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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 04-17-2014, 11:38 AM   #1
skimbop
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Default UDS - Seeking barrel cutting advice

I'm ready to start construction on my first UDS. I don't have a donor kettle for a lid, but I do have a spare drum. I'm planning on cutting the bottom 9 or 10 inches off the drum and using that as a lid. I have an angle grinder and metal cutting discs, but I've never done anything quite like this before. I know some of you out there have cut barrels in a similar manner for various interesting mods, so I'm looking for a little advice on how to help this go smoothly.

My biggest question is: Do I stand the barrel upright and cut around it horizontally? Or should I lay it down on it's side, wedge it between 2 cinderblocks or something, and rotate it occasionally as I cut?

Anything else I should know about cutting a steel drum with an angle grinder?

Thanks!
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Unread 04-17-2014, 12:01 PM   #2
BobBrisket
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off, safety gear (eyes, hands) and especially ears. It's gonna be loud. Best way is to lay it on its side. If standing it up, it's going to bind on the disc as you get most it cut.
With a grinder/disc set up, you first want to run the disc over the line and slowly make the full cut. If you simply cut through and then try to force the disc to cut as you go, it binds and kicks back (don't treat it like a jigsaw blade where you push it to make the cut). Work in small 4-5 inch cuts at a time. Just pass the disc back and forth(think tire on a road going back and forth) and wear the metal down until the disc falls through on its own then cut through the thin stuff and start with another pass.

Just curious, but how will you be using the bottom of the second drum as a lid? Some pics might help us figure out a better solution.
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Unread 04-17-2014, 12:31 PM   #3
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I've used both, a grinder, and a sabre saw to cut steel drums. Must faster using the saw, and use the grinder to smooth things out.
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Unread 04-17-2014, 02:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbon View Post
I've used both, a grinder, and a sabre saw to cut steel drums. Must faster using the saw, and use the grinder to smooth things out.
Yeah, I've used my sawzall to cut drums in half, definitely laying it on its side. And I second the use of eye protection, gloves (good ones) and ear protection. It was loud...WHAT DID YOU SAY?!!!

If you use the sawzall, it will be easier and faster, but I would agree, cut it in small sections and spend a few bucks and get a new metal cutting blade for the saw. It will cut through it like a stick of butter.
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Unread 04-17-2014, 03:40 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the help. I have eyes, ears and gloves squared away, and unfortunately I'm without a sawzall so I'm going with the angle grinder. I'm real glad I decided to ask, too; I never would have thought off the bat of just doing a little at a time rather than trying to rip right though it so you guys just saved me a lot of time and frustration!

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Originally Posted by BobBrisket View Post
Just curious, but how will you be using the bottom of the second drum as a lid? Some pics might help us figure out a better solution.
The doner barrel is slightly taller and thinner than the main barrel I'm using for the UDS. It also has 5 or 6 smaller ribs toward the top and the bottom, rather than just a couple big fat ones. What I'm planning to do is cut in between two of the ribs, in the valley, and see if that won't fit just inside the top of the main barrel. My rough measurements say it should be close enough, and I figure I can use something like this to get a better seal if needed:




Thanks again!
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Unread 04-17-2014, 05:39 PM   #6
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when I cut mine I went low tech and used a hacksaw...it wasn't too bad...
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Unread 04-18-2014, 04:54 AM   #7
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Some good tips posted, I also would cut 99% with the sawsall and the last 1 inch a grinder. Do not put the foot of the sawsall onto the drum, this will really improves your accuracy and a lot less shaking( I have cut well over 100 vehicles into 1/2, 1/4,1/8 etc as they have to go back together and look perfect for courtroom cases and fit thru 30 inch doorways, plus who knows how much other stuff over the years). Keep that foot about 1 inch away, use longer blades if required, I have up to 14 inch? blades. A higher tooth count gives a nice edge, but a 18 would probably be best. The reason for that last inch, the drum is going to want to separate and tear the metal as you get close to that last bit.
Also if you have or can borrow a 2 wheeled wheel barrel, the drums lay in there real nice and a better working height. (You can see one of my drums laying in my light blue wheel barrel) You will have to prop up the top section before doing the last cuts, but that should be pretty easy.
I doubt you have a height gauge, so a couple of bricks, pieces of wood to rest your soap stick or pencil/marker/scribe on for your height so you can get a perfect line going around the barrel to cut. If that makes sense. It will take longer to get everything setup than it will to do the cut. Anyways, that's how I would do it.



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Unread 04-18-2014, 07:43 AM   #8
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Keep the sparks away from you. I set a shirt (and nearly myself) on fire with my neighbor standing next to me and my wife 30 feet away using an angle grinder.
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Unread 04-18-2014, 08:05 AM   #9
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I second the sawsall. I have used an abrasive wheel on a grinder but they bind sometimes and cut slow. I have also used an air chisel, but that requires some clean up.

Nice work on those cars ebijack!
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