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Another project completed! First Cook 1/30
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smokin_dodge
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Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Tue Nov 17 09 11:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i have a few ways to purging the tanks when i make my propane tank converted pits.

1. is to get a brush pile in the middle of a field going and roll the tank into the fire. let it burn for a good day or two.

2. is to take it out to the field and shoot at it with some big bore rounds (nothing under 30.06 for size of hole) and shoot about 10-15 holes in it. then let it sit for a few days and should be good to cut.

3. my favorite method, is to remove all valves fitting, like you have done, then fill it full of water. drill a hole at the top of the tank where you want to cut it open (i normally cut open the side and re-weld it back on once im positive the tank is dry of propane) drill the whole about 4-5" from the robotic weld next to the cap. i normally drill a 7/8" hole then i take my sawzall and start cutting down each side equally. you will have to take short breaks to let the water run out. once youve made it 3/4 or teh way to the bottom roll the tank over and finish the cut. to make sure its clean ill burn a small charcoal fire in it for the after noon and let it sit for a day or two. then weld the cap back on and go to town.

what you have to worry about is not wether it has propane in it or if it hissed when you emptied the valves, its how much propane was absorbed by the metal inside the tank. when they make these tanks they dont spray the interior of the tank so there isnt a chance of chemical mixing with the propane. so over time the steel becomes saturated with liquid propane and it starts to become absorbed into the pores of the metal. even if it doesnt smell like propane and hasnt had any in it for 20 years, its still in the pores and its been sealed for who knows how long.

ive done (4) 200+ gallon tanks and have found this to be the safest way - short of setting the whole thing on fire. next time i cut the tank ill take some pics.
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slapout
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Joined: 07 Nov 2009
Posts: 104
Location: Slapout, AL

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18 09 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Purplewg, the tank did hiss for about 3 seconds when I took the valves off. It smelled horrible so i filled it up with water. It still had an odor for a day or so but doesn't seem to smell much now. I plan to drain it (pull over with tractor and chain method) this afternoon and drag away from the shop. Tell me more about this home-made fuse idea. Did you soak the twine with lighter fluid? I love a good explosion. LOL!
Pardon my ignorance but please explain the plenum. You've mentioned it twice now.

Dodge, your number 2 option sounds like something from Mythbusters. Would my T/C Encore 50 cal. do the trick? So your preferred method is to drill a hole and start cutting with a sawzall? That sounds practical but would make me a little nervous with the electricity.

Another question I have is determining 3,6,9,and 12 o'clock positions for this tank. The weld is currently on the very bottom (6 o'clock). I'm planning to turn it upside down and make that 12 o'clock and use the valve openings as drains. What are your thoughts on that idea?
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day_trippr
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Joined: 08 May 2009
Posts: 3206
Location: Stow, MA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18 09 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, man. Talkin' bout fuses and 30-aughts will come to no good Laughing

Check if your Sawzall is double-insulated. Mine is, and while I wouldn't bring it in the pool with me Wink I wouldn't have any qualms about cutting into a tank filled with water. Indeed, that's likely the safest way to go about the task...

Cheers
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charleso
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Joined: 30 Jun 2009
Posts: 657
Location: Thomasville, GA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18 09 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slapout, you might could say that you are slapout the city & nearly 'bout out the country.[b]

I understand where you are coming from with your concerns about opening up your tank. I am about ready to open the tank for my project up. Let me know what you do on yours. If for some reason you suddenly stop posting, I'll know not to go that route Exclamation Exclamation Exclamation

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Last edited by charleso on Wed Nov 18 09 8:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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slapout
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Joined: 07 Nov 2009
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Location: Slapout, AL

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18 09 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have read that the biggest issue with using a saw is the thin kerf and the door having the tendency to bind. I plan on using a torch but y'all may consider me cheating. I purchased a torch wheel to help me keep a steady hand and hold a straight line. I'm not sure how well it will work but the concept is cool. I'll post the results when I get her done.
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
Posts: 26016
Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18 09 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slapout, you can probably use the factory weld as a reference to your 12, 3,6,9. What I did in the build I am doing now is measure off the weld on the left and right sides a given number then center punch the tank. if you want your weld on the bottom 1'' off it will become six: O'Clock. Then use a strap tape and measure the circumference of the tank and divide by 4. that will give you 12, 3, and 9. I rolled my factory weld to about 11:O'Clock and marked 12 from there.
Here is a link to the build in progress.
http://thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32283
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slapout
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Joined: 07 Nov 2009
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Location: Slapout, AL

PostPosted: Wed Nov 18 09 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It got too dark before I could starting the tank drain yesterday so I got to it this morning before work. I decided the syphon method was a little too boring so I hooked up the chains.

