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Old 08-06-2013, 16:13   #1
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need a medal cutting tool recommendation

My fuel tank failed about a year ago, and I cut the top off and have been using it for storage. It was put in before the floors were attached and it would take major boat surgery to remove it.

I was able to get the top off with a sawzall; nothing pretty, but it opened it up.

It's a mild-soft steel (black iron) laid really close to the hull, maybe 1/2" away from it.

I'd like something, small, that will let me cut metal but where I can control the depth. I've tried using the angle grinder but if I get lazy I could easily bury the grinder right into the hull and then I've got some issues.


Alternatively I'll just open it up as much as possible and strap a bladder in. I might even do that anyway, but I'd like to get as much of the old tank out as possible since it's just weight at this point.
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Old 08-06-2013, 16:22   #2
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

Maybe a jigsaw, I've just only ever used them for wood and can't imagine them punching through all that steel. Especially something small enough to deliver enough power. Maybe it's a speed/blade thing though.
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Old 08-06-2013, 16:26   #3
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

Maybe continue to use the angle grinder. Attach to the body of the grinder a limiting device that will prevent plunging into hull. Does not have to be pretty - hose clamps, duct tape, seizing twine or what ever to attach a chunk of scrap tubing or angle metal.

Sometimes the body of the angle grinder itself can be positioned in such a way that it will prevent deep plunging - especially if the grinder disk is small diameter.

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Old 08-06-2013, 16:30   #4
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

Yes on the angle grinder with metal cutting blade and a guard that's been cut so that only a limited amount of blade can protrude. Hard to get it into corners but you can do it.
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Old 08-06-2013, 16:44   #5
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

Not sure what your budget is. If another $100 bucks is ok, an electric die grinder with a 3' cut off wheel is easy to handle. Makiti makes a nice one. Another nice tool to have onbd.
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Old 08-06-2013, 16:44   #6
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

small grinder will do it but watch the sparks don't cause other problems in the area you cant see use the very thin cutting blades 1.5mm help prevent this or go to a big hardware store and look at what alternatives are available that will fit for you like Electric nibblers, electric tin snips(excalaber), dual saws, or fein multi cutter, no sparks from any of these, other option is with a sharp chisel and a hammer (if you can get to it)

some hire companies may be able to assist with other options. in one case we actually used a small chain come along and crushed a tank to remove it.
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Old 08-06-2013, 16:50   #7
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

There is also something calle d a Zip tool sold at Lowes. It is essentiall a small die grinder, or huge Dremmel. But it can be had with a saw blade attachment. That attachment lets you cut close to walls, almost flush. You can get metal cutting blades.

Good luck

http://www.rotozip.com/en-us/Pages/Rotozip.aspx
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Old 08-06-2013, 17:25   #8
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

Use an angle grinder, but take lots of shallow passes until the metal in the trench begins to blue from heat. It is then thin enough to easily cut with a sharp cold chisel.
An advantage of this method is you limit where the sparks go.
Another way would be a nibbler but they are bulky and you may not have the back clearance anyway.

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Old 08-06-2013, 17:53   #9
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

Multi Tool, with the right blades. There are steel blades to cut steel, carbide and diamond tipped blades are more expensive, but do a great job.

The tool is totally controllable, much safer than an angle grinder, safer to yourself and to your boat. You will be able to get the whole tank out without damaging the boat.

I bought one of these 18 months ago, now probably the most useful tool on the boat. Cutting, grinding, nibbling, sanding, shaping, etc.

If you buy, get the best you can afford. When I bought, I didn't really understand the potential of the tool, and went for a mid range bosch, as a trial. Now wish I had bought a Fein. There are other quality manufacturers, I think De Walt, Milwaukee. Proprietary blades can be expensive, generic blades do the job.

Lee
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Old 08-06-2013, 18:00   #10
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

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Originally Posted by banjoship View Post
Multi Tool, with the right blades. There are steel blades to cut steel, carbide and diamond tipped blades are more expensive, but do a great job.

The tool is totally controllable, much safer than an angle grinder, safer to yourself and to your boat. You will be able to get the whole tank out without damaging the boat.

I bought one of these 18 months ago, now probably the most useful tool on the boat. Cutting, grinding, nibbling, sanding, shaping, etc.

If you buy, get the best you can afford. When I bought, I didn't really understand the potential of the tool, and went for a mid range bosch, as a trial. Now wish I had bought a Fein. There are other quality manufacturers, I think De Walt, Milwaukee. Proprietary blades can be expensive, generic blades do the job.

Lee
Interesting view. I bought one ( Milwaukee) and I thought it's metal cutting was pretty bad, Sanding, scraping etc., pretty great
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Old 08-06-2013, 18:07   #11
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

My first choice would be a 4 inch angle grinder with a 1mm wide abrasvie cutoff disc. These really go through metal fast. They can be hazardous though. Second choice would be an oscillating multi-tool with metal cutting blade. This will be slower but safer. If you could get in there with an air powered nibbler that might also work. I don't think I'd be too worried about sparks unless you have gasoline or a lot of combustible dust piled up.
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Old 08-06-2013, 18:08   #12
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

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I've tried using the angle grinder but if I get lazy I could easily bury the grinder right into the hull and then I've got some issues.
Ya think? (Sorry, couldn't resist, Eric.)

Plenty of good advice in the above posts already, so I have nothing to add. I'm curious, though, if this will be yet another line item for The Days I Don't Write About . . . Rebel Heart - Eric's Blog

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Old 08-06-2013, 19:02   #13
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

A Kett Saw would be my first choice
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Old 08-06-2013, 21:16   #14
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

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A Kett Saw would be my first choice
That's cool. How much?
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Old 08-06-2013, 21:18   #15
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Re: need a medal cutting tool recommendation

Hammer some wedges in between the hull side and tank before getting out the cutting disc, to increase the gap (if possible).
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