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Author: Subject: Alternative uses for an illegally owned Oxygen tank?
Ubya
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biggrin.gif posted on 2-1-2022 at 10:16
Alternative uses for an illegally owned Oxygen tank?




A few months ago i was going to dinner with my ex, and while walking i saw a high pressure gas cylinder right next to a recycling trash bin.
I tend to get very excited when i find stuff like that near trash bins so without thinking twice i loaded the 7L (8.45Kg) steel cylinder in my backpack (just picture a guy walking with a gas cylinder half sticking out their super saggy school backpack) and brought it to her building.

When i went home i loaded the thing the same way, but now instead of walking i was driving in the middle of the night on my electric scooter xD

Once i got home and the adrenaline faded off i took a better look at it, to behonest i thought it was a CO2 cylinder since that area is full of pubs, but nope, it is a medical oxygen cylinder.

Let's talk now about the problem i have with it, being considered a medical device these kind of cylinders need to be sent back to their suppliers at the end of their life (there was a tag with all this info on the cylinder). The previous owner apparently was too lazy to give them a call and just decided to throw it next to a bin next to the road, and now i have it, but i can't legally use it.
It is "expired" so to be able to refill it i would have to bring it to a serviccing company that tests high pressure cylinders and have its expiry date prolonged another 10 years (if everything is fine with it), BUT, and this is a big "BUT", i'm not the legal owner of this cylinder, so i can't see how i could just service this cylinder that belongs to some medical company.

My parents told me to just throw it in the bin like the last user did (lol), and my friend told me to just call the medical company to come and get it out of my hands.

Now, talking between us, it is still a nice piece of equipment, i really don't want to get rid of it if i don't have to, and for sure i don't want to call the owner company and tell them i just picked out one of their cylinders out of the trash, and fore sure i don't want to pay any disposal fees.

One idea i had was to fill it at home with something else.
I wouldn't fill it with oxygen for a few reasons:

  1. I don't want to screw with oxygen, compressed gases are dangerous enough, and if they even are a strong oxydizer, nope
  2. I can't test the integrity of this cylinder at some testing facility, max i could do is buy/borrow a hydrostatic hand pump, fill the cylinder with water, and pressurize it to 250-300BAR
  3. Right now i have no uses for an oxygen cylinder, i have a microtorch with a 1L disposable oxygen cylinder, and after 3 years i still have oxygen to spare


I could go to a welding shop, rent an argon cylinder, transfer as much of the gas as i can to my tank, and bring back the rented cylinder to the shop

This way i would "own" my own tank instead of having to pay rental fees, something i can't afford since i rarely use gas cylinders (paying 100 euros a year for a cylinder i barely use could be invested somewhere else in the lab)

If i ever manage to make a hydrogen generator i could fill it with low pressure hydrogen. yeah i know i wouldn't fill it with oxygen but i would with hydrogen? at least hydrogen is more useful to me than pure oxygen (it's more of a "no bad idea" than a "hell yeah i'm doing it")

Last resort i could cut it and make it into a crucible for a coal foundry?

I'd appreciate your ideas and feedback, i really don't want to get rid of it but i also feel bad having it and not using it (i don't have infinite space, so if i have something as bulky as an oxygen tank, i better find a way to use it)

Here are some pics


20220102_182600.jpg - 203kB 20220102_182620.jpg - 315kB 20220102_182709.jpg - 467kB





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unionised
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[*] posted on 2-1-2022 at 11:13


There may be a good reason why it was binned.
You can't use it safely and if you can't use it then it's scrap metal.
Cutting the bottom off it as a crucible is one of the better options.
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Ubya
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[*] posted on 2-1-2022 at 11:18


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
There may be a good reason why it was binned.
You can't use it safely and if you can't use it then it's scrap metal.
Cutting the bottom off it as a crucible is one of the better options.

cars need yearly inspections to be able to legally drive on the road, cylinders also need inspections but once every 10 years. instead of dealing with the paperwork and certifications they binned it, otherwise it looks fine, no signs of rust or cracks, the pressure regulator is dusty but pristine





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[*] posted on 2-1-2022 at 11:51


Maybe make a bell.
https://youtu.be/ZJfl_lwWzGo

Or this pool toy l made.
https://youtu.be/Ah_FBmVv58s
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Ubya
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[*] posted on 2-1-2022 at 14:13


i didn't know pressure cylinders would make great bells, pretty creative as a last resort:D




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[*] posted on 2-1-2022 at 20:25
A few thoughts...


