While working for a company where you perform metal fabrication, you may have come across a project that requires you to weld a used pressure tank. If you have never worked on one of these before, you may not be sure about how to prepare a tank that previously contained argon gas. If so, read additional info and use the following three-step guide to get your tank ready for a fabrication project.

Step 1:  Clean The Outside Of The Tank

The first thing you need to do when preparing your pressure tank for fabrication is to clean the dust, rust, and dirt off from the outside using a sander, especially around the section you will be welding. This will reduce the possibility of introducing contaminants into your weld that could weaken its hold.

Before you begin cleaning the tank, you need to fill the tank halfway with water. Since argon is highly volatile, even a small amount of residual gas left inside the tank could ignite from a wayward spark while you are sanding the metal. The water helps dissipate any gas left inside, making it safe to work on.

Once you have filled the tank with water, use a putty knife to remove any peeling paint left on the outside surface. Once you have removed the loose paint, use a wire brush to remove the layers that are stuck on.

After you have removed the paint, use a belt sander equipped with 1000-grit sandpaper over the entire outer surface. This will remove any residual paint, dirt, and surface rust. Then, wipe the dust off the tank with a damp cloth.

When you have finished cleaning the outer surface, empty the water out of the tank. This will make it lighter and easier for you to move into your work area. Once this is done, go on to step two.

Step 2:  Use Electrostatic Straps To Chain Down The Tank 

Once you have moved the tank into position, the next preparation step is to chain it down using electrostatic straps. This straps serves two purposes while you are welding the tank.

The straps help prevent electrostatic discharge that can happen while you are welding the metal tank. If static electricity from you, your torch, or your surroundings comes into contact with any residual argon, it could cause an explosion that could turn your tank into a dangerous rocket.

When you have the strap holding the tank in place, it prevents the static electricity from reaching the interior by dispersing it. It also prevents the tank from moving in the event of a reaction.

Use a strap at each end of the tank and one in the middle to chain it into place. Then, move on to the next step.

Step 3:  Refill The Tank Halfway With Water

Now that you have thoroughly cleaned the outer surface of the tank and have it strapped down, you have one more thing to do before you can safely weld the tank for use in your fabrication project. The tank must be refilled with water halfway to neutralize any remaining argon gas trapped inside.

This step is especially important before you apply the torch to the tank. While the first step served as a precaution for any random sparks, your welding torch will definitely produce the heat required to ignite the argon gas. Filling it with water makes the tank safe to weld without fear of fire or explosion .

Using the above guide should help you safely prepare the used tank for your fabrication project. However, if you are still unsure about working on the tank, you may want to find someone at your place of work that is knowledgeable about pressure tank fabrication so they can properly guide you.