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Turning cannon's


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Gary,

 

Sorry for not responding quicker.  Not been online much this past week.

 

The cannon I've made were all from brass.  I use a 1/8" cutter that's narrowed by grinding to about 1/32" for all of the barrel except for the muzzle swell and the casabel.  For those I have cutters that have been ground to match those bits.  HSS is easily ground, just don't let it go to "red" when grinding.  A cup of water for quenching/cooling is good idea.

 

The Little Machine Shop has a good tutorial on Lathes and also the grinding of tooling:   http://littlemachineshop.com/Info/MiniLatheUsersGuide.pdf  Peruse the rest of that site as it's very informative.

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Thanks guys for the response. Just a little in site in to why I ask about how others are making their cannons. If you guys don't mind could you show some photo's of your cutting tools before and after. Maybe in the future some one will show how they did this from start to finish, on cutting the shape in to the tools to blacking the cannons, sort of like a practicum on making cannons. Making one cannon isn't to bad but 74 of them that look alike, ;o(. Any way thanks guys. I have turned cannons before, but have allways been impressed by some of the outstanding work on making cannons such as Alex, and really looking on trying to make a perfect cannon, if that is possible for me. Gary

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Gary,

 

I read in NRJ about somebody (probably here on MSW) who made a duplicator to turn cannon from Ebony. He was able to produce them a lot faster (and more consistently) than brass.

 

Of course, Ebony does have its downsides.

 

I also recall something from Rev Romero about turning cannon in boxwood and painting them. I think it was in his Confederacy practicum.

 

I haven't turned any cannon before, so I'd like to see some pictures of the tools used, as well as the process.

 

Thanks,

 

Harvey

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I'm going to have to dig though things to find the cutters. They're buried around here somewhere. Take a look at page 18 of the PDF I referenced. It talks about grinding the cutter. I'm trying to remember who else modifies their tools and had or has pics.

 

One of our scratchbuilders made a duplicator for his lathe and again... brain fart. I'm almost to the point of re-setting up the lathe for cannons.

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Thanks Mark.

 

I've looked at this site before (it's quite good), and plan to use the grinding guidelines and sequence shown. But somewhere I read that bits for turning ship model parts were a little different than the guidelines shown in the .pdf. I read that the nose is a tighter radius, but I couldn't find what the other differences were. That's why some pictures of bits for turning model cannon would help me.

 

Thanks again,

 

Harvey

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The set-up and tools depends on the lathe you have, the size of the cannons, and on how many you have to make.

 

As one has to turn up to left and right shoulders as it where, i.e. to the bands, I would use a narrow straight tool. That is a tool that is 0.5 to 1 mm wide at the front and has side-relief ground into it. For brass there should be no top-rake, or it will 'dig in'.

 

People tend to make cannon from one piece, but, as you have to turn it around at some stage to finish both ends, they may be difficult to hold, because the profile is not cylindric, but conical, or even curved. Therefore, I would break down the design into two parts. The bands offer convenient separation points. Because the parts are shorter, you can probably also work without tailstock support, which makes working sometimes easier. The front part you can drill through a the calibre of the gun and in the back part you drill a blind hole with exactly the same diameter. A short piece of rod allows you to align the parts for soldering or glueing.

 

I would turn the basic shape using the slide rest and then finish off the rounded corners either using a file or a hand-graver. Again, the short sections make this operation easier. Finally, I would go over the pieces with steel wool while the lathe is running.

 

I would finish all the front parts and all the back part together, so that you can keep the same set-over for turning the conical parts.

 

Duplicators are probably nice (I never use one), but to make a good template is not that easy. I make myself a table or sketch of the slide-rest movements, so that I can repeat exactly the same movements for each part. This is akin to what a CNC-lathe would do under computer control.

 

When the guns are to be painted anyway, you may want to consider using Plexiglas/Perspex or aluminium as a material. I think it is cheaper than brass and lighter. Personally, I love to work with Plexiglas. It is also easy to glue and takes acrylic paints well.

 

wefalck

Edited by wefalck
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