Here's how to make a mini cannon that packs a punch

Build your own powerful mini cannon from scratch.
Christopher McFadden

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Cannons are impressive pieces of kit, but they tend to be pretty big, and frankly dangerous things to have at home. So, why not make a little toy one? 

diy mini cannon complete
Source: Meanwhile in the Garage/YouTube

As you can imagine, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.

Materials and gear needed

  • Bronze lengths and disks (or similar)
  • Wood for shells
  • Firecrackers (or similar) and fuses
  • Shank Mechanical Edge Finder Position Testing Tool
  • Dual Wheel Knurling Linear Knurl Tool Lathe Cutter
  • 8 x 26mm Dual Wheel Knurling Linear Knurl Tool Lathe Cutter
  • Drillpro 8pcs 2-12mm 4 Flutes Carbide End Mill Set Tungsten Steel Milling Cutter Tool
  • Perma Blue, Liquid Cannon blue
  • Shank Lathe Boring Bar Turning Tool Holder Set
  • Universal Magnetic Base Holder Stand and Dial Test Indicator Gauge Scale Precision
  • Diamond Metal Cutter
  • Lathe
  • Angle grinder
  • Belt sander
  • Bench drill
  • Basic tools (wrench, screwdrivers, etc)
  • Various nuts and bolts

With all your gear in hand, it is time to get on with this great little build.

Step 1: Make the barrel

The first step is to take the metal for your barrel and place it in your lathe. Turn the metal to make the basic shape for the barrel of the cannon. 

This will take some time, but you can make the design however you'd like. However, try to make the barrel thicker towards the middle (or where the chamber will be) and more splayed towards the end of the muzzle. You can refine the shape using files, were needed, too. 

diy mini cannon barrel
Source: Meanwhile in the Garage/YouTube

With the main design for the barrel complete, the next step is to create the bore of the barrel. Turn the barrel around in the lathe, and core out the barrel of the cannon as needed. 

diy cannon bore
Source: Meanwhile in the Garage/YouTube

Polish up the barrel as needed while it is on the lathe too. 

With the main barrel more or less complete, we can now machine the wheels. Take a disk of metal and place it in the lathe.

Then machine the wheels of the cannon to your liking. Once happy, bore a hole through the center of each wheel so they can be mounted to an axle. 

diy cannon wheels
Source: Meanwhile in the Garage/YouTube

Step 2: Add some cosmetic features to the cannon

With the basic components of the cannon now done, we can begin to add some decorative features to it. Let's start with the wheels. 

Mark out six equidistant points around the middle of the wheels. With that done, core out the points to make some openings in the wheels. 

diy cannon spokes
Source: Meanwhile in the Garage/YouTube

With that done, take the barrel of the cannon and flatten off the part of the barrel that will contain the chamber. Next, bore a hole from the flattened part into the bore of the barrel, and thread it. This will be used to mount the gun to the carriage.

diy mini cannon fuse vent
Source: Meanwhile in the Garage/YouTube

Drill another hole on the opposite side of the barrel to make the vent/fuse for the cannon. 

Step 3: Make the gun carriage

With that done, mock up the position of the wheels against the gun barrel. Using another length of metal, sketch out the design of the gun carriage. 

Cut the length of metal to size and shape as needed. With that done, mark the position of the wheel axles, and core a hole through the metal as needed. 

diy mini cannon carriage
Source: Meanwhile in the Garage/YouTube

Thread the holes as needed to mount the wheels and cannon barrel. Polish the piece as needed. 

Next, take your Perma blue and coat the gun carriage parts as needed. With that done, rig up a barrel elevator mechanism for the rear of the gun carriage. 

Step 4: Complete the gun

With all the parts now finished, we can now finish the piece. 

diy mini cannon parts
Source: Meanwhile in the Garage/YouTube

Attach the elevator to the rear of the carriage and wheel mount to the front. Then mount the barrel to the top of the carriage. With that done, mount the wheel to the gun carriage as needed. 

Next, make some ammunition for the gun using small lengths of wood. Shape into ball or bullet shapes as needed. 

Add padding to the rounds as needed to fit snuggly in the barrel. With that done, your mini cannon is now complete. 

Now add a firecracker into the chamber, load the gun, and insert your fuse. Aim the gun, light the fuse, and stand back! 

If you enjoyed this project, you might enjoy making some more firearm-related projects? How about, for example, your own working cardboard gun

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