Government of the United States, as represented by the Secretary of the Army (Washington, DC)

A guide system for use for electro-processing the bore of the gun barrel comprises an external bore guide that is not conductive as well as an internal bore guide. An adapter that is designed to connect to the gun barrel’s outside external guide has a conduit. When the bore guide externally engages with the gun barrel the conduit is positioned so that it aligns to the bore’s axial direction. The internal bore guide is long and features an axial recess for holding an electro-processing electrode or an anode. Methods of uniformly plating bores include moving an anode around a gun barrel at one or several speeds in order to plat the bore uniformly. The plating meets military specifications. These systems, methods as well as support structures are all suitable for plating small-bore gun barrels. These systems, methods, as well as support structures are well-suited for plating small-bore gun barrels.

Field of the Invention

The invention is broadly applicable to electrochemical processing, and specifically, to processing electrochemically small bore barrels for guns. The invention also addresses electroplating small-bore gun barrels using an evaporator or guide system.

Description of the Background Artwork

The procedure of electroplating the bores of small-bore guns is well-known. Since chrome is extremely durable it is possible to apply a very thin coating (or chrome) to the bore. Chrome plating increases wear resistance , and consequently the barrel’s capacity to discharge more projectiles during its life. Additionally, the bore is shielded against corrosion through the chrome plating. This prolongs the barrel’s life, especially in humid areas. Bores with a diameter less than 50 caliber (or 0.500 inches in diameter) are classified as small bore gun barrels.

Placing a long anode through the bore of a narrow bore gun barrel is a way of plating it. The bore then filled with chromium electrolyte while voltages are applied to the gun’s anode or barrel. The bore’s surface is coated with a thin layer chrome as the current flows through the anode.

One of the major drawbacks of existing plating methods is their inability to reliably apply a layer of sand on the bore’s surface that’s consistent in thickness and quality. As a result, they are unable to meet military specifications (e.g. MIL-STD-171F Finish No. 1.2.2 for chrome) and other plating specifications that are applicable to high-accuracy barrels. Non-uniformities in plating’s thickness or quality (e.g. cracks, pits and lumps and etc.).) could occur after barrel rifling has been completed. frequently cause inaccurate projectiles. Existing plating methods cause a significant (typically 20- 25%) percent of barrels that are not in compliance with the specifications for plating. This significantly increases the production cost. Small-bore barrels are often not plated in order to increase their precision. They also wear faster and need to be replaced more frequently.

The invention addresses the shortcomings of prior art by providing methods and methods to uniformly plat small bore gun barrels. Because the plating is consistent in quality and thickness, the accuracy of the barrel is maintained and the plating is in line with military standards. Therefore, the amount of barrels that have to be rejected and/or rebuilt is significantly reduced. Additionally, the invention facilitates customized plating to be readily applied.

A method for processing an electrochemical bore of gun barrel in accordance with an example embodiment of the invention comprises an electrode (e.g. an anode) that is shorter than a length of the bore a lead that is electrically connected to the electrode an adapter for the barrel’s end, and an actuator. The barrel end adapter is designed to removably engage one end of the gun barrel. The barrel end adapter also defines a conduit therethrough that is axially aligned to the bore when the barrelend adapter is engaged with the barrel of the gun. The actuator is connected to the lead. It’s utilized to move the lead between the conduit and bore when electro-processing.

A barrel end adapter according to an example embodiment of the present invention includes an unconductive body with a conduit forming the non-conductive body and defining an axis that runs through the body, and a barrel interface. To allow the barrel to be temporarily attached end adapter to a gun barrel, the interface for the barrel is designed to engage the distal end of the gun barrel. The conduit can also be aligned axially to a bore when it is connected to the barrel interface. An example of a conduit is a non-conductive, elongated body with a passageway that runs in a radial direction through it. The body is composed of the top, bottom and a variety of sides. The passageway is created through the body’s elongated shape through an opening defined by the top surface to an opening defined by the bottom. The passage is designed to allow an electro-processing electrode to pass through at least one opening defined by the top and bottom surfaces. The passage’s remainder is designed to allow for an electric lead that is attached to the electro-processing electrode.

An exemplary method for electro-processing a bore of a gun barrel includes steps of providing a gun barrel having a bore defining an axis, providing an electrode having a lead electrically coupled thereto, providing a barrel end adapter defininga conduit therethrough, temporarily affixing the barrel end adapter to a first end of the gun barrel such that the conduit is axially aligned with the bore, positioning the electrode within the bore, positioning the gun barrel in electro-processingsolution, moving the electrode within at least one of the bore and the conduit, and applying process current via the electrode during the step of moving the electrode to cause electro-processing of the bore. The length of the leads is longer than the length of the bore.

A typical embodiment of this invention provides an electro-processing guide system that can be used to guide gun barrels. It includes an external bore guide that is nonconductive, and an internal guide to bore. An adapter that is designed to be connected to the gun barrel’s outside and includes the conduit. The bore guide externally can be removed from the gun barrel. The conduit is disposed such that it is axially aligned with the bore of the gun barrel when the guide’s external end is in contact by the gun barrel.The internal bore is elongated and includes an axial recess sized to seat an electro-processing electrode (an anode). With the help of the internal and external bore guides, the anode may be pulled through the barrel at one or more rate(s) that provide uniform plating of the bore. The plating is in accordance with military specifications.

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