1) the bottle looks to be in good condition

2) generally, inspection intervals are chosen so that there is little chance of problems between inspection intervals.
ie the expected lifetime is much greater than the inspection interval.

3) Even if you can not find an immediate use for it I'm sure you would later regret disposing or damaging it. Keep it.

4) steel is a poor choice for a bell as it does not 'ring' well.

5) I doubt that you would have any problem having the cylinder certified, who keeps ownership documents for 10 years?
Especially if 'inherited from a relative'

6) owning a full bottle of oxygen may be very useful with corona viruses (or other) around.

7) some possible uses;
7.1) boiler for a low pressure steam engine
7.2) retort for pyrolytic reactions
7.3) reservoir for an air compressor
7.4) reservoir for a vacuum pump
7.5) fill with molten lead and use as a pendulum bob for a big clock
7.6) doorstop
7.7) large coke/mentos fountain
7.8) solvent storage
........





CAUTION : Hobby Chemist, not Professional or even Amateur
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unionised
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[*] posted on 3-1-2022 at 04:28


Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  


who keeps ownership documents for 10 years?




Gas bottle manufacturers/ suppliers.
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[*] posted on 3-1-2022 at 05:17


I would not try to fill it with hydrogen. Embrittlement is the last thing you need, especially if its history is unknown.

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Ubya
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[*] posted on 3-1-2022 at 06:38


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  
Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  


who keeps ownership documents for 10 years?




Gas bottle manufacturers/ suppliers.


there's also the serial number and the company name engraved on the cylinder, it's not something i can hide

Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  


5) I doubt that you would have any problem having the cylinder certified, who keeps ownership documents for 10 years?
Especially if 'inherited from a relative'

the thing is that the last "owner/s" wasn't really the owner, the tank was leased to them and instead of sending it back after the 10 years period for servicing/re-certification, they threw it next to the bins.

if i found an abandoned car with the keys inside, and i'm 100% sure it is abandoned, i still couldn't drive it since there are documents somewhere that tie that car to someone else, and in no way i can get ownership of it without having a contract or a document from the last owner, same story here.
it was already thrown out, and you can be sure the garbage disposal company of my city would just throw it in the garbage compactor while looking the other side, so in a way i "saved" it, i just want to use it without really breaking the law (i mean i am already, but at least i'm not going to a welding shop with something that isn't legally mine)

Quote: Originally posted by Sulaiman  

7.1) boiler for a low pressure steam engine
7.2) retort for pyrolytic reactions
7.3) reservoir for an air compressor
7.4) reservoir for a vacuum pump
7.5) fill with molten lead and use as a pendulum bob for a big clock
7.6) doorstop
7.7) large coke/mentos fountain
7.8) solvent storage


7.1, 7.3, 7.4 are pretty good ideas, 7.2 too, i might try some plastic pyrolysis, but probably i'm not going to start with 8Kg of plastic as my first experiments xD

7.5, it would weight more than me, and i don't have all that lead (sad sad me i need lead)
7.6 lol it is its job at the moment, the picture i took were in front of the door it holds (i should call my cylinder "Hodor" for the time being lol)
7.7 naaahhhh
7.8 being an oil-less cylinder it should be pretty clean already, tipping it to get some solvent would be a great workout hahahah





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[*] posted on 3-1-2022 at 09:17


7.3- an air reservoir for a compressor- might not be as good an idea as it seems.
Such reservoirs often end up with water in them.
An oxygen cylinder will not have been designed with water resistance in mind.


