Our Best and Biggest project. We started out with our rockets, progressed to gunpowder, and then said “Fuck it, let's make a cannon.” and here we are. This cannon is ridiculously simple to make, and the materials are available at any hardware store. More difficult are the shells and the gunpowder “shells”. Two versions of this cannon were created, however only the bigger second one will be covered here.
- 1.25“ x 2' galvanized pipe
- 1.25” galvanized pipe cap
- 0.125“ (1/8) drill bit
- Put cap on pipe, tighten down (not beyond your ability to take it off).
- Drill hole in thread closest to pipe cap
See? Told you it would be easy. Now obviously this can be scaled to whatever you desire. The hole is for the fuse.
You can fire just about anything you can fit in the cannon, from sticks to nails to ball bearings. Something particularly fun is explosive rounds.
This is simply a way to package gunpowder so that you don't have to measure it out on-site, or mess with funnels or anything.
- Using wax paper, rip out a square about 6” by however wide the paper roll is.
- Roll the paper into a cylinder 6“ tall. It's easier if you use the interior of the cannon as a guide. Tape it so that it doesn't unroll.
- Twist one end shut, using as little of the roll as you can and still be fairly certain it will hold the GP. This usually requires some practice/trial-and-error.
- Pour the desired amount of gunpowder in (usually around 60g).
- Twist the other end shut.
Now obviously you need some way to aim this thing, right? No, you can't just hold it. We just hammered a steel angle into the ground in the general direction we wanted the rounds to go. We weren't trying to hit anything, obviously. However, if you desire a more precise system for aiming, you'll have to come up with that shit yourself.
Here's one of the best videos of the cannon firing explosive rounds.
Here's a video of when we attempted to mount the 1.25” version on a “carriage”.
Two cannons existed before the 1.25“ version. The very first was actually a block of aluminium with a small hole tapped in it, less than 0.5” wide and maybe 2-3“ deep. This cannon had a very small tap hole, between 1/16” and 1/8“ of an inch, that ran about 0.5” from the bore to the top of the block. This cannon was only fired successfully two or three times. It was quickly abandoned in favor of the steel pipe cannons.
The first steel pipe cannon was identical to the 1.25“ version, with the exception being that its ID is 0.5” vs 1.25“. This gave it a considerably higher barrel length-to-muzzle diameter ratio, so it was considerably more accurate than the 1.25” version. Essentially, the 1.25“ version is a mortar while the 0.5” version is a rifle or musket. The 0.5“ was also exclusively fired horizontally, while the 1.25” was only ever fired at a rather steep angle. Well, the 1.25“ was fired a few times from a carriage, but it didn't work very well.
This video is of the first occasion on which we ever fired one of the steel pipe cannons.
Here's another video of the 0.5” cannon with quite a few clips of the shells being used.