Part II -- John's Lewis Machine gun
 
This page shows the supports and sights of the Lewis machine gun. From photos of the 1915-1917 aircraft it was evident that the sights were such that the sight "ball" was at the rear of the gun while the sight "circle" was at the front. Realistically, a Nieuport gunner probably did not use the sights -- he just aimed the plane!
 
Flash arrestor
Lewis gun rear sight
The "flash arrestor" was made from an iron pipe fitting. A 1/4"nipple was put on the reducer and it was chucked in a drill press and simply ground down. Those with a lathe could probably do it faster. The rear sight used a 3/16" aviation eyebolt (which also held together the rear of the flat magazine holder). Another eyebolt's threaded in was cut down and a hole drilled in the end. Then, a piece of an old car antenna was brazed into that hole. The sight now can swivel down. Note that aviation AN bolts and nuts were used at all times for the gun construction. 
Lewis gun front sights
Front gun support
The front sight used two rings sliced off of 4130 tubing (2" and 1" OD; 5/8" slices). Then four 1/16" holes were drilled at 90 degree intervals in each. The larger tubing had a 3/16" hole drilled in one place for the eyebolt threaded end. Hangar wire 2.25" long was cut and cleaned for the wire parts. Then the wire was put in the holes, brazed, cut off, finished up with a bit of Dremel tool grinding.  The front gun support used two 6061 T-6 (.058 wall)aluminum tubes 13.75" long which would be spread 22.5" apart at the end and fastened with brackets to the .875 x .058 upper wing spar "spreaders" that we're using. The bolts going into the tubing are 3/8" studs (threads on both ends). At each end a 1/16" hole was drilled in the stud to hold a cotter pin or safety wire. The tubing was tapped for the thread, sprayed with zinc chromate, then the bolts were screwed in using Loctite Blue. The bracket was cut from a 2" 4130 steel tubing and formed using a torch. Holes were made to hold the support and the cooling shroud. The larger ring was made from a strip of .080 4130 with a tab brazed on the top (to hold the front sight).
Rear gun support The cooling shroud
This is the rear gun support. A 6061 T-6 aluminum 1" OD x .058" wall tubing 9" long was clamped with two C clamps made from 2024 aluminum. The clamps were machined to fit the curve of the receiver. This fit into a hole cut into the bottom of the gun receiver front. The strap is made from .035" 6061 T-6 aluminum .625 wide by 10.25" long which just fits around the slot on the large end of the gun ABS receiver.Two 3/16" holes were tapped into each side of the clamp assembly and 3/16" x 7/16" long AN machine screws were used to fasten the strap. The screws had pre-drilled holes in the heads so that safety wire could be attached. Note also that the ends of the machine screws were rounded and coated to keep them from cutting into the gas line and high voltage wire which go up through the tubing. The cooling shroud as received was ABS plastic pipe 2.375 OD with a 3/16" wall. This was shortened to 14.75". Then it was beveled (on the inside) on one end to fit over the ABS receiver end. Then six slots were cut into the pipe. Each slot was .625" wide by 2.875" long and the slots on each side were 60 degrees from the top. The shroud had four 1/16" holes front and back to fasten it to the receiver and front cover. The main supports for the shroud were the six cooling fins on the gun barrel. Holes were drilled on the bottom front of the shroud for the previously pictured front shroud/gun support.



 
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