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black powder cannon

mortar

Plastic
Joined
Feb 9, 2009
Location
ca usa
I have a ABS example of a barrel I would like to have made out of metal to use as a 50mm black powder howitzer.

What do you use to determine how hard the metal should be?


thanks
 

Gazz

Stainless
Joined
Sep 7, 2004
Location
NH
What exactly is an ABS sample?
Just about any mild steel should be suitable for a black powder cannon barrel. You could bore the barrel from solid round stock which would eliminate the need for making a breech plug. You should also proof test your barrel before you take it out in the public to shoot. In an isloated area where it would be safe to discharge a cannon where no damage could be possible other than to the barrel, pack the barel with an excessive amount of Fg or FFg BLACK powder, pack some grass in and then fill the rest of barrel with sand. Light your fuse and take cover! If the barrel survives, you are good to go with normal size loads.
 

mfisher

Hot Rolled
Joined
Oct 24, 2006
Location
Annapolis, Maryland
What's the difference between a black powder canon and a pipe bomb?

Engineering and/or a profound understanding of the forces involved.

Proof testing with one load might just open up cracks that will come apart in the next use.

The initial post is missing many critical items. What type of powder, what carge, is there a projectile involved, barrel length, how you plan on igniting the charge, how tight the projectile will fit in the bore, etc, etc.

And on edit - I would not recommend trying this, or even answering the question for a number of possible legal and safety concerns (read that as a disclaimer)
 
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metalshaper

Plastic
Joined
Jun 17, 2008
Location
KC
Mortar.jpg


Nothing fancy:) Fixed elevation, Golf Ball mortar !! Made from some of the same 1137 shaft steel, that was left over when my Buddy made his mini Parrot style cannon. Draws a LOT of attention at various rondezvous ;)
oh yeah, lit with loose powder ( in the lil dam at the bottom ) using a slow-match linstock..


Respect Always
Metalshaper
 

slugger

Cast Iron
Joined
Mar 20, 2005
Location
AZ
If you keep the barrel short enough, even CRS will be sufficient. If you want to make a longer barrel, then I think you need to worry more about strength. I have seen big ones made of brass, so it's not magic.
 

cheechako

Cast Iron
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
Location
Arizona mountains
Mortar

I have built 3 black powder cannons and mortars, and helped build 4 others.

Any steel will do. Don't forget, many of the originals were made of cast bronze and brass.

Rather than planning for a particular bore size, such as 50mm, find a source for the projectiles you will want to use and make it to fit. Golf balls, juice cans, D batteries, whatever.

One ounce of Fg will toss a concrete filled juice can out of sight. 2 to 3 ounces will make a very good 4th of July noise blank.

Have fun.

Ray
 

GGaskill

Titanium
Joined
Feb 14, 2001
Location
Central AZ
Standard 1018 cold rolled steel is a fine material to use for black powder muzzle loading artillery. No additional hardness is required. What is required is to use a design that has enough metal in the right places. One thing you want to stay as far away from as possible is the use of water pipe for barrels. Water pipe is rated at pressures of about 1000 psi and DOWNward in the larger sizes and is totally inappropriate for cannon barrels that will be fired.

Bore diameter should be chosen to fit the kinds of projectiles readily available. I get the impression that you are not in the US since you are giving the diameter in millimeters. Make sure you are familiar with your legal environment before doing something against the law.

We have a great website at Graybeard Outdoors with a hundred pages of threads and many knowledgeable people who have made lots of good cannon. Stop in if you find the time.

Here is just one of mine:

LCCoehornCropped.jpg
 
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Ben Hooper

Aluminum
Joined
Jan 1, 2008
Location
Monroe, ME (home)
Made a few myself...

get a 3' piece of cold rolled 6" dia, between centers, taper it to 4" at the muzzle, make the ball on the end...swap around into a 3 or 4jaw/stead rest... and drill it out as deep as you can with a 2" drill, then make a morse taper extension, and drill it out the rest, leaving 2" minimum meat.

Put it on a mill, and mill 2 flat spots, 180 out, just ahead of the balance point, so it is end heavy. weld on 2"x3.5" trunions.

Build a carriage from elm if you can get it. drill fuse hole 5/32". proof test.

post pics.

Ben
 

mortar

Plastic
Joined
Feb 9, 2009
Location
ca usa
The barrel will be 10 inches overall.
The internal length I guess around 9 inches with a one inch powder chamber.
The launch object will be plastic, around 8oz in weight.
The tube should need maybe 130 grains of fff or ff black powder.
Hope for range maybe 100 yards with streamers connected to launched objects so they can be recovered.
Firing will be done with a vent tube running into the powder chamber via light fuze.
The tube I have to use as a design is made from ABS plastic which has a metal stand.
The intent is to copy the ABS tube's outer size so it will fit into the metal mount.

thanks


simon
 

TheDoubleD

Aluminum
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Location
MT, USA
George is pointing you in the right direction. There are several organizations promoting the safe firing of Muzzleloading cannon.

One rule they have established is the walls of the cannon over the powder chamber should be no less than one caliber in all directions

In mortars the diameter of the powder chamber determines the caliber dimension.
 

GGaskill

Titanium
Joined
Feb 14, 2001
Location
Central AZ
The tube I have to use as a design is made from ABS plastic which has a metal stand.
The intent is to copy the ABS tube's outer size so it will fit into the metal mount.