Re "
1) the bottle looks to be in good condition"
Add that to the list of "famous last words".
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[*] posted on 3-1-2022 at 09:27


Could you check with the local gas suppliers, see if they could do a swap out if you pay the fill gas rate? Say you picked it up at a yard sale for brazing torch use not medical use, and wouldn't you know it, just ran out. They may swap you over into an in season usable tank for a modest fee. Could be worth a phone call.
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[*] posted on 3-1-2022 at 09:43


I’ve dealt with welding/gas supply places pretty extensively for some years now. The two places I’ve had accounts with the guys that work there are really into what they do and encouraging of people experimenting as long as they’re safe. One even upgraded my tank size for free! But in MY experience (one of these was at a large chain, AWG) they are very helpful. If you go in there and just say “hey I got this tank can I get it swapped” the dude will probably talk to you. There’s no such thing as an illegal oxygen tank it’s just a fucking tank.

I think a GREAT reason to have oxygen as a home chemist is for use with a propane/oxygen burner for glassblowing/lampworking.

Only issue with your tank is that it’s got what I’m guessing is a medical regulator on top. For anything else you’re going to need a new top with fitting for a standard two stage oxygen regulator. A welding shop may still be able to help with this.

-edit- my comments regarding the legality of possessing one of these are from the USA, so this may not apply to you.

[Edited on 3-1-2022 by crow6283]
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[*] posted on 3-1-2022 at 10:34


Here's a funny design for gas cylinder bell.
https://youtu.be/RqLXcB2C9mw
Stone age bells
https://youtu.be/zEP9r4QqUWM
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[*] posted on 3-1-2022 at 17:12


I've had oxygen tanks inspected many times. There is no such thing as an "illegal tank", it's just a tank. Anyone can get a tank inspected, it doesn't matter what is engraved on there. Just bring it in, get it inspected, and you are good to go.
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[*] posted on 3-1-2022 at 20:53


I think that it is important to note that Ubya lives in Italy. I spend a fair amount of time there and I can confirm that the country runs on paperwork and rubber stamps. No papers, no progress. Since the tank in question is a medical oxygen tank, it is probably covered by all sorts of regulations requiring "papers." My suggestion to Ubya is to do a "good citizen" deed and return it to the owning company with a good story about how/where he found it. The next best thing is to just pass it on to some other dumpster bin along the way. If Ubya really wants to keep it, take the suggestion to make a bell from the cylinder. Otherwise, I think the tank is relatively useless.

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[*] posted on 4-1-2022 at 09:39


I second AvBayer's suggestions - if you filled them in on how you obtained it, I imagine that the company would be grateful to receive it back. Then again, they probably budget for lost tanks, if your garden happens to be missing an enormous wind chime. A fire extinguisher makes a more manageably-sized crucible.
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[*] posted on 4-1-2022 at 10:34


Still, couldn't you fill it with argon yourself? Then it is very useful, even with the medical regulator on top, to keep reactions under an inert atmosphere.
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[*] posted on 4-1-2022 at 11:55


In the end there is only one way to find out. Call a shop and ask them if they are willing to fill it for you.



We're not banging rocks together here. We know how to put a man back together.
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[*] posted on 4-1-2022 at 12:05


Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  
Still, couldn't you fill it with argon yourself? Then it is very useful, even with the medical regulator on top, to keep reactions under an inert atmosphere.


that would be my main focus.
tomorrow i'll go to a welding gas supplier in my city to talk a bit, hopefully i don't get treated like an ass





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[*] posted on 4-1-2022 at 17:10



You could partaily fill it for welding or glass work.
Simply connect it to a fully filled bottle, let some gas flow (perhaps to 1/3 working pressure). Then stop. That should be safe enough.

