How to disassemble a gas cylinder: step by step instructions + precautions

Vasily Borutsky
Checked by a specialist: Vasily Borutsky
Author: Karen molko
Last update: August 2019

Surely, you have often wondered what can be made from an old gas cylinder? The amateur will take the receiver for unnecessary scrap, and send it to a landfill, but only a real master can use the container as the basis for a new product.

You must admit that the used gas cylinder is an ideal case for a homemade barbecue, smokehouse, boiler or even a fireplace. Detailed instructions even for a novice will help you quickly understand how to disassemble a gas bottle as safely as possible.

Disassembling the receiver requires the master to observe the important rules used to safely cut the container in which combustible materials were stored. We have compiled detailed instructions for the analysis of the propane cylinder, which describes step by step how to free the container of gas residues and cut it correctly.

Use of a gas receiver in a cut form

Due to the massive connection of all houses to the gasification system, gas receivers have lost their popularity. That is why today many masters set out to make new designs from used cylinders that perform completely different functions.

The first thing that comes to mind when looking for options for using a gas receiver is homemade stove stove. In this case, the propane cylinder is an ideal body for the furnace, since its wall thickness is 3 mm, and this is just enough for safe operation.

Potbelly stove from a cylinder
The design does not require complex refinement, so that if you have all the necessary components, you can assemble it in just one day

Especially popular barbecue grill from a gas bottle. To make such a mobile grill, you will need a simple cylinder, a burner of an old gas stove, a grill and a pan.

The internal coating of the case allows you to safely cook dishes in a roasting pan even under a closed lid.The gas barbecue from the used receiver is ideal for a spacious summer cottage where you can gather a large group of friends.

Gas cylinder smokehouse grill
In the construction of such a complex design, you can use not only a gas receiver, but also a barrel of food stainless steel

From several cylinders you can build a real smokehouse with separate containers for cold and hot smoking, a barbecue and a grill compartment. The design can be adapted both for skewers and for grills, which allows you to cook meat and fish in different ways. In the manufacture of such a complex design, you should understand the principle of the smokehouse, so it is recommended to rely on the drawing.

The process of disassembling an old gas cylinder requires special care on the part of the master, since even a small amount of gas inside the tank when interacting with a spark from a grinder can provoke an explosion. The process of sawing a gas receiver is preceded by a preparatory phase, which includes the release of gas and filling the tank with water.

Step-by-step instructions for disassembling a gas cylinder

If all the necessary tools are prepared, then you can safely get to work. In this case, it is important to perform all the steps in the presented sequence in order to avoid errors in the process of analyzing the gas receiver.

Tool kit for work

Analysis of carbon dioxide or oxygen cylinders is carried out without preliminary preparation, because after bleeding the gas, these are ordinary metal cylinders that can be easily cut with a grinder. With propane cylinders, things are somewhat different, so before carrying out sawing work, the container will have to be prepared.

To do this, you need the following tools:

  • gas key to open gatesto release all gas from the cylinder;
  • manual hacksaw for cutting the neck of a cylinder;
  • funnel and watering hose to fill the receiver with water;
  • grinder with cutting discs of different thicknesses.

When working with a grinder, you should be especially careful, since in this case the master will have to work with an uneven surface, because of which the tool can slip off during metal cutting.

If you have not previously had to work with a grinder, then it is best to practice on a level sheet of metal.

Section of a gas receiver with a grinder
It is recommended to protect your body as much as possible when working with a grinder, because if it gets on your skin, fragments can form burns

Before starting work, it is recommended to wear a protective casing and glasses, which will serve as reliable protection against fragments and a burning abrasive. An important condition is to choose the right wheel for the specific thickness of the material, because often the mismatch of the abrasive wheel to the metal can lead to its quick grinding.

Before you begin to disassemble a gas cylinder of 50 liters, you must open the valve with a gas key to completely bleed the gas. The presence of even a small volume of gas inside the container can lead to fire or explosion, so no matter how old the cylinder is, it must be freed from propane residues.

Covering the valve with a soapy compound will help ensure that there is no more gas left in the receiver. You can get rid of gasoline residues only after completely removing the valve.

Removing the cylinder valve

Further, it is recommended to unscrew the valve with the subsequent removal of the pins and the fixing element. This is a rather time-consuming process, since the valve shut-off mechanism is difficult to untwist.

Unscrewing the valve using a gas key
To reduce the risk of fire to a minimum, it is better to unscrew the valve yourself, without resorting to cutting it with a hacksaw

Upon successful completion of the process, a 6 mm diameter hole is formed at the valve site. If the valve cannot be opened in any way, then it can be cut using a conventional hacksaw.

Flushing the gas cylinder

After removing the valve, the gas cylinder is completely filled with water. This is necessary to completely remove gas that could remain inside the tank. The resulting solution from water and gas residues is safe, so it can be safely drained without fear of subsequent fire. However, it is recommended to do this away from structures, since the liquid has a rather pungent odor.

