What's the safest way of cutting an old oil tank or propane tank .
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Thread: what's the safest way.......
05-03-2010, 08:35 AM #1
what's the safest way.......FABRICATION-CRÉATION K ZEN
05-03-2010, 08:43 AM #2Senior Member
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
- WY...armpit of U.S.A.
Fill the tank with water and have at it.Miller 251...sold the spoolgun to DiverBill.
Miller DialArc 250
Lincoln PrecisionTig 275
Hypertherm 900 plasma cutter
Bridgeport "J" head mill...tooled up
Jet 14 X 40 lathe...ditto
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Logan 7" shaper
Ellis 3000 band saw
Hossfeld bender w/shopbuilt hyd.
Victor Journeyman torch and gauges
3 Gerstner boxes of mostly Starrett tools
Lots of dust bunnies
Too small of a shop at 40 X 59.
05-03-2010, 04:08 PM #3Senior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
WyoRoy gave you one way of safely cutting containers that have contained explosive substances. I have another that you may not like, and I certainly mean no disrespect or am I discounting your abilities. My suggestion is take it somewhere where they know how to safely do it and see if they will allow you to observe, or if they will give you details on how to do it. I personally do not think this is an area for someone to be going it alone just learning the process. Whatever you decide, just remember it will not matter one bit what process or how well you were doing if something goes wrong. Stay safe and good luck.
05-03-2010, 06:31 PM #4
If you got the slightest tinge of doubt or second thoughts....
I won't cut on one, don't care if someone's cut a thousand of them & knows the best way to do it.
Nope, not me.
Only takes one time being on the wrong end of a situation gone bad to kill you, or at the very least, leave you maimed for the rest of your life.
I know a guy who works for a company that refurbs rail cars & does a lot of tankers. They had a propane car come in that needed a section of the tank replaced. They steam cleaned it out like they always do, but didn't get on it immediately afterwards. A few days later, the crew came in & a guy started to cut the bad section of tank out. Propane was so deeply absorbed into the metal, that more began to seep out in the days following the steam cleaning.
The inside of the car exploded & flipped over on it's side.
Luckily, the cutter didn't get seriously injured, but it scared the heII out of him. I was surprised he didn't get killed. My buddy said he's glad he works on the other end of the shop & never has to do jobs like that.
Sure, I heard the story secondhand, but he's not the kind of guy that makes stuff up so if the "experts" wanna refute it, take a long walk.........
After hearing that, there's NO way I'll go near any tank. NO matter how "safe" it may be.
IMHO of course.So you're telling me...You're not nostalgic? Then, give me another word for it......
05-03-2010, 07:01 PM #5Senior Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2007
- Cave Creek Az
Safest way would be to use abrasive string underwater. Might take you a year or two though. Just fill it with water as suggested.
05-03-2010, 08:28 PM #6
No experience to speak of on propane tanks but there is a LEL meter that measures gases. I would also say if your hesitant then don't. Also an internet forum is not the place to get advice on something like this as some people will state things as fact which aren't. I'm not saying any of the above info is good or bad, just saying it's impossible to tell the bs from the good sometimes & you don't want to find out the hard way..MM250
Lincoln ac/dc 225
MM200 black face
Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
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30a spoolgun w/wc-24
05-03-2010, 08:49 PM #7Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2008
Let it air out for as long as you can, run car exhaust in it for a while (nuetralizes atmosphere), fill it with water then use a cutting wheel on a grinder to make your first cut. I cut my whole tank on my smoker with a cutting wheel but i think that once you make an initial cut you can go to fire if you want to (if its still filled with water that might get interesting). Using a sawzall or jig saw might be a safer method but take several blades.
05-03-2010, 09:48 PM #8Bob Wright, Grandson of Tee Nee Boat Trailer Founder
Metal Master Fab Salem, Oh 44460
Birthplace of the Silver & Deming Drill
1999 MM185 w/185 Spoolgun,1986 Thunderbolt AC/DC
Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.
05-03-2010, 10:10 PM #9Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2010
Safest way is a scrap shear on an excavator after the tank has been properly remediated. Anything else is just foolish and stupid.
05-04-2010, 12:20 AM #10Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2006
I have cut one.
It was an old underground tank. Dug it out, by hand too. 200 gal tank.
I had taken off the valves and etc and left it out in open for several years. Not sure how many years at the moment, but over three anyway.
No odor smell to it, I filled it up with water. Got busy with other things for a few weeks. Just made sure that it stayed full of water.
Since it was an underground tank, it had two 18 inch tall pipes welded to it for the valves and etc. I just left them on for the moment. The water level in tank was all the way up in the 18 in. tall pipes.
I cut on the tank at the top of the tank near the upright pipes. The water put out the torch flame shortly after I burned into the tank. No fire or big boom, just extingushed the torch. Water drained out of the standing pipes and I finished making the cut on the tank. About a foot long cut. I also cut off the two upright pipes.
That left me with a 200 gal tank full of water. So I drained it by making another cut on the tank near the bottom on one end of the tank. Took a bit longer of course than the first cut, but I got it drained.