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Discussion Starter #1
Ok I am greener than green about cannons , but I love to look at them and I love reading and watching the history part of them to. I really like the Mountain Howitzer and the 1857 Napoleon cannon styles. I have a small oxygen bottle that failed inspection I want to make a mostly static cannon from to park by my flag pole in the front yard. I thought while I am building it and such how hard would it be to place a thick walled smaller diameter pipe inside the cylinder and encase it with concrete where its in the center for something to shoot just powder blanks with the bread wad from like on the 4th of July. Anyone ever do anything like this? Is it doable? I have read lots on here about making the powder chamber the same thickness as the bore. Or can I just load powder in Tin foil like I read about on here straight down the barrel without building a powder chamber? How big of a bore pipe do I need to make a good size boom with lots of smoke? Again I am new to powder and cannons and such but I do shoot guns a lot....lol? Back when I was young me and my brother used to open up the 12 gauge bird shot shells and take out the led shot and make our own blanks but we all have done stupid stuff before. Ok please be nice to me I just like bang and smoke like the rest of you.
 

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We are about building cannons here, but we only do it one way, the right way. There is a sticky at the top of the board about cannon construction. Read that. Follow those guidelines to make your cannon. We do not differentiate between a blank fire cannon and a projectile firing cannon. Two reasons. First pressure. Pressure is what makes the loud bang of a blank round and pressure is what makes the ball fly. If you don't build the gun right, pressure can get you. The second reason we don't differentiate is human nature. If you build a "noise maker" sooner or later someone is going to stick a ball in the bore, like I said, human nature. You should especially concerned if you park your cannon by your flag pole. Some Prankster or thief may come along and create a disaster.

Your Idea is doable, but just not the way you are suggesting. Bowling ball mortars are often made with an old Argon bottle.

Here is drawing for making a chamber for a Mortar.



The outer diameter of the chamber piece is three times the diameter of the chamber. For a cannon you just make a longer barrel/chamber, full length of pressure bottle.

You can make a round plate the diameter of the bottle with a hole in the middle for the barrel to cover the muzzle. Get some pipe, inside diameter of the outside diameter of the pressure bottle. Cut off a 1 inch section of the pipe and weld it on the muzzle to make fake reinforcing band. Cut another section 4 to 6 inches long and weld it on the back of the barrel to look like a breech ring. Use a trailer hitch ball for a knob. Trunnion should the same diameter and length as your bore.

Take a look at our sticky on making blank rounds. We suggest flour as a filler. Things like grass clippings, wet newspaper and bread tend to fly out like solid projectiles. Dry newspaper starts fires.

Good luck. Post pictures as you build and we will help you. We may be rather frank about some things but it will always if you are compromising safety.

Take your time ask for help, we will gladly give. You will find you will get several different ideas from different people on how do something, that is good. It gives you something to think about.

Did I say ask questions. A saying I use to use a lot back in my working days, was the only dumb question, is the one you don't ask. So ask questions.
 

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Dogwreck, I'm sure someone with more knowledge will chime in here shortly. You've got a lot going on in your post. I'm more then a little nervous with some of it. "Pipe" always makes me cringe, DOM tubing, maybe and not by itself, never pipe. You say you want to shoot salutes (blanks) but what about your grandkids, almost all cannons out live their owners and we have to worry about who uses it next and how. We wouldn't want some unknowing soul to fill it with powder, load a ball, and make a bomb. You also say you're new to powder and cannons, we all were at one time. Powder for cannons is BLACK POWDER not smokeless powder which is in those bird shot rounds you made into blanks. Smokeless powder is way way more energetic than black powder and a sure fire recipe for disaster. I am not trying to scare you off in any way cannons are a blast (still learning myself) just hang in here and let the pros lead you in the right direction. Neil
 

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Double d types way faster then me and is a good man to listen to.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the excellent advice. Things I never thought of that's why I asked. I really do appreciate the help. I been reading everything I can about cannons from old history to these forums and really enjoy what I'm reading. I live near Sacremento Ky and they have a reenactment there sometime in early spring. I dont know if they shoot cannons but I am gonna go there this year and check it out. Thanks so much for the response again.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
We are about building cannons here, but we only do it one way, the right way. There is a sticky at the top of the board about cannon construction. Read that. Follow those guidelines to make your cannon. We do not differentiate between a blank fire cannon and a projectile firing cannon. Two reasons. First pressure. Pressure is what makes the loud bang of a blank round and pressure is what makes the ball fly. If you don't build the gun right, pressure can get you. The second reason we don't differentiate is human nature. If you build a "noise maker" sooner or later someone is going to stick a ball in the bore, like I said, human nature. You should especially concerned if you park your cannon by your flag pole. Some Prankster or thief may come along and create a disaster.

Your Idea is doable, but just not the way you are suggesting. Bowling ball mortars are often made with an old Argon bottle.

Here is drawing for making a chamber for a Mortar.



The outer diameter of the chamber piece is three times the diameter of the chamber. For a cannon you just make a longer barrel/chamber, full length of pressure bottle.

You can make a round plate the diameter of the bottle with a hole in the middle for the barrel to cover the muzzle. Get some pipe, inside diameter of the outside diameter of the pressure bottle. Cut off a 1 inch section of the pipe and weld it on the muzzle to make fake reinforcing band. Cut another section 4 to 6 inches long and weld it on the back of the barrel to look like a breech ring. Use a trailer hitch ball for a knob. Trunnion should the same diameter and length as your bore.

Take a look at our sticky on making blank rounds. We suggest flour as a filler. Things like grass clippings, wet newspaper and bread tend to fly out like solid projectiles. Dry newspaper starts fires.

