Insider 9-28-2011

Today, I’ll show you an easy and time saving way of making your own cannons. You can never have too much artillery, and these do-it-yourself cannons are a great addition to a wide variety of terrain pieces.

First, find some thick brass rod and cut notches in into it with a pair of wire cutters so the putty has something to hold onto when cured.

Mix up some putty—the kind that cures very hard—like Aves Epoxy Sculpt® or Milliput®. Try to wrap the putty as evenly as possible around the rod and taper it as it goes to the end, then let it cure fully.

While the putty is curing, make some sanding sticks out of heavy grit sandpaper (I use 120/150/180 grits). You make them by simply using superglue to bond the sandpaper to pieces of sheet plastic or wood, the thicker the better, so it won’t flex too much as you are sanding. Three to four stick should do.

Now that the putty is cured, fix the rod into your Dremel® tightly. At this point, you want to put on your safety goggles and a dust mask. This can get somewhat messy, so you might want to do this outside or in a well ventilated area.

Turn on your Dremel® using the lowest speed possible. It’s best to use a variable speed Dremel® because you’ll have more control. If you use too high a speed, the rod will bend on you and could break, sending your cannon flying across the room! I use the first speed setting.

While the Dremel® is turning, hold your sanding stick parallel to the taper and sand it smooth. Turn it off occasionally to see if there are any areas that you missed and to clean the gunk out of your sanding stick. When you get to the back end of the cannon, turn your sanding stick to round out the end.

Keep sanding until you get a smooth surface without bumps or divots and remove the cannon from the Dremel®, then cut the cannon off the brass rod.

For the front of the cannon, add some more putty, let it cure, and then sand it to shape. You can make it any shape you want; I like flared cannon barrels. Add a piece of tube to the front for the opening and any other details like handles, ridges, etc.