Steampunk Heavy Machine Gun Sentry (Work In Progress)

  • NOTE:  Updates are added at the end of this page.

Steampunk Heavy Machine Gun (Remote Operated Sentry System)

I’ve been working on the H.M.G. the past weeks.  I’ve made more progress than shown, but I can’t assemble it further until I get the sides finalized.  A little work still remains, but the photo shows the all but completed barrel jacket assembly.  I might lash a leather strap around the upright filler before I attach the cap.  Also, I’ll make the knot less noticeable.  Thanks for your interest.


EDITED (5/9/16)  I’ve been putting some hours into the Sentry project.  I have the cabinet distressed and stained.  Both sides are completed and ready for assembly.

For the most part, the inside is all but finalized.  The gear interaction has been figured out, but I need to mock up the barrel and firing mechanism.  The empty brass chute needs to be attached as well as painted.  Exactly how it’ll be attached is a good question at the moment.

I haven’t began to design the steam engine/plumbing, but I have stumbled across suitable gun sights.

The barrel and barrel jacket remain as ugly as the picture above.  However, I have the para cord to restring the leather cover.  I still haven’t figured how to cap the top without glue or insulation foam.

As it turns out, the muzzle flash seems to be the only actual gun part used in the construction.  I’ll probably make a replacement in the future.  As can be seen in the following photo, the steam engine will be positioned beneath the barrel jacket instead of beside it.  DSCN0427

I’ll begin work on the tripod/base as soon as the cabinet is completed which should be pretty soon.  It’ll be four legged and shorter than the old swivel chair base would allow meaning I might actually be able to display it under the glass-topped end table like I originally envisioned.

EDITED (5/10/16)  –  I believe I’ve completed the internal feed and shooting mechanism.

Next, the steam engine and plumbing need to be added.  I’m waiting on some glass covers for my gauges (which will probably have to be homemade).  I scrapped the few gauges I have since they took a bit too much space and are too modern.  Making my own will allow me to customize them for machine gun use.

EDITED (5/12/16) – Yesterday I spent my hours finishing what I thought was already done.  Today I caught up, but before I assemble the cabinet, I need to replace the Swiss cheesed inner boards.  I’ve taken the opportunity to readjust the protruding gear so more can be seen.  The replacement board isn’t as wide as the original meaning I have less room for error.

The inner center board mounts the barrel’s threaded rod as well as the internal roller placed above the barrel and the hole for the spring and guide rod placed in the rear of the cabinet.  DSCN0432

Here is a photo of the interior.  It’ll be a bit more presentable when finished.  The space to the right shows the rear pocket which will hold the “recoil spring” and maintenance props.

EDITED (5/13/16) – The inside gears are about as complete as they are going to get.  I attached the top completing the cabinet.  Of course, measuring one and cutting twice I manged to put several holes into the bottom board’s underside.  It looks like someone hit it with buck shot, but thankfully it won’t be seen.  I have repainted the ammunition chute and the side plate.  I can see an end in sight.  I need to get a punch set to make a brass identification plaque to mount to the side plate.

In the morning, I should be ready to mount the engine and begin the plumbing.

I was going to take a photo, but I forgot the memory card and was too lazy to go back to the basement.  It looks nearly identical to yesterday’s picture.

EDITED (16-5-18) – Progress is being made.  A lot of time is being wasted while waiting for paint to dry.  Also, I’ve removed and patched up the mounting holes and recessed door bolts.  My realignment of the front and back boards caused the holes to be out of alignment by a few millimeters.  Just enough to force me to fill i the gap and start over.  I haven’t done any drilling yet.  I’m waiting on some threaded rod and wing nuts from Ebay before I do anything final.

The muzzle flash hider arrived, but I’m not certain I like the look.  I situated the engine and decided to use 1/4″ tubing.  The larger scale goes better with the overall look.

Next, I need to prep and mount the barrel so I can begin running copper tubing and placing the gauges and valves.  I’ll spray the interior gears and mechanisms with some fine oil (WD-40) for protection against the notorious humidity here in Delaware.  I’ll do so just before I remount the ammo chute.  Otherwise, I’ll get the cloth ammo belt full of oil when I load it.

EDITED  (16/5/19) – Great work late in the evening.  An adjustment gave me zero tolerance for installing the gear on the interior barrel.  I then cut the barrel rod 1/4″ too short.  Fortunately, the nut managed to grab the threaded rod and tightened up well even with the large washer.  Now I wonder if I’ll have enough space to install the engine without removing everything?

No photographs as it is late and my camera is being temperamental.   Plus, I just took off my shoes.  I should have some good pics tomorrow after I attach the steam engine and restring the barrel jacket.  I can’t put on the doors until I get the rod and wing nuts. It might be delivered tomorrow, but doubtful.

I still need to think up a solution for making and placing the gauges.  I guess I need to finalize the rear sight before I can determine the space available for the gauge placement.

I haven’t been able to find the sight glass and other plumbing items I bought so long ago.  No idea where they’re at.  My organizational plan of using plastic storage bins and randomly sized cardboard boxes has failed me.

