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Oil drum cutting

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  • #16
    I wouldn't do it.

    There are places that recycle 55gal drums, they steam clean them and then they heat them and hold them at high temp for a set period of time to burn out residuals. You can buy a drum from them for about $8 to $10 around here. Why cut a drum your not sure about when you can buy one of theres. I personally know of two guy killed by 55gal drums and one of them was just using the thing as a bench.


    • #17
      An 18 year old student was killed in a blast in high school shop class. They were cutting open barrels to turn them into bbqs.


      • #18
        Originally posted by PeterTrocewicz View Post
        An 18 year old student was killed in a blast in high school shop class. They were cutting open barrels to turn them into bbqs.
        Happened justr around the corner from my place. The drum had contained peppermint oil. Pleasant smell with deadly potential.


        • #19
          hey man some pics or your setup plan for this would be a great place for me to start only difference is my barrel used to contain axle grease the up side is this eliminates cleaning because the grease is in a plastic liner the down side is i have to seal the end with the 2 bungs because it comes completely off. My idea was to make a grill/smoker and was looking for a way to accomplish this


          • #20
            I don't get the point of anyone cutting the barrels without taking both bungs out. Bung wrenches are cheap, compared to a barrel exploding.


            • #21
              get drum deheader,no sparks


              • #22
                detcord works great to cut drums

                My father used to do it alot

                Backed my CATMA over your CARMA
                OOP"S clumsy me

                What would SATAN do ??

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                Rusty old truck


                • #23
                  Take both bungs out and cut away. It may flash a little but won't explode. If you're really unsure about it, then purge the drum with argon or nitrogen before AND during the cutting process. Displace all the oxygen and you eliminate the possibility of an "earth shattering kaboom". Or, fill the son of a **** right to the brim with water and hack away with an O/A torch and it won't go poof.

                  If a qualified welder can do oil well abandonments and hot tie-ins on pipelines, I'm not gonna lose any sleep worrying about lopping the top off of a stupid 45 (yes, 45) gallon drum
                  Last edited by wronghand; 06-14-2011, 11:42 PM.
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                  • #24
                    I showed my wife. Take an unlit torch, lean over tank or barrel, support elbows and look down. See where your stomach is? All your vitals are right there when it blows. No wonder people die
                    Gordie -- "I believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."


                    • #25
                      Read Brad Livingstons bio and watch the movie "Just a Second Ago". Something to think about even for a job that you have done 100 times before with no problems. Treat every tank, drum, and job different because no two may be the same...Bob

                      Bob Wright


                      • #26
                        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.
                        STOP### STOP### STOP###

                        An 18 year old boy was killed when he tried the very same thing this week.
                        It was a 50 gallon drum which had peppermint oil in it previously. He was using a cut off blade .
                        It was a Catholic High School and the boy was in a shop high school class under the supervision of a shop teacher apparently unaware of the danger.
                        Happened this week I believe.

                        Buy a tool made for opening 50 gallon drums. It is like a giant can opener.No sparks,no heat.
                        Last edited by Donald Branscom; 06-18-2011, 10:38 PM.


                        • #27
                          Death by 55 gallon drum

                          A laborer working for a Concrete Resurfacing Company was killed when an EMPTY 55-gallon drum of Concrete Sealer exploded and engulfed him in flames. It is believed that the laborer was attempting to cut the empty drum open with a cutoff saw just prior to the explosion.

                          The laborer was burned beyond recognition. The Concrete Sealer was 80% by weight ethanol and methanol. It is used as a treatment for concrete surfaces to make them water-repellant. On the day of the explosion, the Concrete Resurfacing Company was repairing a parking garage.

                          In another incident 10 years earlier on almost the exact same Concrete Sealer product, another laborer for a Highway Repair Company was cutting the lids off of used 55-gallon drums so the drums could be used for refuse. He was using either a torch or an electric welder to cut the lids off. The procedure was believed to be inherently safe, as they would turn the drums over for several days to let any flammable liquid drain out, and then they would turn them upright and fill them with water and let them stand for five additional days before any cutting.

                          In this second incident, the Concrete Sealer drum was not being cut open. However, it was standing next to another drum that was being cut open when a spark flew from one drum into the other. The drum exploded and the laborer died within 24 hours. He suffered third degree burns over 80% of his body.

                          In both cases, the fuels for the explosion were ethanol and methanol vapors inside what were believe to be empty or near-empty drums. It turns out that the vapor pressure of a small amount of liquid is just enough to fill the entire 55-gallon drum with an explosive mixture of air and flammable vapors. Therefore, near-empty drums can be significantly more dangerous than drums that are full.

                          The average worker perceives the risk of a near-empty drum to be less than a full drum. Because the actual risk is counter-intuitive, it is essential that drums of flammable liquids prominently warn of the high explosion risk of a partially empty drum. Additional warnings against cutting or welding are needed, as well as instructions to avoid all ignition sources and keep the drum completely closed at all times. While employee training about the risks of near-empty drums can be beneficial, used drums all to often find themselves in the hands of untrained employees or untrained non-employees. This reinforces the need for adequate and eye-catching labeling that goes beyond the usual warnings for a flammable liquid. The average, untrained layperson intuitively believes that less liquid means less risk, when the opposite is true.

                          This case involved:
                          • The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard,
                          • Flammable liquids,
                          • The vapor pressure of flammable liquids,
                          • Human Factors,
                          • The adequacy of MSDSs, and
                          • The adequacy of labels.

                          Dr. Fox is an explosion expert, fire expert, and chemical expert with extensive experience in OSHA chemical regulations and chemical safety.


                          • #28
                            fill with water and use a sawsall ! Remember oil, gas, wood etc does not burn.......when heated the vapours off them burn!
                            Last edited by overkill 19; 06-19-2011, 10:20 PM.


                            • #29
                              Jig saw with bi-metal blade is safe and makes a nice smooth cut!


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by boudreaux View Post
                                Jig saw with bi-metal blade is safe and makes a nice smooth cut!
                                Those blades can get red hot. Still not safe.