Orion's Photos: portrait - mechanical - steel_tank_welds

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So I found an old 275 gallon steel barrel at the dump, and just had to latch onto it and haul it home. The tank had several sizeable gashes on the top, but I figured it wouldn't be too hard to weld them shut.

Now, tank welding really is amazingly dangerous if the tank has *ever* held a flammable liquid--the fuel will seep into the rust and metal structure, such that the interior of the tank can be left a volatile mixture of fumes and air. Quite a few people have killed or maimed themselves when the fumes ignite, turning the tank into lethal shrapnel (google "tank welding explosion". Scary!).

Luckily, this was a water tank, and so didn't ignite as soon as I started welding. I'm not sure what exactly made the holes--it looks rather like a pickaxe, which might be accidental while digging up the tank (or just general digging, which would be a bummer!). The little pinholes I put a single pop-rivet in, but ied the larger gashes with some 1/2" wide 1/8" strip. I then did several layers of 6013 rod with my giant arc welder. 6013 is pretty slaggy, but it's almost impossible to burn through the thin metal of the tank; for bigger stuff I like to use 6011 rod, especially for rusty material. My first pass was almost all slag (I'm still not much of a welder!), so I did another pass to fill in the gaps. I then ground the welds flat, and did yet another pass to cover the remaining pinholes.

Being on the top of the tank, I'm not too worried about leaks (the tank is rarely even half full), but the welds seemed to be watertight while I was cleaning the tank. I don't have pictures, but I've since painted the tank, and have been using it for several months now to store diesel for my toyo stove!

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All images taken by Orion Lawlor and placed completely in the public domain.
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