Good luck. Post pictures as you build and we will help you. We may be rather frank about some things but it will always if you are compromising safety.

Take your time ask for help, we will gladly give. You will find you will get several different ideas from different people on how do something, that is good. It gives you something to think about.

Did I say ask questions. A saying I use to use a lot back in my working days, was the only dumb question, is the one you don't ask. So ask questions.

Thanks again for the advice. I really don't like the mortars, I want a traditional looking cannon with wheels and all. If you could answer some questions that would be much appreciated.

1- So for a cannon, the barrel and chamber should be one piece?

2- Could it be 2 pieces , say the chamber machined to attach to the barrel?

3- Or could I have a chamber machined that would fit in a thick DOM barrel?

4- On your suggestion for a cannon, how would you connect the back of the camber to the tank? Would you machine threads in the back of the chamber then attach with a ball hitch?

5- Also you say just cut a piece of flat to attach the barrel muzzle to the tank muzzle, there is no need to fill the area between the tank and the barrel?


6- You say the camber thickness outside is 3 times the chamber diameter , is there any suggestions how it should be machined where it meets the barrel if it could be made separate? Should it be Y ed out like a funnel like this <0 ? Are the mortar chambers like that and the bowling ball just sits on the chamber? I am trying to wrap my head around the powder chamber. I am pretty good at mechanical stuff but the chamber is new to me and I feel it needs respect.

Thanks for the time answering me. I want a cannon so bad...hahaha!
 

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You say the chamber thickness outside is 3 times the chamber diameter...


Outside diameter of the chamber piece needs to be three times the inside diameter, for example, a 1" bore chamber would need to be 3" outside diameter. This makes the wall thickness equal to the inside diameter.


Or could I have a chamber machined that would fit in a thick DOM barrel?


This would be possible and the DOM would not have to be especially thick as the chamber piece would be taking the maximum pressure. You could thread the outside of the chamber piece and the inside of the DOM and screw them together. However, DOM is not the best choice for a barrel as all the DOM I have found has a welded seam which has the potential for fouling to penetrate the seam and cause corrosion. A better choice than DOM is seamless tubing. Its downside is the the bore is not quite so round as DOM.


Another downside of this style of construction is that your cannon is going to be cylindrical instead of the typically taper shape of most cannon barrels. This usually does not concern the first time cannon builder, but as experience is gained, most constructors want their cannon to resemble real ones.
 

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Thanks again for the advice. I really don't like the mortars, I want a traditional looking cannon with wheels and all. If you could answer some questions that would be much appreciated.

1- So for a cannon, the barrel and chamber should be one piece?
Yes preferred, but you can still use your pressure bottle and do it.

2- Could it be 2 pieces , say the chamber machined to attach to the barrel?

3- Or could I have a chamber machined that would fit in a thick DOM barrel?
Yes, look at my drawing again. The drawing is for a mortar, but you can adapt that and make a cannon. Make the chamber section the same length as the interior of the pressure bottle-basically a cannon within a cannon..


4- On your suggestion for a cannon, how would you connect the back of the camber to the tank? Would you machine threads in the back of the chamber then attach with a ball hitch?
Cut off the threaded neck and extend the back of the chamber section out the back of the barrel and weld it in place. Weld a trailer hitch ball to the end.

5- Also you say just cut a piece of flat to attach the barrel muzzle to the tank muzzle, there is no need to fill the area between the tank and the barrel?
Not really, but I would probably would fill it with packed sand.


6- You say the camber thickness outside is 3 times the chamber diameter , is there any suggestions how it should be machined where it meets the barrel if it could be made separate? Should it be Y ed out like a funnel like this <0 ? Are the mortar chambers like that and the bowling ball just sits on the chamber? I am trying to wrap my head around the powder chamber. I am pretty good at mechanical stuff but the chamber is new to me and I feel it needs respect.
Go to the Construction Sticky and follow the link to the NSSA rules for construction of a barrel liner.

Thanks for the time answering me. I want a cannon so bad...hahaha!
The barrel is the easy part, have you given any consideration to the carriage design.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
For the carriage I have given thought. I have looked at recoil and such. I know it will be heavy. I have more experience with wood than I do barrel making and powder chamber fab. If it ends up being too heavy I may go with all steel carriage. I have a 5x10 CNC plasma table and a 4x8 router CNC to help me with the build. I am just really concerned with the Chamber and the barrel because I have never done it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Is this doable? With all the materials figured here its only going to weigh 150 pounds. I also am wondering if the powder chamber is appropriate size but with the 7" bottle I cant go much bigger in diameter? What do you guys think?
 

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Now you are getting the idea. It would be a better idea if the chamber and barrel were all one dimater full length. Reduced or howitzer chambers present loading issues.

A long cylinder of seamless tubing tubing with a breech plug shrunk or sweated in place would much better. Look up the NSSA breech plug.

If you have the Lathe capabilities, a turned barrel would be a better option. But the way you are proceeding will work.
 

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Dog, you mentioned a Napoleon 1857, it is a great looking cannon. My avatar is an 1857. You are on the right track of design, but lack the profile will always look like an O2 bottle that makes noise. One of the difficult things with a cannon is the deep boring needed. You can purchase cored 4140 steel 4" d with a 1.5 cored hole, then plug the end at the cascabel, and have the barrel profiled.

If you intend to leave the cannon out in the weather be sure to fit a plug to keep out rain and other things.
 

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Yes I built a "laminated" DOM tube once. It did not really look too bad after some Lathe profiling. I made it after a Parrot style barrel..


I will post a pic if I can still find it.
 
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