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Thread: how to safely drill and cut open a used disposable oxygen cylinder

  1. #1

    Default how to safely drill and cut open a used disposable oxygen cylinder

    I know that this could be dangerous, but if it is possible, i'd like to try it.

    I have this used disaposable oxygen cylinder that you buy from home depot or lowes...

    It is empty and i have a small plan on running my little torch on compressed air and propane.

    In a nutshell, i am trying to figure out how to safely drill a hole into the cylinder.

    Is this possible. If yes, any idea how do i go about doing that?

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    There already is a hole in the cylinder. It's the access port. If you need another, figure a way to "Tee" the present fitting.

    Just one way



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    Your right it is dangerous, oxygen cylinders can explode, very nasty.
    If its a disposable then you'll have problems getting it filled, esp with another non standard hole bashed in the side, cylinder fillers have to check the bottle has been pressure tested before they fill it, and they certainly will not refill a disposable.

    That said, if your gonna fill it yourself or something you could fill the bottle with water, and then drill the hole while its still full.
    A t piece and another pipe off the top is still a much better and safer idea.

    Make it rather than buy it.


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    What do you think could potentially happen drilling a hole into an empty oxygen cylinder? Slip and drill a hole into your foot perhaps? Because an empty oxygen cylinder is just a piece of tubing to me.

    Check this guy out. He didn't stop at merely drilling the cylinder out but he cut it clean in half!

    http://homemade-stuff.blogspot.com/2...ade-forge.html

    And apparently he lived to blog about it too. I have an out of date 244 oxidizer cylinder I plan on cutting the bottom off of to use as a crucible myself. You know one of the 5 foot tall tanks. No fear!

    Let us know how you make out, if you live through the ordeal of course.



  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by dr pepper View Post
    Your right it is dangerous, oxygen cylinders can explode, very nasty.
    If its a disposable then you'll have problems getting it filled, esp with another non standard hole bashed in the side, cylinder fillers have to check the bottle has been pressure tested before they fill it, and they certainly will not refill a disposable.

    That said, if your gonna fill it yourself or something you could fill the bottle with water, and then drill the hole while its still full.
    A t piece and another pipe off the top is still a much better and safer idea.
    Dr Pepper
    Just curious.. How can an empty Oxygen cylinder explode? Whats the fuel? I am not saying your wrong I just don't understand the dangerous part. I agree you could never get a gas shop to refill and don't know why an extra hole would be needed for that anyway..
    Garry



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    Registered dr pepper's Avatar
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    This is a video of the aftermath of an oxygen cylinder going up, theres no real nasty bits, but there are a few blood stains.
    The guy was trying to unscrew the valve on a part full cylinder to let the reamining gas out, he wasnt even drilling just undoing the valve with a pair of shifters.
    I have seen pure oxygen burn, oxygen on its own doesnt burn, but dust and anything around it will.
    After watching this you may decide not to go drilling holes in cylinders.
    I have made wood burning stoves from butane and propane cylinders, if you follow the precautions it can be done safely.

    "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lw_fhNAIQc"]YouTube- O2 CYLINDER EXPLOSION

    Make it rather than buy it.


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    One of the commentors noted that the memo put out after the accident said that the tank still had a lot of gas in it when the guy tried to pull off the valve (>2K PSI). If you fully bleed a tank then there's not going to be enough oxygen left in there to burn much, let alone explode with enough force to pop the tank.

    If you crack the valve (preferably outside, of course) and leave it for a day (or bring it inside after it's been silent for a few minutes) then you'll be safe. I'd feel comfortable bringing it inside after it's gone fully silent, and drilling it an hour later. That's if it's a full-size cylinder. If you're talking about one of the little foot-tall ones then I'd drill it immediately after I bled it...1L of oxygen in a bottle at STP isn't going to do much.



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    What part of empty eludes you?



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    This is how I will do mine,

    Measure the cylinder and mathmatically calculate the internal volume.
    Fill it with water.
    Empty that water into a container and measure volume.
    Smell the water and visually inspect for traces of who knows what.
    Confirm the volume is similar to your calculated volume.
    Unscrew valve for visual inspection inside.(skip this if not possible)
    Refill with water again.
    Drill hole with battery drill into water filled vessel.



    Personally I wouldn't trust the fact that the valve is in the open position and nothing is coming out. Valve seats can stick while spindle turns. Nor would I trust that it was an oxygen cylider and therefore there was only ever oxygen inside.


    rkovvur report back here once it's done if you can. I might learn something from your work!

    Last edited by Nivea; 03-25-2010 at 05:46 AM. Reason: Altered procedure to make a bit safer still.


  10. #10

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    I would partial fill it just with compressed air, then bleed, then partial fill with a few PSI of compressed air (at this point any original oxygen will be as a tiny fraction of the air within), then drill it. The little bit of compressed air that rushes out when the drill cuts through would extinguish any possible flame even if there was a chance of flame which there isn't.



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    I've welded on old car gas tanks and not gone through such elaborate preparations! And I'm still here. But if you really want to get carried away with doing your safety dance over there then why not a pneumatic drill? At least their motors don't spark.



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    pfred2,
    So what procedure DO you use to weld a gas tank?



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