I'll finish draining the tank after work today and hopefully have a plan together for purging the residual propane. As Charleso said, if I suddenly quit posting you'll know what happened. I hope to get the door laid out today.
This is the PK grill I plan on adding to the front of the trailer. Not that I'll need it but it's been in my family for years and I'd like to see it back in action again.
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slapout
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Joined: 07 Nov 2009
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Location: Slapout, AL

PostPosted: Thu Nov 19 09 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The good news is I didn't blow anything up and I'm still here. I had a pretty good feeling the tank was empty but you never know for sure. I rolled the tank over to where the valve openings were at the 5 o'clock position. I made a fuse out of some baling twine which led to a pile of leaves at the openings in the tank. I did cheat a little with some diesel on the leaves. I lit the fuse and ran like h*ll! Sorry the picture isn't great but I had the zoom in all the way.

It was a non-event other than smoking up my shop from the burning leaves. I had a little more time to start cutting the cap, hinges, ears, and feet off the tank before I ran out of acetylene. Now I've got a nice clean slate to work with this weekend.
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slapout
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23 09 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't get to spend as much time as I would've liked to this weekend but still made some decent progress. I built the tank support legs out of 2" x 1/4" angle. It took a little math but not only will the tank sit on the support legs but it will also sit on the cross bracing.


I enlisted the help of my brother and his tractor to mount the tank on the support legs. I didn't get the chain tight enough and the tank slipped a little but still worked out just fine.


The tank rested nicely on the trailer and I was quite suprised that I still have some tongue weight. By my calculations, the additional weight of the firebox and extras in front of the axle will be offset by the weight inside the cooker. I'm very pleased with the outcome. My brother couldn't resist cranking up the torch and finished up cutting off the old feet.


I got an email this morning that my torch roller guide was shipped so the next step will be laying out the doors and building my hinges. I have an idea for the hinges and I'm headed to the machine shop today.
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budman



Joined: 18 Nov 2009
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue Nov 24 09 1:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

take a look at the hinges i used on my doors of my smoker they are awesome ! and all you do is weld them on !
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Smoked Up
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Joined: 16 Feb 2009
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Wed Nov 25 09 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

purplewg wrote:
Slapout, did the tank hiss when you took the valves off? How does it smell? If it had gas, fill with water, let sit for a couple days, drain, fill, let it sit for a couple days, drain it, set it away from the shop, run a fuse to it, home made is ok, put some dry leave brush in front of the valves so when the fuse hits them it burns. If no big boom then cut her open.

I layed my tank down and use hay in front, baling twine homemade fuse. I was much more comfortable after seeing 3 ft flames around the openings a no big boom. The smell is there to scare you and it does.

DP double reverse sounds good. So you will have a plenum and two stacks? If so then I would think two firebox inputs would work just fine.


I am as safety conscious as the next guy, and take extra precaution with a torch and old propane tank, but what you have described is pretty much overkill. Fill the tank with water, and start cutting the valve nipples out first. The next cut is to place the firebox. Once you open the tank that much, water pours out and air is allowed into the tank. Filling, adding Dawn, draining, and refilling is just wasteful and unnecessary. The first 300 gallons of water is no more flammable than the second 300. I will admit that there is a pucker factor when you begin to cut, but it goes away the more steel you cut.
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
Posts: 26016
Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 25 09 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

slapout, you are on your way. She is looking good Very Happy I will be watching for some more updates.
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slapout
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Joined: 07 Nov 2009
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Location: Slapout, AL

PostPosted: Thu Nov 26 09 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mean to hijack my on thread but I thought I would post some pics of an older project. I purchased this grill in 1997 from the local state pen down the road. The prison has a technical school and one of the instructors helped me obtain one of their grills. They are supposed to be sold only to State employees but I'm not telling. The quality and craftsmanship are second to none. I guess those guys have plenty of "time" on their hands to spend paying attention to detail.
For several years, I used this primarily as a charcoal grill. Occasionally, I would build a fire at one end and smoke a couple of butts. Several years ago, I had a friend make a firebox out of 1/4" plate and add to the side. I think the fb weighs more than the grill itself. I have enjoyed using it over the years but these things have to be maintained. This weekend, I had a couple of minor repairs to make to the charcoal tray and I also took the angle grinder with the cup brush and knocked all the surface rust off. A fresh coat of rustoleum and she's as good as new.



