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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    488

    Default

    I got to try the pipe wrench method for the heck of it. Very cool.

    I weld hunks of rod to my cold chisels (chisels are cheap, fingers not, and you can bash MUCH harder with better control!) as handles.

    There would be no obstacle to using those on a water-filled drum.

    Make hole, make fire in drum, no problem.

  2. #42

    Default Oil Drum Cutting

    I agree with the method of filling the drum with water to totally eliminate the vapor flash area...

    Many years ago I cut up a 550 gallon gasoline storage tank that had been emptied dry and out of use for about 10 years.

    When you fill it completely full of water, you no longer have a vapor area, which is the issue.. and the weight of the water is certainly going to keep the tank immobile, even if there was a flashable vapor in the small area remaining.

    Not wanting to even take that chance, I completely filled the tank to the top, first if see if there was any sheen at all on the water from hydro carbons, let it sit for a few days, then flushed a little more water through the top area, and then dropped the water level a very small amount at the top of the tank, next to the open fittings, and made the first cuts to open it up.. Through out the cutting process, I kept as much water as possible in it, even after it was significantly opened up.

    With the tank tilted off level a small amount, the vapor area, even when the water level is dropped a bit can still be a very small area.
    Last edited by dandeman; 06-12-2012 at 02:43 PM.
    Hobby Welder for about 32 years
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  3. #43
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    asheville n.c.
    Posts
    618

    Default

    im not the brightest bulb in the kitchen but last one i cut i hot rodded three holes in bottom. was going to be used as trash burn barrel. the screw tops were removed. so if something caught fire and needed to escape there was plenty of air holes for it to do that. the barrel contained 15-40 rotella. i then hot rodded the top off and let residual just burn out. i will NOT cut kerosine and other stuff like that tho

  4. #44
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    365

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by beamwalker View Post
    ...the screw tops were removed. so if something caught fire and needed to escape there was plenty of air holes for it to do that...
    NOT TRUE...I made a sticks cannon out of a compleatly open top 55 gal drum ONCE...sticks, gas, and light it from a bottom side bung hole..boom...flaming sticks EVERYWHERE. You got lucky.
    MillerMatic 211 Auto-set w/MVP
    Just For Home Projects.

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    asheville n.c.
    Posts
    618

    Default

    believe me i dont do barrels any more. too dangerous for me

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Metro Detroit, MI
    Posts
    182

    Default

    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.
    Never Satisfied

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  7. #47
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    488

    Default

    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.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Posts
    220

    Default

    Quote 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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  9. #49
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    1

    Post 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.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    377

    Default

    Quote 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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