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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will have the opportunity on my new job to (perhaps more than occasionally) crank out a mould or two.

What moulds are out there in cannon ball sizes? How much shrinkage does one get with zinc or aluminum?

I had some made by a local pattern maker - he made a match plate and did sand casting - $16 each but there was irregular shrinkage. Surface finish was OK. There were a few voids one could see on the surface.

I've heard that some people will suspend a sand core inside to make the walls thinner and hence less problems with irregular shrinkage.

What are your experiences?
 

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Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

a simple mold of two blocks of aluminun. Aligned by two pins and held closed by a c-clamp not included. No sprue plate, just a funnel or flat cone shape hole in the top to pour the lead in.

Should sell for less the $50, $20-$40 tops. Available from say Cannon Mania.

Won't make anybody rich, but it will keep mortars shooting.
 

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Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

OK - I'll post a design or two here later (much later) today.

Are we looking at 1-3/4 bore diameter for golf balls? That is the question. To do the mould I need exact dimensions.

The reason is clearance.

If the bore is 1.750 a golf ball itself might stick. I ASSUME at this point that the golf ball is 1.750 in diameter.

So do I assume that the bore is 1.800? 30 to 50 thousandths is about right for clearance. I use .050 clearance on the 4.5". It works well especially if one wipes out the bore after every shot. If not the rounds tend to stick from the built up fouling.

I have a Napoleon that has about 1-7/8 bore - it's too loose for an unpatched golf ball.
 

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Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

http://www.usga.org/test_center/guide/appendix3ball.htm

Size
The ball must have a diameter of not less than 1.680 inches (42.67mm). The instrument used to measure size is a metal ring gauge. Full details of the test specification are available from the USGA.
It is important to note that there is no maximum size, the ball can be as large as desired provided its weight does not exceed 1.620 ounces (see The Ball, Section 1).
 

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Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

Here's what my 2.125" moulds look like. They were advertised as 2.25" but the lead balls end up being 2.125" diameter. Probably a bit too much clearance for my liking, but I just "paper Patch" them with a J-Cloth for a snug fit.


 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

DD -
Thanks for looking that up. I had a hunch you'd come up with it. Interesting that it's measured with a ring gauge. That's just the same as with cannon balls at the arsenal. Would be a little tough to have one stick in the bore.

Jeff -
Thanks for posting the pix. Is the diameter of the cavity 2.25? If so that would indicate 1/8" per 2.25" shrinkage for ____ mixture of lead.

It looks like the moulds are from cast aluminum, yes? Are those vent holes on the left and right of each half? How big are they & do you have any metal flowing out of them? How big are the sprue holes? And who made them up?
 

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Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

Hi Tim,

I just measured the moulds and they are 2.125" diameter. What I meant was that the moulds were advertised as being 2.25", however, they are not.

Yes, the moulds are cast aluminum. The vent holes are 1/8" in size and not much (if any) lead flows from them. The moulds aren't a 100% tight fit. Putting mould blocks together and holding them up to the light you can see where there is some light comming through.

The sprue holes are approx .30" in diameter with the opening being just barely over an inch in size.

You can buy them online at http://www.tyeetackle.com/ . The proprietor claims he supplies these moulds to Cannon Mania for sale in the US.

All in all, they aren't bad moulds at all. They take a long time to heat up and you'll be lucky to get the pour cavity hot enough to keep the lead from solidifying before you are done pouring.

Throw away the supplied spring metal clamp that is supplied and use a 4" c-clamp instead. The spring metal clamp gouges the aluminum and marks it up quite badly, even when the mould is cold. When the moulds are properly heated the spring clamp would really marr up the aluminum.

I've been using a standard Lyman bullet casting ladle with horrible results. I just bought a stainless steel soup ladel that should be large enough to contain the required lead for a single pour into the mould. Hopefully this will result in less time required to pre-heat the moulds and (more importantly) to have a properly cast lead ball.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

Jeff -
Thanks for all the good info. I'm thinking of designing a mould that bolts together. The idea of preheating it makes sense. Perhaps to 400 or so degrees for casting lead. I really like the idea of the two cavity mould! That makes for a serious savings of time.
 

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Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

I had a similiar mould that I got from Dixie Gun works for one of the mortars. We would run two ten pound pots at once on the coleman stove. set the mold on the stove next to the pot. Heat the pots up. Take a pair of water pump pliers, jaws up and grab the bail down in the throat of the pliers. Grab the flange opposite of the pour spout of the pot with a pair of vise grips and use the whole pot as you pouring ladle.

Worked pretty good once the mould was warm.
 

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Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

CW,

How is this project going?

In a couple of days I will post an excert from Complete Cannoneer on windage so we will be able to determine correct ball diameter.

By the way will these mould be cappable of taking molten zinc or aluminum for ball material.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

Ahhh yes, the mould project.

I'm in the final stretch of too many hours at work on a couple of full time projects. Hope to have them done within the next month.

THEN, I'll get back to machining.

I have however accumulated pieces of iron of the right sizes to be made into boring bar holders and such.

The process is simple, but contingant on having something with which to cut the radius - either internally with a radius cutter - or by grinding a cutter with a radius of the right size to use directly.

Not now, but soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

AND, I did pick up 5 thermocouple wires that are compatible with two electronic thermometers I have.

They'll be permanently installed in selected moulds to learn more on just how hot the moulds should be before casting.
 

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Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

Bill McGregor at the Canadian Cannon Company up here in Manitoba makes ball moulds (at least fer the smaller sizes). http://www.brasswithclass.com/

I ordered a 1" mould from Cannon Mania 'n' it turns out they ordered it from Bill.

I tolt Bill about this board 'n' tolt 'im 'e otta drop by 'n' introduce hizself.
 

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Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

Some of the discussion has been about the temperature of the mould when casting cannon balls. I always put my mould in the melted lead and let it heat to the same temperature or thereabout. This helps provid a fairly consitstant casting. The preheating is with aluminum or cast iron moulds. This also deletes half cast balls etc. I use a old plumbers pot and burner to heat lead. The gas connection has been modified and a variable pressure regulator is used to adjust the heat. My best casts are when the ladle is able to place all the lead at one pouring.
 

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Cannon (mortar) Ball Moulds (molds) - Desig

Sam that's a good way to preheat a mould for cast lead rifle and pistol bullets. It might work also for Zinc. but I'm not sure about Aluminum. Don't know the melting temperature of lead. Looking for the right material for making a mould to to cast aluminum.
 
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