Welding, Cutting, Tips + Tricks and comments

edited August 2013 in General
This discussion was created from comments split from: Law of Ohm's Models.


  • What would be the fabrication process? Weld the ferrule first, then plasma cut the hole - or - cut the hole then weld the ferrule?

  • I've never used a plasma cutter so cant comment, (I would love one tho) normally I cut with a hole saw (up to 4 in) or mark out the larger hole using the ferrule and cut with an angle grinder! (yuck). I would love to see what a plasma cutter can do.. (youtube time)

  • Maybe one can be hired (if you've got a few jobs lined-up) ? Cheapest to buy I've seen are $300 to $400 (you'd need an air compressor or a bottle of gas to go with it). I reckon these 8inch ferrules would need more TLC than an angle grinder can dish out.

  • I used my plasma cutter to cut the hole for the 8" ferrule in the lid on my boiler. Does a great job but it is all about getting your template setup. Your hands will never be steady enough to make that cut freehand.

    I use a thin piece of plywood. Lay out a circle on the plywood but you have to make it slightly larger than the hole you want to end up with to account for the offset of the plasma cutter from the outer edge of the torch to the middle line of the torch where the cut actually occurs.

    Cut the circle out of the plywood with a jig saw. Then attach the template to the metal with tape.

    Set the plasma torch of the inside of the template up against the ring and cut the metal below by just dragging the torch around the template ring.

    image image

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    480 x 360 - 34K
  • Thanks RDD. I'd be happy to make a jig - plasma cutting circle kits can get pricey; like $80 to $230

    Circle cutting (Full Kit) for Tokentools HF plasma cutter ~ that kind of takes the shine off a $300 unit.

    If you use air, what size air compressor do you use?

    I suppose that if you can guarantee a nice tight cut, then it would be fine to weld the ferrule after the cutting.

  • I have a mid-size air compressor, portable but not small. I think it is 1.5HP 27 gallon tank. I would not try and cut after welding the ferrule on. The cut is not that clean as you will get little bits of slag around the cut that you need to grind off after. But if you setup the template right the circle lines up perfectly with the ferrule and gives you a nice matched up welding area.

    I personally spent about $1800 on a multi process machine. (AC/DC) TIG/Stick/Plasma all in 1. It has been a very good unit and I have used it a lot.

    Everlast PowerPro 256 series Multi Process AC/DC IGBT Inverter

  • Wow, I checked that machine, being a welder myself I'm impressed with the capability and the price. Welding and plasma in one machine, very nice !!

  • I have been very happy with it. I have yet to run into anything that that machine did not have enough power to handle. And having all the functions in 1 box on 1 cart in the garage make is nice.

    The only other thing I needed was Mig Welding so I picked up a little Lincoln MIG that also came with the spool gun for aluminum. Picked that one up with cart and gas tank for $250 used but it works great as well.

  • I don't want to make this into a welding topic but, for what its worth. I read that, if you're concerned that plasma cutting with compressed air will contaminate the s/s and make it more difficult to TIG without porosity; then try cutting out these thin kegs using a jigsaw on Slow Speed together with a good quality blade designed for the job (and cutting fluid). Otherwise I go back to the idea of first using the TIG to weld the ferrule, then cut out the hole with plasma and finish the work (like many welders do) by doing a fine job of grinding off the slag and smoothing everything with an angle grinder.

  • I am not a perfect welder but I have welded a 4" and 8" ferrule to the lids for my boiler after cutting with a plasma and not had a problem with porosity. The other issue I see with doing it after is trying to reach thru a 4" or 8" hole with a grinder? My lids are removable but if you are welding on top of a keg you wont have very easy access.

  • edited August 2013

    Great to get the repeated messages from real world experience. The article I referred to is:

    You can plasma cut it, but can you weld it? Plasma cutting with the right gas and torch setup makes life easier for the welder

  • Here is the lid for my boiler I just added a 8" ferrule to. Plasma cut the hole then tig welded it on. No porosity issues. And I was just using an air compressor as the gas for the plasma cutter.


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  • seeing is believing.

    Nice job - how big is that boiler?

  • 350 gallons. :-) But basically that is a flat stainless lid that fits a 55gallon barrel. So someone could do a 55gallon stainless barrel boiler. Just add the Heating elements and a drain port. Weld a Ferrule to the lid.

  • woo whoo

    That would make a lot of people happy.

    I've never read up about Continuous distillation vs Mega Pot distillation ~ reckon I would if ever tempted to the whole 350g.

  • My 2 cents, cut the hole with the plasma cutter then clean up the edge with a grinder or die grinder then use your TIG, you can run a bead around the inside or the standard is to weld on the outside. You need a fairly large compressor with a big tank with a plasma cutter they use a fair bit of air if you do a lot of cutting without letting the tank fill. The plasma/TIG/stick welder s are very common now.

  • edited August 2013

    @RedDoorDistillery said: 350 gallons. :-) But basically that is a flat stainless lid that fits a 55gallon barrel. So someone could do a 55gallon stainless barrel boiler. Just add the Heating elements and a drain port. Weld a Ferrule to the lid.

    So would a barrel ferrule just be the top of a barrel cut off and then welded to a larger boiler, or is this something a person could just find in its raw state ready to weld? The diameter of that thing would have to be at least 20 inches. I have seen clamp tops on barrels before with removable lids, but are they airtight?, do they have a gasket or something because I don't remember seeing one on the barrel that I saw? I definitely like the tote you run, good idea. I think barrel would work good too if someone was serious about going bigger, usually the non clamped ones already have a 2" threaded for a drain tap and something like a 3/4 or 1" threaded for air.

  • The lids are 21.5". I don't thing the standard barrels come with a gasket but you can buy a food safe gasket that size like what I am using. I would suggest a bolted barrel ring not just a quick release one. Not sure if a barrel ferrule is available or not. My Tote came that way.

  • I have one 55 gallon stainless barrel from Bubba's Barrels. Can order with several options and the welding is top of the line.

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