For the Ottawa Comicon in May, I created a steampunk-themed rifle for one of my friends' costume. I was inspired by various other steampunk weaponry throughout the internet, but decided a non-bulky, simplistic rifle was the way to go. Of course, this way additional elements could eventually be added to enhance the steampunk flair, though I must admit, I am quite satisfied with the result. I attacked this project with an open mind and wasn't really sure how things were going to turn out, since I really only acquired the necessary elements along the way; digging through my junk at home and rifling (pun intended!) through garage sales and Value Village wares!
I must admit that the longest part of the project was cutting out the wooden rifle handle; the actual putting together of the pieces was easy. I modeled the handle after an old BB gun that we have at home and eye-balling the curves and shaping the wood precisely was a tedious affair. Reffering to the various images, you can notice the gradual carving of the handle and continuous comparison to the model. I am afraid I cannot offer anything more substantial in terms of measurement or blueprint.
I hope you may find your own inspiration!
Step 1: Cutting Out the Wooden Rifle Handle
This is certainly the most time consuming step of the procedure, though it is essentially the heart and soul of this rifle so the more time and effort put into it, the better the result!
I began with a 2" by 6" plank of pine. It was about 3.5 feet long, though was cut down to size when I traced the contours of the modeled BB gun. Referring to the images, you can see that I cut out a general shape using a Band Saw and then compared it to the BB gun to get an idea of how to cut out the 3 dimentional curves properly. This involved a lot of eye-balling and referring back to the model. Right off the bat, I noticed that the BB gun itself was only 1.5" at its widest which required removing 0.5" right off of my 2" by 6" plank. Unfortunately, I forgot that we had a planar which would have spared me some time, but we learn from our mistakes, right?
P.S.F.Y.I. I like to take many pictures! :D
Step 2: Preparing the Barrel
After various trips to garage sales and thrift shops, I happened upon a lamp at Value Village which I thought would suit perfectly. I intended my rifle to have the old school open ended barrel at the end and the lamp provided exactly the pieces I required. As an added feature, the lamp was adjustable, allowing for an adjustable barrel length. I hadn't planned on this initially, but found it to be a nice touch.
The lamp components had to be taken apart and the base was grinded out to then be reattached to the end of the lamp post.
Referring to the pictures, you can see the portion that was cut out using a grinder and which I subsequently sanded down with various grains to remove the sharp edge.
Step 3: Attaching the Barrel
The barrel at this point is now ready to be attached to the wooden handle. To do this, I needed to gouge out a portion of the wooden handle to insert the barrel into. I used various router bits and an electric drill to do most of this, as well as a drill press. Again, the more time and precision you put into this, the nicer it will turn out. I did my best to mould the cut-out exactly to the barrel to allow it to sit in perfectly with very little play; I achieved this to some degree, but again, the more time you put into this, the better the turnout.
The barrel is set in about halfway, and I used some bent metallic straps that I had spray painted to secure it down. The Adjusting Nut for the barrel length was a removable screw and so I used it to align the barrel with the metallic straps to ensure the barrel doesn't move in the cut out groove. This also permits the barrel to be removed if ever necessary. An additional strap was added to secure the barrel down and was simply screwed into the wood.
To paint the metal straps I used a non corrosive, brass colored spray paint.
Step 4: Varnishing and Woodburning the Wood
To give the gun a steampunk flair, I decided to woodburn a few designs into the wood and then stain the wood and finish with a varnish. I picked out a few neat gear designs from the internet and a got to work (this was also a relatively time consuming process).
For those who don't know what wood-burning/pyrography is, here is a brief summation : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrography
The internet has ample tutorials and the likes to help you get started if you wish to add this to your project!
Essentially: find the designs you like, burn them onto the wood, stain the wood, and then varnish with polyurethane.
Step 5: Final Assembly
Once everything is nice and dry, we put all the pieces together!
- The Barrel is inserted into the cutout grouve and then held down with the metal straps (be sure to incorporate the adjusting nut).
- The "trigger" is a semicircular pipe holder (used for plumbing) that is also painted and then screwed in on the bottom.
- The leather strap is an old belt that is screwed into the butt of the rifle on one end and then passed through a 0.5" copper pipe holder at the other end that is also screwed in.
Voilà! Your steampunk styled gun is complete!
Step 6: Show Off Your Building Talents!
Have fun! :)