So, by bleeding the gas and rinsing the cylinder with clean water, all propane residues were removed from the tank. Then you can safely proceed directly to cutting the receiver.

Depending on the features of the future design, marking is made on the surface of the balloon using chalk. In some cases, cutting is performed on welds, which in turn are notable for their low strength.

Gas receiver cutting

Before you start cutting the cylinder, it is worth considering the thickness of the metal used. On average, the steel thickness of the propane receiver is 3-4 mm, while at the junction points can reach 5-6 mm. Almost any grinder is suitable for such purposes, however, special attention should be paid to the choice of an abrasive wheel.

In order not to encounter additional difficulties in the process of cutting the receiver, you can first go through the grinder for marking, using a 1.6 mm thick disc. The next time you saw metal, you will need to use a wider disc, which will avoid jamming the nozzle during the final cutting.

Burnt cylinder with burnt inner surface
If, even after rinsing the container with water, a pungent smell of gas remains inside, it is better to burn the inside of the container with a blowtorch

More thickened elements, such as joints, can be cut using a grinder, and then separated with a hammer. The acceleration of the process of analyzing a gas cylinder adversely affects the quality of the final result, so it is better to do everything in sequence, and not resort to the use of a chisel or hammer to cut joints.

Regardless of the purpose of the gas receiver, the preparation of the housing is carried out according to the instructions. From an ordinary propane cylinder, you can make both a stove-potbelly stove and a mobile barbecue.

It should be understood that to use the receiver's housing as a barbecue or smokehouse, the external surface of the structure will need to be coated with non-stick paint, and the inside should be burnt with a blowtorch.

Safety rules when working with a grinder

In the process of cutting metal, it is important to take into account the basic operating rules of the grinder, which allow the master to create the most safe conditions for the duration of the work.

The following rules can be attributed to the features of working with a grinder:

  1. Before starting work with the grinder, it is necessary to wear a special protective suit made of non-combustible material. It is not recommended to cut metal in clothes with exposed skin, as if splinters get on its surface, a burn may form.
  2. Before you start cutting metal, you should pay special attention to the condition of the disk. It is recommended to inspect the nozzle for defects, to assess the degree of wear.
  3. Metal cutting is carried out only in goggles, since in the process a huge number of fragments are formed, which scatter in different directions, and can cause serious eye injury.

In some cases, the steel cutting procedure is divided into several stages. This is necessary when the nozzle is heated during long-term cutting, due to which it quickly wears out.

In addition, long operation of the grinder often leads to failures in her work, which can even lead to injury to the master.

The correct location when working with a grinder
In the process of metal processing, it is recommended to stand on the side of the cutting line so that the maximum part of the fragments does not fly towards the master

Professional craftsmen recommend using a respirator in the process of working with a grinder, since when cutting steel, microscopic metal fragments that settle in the respiratory tract of a person can be thrown into the air.

What you should pay attention to?

The analysis of even an old gas cylinder requires special care from the master, and the sequence of all actions.

For beginners, who have not yet had to deal with sawing a propane receiver, we have prepared some useful tips:

  • the degree of sharpness of the smell of propane when rinsing the balloon is an indicator of a high probability of fire or explosion;
  • it is better to unscrew the cylinder valve away from living quarters;
  • cutting a propane cylinder near a fire or any other source of fire is contraindicated;
  • it is forbidden to stand in front of the gas outlet from the receiver, especially if there is a characteristic hiss;
  • markings on the cylinder should be indicated in advance, so that in the end not to be mistaken with the calculations.

If there is a pronounced smell of propane, it is better to rinse the receiver again, and only then proceed to sawing off the valve.

If the smell is still sharp, then it is better to postpone the work for several days, and wait until it completely disappears.

Grinding wheel on a grinder
Such a device will help to quickly and efficiently clean the gas cylinder from rust, and prepare the surface for further painting

Immediately after cutting, the container must be cleaned of dilapidated paint, then carefully cleaned with sandpaper to create the most even surface.

The easiest way is to install a grinding wheel on the grinder, which will facilitate the further process of surface treatment, including painting.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

The article provided step-by-step instructions for analyzing a gas cylinder, including the secrets of proper bleeding of gas and rinsing the cylinder with clean water. A few simple rules for working with a grinder will help to properly cut the container's capacity, reducing the likelihood of a fire or explosion to a minimum.

A prerequisite is the preservation of the sequence of actions presented in the instructions, since the successful completion of work on disassembling the gas receiver depends on this.

You can find out how to avoid exploding a gas cylinder in the process of its analysis from the video:

Unscrew the valve of the propane receiver, without the need for cutting it off, in the following way:


Have you ever had to disassemble a gas bottle yourself? Share your experience with our readers, tell us about the problems that you had to deal with when analyzing a propane receiver. Tell your story in the comments under the article, where you can also ask your questions to our experts.

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