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messerist
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Joined: 27 Nov 2009
Posts: 320
Location: Faribault Minnesota

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03 09 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So only "State Employees" rate such a grill. Seems to me that it would be a great revenue stream for Alabama to have convicts make smokers for sale to the rest of us Taxpayers! I like your thread slapout keep the pictures coming!
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 03 09 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

slapout, that is a nice looking cooker. Very Happy Thanks for sharing the pics.
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slapout
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Joined: 07 Nov 2009
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Location: Slapout, AL

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04 09 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't had as much time to work on the build as I would like but did get a few things accomplished. Since my 300 gallon tank is 63 years old, the layers of paint are a little difficult to remove with a wire cup. I tried my cheap sandblasting set-up but it's just too big a job and would take forever. Plus, I felt a little vulnerable wearing the little pink shower cap around the shop. What would my neighbors think???

I decided to let the professionals handle the blasting. I wish I had planned better because they could have sprayed it with a coat of high temp primer if they had it on hand. I ended up using the rattle can just to slow the process down.

I got the door laid out and hope to open it up this weekend. The torch wheel arrived but I haven't had a chance to play with it. I'll have to make a few practice cuts and adjustments before I ruin this tank.

I picked up a set of fenders yesterday and hope to get them mounted as well. It will be a tight fit but should work just fine based on my measurements between the axle and trailer frame.

The biggest score of the week was an old 120 gallon propane tank. I have enough 5/16 plate to build a rectangular firebox but this tank will work perfectly and still give me enough volume.

I plan to cut off one end and weld a circular plate. This will also serve as the door. The plan is to fabricate sliding air vents on each side of the tank but the actual design is still up in the air.
I have been using the template for my dimensions but the biggest question is the firebox to chamber opening(s). I have some 6" pipe I plan to connect the two but I was only planning to use two pipes. The template calls for five. Since this is a DP style smoker, I thought two was pretty much standard. What are your thoughts on this?


Last edited by slapout on Sun Dec 13 09 4:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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k.a.m.
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Joined: 12 Dec 2007
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Location: Southeast Texas.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 04 09 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slapout, I would use two 6'' pipes for my connectors no more.
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charleso
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Joined: 30 Jun 2009
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Location: Thomasville, GA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05 09 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Training wheels for a cutting torch, I would probably still make the worst cuts you have ever seen. Looking good so far, Slapout. Can't wait to see you cut her open. Nice score on the second tank, btw.
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slapout
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Location: Slapout, AL

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05 09 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got through watching BBQ Pitmasters with my little helper. I thought I might get some ideas for my build but it's more like the real housewives of BBQ! Gonna start cutting this morning. More pics to follow.
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slapout
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Location: Slapout, AL

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06 09 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My goal for the day was to get the tank cut open (without exploding). I still could smell a hint of propane but with every measure I've taken, surely there isn't any left. Just to be safe, I decided to hook a hose to my exhaust pipe and let it run for 10 minutes. After that, I tacked some flat bar to the tank as a guide for the "training wheels".


I drilled a hole and started cutting. I'm impressed with the wheel to say the least. It works great...if you stay tight against the guide.

It took about four hours of cutting and cooling time so I decided to mount my hinges. I had a machinist friend make these hinges. They are 1/4" plate and they are in the shape of an R (my initial). I got the idea from this forum and modified them a little.

I used the same for my handle support. The idea is so simple but adds a great personal touch. I will more than likely use a turned piece of wood for the actual handle. My friend said if anyone else would like custom hinges, he would glad to do it. After letting everything cool down, I made the final few cuts and opened her up. What a great feeling. Now for some SEC football championship.

Sorry these pics are so dark but they were taken with my phone. I have a friend coming over Sunday after church to help out. Maybe he'll offer to run the grinder. Very Happy


Last edited by slapout on Tue Dec 08 09 1:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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