EDITED (16-5-20) – A rare late morning post!  I restrung the barrel jacket to what I believe will be the final look.  Only one side since the window glare prevented shooting from the other side.  Yes, I could have turned the gun itself around, but that is only something that dawned on me just now.  Because I am an idiot.

I would have done a complete mock up, but without the wing nuts the sides will probably fall off.  Also, it is getting pretty hefty.  I suspect the wood is the primary culprit since there is so little metal.

I replaced the muzzle brake (real gun part) with an alternative.  It is a bit larger than I hoped, but it is growing on me.  I think when the project is finished it will look correct.  Also, I managed to rid the inside wood block holding the “L” bar stock in the middle front.  It looks more clean.  The ammo chute is not installed.

EDITED (16-5-20.22:35) – I mounted the steam engine.  That was an experience.  The brass screws look nice, but they bend with the slighted tap of the hammer.  Anyways, I managed to get two of the four bolts fastened tight.  The other two are wedged in place secured only by friction and hope.

EDITED (16-5-24) – The rod and wing nuts arrived yesterday and all but one went in with ease.  The steel side plate was right on the edge of where I had to drill.  Moving the hole to the wood strip in front of the late meant the hole would not line up with the plank attached to the barrel.  Anyways, after a day and a half of thought, I created a metal extension to allow the threaded rod to be drilled in the wood strip.  As I drill the last hole, the drill jumped and hurled the piece to an known location.  Excellent.  I decided to skip the middle man and used a large washer that matches those under the wing nuts.  It seems to have worked.

Everything is drying exceptionally slow today so I have no pics of today’s labors, yet.  I’m eager to see the cabinet completed and will probably have a pic later tonight.

The engine and plumbing are not going well.  As you will see, the engine is attached, but I have not found the items I bought years ago.  I have two valves, a oil cup with sight glass and that’s about it.  The valves are large and are not what I envisioned.  I still need to place gauges and that brings up the whole need-to-make-the-gauges issue.  Also the gun sights…

Damn it!  I thought I was further along.  That reminds me.  I have no idea where my Mark 19 and other sights are located in the basement.  Next project?  Organize the damn basement.

Steampunk Heavy Machine Gun Cabinet

Still a ways to go, but I need some motivation to continue.

EDITED (16/5/27.14:23hrs) – Not sure how the pipes and parts will be arranged or attached.  A visit to Home Depot was disappointing.  It seems the brass fittings are useless.  Anyways, time to do a little research on steam engine plumbing.

UPDATE (16/5/28.07:51) – I painted and attached the screw eyes and wing nut holding chains.  The high humidity of this week continues to slow drying time.  The detail really helps dress up the cabinet especially the hand crank side which was too barren.  Also, last night, I discovered a suitable barrel cap.  I need to figure out how to mount the front sight to this cap.  It needs to fold down to allow for a completely flat top.  This is proving to be a problem.

Most aggravating is the lack of ideas for the rear sight and the mounting of the gauges (pocket watch crystals and paper print outs).  They will probably be mounted flush with the outside of the rear wood surface.  This provides the most room for the rear sight storage.  However, placing the valve knobs will be somewhat tricky.

UPDATE (16/6/02) – I spent the final hours of the morning cutting the barrel spout sleeve and cap.  The cap needed a second coat of paint so I’ll have to finish it tomorrow.  I center punched the cap to mount the front sight, but have not drilled the hole.  I should be certain it is what I want to use before continuing.

UPDATE (16/6/03) – The front sight is tentatively completed.  Unfortunately, the sight will not fold down as I hoped.  Instead, it will be screwed into a hole atop the barrel cap.

UPDATE (16/6/14) – Inspiration hit me yesterday and so today I built the bones of the sentry’s base.  I need to pop some gears between the two boards and perhaps on top of the upper one.  The center flange rotates freely, but I’m having difficulty believing it will stop the cabinet from tipping over.  Hmmm.


UPDATE (16/6/15) – I bought and modded the stand.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the exact pieces I needed and so I compromised.  Of course, I was forced to buy a few items off the internet.  I then decided I didn’t care for the handle layout and bought some new tees as well.  These will replace the couplings between the planks.  The 3/4″ pipe sticks out the side of the tee and project out from between the planks about three inches.  The fittings then turns 90 degrees to form a handle.  Only two handles are on the stand.  The legs are 1″ pipes from foot to cap, but the attached handle will be 3/4″fittings.


UPDATE (16/6/16) – I got a 3/4″ 4-way splitter tonight.  The cross fitting can be seen at center.  The addition of a coupling and close nipple allow enough space for the two half-gears mounted to the side of the 4-way.  I also mounted the two gears to the top of the plank.  There is just enough space to allow the spindle to rotate at the center without contacting the gears.  I need to tighten up the center holes, but can’t find any pipe that will fit and still allow the spindle to rotate.  Thus, the cabinet will rotate left/right, but will not tilt up/down.

UPDATE (16/6/21) – I received the remainder of the pipe fittings and have dry fit everything.  I’m not sure if I like the look.  There is too much pipe and metal.  I’m considering placing wood atop the longer portion of the metal legs.  It would balance the look of the wood from the top and break up the metal’s black color.  I might also wrap the two handles on the base in leather, but I haven’t any more of the barrel jacket leather so it might look “off”.