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Author Topic: How to: explosives edition  (Read 1177 times)
Cain McFaydon
Gunner
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United States United States


Mercenary Grenadier


« on: March 13, 2014, 10:25:57 pm »

I'm trying to find a suitable ammo for my explosives launcher and am having a hard time finding anything more than cartoonish round bombs and dynamite. Originally I had a 40mm grenade round in mind but now I'm not so sure. Can anyone give me an example of an early explosive? A list of what I might need to replicate the item would help tremendously.
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Keith_Beef
Snr. Officer
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France France


« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2014, 11:25:30 pm »

From the Wikipedia article on hand grenades.

Quote
In a letter to his sister, Colonel Hugh Robert Hibbert, described an improvised grenade employed during the Crimea War (1854–1856):[16]

    We have a new invention to annoy our friends in their pits. It consists in filling empty soda water bottles full of powder, old twisted nails and any other sharp or cutting thing we can find at the time, sticking a bit of tow in for a fuse then lighting it and throwing it quickly into our neighbours pit where it bursts, to their great annoyance. You may imagine their rage at seeing a soda water bottle come tumbling into a hole full of men with a little fuse burning away as proud as a real shell exploding and burying itself into soft parts of the flesh.


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Keith
Wormster
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2014, 12:14:01 am »

Calcium carbide, hydrogen dioxygenate and an ignition source make a satisfactory BOOM! when contained in a suitable glass vessel!
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2014, 12:29:02 am »

For something like a grenade launcher or mortar you two distinct types of explosive, the propellant which launches the round and the warhead itself.

In general pyrotechnic propellants are low explosives which have low detonation velocities and are designed to be stable and safe to handle, they will usually require an igniter which may be a spark, electric current or high explosive primer to cause them to detonate depending on the type of charge used.

During much of the Victorian era the standard propellant was black powder, this was an adequate propellant but is relatively ineffective as an explosive. You cold dump a fist full of black powder on a table and set fire to it with a match and suffer little more than singed eyebrows (don't do this).

It also has severe disadvantages in that it is difficult to store as it is both susceptible to damp and very combustible and it generates a huge amount of smoke when fired which is a big tactical disadvantage.  They also suffer form noticeable lag when firing which impares accurate shooting with small arms.

During the late 19th century so called smokeless propellanst such as cordite were developed. These were relatively safe to store and handle, produce much less smoke and give grater projective velocity for the same mass of propellant.

In terms of warheads we're mostly talking about high explosives (apart for things like smoke and incendiaries etc ). the definition of high explosives is that they detonate at faster than the speed of sound, producing a shock wave. Early high explosives were very unstable, things like fulminate of mercury. In the modern era bulk explosive have been developed which are much mores stable, starting with things like dynamite and now explosives can be tailored to very specific applications. These are generally very safe to store, transport and handle but need more unstable primary explosives to detonate them.
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Keith_Beef
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France France


« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2014, 01:05:41 am »

I didn't think that the OP was genuinely trying to create explosive devices, but to create suitably Steampunkish looking rounds that might look as if they could be launched by the device that he already has…
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Cain McFaydon
Gunner
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United States United States


Mercenary Grenadier


« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2014, 02:47:15 am »

In a letter to his sister...
Thats fantastic! I cant help but picture a bunch of muddy soldiers drinking coke and then stuffing bit and bobs into an old style glass bottle. Different soda, though. Still, good ideas from this.

BOOM!
Is that a real formula? Because if you have the exact ammounts I dont think I will need or want said ingredients due to the illicit nature of the combined result and questionable uses there of. Is the microphone gone?

(don't do this).
Kill joy. And I while I appreciate learning something new, I dont really want to play with explosives indoors. My wife will be cross.

I didn't think that the OP was genuinely trying to create explosive devices, but to create suitably Steampunkish looking rounds that might look as if they could be launched by the device that he already has…
On the nose good sir! I was going to try for a 'detonates-on-impact' sort of look, but missiles are to new age. Besides, if I wanted missiles, I'd have gone to the old Chinese Rocket design. No, my device (The Orvandil MK.1.5) is more of a hand steam "grenade launcher" to use the new newfangled term.
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Wormster
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2014, 07:48:16 am »

Is that a real formula? Because if you have the exact ammounts I dont think I will need or want said ingredients due to the illicit nature of the combined result and questionable uses there of. Is the microphone gone?

