Here's how to make a mini cannon that packs a punch
If the video player is not working, you can watch the video from this alternative link.
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?
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Principal director of Civil and Commercial Space Systems at Draper Pete Paceley told us that August is 'looking pretty good' for Artemis I mission.