Yob
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[*] posted on 4-1-2022 at 21:08


Quote: Originally posted by Ubya  
Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  
Still, couldn't you fill it with argon yourself? Then it is very useful, even with the medical regulator on top, to keep reactions under an inert atmosphere.


that would be my main focus.
tomorrow i'll go to a welding gas supplier in my city to talk a bit, hopefully i don't get treated like an ass


Well this is a bit more complicated. To do this you would have to get an argon tank to begin with, at that point why half fill a tank with argon when you’ve already got a full tank? It would take some work. You’re still going to want a two stage regulator. One so you can see the pressure remaining in the tank and then one to control the flow of gas into your system. I just don’t know about using an oxygen regulator (especially a medical one) for Argon. I use gasses a lot but I have to admit I’m not really familiar to what the hazards might be of doing this. Being that Argon is inert so I don’t think it would be a problem but it’s worth looking into.
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[*] posted on 5-1-2022 at 06:26


Quote: Originally posted by crow6283  
Quote: Originally posted by Ubya  
Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  
Still, couldn't you fill it with argon yourself? Then it is very useful, even with the medical regulator on top, to keep reactions under an inert atmosphere.


that would be my main focus.
tomorrow i'll go to a welding gas supplier in my city to talk a bit, hopefully i don't get treated like an ass


Well this is a bit more complicated. To do this you would have to get an argon tank to begin with, at that point why half fill a tank with argon when you’ve already got a full tank? It would take some work. You’re still going to want a two stage regulator. One so you can see the pressure remaining in the tank and then one to control the flow of gas into your system. I just don’t know about using an oxygen regulator (especially a medical one) for Argon. I use gasses a lot but I have to admit I’m not really familiar to what the hazards might be of doing this. Being that Argon is inert so I don’t think it would be a problem but it’s worth looking into.


if it is doable i'll just swap regulators, this medical regulator doesn't have a connector for a regulator (or maybe i can use the charging port?) so i wouldn't be able to check the pressure/flowrate





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[*] posted on 5-1-2022 at 06:55


Quote: Originally posted by Ubya  
Quote: Originally posted by crow6283  
Quote: Originally posted by Ubya  
Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  
Still, couldn't you fill it with argon yourself? Then it is very useful, even with the medical regulator on top, to keep reactions under an inert atmosphere.


that would be my main focus.
tomorrow i'll go to a welding gas supplier in my city to talk a bit, hopefully i don't get treated like an ass


Well this is a bit more complicated. To do this you would have to get an argon tank to begin with, at that point why half fill a tank with argon when you’ve already got a full tank? It would take some work. You’re still going to want a two stage regulator. One so you can see the pressure remaining in the tank and then one to control the flow of gas into your system. I just don’t know about using an oxygen regulator (especially a medical one) for Argon. I use gasses a lot but I have to admit I’m not really familiar to what the hazards might be of doing this. Being that Argon is inert so I don’t think it would be a problem but it’s worth looking into.


if it is doable i'll just swap regulators, this medical regulator doesn't have a connector for a regulator (or maybe i can use the charging port?) so i wouldn't be able to check the pressure/flowrate


This is where I’m a little unsure about your cylinder! To use a standard oxygen regulator you would also need to have a whole new valve and maybe a different collar on that cylinder. The threadings in the fittings for various gases tend to be different. I think I mentioned in another thread recently.. nitrogen and co2 fittings are the same but oxygen has its own thing.

The whole idea of renting an argon tank, filling your tank halfway up, and returning the tank… well HERE it just doesn’t work like that. Places that have gas cylinders refer to it as “rental”, but you don’t pay a monthly fee or anything. You just pay for the tank, then when it’s empty you swap it out for a full one. At this point if you did this, you would already be the owner of an Argon tank - so what would be the point of filling up your oxygen tank halfway and returning the Argon tank - when you already have an argon tank?
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[*] posted on 5-1-2022 at 13:02


Quote: Originally posted by crow6283  
Quote: Originally posted by Ubya  
Quote: Originally posted by crow6283  
Quote: Originally posted by Ubya  
Quote: Originally posted by Tsjerk  
Still, couldn't you fill it with argon yourself? Then it is very useful, even with the medical regulator on top, to keep reactions under an inert atmosphere.


