ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Faux Machine Gun

Updated on May 8, 2020
Roswick profile image

Robert Roswick is a grey-haired tinkerer born, raised and living in Bismarck, North Dakota.

The Ask


I get this call, "Bob, this is Dan. Mike says you can build us a couple of machine guns for our T6 Texans."

I respond, "I think I can, but I would have to want to."

"I'm looking for someone to help me out."

In the words of my idol, Louie Zachmeier: "Never do the same job twice and only do what you find interesting."

I respond, "I'm interested."

The T6 Texan
The T6 Texan | Source


Next step is to research what kind of gun is in a T6 Texan. It is a trainer, Like a P-51 with training wheels. So it doesn't say "Iceman" or "Maverick" on the side of the cockpit. It should say "Bedwetter" or "Mollycoddle". Given the only purpose for a gun on a trainer is practice, its armament is limited, probably small caliber. I did learn the South Africans used these planes and I understand they used the guns for real so it is not just a trainer. A quick trip to Wikipedia and other countries used them in a ground support role.

I find the gun I think is in this machine.

Photo of the Barrel Shroud on a 30 cal machine gun.
Photo of the Barrel Shroud on a 30 cal machine gun.

The Nest

Next step is to see the gun's nest in the wing of the airplane. Dan has the covers off. There is a bin for a belt of ammo. Also he opened the bay for the gun. I find a fore and aft cradle. The fore cradle is 2.2 inches above the aft cradle. The barrel is narrow and the receiver is fat so I assume the difference between the height of the barrel shroud and the bottom of the receiver is 2.2 inches. Each cradle has a 2 inch circular depression around the mount. The depression is 0.05" deep.

The fore cradle for the machine gun
The fore cradle for the machine gun | Source

The fore cradle has a 1" or so hole that I come to find is tapered. Well it is tapered in Dan's aircraft and only in Dan's aircraft. In Mikes aircraft there is no taper - interesting. I believe this to be from wear. In MIke's aircraft there is a cable. We think this is to charge the machine gun before firing. The aft cradle has a squared off hole that looks like it accepts a locking pin.

The aft cradle for the machine gun
The aft cradle for the machine gun | Source

This may make sense. If the large front pin is for for handling the recoil then only having a rear lock would make the gun very fast and easy to swap out. Now that I know pin dimensions and offsets I can model this out in CAD. I need the practice in learning Fusion 360 so we will see what we can do in that package.

The design in Fusion 360
The design in Fusion 360 | Source

Seeing how the only thing we see is the barrel, then it is only a barrel that I need to make. This simplifies things tremendously.

The front view
The front view | Source

I design an expanding nut for the fore cradle so when you tighten it up, it wedges itself into the tapered hole. Aluminum is gummy. It will stick in the hole. This will work well.

I'm off to Pahlke Steel to get some pipe that looks like a 30 caliper barrel and another piece of tubing that will serve as a shroud. I make a ferrule to mount the barrel in the shroud. Correct that, I found a ferrule in my scrap bin that actually fit. It wasn't standard dimensions, so dumb luck to the rescue.

Within a day I've got a credible barrel. I think Dan will like this.

Two tubes make a barrel
Two tubes make a barrel | Source

The Build

Next is to design and make some mounts. This is fairly straightforward if you have the right raw aluminum stock. Well I didn't have the right stock but I can design around that.

Using V-Carve, I design the mounts. V-Carve Pro 9.5 is nice and easy to design it and has a great post processor to generate commands for the computer.

The mounts
The mounts | Source

Next is the expansion nut. No design or CNC here. I just pick a taper (15 degrees) and make a tapered cavity then a tapped tapered nut. I need a saw to cut into the expansion nut, after all it needs to expand. I don't have the tooling to cut the tabs so off to see Jim-The-Tool-Man. He sets me straight and ...

The expansion nut
The expansion nut | Source

Now that I have brackets that can grab the barrel, I need some pedestals to place them on. The barrel comes out the leading edge of the wing. I assume it is inline with the cord of the wing but it actually may point up or down, I really don't know. What I do know is the barrel needs to exit the middle of the leading edge so this is what I shoot for. Making pedestals is what is known as the easy part.

