Captain Dee

[Cannon Foundry] The Dragonfire Gunworks of King's Harbour

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Sir Dee was a man of mystery. His arrival in King's Harbour had been largely without fanfare, and though he had made a few notable public appearances (having assisted with constructing the Majestic Gardens, the Department of Time bell tower, and a portion of the Royal Wagonway connecting the two coastal settlements) he usually kept to his own affairs. He had quietly gone to work at something secretive in the jungle just beyond the edge of the settlement. He spent most of his time there, beyond sight of prying eyes, and finally the time had come to unveil his efforts to the world. And thus the first colonial division of the Dee family's famed Dragonfire Gunworks Cannon Foundry entered into public service producing cast-iron cannons.

Overviews:

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Overview, minus loose barrels and complete cannon:

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Close-up of the front:

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Top view, minus roof. On the left is the furnace. In front of it (left rear of building) is the casting pit with two freshly-cast ("poured") cannon barrels pointing upward, cooling. In the left-front is a new cannon on a large sawhorse after having its mold broken up, waiting to have its casting bell/sprue (the grey minifig head piece) sawed off of the muzzle (after which it will be ready for the boring mill, which isn't shown). In the right-front, just behind/beside Sir Dee, is a short breech end mold, which goes in the bottom of the casting pit, facing upward as shown. Behind it, a long barrel mold (which will be vertically mated to the breech end mold in the casting pit) slowly cures over a bed of coals. In the right rear and side room, a single-use barrel-shaped clay pattern (over which a mold will be formed) sits atop its sawhorse supports. In the center of the main room is the post and beam supporting the chain hoist which is used to handle the molds and cannons:

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The entire chain hoist removes easily for better access and much better views inside:

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Close-up of the casting pit. This pit is deep enough to stand the molds vertically. The molds are packed into place with sand or damp clay using the shovels and tamping bars in the barrels beside the furnace hearth. The long lever on the left is used to open the furnace tap, and the molten iron flows through channels formed in the sand/clay and into the mouths of the molds by gravity. Excess iron is ladled into cannonball molds (not shown):

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Another view of the barrel-shaped clay pattern (left) and the mold curing over coals (right). The pattern is precisely formed from clay over a wooden mandrel (smooth tapered rod) which extends out both ends for easy handling. The single-use mold is constructed from a mix of clay, sand, and fibers, and is formed over the surface of the pattern. (Not shown is the series of longitudinal iron bars and hoops clamped onto the exterior of the mold for support and easy handling by the hoist.) The pattern remains encased inside the mold until curing is complete. Then the mandrel is pulled out by its wide end  after being hammered several times to break it free from inside the pattern, and the entire pattern is broken up and removed from inside the mold cavity. The mold cavity is then cleaned and brushed with a non-stick material to minimize the amount of mold material that cooks to the surface of the molten iron during casting:

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Another view of the new cannon with intact casting bell (left), breech-end mold (right front), and long barrel mold:

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Looking in from a different angle:

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Here are the major molding components, lined up in the order of operation. Left-right are the bare mandrel, a partially-completed pattern, (Sir Dee and a new cannon), a completed pattern, a partially-completed mold over a pattern, and a completed mold before the mandrel and pattern are removed:

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And finally, a look at the other side of the building:

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And that concludes our little tour of the cannon foundry!

Game Notes: We finally see my sigfig in his official capacity. This will be licensed as a Medium Artisan property, which means King's Harbour is now a City! Hooray!

General Build Notes: Here's the important part, folks. When I discovered the old Classic-Pirates website (which eventually brought me here to Eurobricks) I spent quite some time looking through all the different MOC indexes. Besides the ships, out of all the material I saw, the Community Build-winning Cannon Foundry by long-inactive member @exotrator has always remained fresh in my memory. It's simply a great composition, a bit small perhaps (per the contest rules) but still a beautiful build :wub: . It provided the spark of inspiration to research the colonial-era cannon-production process, as described above. (Incidentally, most cannons produced in Europe and the Americas during the 1600s and 1700s were built using this basic method, plus a central core mold that produced a hollow bore that was drilled out fully by the boring mill. Solid casting and boxed sand molding were developed in the mid-to-late 1700s.) I have long wanted to build my own version of exotrator's foundry with a more functional interior, and this is the result. The furnace should be much larger at ground level, and I almost built it that way, but finally decided to stay true to the original with an unrealistically small furnace - basically just a chimney, really. Despite this intentional flaw I'm very happy with the final result.