It would be useful if you could post pictures of your model.
 

mortar

Plastic
Joined
Feb 9, 2009
Location
ca usa
here if the files work

I don't see the files.

The intent is to add a black powder, fire fuze metal tube with powder chamber to a Craft Apple Works (CAW) Airsoft model of a T89 grenade projector.
 
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Billygoat

Cast Iron
Joined
Dec 15, 2007
Location
Carnegie, PA
I have made 3 cannons and my dad has made 5 or 6. The one that we shot was a 1/2 scale model that had a 4" O.D. 36" long barrel with a 1-5/16" bore. We used to shoot a 1-1/4" ball, a piece of bar or no projectile. Just tamped it with some grass. The charges were pre made and wraped in foil so they could be loaded easily. Probably 2 or 3 ounces of powder. The slug of powder in the foil was about 2" long. It was a blast to shoot. Made a hell of a bang also. A modern piece of steel is much stronger that an old cast barrel any day.
 

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gunbuilder

Aluminum
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Location
NE South Dakota
Learn safe practice.

mortar,
Learn safe shooting practice and follow them to the letter.
In Lily South Dakota at the Bicentennial celebration a cannoneer got lax with his safety procedures and forgot to mop the bore with a wet mop. He added a second charge of black power for a following shot when he rammed the charge an ember from an earlier shot ignited the charge. The ramrod killed him. The accident ruined the celebration for those attending.

As I said learn safe firing procedures and follow them always.

Oh yea, have fun!

Thanks,
Paul
 

mortar

Plastic
Joined
Feb 9, 2009
Location
ca usa
Been on mortar crews for 81mm and 4.2", and even got the chance to crew on a black powder cannon shooting solid shot.

So I wonder if making the tube one part with an insert that contained the powder chamber would be safer.

load powder chamber, insert into tube, insert launch object into tube, pick the charge through the vent hole, insert fuze, and light.

Upon shooting off round, invert tube, clean out chamber, and reload.
 

slugger

Cast Iron
Joined
Mar 20, 2005
Location
AZ
The best design I have personally seen was machined to just smaller than a tennis ball. They mostly shot a baggie full of flour in it for noise. I used a 1 cup plastic measuring cut and placed aluminum foil in it. I then molded it around the radiused interior and poured in my powder charge either 3 or 4 ounces. I then folded the foil around it and had what looked just like a Hostess Ding-Dong. I would then carefully push this in with a marked ramrod and then add whatever projectile suited my fancy. The best thing we found were tree stakes- the lathe-turned peeled logs you get at the nursery. We would wrap them with red duct tape in a spiral fashion to make them more visible. An 8 penny nail was then inserted into the flash hole to piece the foil. A fuse was inserted and lit. We launched some of those 3' poles over 1000 feet!

They would tumble but were almost impossible to see when they came out- I have no idea on velocity, but probably over 1200 fps!
 

cheechako

Cast Iron
Joined
Dec 2, 2004
Location
Arizona mountains
One of the guys in our Artillery Battery was an electronics nerd and he made each of us an electric firing device (a little black box). We shaped the powder charge in aluminum foil with a small flash bulb in the middle connected to two long wires (5 to 6 feet long). We pushed the wires into the bore with a rammer and then fished the ends out thru the flashhole with a small hook. Then gently pushed the powder charge home while, at the same time, pulling the wires up thru the flashhole. Then hooked the wires to the black box. When ready to fire we flipped a switch on the box which armed it. The charge was fired by pushing a firing button. With this little device we could time the shots however we wanted - say one shot every 5 seconds or whatever. Never a mis fire or hang fire. Great for firing a salute at a memorial service, starting a parade, etc.

Plastikosmnd

One of our cannon was exactly like the one you pictured. It had a juice-can size bore and the carriage was painted blue, just like the Revolutionary War pieces. Neat!

ray
 
One of the guys in our Artillery Battery was an electronics nerd and he made each of us an electric firing device (a little black box). We shaped the powder charge in aluminum foil with a small flash bulb in the middle connected to two long wires (5 to 6 feet long). We pushed the wires into the bore with a rammer and then fished the ends out thru the flashhole with a small hook. Then gently pushed the powder charge home while, at the same time, pulling the wires up thru the flashhole. Then hooked the wires to the black box. When ready to fire we flipped a switch on the box which armed it. The charge was fired by pushing a firing button. With this little device we could time the shots however we wanted - say one shot every 5 seconds or whatever. Never a mis fire or hang fire. Great for firing a salute at a memorial service, starting a parade, etc.

Plastikosmnd

One of our cannon was exactly like the one you pictured. It had a juice-can size bore and the carriage was painted blue, just like the Revolutionary War pieces. Neat!

ray

You need to be VERY careful what type of ignition you use with a BP cannon, there is an exemption in federal law that says that if it uses a primitive form of ignition (and they spell out the ones allowed) then it is not a dangerous and destructive device. An electronic ignition like what you described probably made your cannon a Dangerous and Destructive Device under federal law.....being in possession of that without the proper federal paperwork and $200 tax stamp is as illegal as an unregistered machine gun.

To make it even more complex state law has an impact too, Ohio state law makes a cannon with springs or shock absorbers functioning in a return to battery type configuration "Dangerous Ordnance" and if you are in possession of such without a state permit your in deep hot water. Primitive forms of BP cannon are perfectly legal in Ohio.

Bill
 








 
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