Oh yes it is a real formula, commonly known as "carbide and water", a basic producer of acetylene gas (as used by welders for years) it also has other uses (lighting for your steam powered velocipede etc, etc)
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Keith_Beef
Snr. Officer
****
France France


« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2014, 09:19:05 am »

I didn't think that the OP was genuinely trying to create explosive devices, but to create suitably Steampunkish looking rounds that might look as if they could be launched by the device that he already has…

On the nose good sir! I was going to try for a 'detonates-on-impact' sort of look, but missiles are to new age. Besides, if I wanted missiles, I'd have gone to the old Chinese Rocket design. No, my device (The Orvandil MK.1.5) is more of a hand steam "grenade launcher" to use the new newfangled term.


Read the Wikipedia article, and take a look at the Ketchum Grenade used by the Unionists during the War of Northern Agression. It looks like a hand thrown missile. The tail and fins ensure that the it hits nose-first, setting off the detonator.
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bicyclebuilder
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Netherlands Netherlands


A.K.A. Scanner Camera Builder


« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2014, 09:20:39 am »

Is that a real formula? Because if you have the exact ammounts I dont think I will need or want said ingredients due to the illicit nature of the combined result and questionable uses there of. Is the microphone gone?


Oh yes it is a real formula, commonly known as "carbide and water", a basic producer of acetylene gas (as used by welders for years) it also has other uses (lighting for your steam powered velocipede etc, etc)


Yep, it's a real formula. On new years eve, we Dutch (well, mostly farmers) put it in a milk churn, light it and BOOM! The lid flies away. Happy newyear!  Grin

Back on topic. I think if you want to create the illusion of a grenade launcher, I'd go for the standard black ball with sparking detonation rope. It won't "detonate on impact" but it gets the point across immediately. Either that or a small version of a naval mine.
this painted black or rusty: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bumble_Ball
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Cain McFaydon
Gunner
**
United States United States


Mercenary Grenadier


« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2014, 09:47:34 pm »

Happy newyear!
Sounds hard on the churns. lol

I think I will have to make a few different kinds of props just to have them. The Ketchum and mine ideas could be fun props. Plus a few sticks of TNT... This is going to be awesome.
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von Corax
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Prof. Darwin Prætorius von Corax


« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2014, 03:12:14 am »

According to an article on The Source of All Truth and Knowledge, the first successful breech-loading cannon was patented in 1837, and development continued apace for most of the latter half of the 19th Century. I suggest you regard your grenade launcher as a shoulder-fired mortar, and consider using extremely stubby cannon-shell-style ammunition with lovely brass casings.
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Cain McFaydon
Gunner
**
United States United States


Mercenary Grenadier


« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2014, 07:20:38 am »

You, my dear sir, have given me a new view point on my project! A bolt of inspiration to rival the muses of old! I will begin the mk 2 as soon as I can find my sketch pad!
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Keith_Beef
Snr. Officer
****
France France


« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2014, 10:01:51 am »

What kind of range do you intend your grenade launcher to have? I imagine you want the grenades to not only "look the part" and be instantly recognisable, but also to be big enough to catch the eye. So that determines a weight for the grenade, and calibre of the launcher.

Now you can think of the launcher design and the propellant. This being Steampunk, a small steam generator plumbed to the breech of a launcher could be made. You should be able to make up a launcher that works with compressed air, making all the requisite hissing noises, and add a mechanism to make some mist.

Or how about using dry ice, dumped into a pressure vessel and allowed to slowly come up to room temperature? Some more dry ice pellets kept in a vacuum flask and released into a small water trough open to the air behind an æsthetic grill would make a cloud of steamy fog.
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Cain McFaydon
Gunner
**
United States United States


Mercenary Grenadier


« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2014, 06:33:41 pm »

Now your talking my language my friend! However, I dont have the skills (or tools for that matter) to make a convincing replica to that degree. As for the range and all that, thanks to the inspiration of  von Corax, I've decided to modify the original design for something closer to a driggs breech loading 1 pound cannon. I agree that the the generator needs to be made though. I was going to make a external hikers frame out of wood or aluminum and have a pair of twin tanks piping into the rear of the armament. Still working on that though.

As for ammo, the one pound shell should fit the bill quite well.
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