This Episode of "Ridiculously Part-Intensive Roof Techniques" is brought to you by LEGO Batman Movie 70904 Clayface Splat Attack (and other sources.) :grin: There are more parts in the roof (small round plates in Medium Dark Flash color) than everything else combined. :pir-laugh:

Comments and questions are welcome. Thanks for viewing and I hope the text was understandable. :classic:

 

@Phred No, this isn't "it." I'm still working on "it." :pir-wink:

Edited by Captain Dee
Reason for edit: add links

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A very nice build! I like your cobblestone technique and how illustrious this foundry looks. 

I also had plans to build an artillery foundry, Corrington will not have an arms problem anytime soon.

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That roof!!! *huh* :oh: :wub:

Very cool - great concept and capital execution!  The colors are really nicely chosen and your depiction of the cannon-molding process is excellent :thumbup:  Love all those cranes and the cannon hanging out front!  And that is some phenomenal photography too - I was debating with myself whether it was an LDD rendering or not, and only was swayed over by the tiniest particle of dust in one of the pics :laugh:  Captain Dee's precarious pose balanced on those flagstones almost had me convinced that there wasn't any real gravity effect here though :tongue: :grin:  Very nicely done all around!

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I'm with Garmadon - that roof! :wub:  I love the detail of the whole process too, you can sure tell you put a lot of love into this MOC!  The stone pathway looks great too, and Sir Dee looks to be quite in his element!

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14 hours ago, Captain Dee said:

This Episode of "Ridiculously Part-Intensive Roof Techniques" is brought to you by LEGO Batman Movie 70904 Clayface Splat Attack (and other sources.) :grin: There are more parts in the roof (small round plates in Medium Dark Flash color) than everything else combined. :pir-laugh:

Well, they say there is a fine line between madness and genius... :pir-laugh:

It is a well thought out and gorgeously clean MOC.  I'm bloody envious. You have really set a high bar for yourself (and for us poor slobs) to follow.  Great job!

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Thanks for the input.

On 2/14/2018 at 5:14 AM, Spud The Viking said:

A very nice build! I like your cobblestone technique and how illustrious this foundry looks. 

I also had plans to build an artillery foundry, Corrington will not have an arms problem anytime soon.

The cobblestone works, but there are better ways of doing it. I think it looks better in bigger scenes and from a distance. Up close in smaller scenes doesn't look as good to me. But it is nice and bumpy, just like the real thing. :grin:

And we can always use more foundries. Go for it! :excited:

21 hours ago, LM71Blackbird said:

Very impressive build! Roof definitely looks like it took a while to build, but it turned out great!

Yes, it took a long time to build the roof. But it was worth it in the end. And my goal is to make some kind of impression. With so much material being posted, I try to focus on something unique.

21 hours ago, Garmadon said:

That roof!!! *huh* :oh: :wub:

Very cool - great concept and capital execution!  The colors are really nicely chosen and your depiction of the cannon-molding process is excellent :thumbup:  Love all those cranes and the cannon hanging out front!  And that is some phenomenal photography too - I was debating with myself whether it was an LDD rendering or not, and only was swayed over by the tiniest particle of dust in one of the pics :laugh:  Captain Dee's precarious pose balanced on those flagstones almost had me convinced that there wasn't any real gravity effect here though :tongue: :grin:  Very nicely done all around!

The roof, yes, the roof. :grin: It's the main external focal point for sure, just like the build that inspired it. It was the limiting factor: I exhausted my supply of those pieces and sized the building to match.

