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Can you use a plasma cutter for this?

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  • #16
    I use the pilot arc.

    Keep in mind, this is for little 20# tanks. You have a lot more fuel storage capacity with the larger tanks and it makes sense to use a bit more caution with those. I have 3 100#ers waiting for me to convert them into air tanks and those are stored inverted with the valves removed. Since they've been like that for a couple weeks now, I'd have no issue putting a match to them as I'm certain there's no fuel remaining. The mercaptan still remains, but the fuel is long gone. The stink agent is not mixed with the fuel - propane itself is odorless. They squirt the mercaptan in the tank when it's new and the dose is intended to last for as long as the tank is serviceable.
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    Airco MED20 feeder
    Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 81
    Smith O/A rig
    And more machinery than you can shake a 7018 rod at

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    • #17
      Oh, the little tanks!

      I got a call recently about building a grill out of a 300# or 500# tank. So, I thought we were talking about those!

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      • #18
        Originally posted by TS-Off-Road View Post
        Oh, the little tanks!

        I got a call recently about building a grill out of a 300# or 500# tank. So, I thought we were talking about those!
        Actually the tank I am talking about is 250 gallon....I have 2 of em!

        Thanks for all the replies guys. I am going to flip them this weekend and let them drain for a couple of weeks. I may try the idea of pumping car exhaust into it, or fill it with water and drain before cutting. Still not sure. There are so many mixed opinions. I would like to hear more from people that have cut one.

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        • #19
          Something bigger might have a bigger hole in it already - maybe 1" or larger npt?

          I'd go with the dry ice pellets then.

          You could even just discharge a co2 bottle into it - that might be easier but you'd need to be sure of the co2 being heavier than the propane (I haven't checked). The main idea being to ensure there's no oxygen in there with it.
          Syncrowave 250DX
          Invison 354MP
          XR Control and 30A

          Airco MED20 feeder
          Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 81
          Smith O/A rig
          And more machinery than you can shake a 7018 rod at

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          • #20
            I have used my Hypertherm 45 to cut open a fuel tank that I cleaned out with detergent and filled with water. I never got shocked. I asked my LWS and they told me to make sure and not drag the troch tip, but to use some standoff. Worked like a charm. Your propane tank will be a little thicker but shouldn't be a probelm. Good luck.
            Millermatic 252
            Hypertherm 45
            Lincoln AC/DC SMAW

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            • #21
              cutting open a propane tank

              whycant you use a 000 tip on oxyactylene? then use a 1/8 X 1 1/2 strap to cover gap and seal? the pros do it why cant we?

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              • #22
                Originally posted by SNUNEZ View Post
                whycant you use a 000 tip on oxyactylene? then use a 1/8 X 1 1/2 strap to cover gap and seal? the pros do it why cant we?

                Good Point and I have done this in the past, I am really trying to avoid putting that much heat on it though. The doors tend to warp pretty bad with the torch set up. Although I haven't used that small of a tip before on it. The other advantage the plasma has, is I can wrap a 1/4 flat around the tank and use it as a guide for a perfectly straight cut. I am pretty good freehand, but I am also a perfectionist (wannabe).

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                • #23
                  I just dont know. My biggest thing I cut is oil barrells. and I cut them with the torches. Never added water befor.

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                  • #24
                    Precut

                    Weld some1/4 x2'' strap around the tank inside of the vertical edges of the doors. but before doing that pre cut the tank at the spot the stap is crossing over the horizonal edges of the door. Weld the strap, cut the doors, cut the stap.I've done this with stainless tanks and a plasma cutter but not on steel with a acetelyne.Oh ya usally do max welding as possible of hinges onto straps before cutting straps. I use wet rags for temp control.

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                    • #25
                      Something to remember about the smelly stuff in those tanks

                      From the Wikipedia article....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methanethiol



                      ...The United States material safety data sheet (MSDS) lists methanethiol as a colorless, flammable gas with an extremely strong and repulsive smell. At very high concentrations it is highly toxic and affects the central nervous system. Its penetrating odor provides warning at dangerous concentrations. An odor threshold of 0.002 ppm has been reported. The United States OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit is listed as 10 ppm.

                      Always purge tanks of any kind before cutting them. Even water tanks. Shortcuts only lead two places the hospital or the mortuary.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Fishy Jim View Post
                        They squirt the mercaptan in the tank when it's new and the dose is intended to last for as long as the tank is serviceable.
                        I work in a refinery in the Poly unit which is the beginning of Propane and Butane. The truck drivers put the Mercaptan into the trucks as they are loading the propane into the 8,000 gal trailers. Every load gets a shot...Bob
                        Bob Wright

                        Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.
                        http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...php?albumid=48

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by urch55
                          Before I cut a tank I wash it out with laundry soap (wisk is the best) never no shock or explosion. It may still smell but it won't explode....
                          We just saw a safety film last week here in the refinery titled "Just A Second Ago" about 2 guys who did a routine tank job and got careless on the last job. One guy died and one was burned 65 percent. So always treat every tank as different than the last one because you never know unless you have the proper equipment to sniff the tanks for LEL before any hot work goes on. Don't become headlines for your local news...Bob
                          Bob Wright

                          Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.
                          http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...php?albumid=48

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by aametalmaster View Post
                            We just saw a safety film last week here in the refinery titled "Just A Second Ago" about 2 guys who did a routine tank job and got careless on the last job. One guy died and one was burned 65 percent. So always treat every tank as different than the last one because you never know unless you have the proper equipment to sniff the tanks for LEL before any hot work goes on. Don't become headlines for your local news...Bob
                            FYI: LEL stands for Lower Explosive Limit or the lowest % of fuel in air that will support combustion.
                            Miller Syncrowave 200
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                            • #29
                              I don't mean to pick on anyone here but some stupid stuff does go on with welding and the final outcome can be prevented with some proper prep so everyone please use their best judgement and if that isn't possible don't do the job. I write permits everyday for welding, burning, grinding, sandblasting and everything else that goes on in the real world and you have to think and rethink because you don't want to kill anyone. Somedays i might have 15 guys working inside a tank or tower that 3 days ago was full of gasoline and they don't know they are just here to get the job done and go home. So we have to use proper tools to make sure everyone works safe and goes home at night...Bob
                              Bob Wright

                              Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.
                              http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...php?albumid=48

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