that would be my main focus.
tomorrow i'll go to a welding gas supplier in my city to talk a bit, hopefully i don't get treated like an ass


Well this is a bit more complicated. To do this you would have to get an argon tank to begin with, at that point why half fill a tank with argon when you’ve already got a full tank? It would take some work. You’re still going to want a two stage regulator. One so you can see the pressure remaining in the tank and then one to control the flow of gas into your system. I just don’t know about using an oxygen regulator (especially a medical one) for Argon. I use gasses a lot but I have to admit I’m not really familiar to what the hazards might be of doing this. Being that Argon is inert so I don’t think it would be a problem but it’s worth looking into.


if it is doable i'll just swap regulators, this medical regulator doesn't have a connector for a regulator (or maybe i can use the charging port?) so i wouldn't be able to check the pressure/flowrate


This is where I’m a little unsure about your cylinder! To use a standard oxygen regulator you would also need to have a whole new valve and maybe a different collar on that cylinder. The threadings in the fittings for various gases tend to be different. I think I mentioned in another thread recently.. nitrogen and co2 fittings are the same but oxygen has its own thing.

The whole idea of renting an argon tank, filling your tank halfway up, and returning the tank… well HERE it just doesn’t work like that. Places that have gas cylinders refer to it as “rental”, but you don’t pay a monthly fee or anything. You just pay for the tank, then when it’s empty you swap it out for a full one. At this point if you did this, you would already be the owner of an Argon tank - so what would be the point of filling up your oxygen tank halfway and returning the Argon tank - when you already have an argon tank?


You are probably right about the threads, i haven't the experience with big cylinders of different gases, so while i know oxygen has it's own thing, i don't know specifically which threads are different.

About the rental of the tanks, you can do both. We call it a "deposit", you buy the gas and give a deposit for the tank, when you want to refill it you just give the old tank back and they give you a new full one (you only pay now for the gas refill), so no, you don't actually own the tank in this case.

The other "contract" i saw is you literally rent your tank, for example instead of buying and owning a big 50 liters argon cylinder for 600 euros, you pay 60 euros + taxes per year.

With the rental system you also don't have to worry about 10-years checkups and recertifications, while if you own the tank, you have to pay those yourself






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[*] posted on 5-1-2022 at 13:38


The tank companies usually don't fill your tanks, because filling them is a work process of it's own. What they do is make the magic swap of empty can + cash = new full can. At least all of the companies I know will inspect, fill and seal all of their bottles in a gas bottling plant for all kinds of customers, and they only ship out full, sealed cylinders.

So, I presume, any tank that goes for refill, is actually inspected in a routine manner along the way. I'm not sure what crap goes between the place that vends these bottles and the factory, but they never asked any documents, papers or anything else whatsoever - just roll in a bottle that looks something like what they sell, and they're happy to balance you out with a new, full one. They did not take the protective cap off or anything, just dunked it amongst the empty ones.

Now, about the potential uses. Those tanks have burst pressures way higher than the operating pressure, in the order of 2x operating pressure or more, so using it for low pressure applications like pressurized air reservoir will carry you a long way. You will avoid having to drain it by using air dryers, and the two of my compressors have never been drained, and the older of them is 20 years and newer one only 7 years old.

Biggest issue is finding fitting threads and adapters. The gas companies go a long way to utilize special threads and adapters to prevent anything to be cross-connected. Every gas has it's own standard threads, and every country has it's own standards. I recently faced an issue of going over THREE fricken gas regulators to find the right one, and the next issue was the gas outlet, which I just finally simply squeezed in with hose clamp.

Using it as a retort would warrant you to have a large enough heat source, and large enough stuff to 1) fit in it, 2) be able to distill out, 3) be able to remove the residue. Also it must resist corrosion, many stuff will eat steel like bread and butter.

[Edited on 5-1-2022 by Fyndium]
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