I wanted the photos to appear in a certain order, which meant that the description of the process is all out of order, but I think it gets the point across. I left out most of the finer details - that will be for another time. :pir-wink:

Yep, it's real bricks. The photos are better than usual, but I wouldn't say phenomenal. I took these outdoors under very good lighting conditions. And I try to keep dust blown off, but you just can't defeat the stuff entirely...

You noticed everything to spot that pose. Minifigs obviously can't stand on those pieces unaided, so he's propped against the columns, but he never fell except when I accidentally knocked him over. Speaking of which, I had 4 other minifigs that were supposed to be inside working, but with the entire floor tiled - and no jumpers to attach them to - I knew they'd never stay upright while I moved the build around (and modified the scene) while taking photos, and at the last minute I pulled them out entirely.

21 hours ago, Kai NRG said:

I'm with Garmadon - that roof! :wub:  I love the detail of the whole process too, you can sure tell you put a lot of love into this MOC!  The stone pathway looks great too, and Sir Dee looks to be quite in his element!

Details make the difference, but of course you know that already. And I did "put a lot of love into" it: four years of research, to be exact. And yes, Sir Dee is very much in his element!

18 hours ago, Elostirion said:

Really cool - and that roof is amazing!"

I really wanted to use the small round brick terra cotta technique, but I wanted this color, and I had all these small round plates, so this is the result. It's nothing new - historic builders have been making walls of stacked small round plates for years. I really like the look for either application.

15 hours ago, Kwatchi said:

Well, they say there is a fine line between madness and genius... :pir-laugh:

It is a well thought out and gorgeously clean MOC.  I'm bloody envious. You have really set a high bar for yourself (and for us poor slobs) to follow.  Great job!

Hmm... I'm certainly not a genius, so that must mean... :pir-laugh:

It's a simple build, really. Those colors just go together really well, and tiling the whole floor transformed the overall appearance.

I think it's one of my better builds. I'm glad you all like it. :classic:

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Another top quality build, that roof is really impressive, I ncan't imagine how many studs you employed there, but the result is well worthy. I like also how you've portrayed the production process.

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The overall aestethics of this build are amazing - the colours of roof, walls and windows go so very well together (and one must admire how clean the whole foundry is - considering they are working with molten iron and burning coal, they have managed a high level of the pristine! :pir-wink:

The roof is fabulous, but what stands out to is the process - the different stages of completion of the molds, and how it is all fitted into a relatively small footprint. I am lowing the bellows and the cranehoists too. Also, I have noted down your simple but brilliant a-frames - something I will certainly... STEAL! :pir-tongue:

Oh, and I have licensed it in the name of the settlement, which is now a city! PARTAY! :pir-grin:

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Captain Dee, I'm impressed! You accurately depicted the whole process of gun casting with a very clever use of parts; I especially like the casting pit, I had planned to build something similar in the past but I couldn't obtain a satisfying result.

The roof is very nice too, and I suppose it wasn't easy make it stay together!

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A very beautiful foundry Captain Dee, very impressive - especially that roof!! That is a serious amount of round plates and they look wonderful. I like the clean lines of the building and the long windows. The explanation and representation of the process are also great. All up a fantastic job!

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Excellent Foundry @Captain Dee! As someone who has built several, I must say yours far outdoes my own. The roof is simply superb, and I find the whole build excellent. Keep up the great work!

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Captain Dee, Do you perhaps also posted (some of) the pictures elsewhere? tinypic is blocked/banned via the satelite connection i'm using. :S 

Bart 

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Thanks for the input.

On 2/15/2018 at 8:43 PM, Bodi said:

Another top quality build, that roof is really impressive, I can't imagine how many studs you employed there, but the result is well worthy. I like also how you've portrayed the production process.

The roof has ~1500 parts. I wish I had more! I think the depiction of the whole process would be somewhat easier with custom guns, but for this first try I wanted to use the old standard cannon design.

