by Nelson 3 XII 08
Have you ever wondered how a shooting LEGO cannon works? In this article, we will dissect a cannon and take a look!
WARNING: Disassembling your LEGO shooting cannons can cause irrepairable damage to the components. Do so at your own risk!
Disassembly: Using two small pieces of wire or hard plastic (a large paper clip works well, especially if bent with a pliers to form a custom tool), insert them into the small holes on either side of the cannon barrel.
Pull on the knob of the cannon as you press the wire into the holes - just be sure that you press ever-so gently, as too much pressure will cause the retaining clips to break.
As you pull on the knob, the clips should disengage and the entire mechanism will slide out.
The cannon consists of 4 pieces: The barrel, the plunger (knob), the spring, and the breech.
If you inspect the breech cover for damage to the clips, you will probably see some stress marks there now. Hopefully the damage is minimal.
The knob/plunger is an unusual part, with the center area looking much like a Technic axle. It is designed to fit into the bore of the barrel with the prongs aligned in a vertical direction.
Nothing like looking down the (non-shooting) end of a cannon barrel:
The spring is roughtly 7/8" long and 1/4" wide. It fits over the knob and down the plunger, and repels against the breech when the knob is pulled.
That's all there is to it. To reassemble, place the spring over the knob, and insert the plunger into the cannon barrel. Cover with the breech, and press down until the clips engage to
lock it in place.
Shooting cannons became available in 1989, and were included in the early LEGO Pirate sets of that year. Changes to US child-safety laws ended the inclusion of this part in
LEGO sets sold in America, but it was widely available in other countries. The black-handled, non-shooting LEGO cannon became a replacement part in the USA and is identical to the shooting cannon - except
there is no spring, just a white plastic collar in its place. LEGO Pirate Fans have modified the black-handled cannons by using springs from ballpoint pens, making their own shooting cannons.
It is very nice to see that LEGO was able to include the shooting cannon design once again in the 2009 Pirate sets.
The breech can also be used for other purposes, such as making a 'cannonhead' pirate:
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