse only ignition).

If I use letter/number stamps to clearly mark it, would that suffice? I would most likely stamp the type of material, "golf balls only", max powder charge of something like 125 grains of FFG powder. This would be a "for me only" item and if the time ever comes that I get board with it, I would most likely cut it up into scrap.

I'm really only looking for a "novelty" piece of artillery...not going for any kind of distance records or any crazyness like that...just something that I could do some demonstrations somewhere between 100-200 yards.

I Grew up visiting my Great Uncle LaPan's foundry (I know several of the members here have some of his cannons), and while I appreciate the craftsmanship, skill, and historic value in those types of pieces, it's just not my flavor. I am much more interested in WWI & WWII, and that is kind of why I like the "look" of the scaled down infantry mortar and something akin to a 75mm towed howitzer.

If His foundry hadn't burned down, I probably would have had him make me a Civil War piece. When I was younger I couldn't afford it and now that I am older with a little disposable funds I could. I would really want it more for the family history value though.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 11:44 AM
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Candles have wicks, cannon have vent holes for fuses. Shirts have pockets, cannons have chambers.

Funnels are great for mortars, but a cannon have to be tipped up for funnel loading. Can be hazardous and pain in the backside, especially for a gun as big as you are going end up with.t Funnel not recommended for cannons, especially larger guns. Cartridges are the way to go.

For a straight bored cannon of golf ball dimensions bore size with proper windage (1/40th of bore) is 1.72" So over the chamber you need a diameter of 5.16 inches to meet minimum cannon standards. You are using 4140 and that exceeds minimum standard and used in modern smokeless powder gun barrels. The rule of thumb found in Dunlap for smokeless powder in gun barrel steels is the breech walls should be no less that 2/3 the greatest diameter of the chamber. So golf ball bore is 1.72" or 3 thirds. Walls are 2 thirds each, total diameter 7 thirds. 1.72/3=.57333 x 7 = 4.014" total breech diameter. If you do any lining or layering of metal you will want a vent liner. You don't need it for a solid piece of metal

If you insist on going this route, you need to find a way to make a straight cannon breech, following the cannon breech recommendations. Forget golf balls, they are a very disappointing projectile in a cannon. Look at the zinc golf balls from Rotometals. We aren't talking for distance here either. just plain shooting. Once you have shot a few golf balls and then shoot a few zinc or steel if you can find them, you will never look back.

Name dropping Lapan, good to go and will get you every where here. Have you asked uncle if he has a barrel laying around? Those old boys in the business always do...

Last edited by double d; 05-20-2020 at 03:58 PM.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 12:16 PM
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I also favor later model artillery . I found a satisfactory compromise in copying design features of cannons from civil war to 1898, with a few concessions to modern artillery. Remote primer ignition and non fixed ammunition are big points to be aware off.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 01:08 PM
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Moose, those wheels. So ugly only a mother would love them. And, I have been called mother. Don't ever change them. I would love to see a slo-mo of that gun shooting and watch those tires compress and that gun jump.
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