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how thick is a water heater tank

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  • how thick is a water heater tank

    hey guys, recently ive been looking for ideas to build a atv snow blade, I have seen a couple of people have built the blade out of old water heater tanks. I was just wondering if anybody has done this or cut one of these open before, how think are they and are they glass lined, thanks for your help.

  • #2
    Modern ones are around .090 thick if I recall correctly. Have done a few automation projects for the largest manufacturer of water heaters.

    It's kind of interesting that the glass lining is there to prevent rust and to eliminate the permeability of steel. Apparently steel of the thickness that is used will allow water to pass through it under heat and pressure, albeit in small amounts. By lining with glass they can build the tanks out of thinner material - ultimately saving material and cost.

    Older heaters - 15+ years may be made of thicker material. I would consider buying a piece of 1/4" or so sheet and having it rolled.

    If you need some ideas on rolling, take a look at all the info in the following thread:

    Plenty of ideas on how to bend steel in that thread Even some information on how to calculate the amount of bend


    • #3
      Many years ago I attempted to use a hot water tank for a project and it didn't work out. First off it's a cast iron b**ch to cut with a torch as it is glass lined. Secondly the steel isn't of the best quality and doesn't lend it's self to welding very well. I have patched water heater tanks before but O/A welded them, when I tried to MIG weld one it didn't work out too well. I think perhaps the heat was melting the glass and it was getting into my weld bead.

      Two winters ago I did make a replacement blade for a snowplow. I used 1/4" plate and bumped into rough shape with a brake and then rolled it into it's final shape. The plow has 2 seasons of heavy plowing on it and the guy is still pleased with the plow. I will have to put a new edge on it for him this year but that's only a couple hour job.

      If it were me I'd look for alternatives to make your snowplow out of. Even if you are able to get good welds on a section of water heater you will have to reinforce it as the wall thickness of a water heater isn't even 1/8", you'd still have to have some angles rolled to attach to the backside to keep it from flexing too much. Look at a few plows and get ideas from them and then come up with the best of everything and put together something that will be sturdy and last a lifetime (if you're only plowing for yourself) and you can be proud of.


      • #4
        All the atv snowplows I have fixed are in the 13 to 14 gauge range. 1/4" plate would be way over kill for this. I had a 7&1/2 foot western for my last truck & the mold board was only 1/8" with a 1/2" cutting edge. I think you would be better off getting a piece of plate instead of trying to use a hot water tank. Best yet keep your eyes open on Craigs list for a used one from a quad or a tractor. They usually go cheap if it is just the blade.


        • #5
          OK I thought we were talking about a snowplow for a Suburban or Bronco here one of those all purpose or all terrain vehicles. Now I'm getting the idea it's for something smaller.

          The replacement plow I was referring to went on a full ton single wheel Chevy pickup truck. The guy was plowing his father in law's driveway and a piece of older snow fence post went through the plow, grille, A/C condenser and radiator. It was one of the yellow plows and was pretty thin gauge. The replacement has withstood several hits without damage. The guy has the shop next to ours and as far as plow hazards you never know what you'll plow into there.

          I live in the "snow belt" for Lake Erie in Ohio and live far off the beaten path. Yeah directions to my house do include "turn off the paved road". A lot of the "30 year old kids" out here have snow blades attached to their 4 wheel motocross things. Can't really call em bikes because they've got 4 wheels. The very minimum I'd use for one of those is 11ga and reinforce it in the back with rolled angles and a replaceable cutting edge. Just as you'd find for a 4x4 pickup only scaled down. My material of choice for the plowboard would be aluminum to save weight.


          • #6
            I built a blade for my atv a couple of years ago out of a piece of 1/4 aluminum from a rounded dump truck liner, made a steel frame behind it and a 2x1/4" wear plate for the bottom of the blade, this baby has pushed alot of snow, now i have a freind thats insists i build him one, but i dont have access to the aluminum anymore so i need an alternitive anybody know what it costs to a peice of 16"x48" 10ga bent 5deg in about 6 spots?


            • #7
              your looking at about $50 +or-


              • #8
                I thought this thread would eventually lead to discussion of building a hot water tank out of stainless, but I guess not.


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