Or so you would think. This is were I start to break tools!

The Pedestal
The Pedestal | Source

The Trial Fitting

With pedestals done, its time for a trial fitting.

Trial fitting head on
Trial fitting head on | Source

and this:

Trial fitting side on.
Trial fitting side on. | Source


Trial fitting looks good.
Trial fitting looks good. | Source

I don't know about you but I'm feelin' it.

The Shroud

Next is the hard part. That barrel needs a shroud that is fenestrated, ya know, full of holes. in a machine gun this is the part that does not get so hot so you can grab it. It is now apparent, I need bigger equipment. Well that may require another visit with Louie. We talk about solutions and although we have many ideas it will take the big stuff to get this done. I've got this giant rotary table under the bench that was being converted to computer control by my mentor Ed. A project that ultimately failed. Let's check it out.

The rotary table minus a hand wheel.
The rotary table minus a hand wheel. | Source

Well lets start out with how do you get that bad boy from the floor to the table. In the words of my brother-in-law, Mick, "When I turned 60 I realized I was down to the strength of two men." So I put it on the table. P.S. does anyone know how to fix a herniated disc?

Notice the hand-wheel is missing. Nice thing about a shop is I can make one. I found an old piece of scrap that already had two holes in it. I guess those holes will have to do. Using my father-in-law (Robert Leo) rules I have to use it. He relished doing projects without going to the hardware store for anything. So I draw up the piece of scrap with the two holes and other imperfections in it in CAD then using those two holes I design my handle.

The hand-wheel design
The hand-wheel design | Source

Then I gives it to my CNC machine...

Let the Tormach do it's job
Let the Tormach do it's job | Source

Then with great pleasure ...

Now isn't that the look of great pleasure!
Now isn't that the look of great pleasure! | Source

(Now that is the look of satisfaction ...British Satisfaction I must say!)

Now I can use the rotary table.

Rotary table with a new hand wheel
Rotary table with a new hand wheel | Source

You can see the shroud mounted in the chuck above. With shroud in place I start milling holes. Sixty in all, times two barrels. Great, I have 120 chances to screw up. Luckily I couldn't do it. This "not screwing up" only happens after your old man passes away.

I end up with this:

The finished barrel shroud
The finished barrel shroud | Source

The challenge is done. So in the pride of the moment I send it to John, My machinist wannabe freind. He is actually much closer to the mark than I am. He responds to the photo with, "Ok. We're amazed. What's the other end look like?"

So I send him this:

A self portrait of the photographer
A self portrait of the photographer | Source

That black thing is my greasy thumb lining it all up for me. John responds, "Jeezus!! Scared the crap outta me. "

The barrels need to be blued then it is time for the mount. The next trick is cutting a hole in the leading edge of the airplane. Dan has a plan that will work. He has some heavy rubber to seal off the hole. He made some adjustments and we have this:

The mounted faux machine gun
The mounted faux machine gun | Source

And this:

Looking like it should
Looking like it should | Source

I'd say our little trainer has lost its innocence. I think we need to reconsider some names for the cockpit now. Dan is a dentist so I was thinking "Fang" in the front and "Mongrel" in the back. What say you? On second thought, if he gives his charming wife a ride, the consequences are too horrible to contemplate, I might want to rethink the moniker for the rear seat.

The finished product
The finished product | Source

Das ist alles. (That is all.)


Post Script

I delivered serial number two to Mikes bird. This install was a bit easier. We discovered neither cradle had been modified nor were they worn. This was a revelation. I thought to fore hole was tapered, it's not. It is just worn on Dan's plane. I also thought the aft mount was unusual. It was. Dans cradle had been milled away to accommodate a wing skin. Mike also has the original cover for the leading edge. Although it was a guess, I was dead center on the leading edge hole. Another application of dumb luck. We both agreed that rubber was in short supply during the war years so it was likely the gasket used to seal the gun in the hole was made of leather.

The mount in the South African T6 known as the Harvard
The mount in the South African T6 known as the Harvard | Source


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Pat Durick 

      2 weeks ago

      Fantastic and very, very interesting. The range of your talents is unbelievable. Thanks for sharing the experience.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)