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Can you use a plasma cutter for this?

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  • Can you use a plasma cutter for this?

    I am going to cut open a propane tank for my next BBQ pit build. I plan to fill it with water and make my cuts. Anyway, I have done this with a torch before and had no problems, but I want a tighter cut. Will the plasma cutter work with a tank full of water, I was concerned with the potential to get the crap shocked out of me

  • #2
    I would think that as long as the ground is attached directly to the tank, it shouldn't have any problems. Considering the fact that the CNC plasma table I used to use had liquid coolant touching the piece being cut, and had never gotten shocked.
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    • #3
      report back.

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      • #4
        More plasma cutter use

        Don't have a plasma cutter yet but am considering one. May be a dumb queston but; can you use the nonconsumable electrode with out the air stream to heat a small piece or area to red hot for forging etc?

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        • #5
          I've gotten shocked hard enough to knock me on my butt from welding while wet, even being DC. But a plasma cutter uses a much higher voltage. I would DEFINATELY not use a plasma with water gushing all over.

          If you know anyone that does HVAC, perhaps they can pump it down to a high vacuum and refill it to 0 psig with nitrogen. Vacuum pumping evacuates all but trace amounts of propane, which would probably do the job on its own. The nitrogen performs the task of displacing oxygen thus preventing the remaining trace amounts of propane from forming an explosive mixture. And it does this without the drawbacks of cooling your cut and getting everything (including you) wet.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kmomaha View Post
            Don't have a plasma cutter yet but am considering one. May be a dumb queston but; can you use the nonconsumable electrode with out the air stream to heat a small piece or area to red hot for forging etc?
            i've never seen a plasma that would arc with out the air. and if it did you'd just melt the lead. big money to replace.
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            • #7
              Put a few pounds of dry ice into the tank. As it melts it will fill the tank with CO2.

              Then cut away!

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              • #8
                As long as there's no valve on the tank when you put the heat to it, you'll have no excitement.

                I've cut numerous tanks with plasma and as long as you flush them with some form of purge (getting the bulk of the fuel out - which mostly happens without assistance due to the -44F boiling point of the liquid), there's little more than a small "whoosh" as the remaining gas is combusted. You can leave them inverted (propane is heavier than air) for some time as well, as that lets gravity evacuate the tank for you.

                Filling with water is a waste of time IMO. Dry ice is a nice thought, but also overkill.
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                • #9
                  after you get it cut in half you'll have a way to put the block of dry ice in.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bodybagger View Post
                    I've gotten shocked hard enough to knock me on my butt from welding while wet, even being DC.
                    Only takes once to get your full attention. Makes a fella a little gun shy about sticking another rod in the stinger, too.

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                    • #11
                      Vin, you can buy the stuff in pellets and they'd have no trouble making it through the 3/4" pipe threads.

                      Just don't pierce a sealed (or even moderately restricted) tank, and be sure the bung isn't aimed at you and all will be fine.

                      This only goes for propane. Any other fuel oil or what have you will react differently. You gotta know it was propane in there and nothing else first.
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                      • #12
                        Why wouldn't just filling the tank with water eliminate the proppane

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                        • #13
                          The amount of propane remaining in the tank after the vast majority of it has boiled off isn't all that much of a threat. It's not capable of launching the tank or causing any kind of explosion. Just lights off like a weed burner and then goes out.

                          Filling the tank simply isn't necessary.
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                          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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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Fishy Jim View Post
                            The amount of propane remaining in the tank after the vast majority of it has boiled off isn't all that much of a threat. It's not capable of launching the tank or causing any kind of explosion. Just lights off like a weed burner and then goes out.

                            Filling the tank simply isn't necessary.

                            So...

                            Just toss a lit match into it and call it good?

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                            • #15
                              Thats crazy talk. Be safe and use a lighter to see if there is anything in it first.
                              Weekend wannab racer with some welders.

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