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Oil drum cutting

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  • #46
    I have cut maybe 5 or so for anything from oil pans or other misc devices. I have never put any thought into it just grabbed the metabo and.cut thank.god nothing ever happend ill make sure I take more precautions next time.

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    • #47
      My friend got a large chunk of his face blown off welding an oil pan on the engine at his sh1tstain bosses direction. (He "repaired" pretty well and became a firefighter!!)

      Safety first. Nothing is valuable if it isn't flesh.

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by raddave211 View Post
        the water is the best bet for this solution. lay the barrel on its side and make your cut. i have made cuts in barrels that had gasoline and diesel in them and i had no problems. just be sure to fill the barrel right to the point were you will be making the cuts. keep it simple.
        Yep I agree. I cut a few 55gal barrels to make smokers out of them, best bet is to squirt some soap down inside and add a few gallons of water, swish it around and rinse. Then fill it right to the top with water and cut with a plasma cutter. It cannot explode as it's full of water, simple.

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        • #49
          55-gallon drum purging

          One of my "hats" while in the Marine Corps was as the "Gas Free Engineer" for our F/A-18 Hornet Squadron (Jet Aircraft). Part of my job was to ensure the fuel tanks were safe for maintenance work or storage (possibly welding). There is a range of conditions that will support a fuel vapor explosion in a sealed (semi-sealed) container If the conditions are outside that range (called the LEL and the UEL - Lower Explosive Limit and the Upper Explosive Limit) the fuel air mixture isn't right for an explosion. If the space has too much fuel (the mixture is "too rich" (High fuel to air ratio) it can't ignite/explode. Conversely if it is too "lean" (too mush air (oxygen) for the amount of fuel) again combustion (explosion) can't occur.

          The conditions which explosion can occur depend on a lot of variable factors as have been touched on previously (vapor pressure, temperature, oxygen content, etc.) If the fuel air mixture is either below or above the "Explosive limits" an explosion can't occur. One of the problems with "hot working" a closed container is that while the UEL and LEL are set conditions, in actual practice those conditions can change (fairly rapidly in some instances). There are special (fairly expensive) instruments that can monitor a space and let you know what the atmospheric conditions are and whether the area (or container) is "safe" to work on, but those are for another discussion.

          If a space is too big or can't be readily filled (or it is too expensive to fill) with water or an inert gas (Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, Argon, Helium, etc.) sometimes air blowers can be used (say you have to weld inside a fuel tanker), special industrial ducted fans (you might have seen some at a road or sewer repair site (even sometimes at a fire) with large flexible air hoses (look something like 8" - 16" diameter vacuum cleaner hoses - bright yellow or orange in color) are used to blow outside air into the space (NEVER to draw out the vapors!) to lower the fuel vapor ratio (and to sometimes provide breathable air or cool down the working area) below the LEL. This works best when there isn't a large fuel surface area to be evaporated by the moving air essentially making more vapor.

          Another way to do the Hot Work is to move the conditions past the UEL by filling the container with fuel so the mixture is too rich to burn/explode (though theoretically as safe as going below the LEL this isn't really used unless it has to be as people don't really believe that working on a tank full of fuel is actually "safer" than on one with a few drops of fuel in it... because what happens if you "burn through" the container and some of the inside fuel leaks out into the open air right next to the hot work... then the outside air can mix with the fuel and ignition can occur.

          As several posts have said (and what we did for the aircraft fuel tanks) was to drain the fuel out, fill them with a soapy water solution and let them sit for a day or so, then we would run water through them to rinse them out. (I'd then check them to ensure the fuel vapor was below the LEL).

          A word of caution, even if a tank that has had fuel (oil or any flammable liquid) in it and has been washed out and pronounced "safe for hot work" that is only safe for a certain period of time. IF a tank was water purged and pronounced safe and you then left it sitting "empty" in the hot sun for hours or days, there could still be residual fuel in the cracks and crevices that could form fuel/air vapor and reach the "flash point" and cause an "accident". Once a tank is purged and "safe" it is best to work on it in a timely manner or to check it again before commencing any spark/flame producing operations on it.

          If you have purged a drum with soap and water, have rinsed it out good, and you are still concerned, you might hook a shop vacuum (or maybe a leaf blower) up to "blow" outside air into the container (say in one bung hole with the air coming out the other) to "Air out" any residual fuel vapors and get the space inside below the LEL.

          As always, use common sense, play it safe. When in doubt, don't do it.

          I will be making a BBQ grill in a week or two out of a 55-gallon drum, I'll probably use my new HF double cut saw, or get their 18 Gauge Sheet Metal Shear.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by wronghand View Post
            Take both bungs out and cut away. It may flash a little but won't explode.
            Wanna bet?

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            • #51
              i cut alot of barrels at work, used to fight them and worry about the big bang. then i spent 20 bucks at wally world on a stanly air hammer, came with a cool little chisel for sheet metal. I use that onall of em now

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              • #52
                You need to remove the bung in the top for starters. This will act as a chimney for youe bbq, second fill it with water and get asmuch oil out as possible, then fill it with water again and cut into it. but you must remove the bung from the top!!

                Originally posted by jonsam View Post
                I'm looking to make some cuts in a 55 gallon oil drum and I'm trying to avoid getting blown up.

                First of all the drum is closed end with two bungs (one large, one small). From what I can tell it had almond oil in it before I picked it up. There is some remaining oil in the bottom.

                I want to cut a door in the side of the drum and turn it into a bbq. I'm probably going to use abrasive cutoff disks in my angle grinder so there will be a lot of sparks and I'm worried about igniting the oil in a confined space.

                Does anyone have any advice for cleaning the barrel out or any other suggestions for how I should go about doing this? Thanks.

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                • #53
                  The only real safe way is to fill with an inert gas(argon) but that is expensive so i would use water and dish detergent

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Amdrewa95 View Post
                    The only real safe way is to fill with an inert gas(argon) but that is expensive so i would use water and dish detergent
                    This thread was started in 2008. Is anyone still looking at it?
                    I guess so..... I just did.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by kvwall View Post
                      This thread was started in 2008. Is anyone still looking at it?
                      I guess so..... I just did.
                      The only thing that changes is the date. The info is still the same ...Bob

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                      • #56
                        Not a drum but still went BOOM

                        http://www.twincities.com/localnews/...plodes-combine

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                        • #57
                          Sad but it happens and shouldn't of. Thanks for posting the link....Bob

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                          • #58
                            the water is the best bet for this solution. lay the barrel on its side and make your cut. i have made cuts in barrels that had gasoline and diesel in them and i had no problems. just be sure to fill the barrel right to the point were you will be making the cuts. keep it simple.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Oil drum cutting

                              http://www.intelligencer.ca/2012/10/01/students-death-to-be-probed-by-coroners-inquest

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                              • #60
                                Link to above post site.

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