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I Forge Iron

Helium Tank as Forge Body


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I picked up an empty helium tank today (it was trash day and one of my neighbors didn't know that the city doesn't pick up tanks of any kind for recycling - you have to take them to the recycle center next to the dump).

Any tips on how to cut it open safely?

The tank feels empty, and I've opened the valve 100%. The valve stem appears to be welded into the tank - so I can't remove it without breaking it off (which is an option, I guess).

Because Helium is fairly inert, I should be able to take a cutting wheel to the tank, but I thought I'd ask for your collective wisdom before I did that.

It's slightly smaller than a 20# propane tank, is pink and says "Helium" on it.

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Pure Helium is used for tig welding..........cut away...

Pure helium or high percentages of helium (He-90%, Ar-10%) shielding gas are used primarily for gas tungsten arc machine welding with direct current electrode negative (DCEN). Often designed as seam welders, the combination of GTAW - DCEN and the high heat input from the gas used can provide fast welding speeds and outstanding penetration. This configuration is sometimes used to produce full penetration butt welds, welded from one side only, onto temporary baking with no vee-groove preparation, just a square edged plate.

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This is from the "Balloon Time" website:

Take the tank to a well-ventilated area. Fully open the valve handle by
turning it counter-clockwise. Press and hold down on the tilt-nozzle (see
photo 2) until the tank is empty. Listen and feel for pressure discharging
from the tilt-nozzle. The tank is empty when no sound is heard or
pressure is felt.

Unscrew and remove the tilt-nozzle either by hand or with
the help of a ¾ inch wrench.

Place the tip of a flat-headed screwdriver on the inside serration of the
rupture disc located on the shoulder of the tank .

With a hammer or mallet, LIGHTLY tap the handle of the screwdriver to
pierce the rupture disc open .

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Note that they type of tank he is asking about is NOT the high pressure tanks used for welding; but the relatively low pressure tank used for balloon inflation.

High pressure tanks have much thicker walls and a greater danger of possible extremely high pressure gas still in it.

For the balloon inflation tanks I check to see if it's empty and then chop with a cutting disk on my angle grinder---using the safety precautions needed when using that set up

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