On 2/16/2018 at 2:27 AM, Bregir said:

The overall aestethics of this build are amazing - the colours of roof, walls and windows go so very well together (and one must admire how clean the whole foundry is - considering they are working with molten iron and burning coal, they have managed a high level of the pristine! :pir-wink:

The roof is fabulous, but what stands out to is the process - the different stages of completion of the molds, and how it is all fitted into a relatively small footprint. I am lowing the bellows and the cranehoists too. Also, I have noted down your simple but brilliant a-frames - something I will certainly... STEAL! :pir-tongue:

Oh, and I have licensed it in the name of the settlement, which is now a city! PARTAY! :pir-grin:

I think the main colors go well together too, but it's hard to go wrong with white and earth tones. As for the windows I had no option since I only had enough lattice pieces in gold.

A real foundry might not be so clean, but it mostly appears this way because of the tiled floor. Before placing those pieces it didn't look so clean. And it wouldn't be very dirty right after startup either.

I need to show the process on a larger scale to show more details. I couldn't really fit everything in this small scene. And the A-frames are indeed very simple, but they work well. Steal away!

On 2/16/2018 at 4:42 AM, Keymonus said:

Captain Dee, I'm impressed! You accurately depicted the whole process of gun casting with a very clever use of parts; I especially like the casting pit, I had planned to build something similar in the past but I couldn't obtain a satisfying result.

The roof is very nice too, and I suppose it wasn't easy make it stay together!

I've never seen a LEGO depiction of this type of cannon-production before. The casting pit was a compromise; I wanted to show depth but it would be far more part-intensive to do so, and it was much easier to show the pit filled in. The molds should be below the level of the sand/clay, and I experimented with it but finally decided to just put them on top to show their shape better. And I really like your "process" builds; I never commented on your excellent powder mill, and something like this would pair well with it.

The roof was somewhat fragile when the only connection point was across the back, but connecting the plates and tiles across the front made it very sturdy.

On 2/16/2018 at 4:57 AM, Ayrlego said:

A very beautiful foundry Captain Dee, very impressive - especially that roof!! That is a serious amount of round plates and they look wonderful. I like the clean lines of the building and the long windows. The explanation and representation of the process are also great. All up a fantastic job!

I was trying to achieve something like your signature style with this. Of course photography and presentation make a big difference. And the process was an essential part of the build.

On 2/16/2018 at 11:18 PM, Mesabi said:

Excellent Foundry @Captain Dee! As someone who has built several, I must say yours far outdoes my own. The roof is simply superb, and I find the whole build excellent. Keep up the great work!

Corrington should have no shortage of cannons with all these foundries. I liked your depictions too, with the later and more advanced techniques. And I plan to expand this concept so stay tuned!

On 2/17/2018 at 4:22 AM, Bart said:

Captain Dee, Do you perhaps also posted (some of) the pictures elsewhere? tinypic is blocked/banned via the satelite connection i'm using. :S 

Bart 

Hmm... no, I haven't posted any pics elsewhere. I've thought about joining Flickr but just haven't done it. I'm sorry you can't see the photos. Sometimes my old phone wouldn't show pics from certain hosting sites either.

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On 2/18/2018 at 8:56 AM, blackdeathgr said:

Loved it! (and I was about to write that someone bought clayface the moment I saw your moc :tongue: )

Thanks. And yep, I bought the set. As the review here on EB states, it offers lots of parts in Medium Dark Flesh for the first time. I'm not at all interested in the set (I'm no fan of Batman, superheroes, or comics in general), but it makes a nice parts pack.

On 2/19/2018 at 10:52 AM, Professor Thaum said:

A beautifull factory... errr... with a lots of medium flesh parts... well done the 2654 upside down for the pavement

Thanks. Technically it's an artisan property; true factories almost seem too modern for the time period, although there are many smaller-scale options. And yes, there are lots of MDF parts here. I wish I had more! I can't take credit for the cobblestone; it's been done many times before.

Stay tuned for a better depiction of this whole process. :classic:

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