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  • Help with cutting stainless steel

    Hi All, I need to give a bid to cut out an existing round vault door opening .
    The cuts would be two horizontal 40'' and four vertical about 10'' long.
    The reason for this is to allow the installation of an ADA approved door and jamb. Oh the thickness is 18'' believed to be solid stainless .
    The location is in a finished and occupied basement , The contractor will ''plastic off '' the work area for dust controll ( I told Him He would need more than plastic) and that there would be more than dust.

    I have pictures that were e-mailed to Me as attachments, and will try to post them later.

    Does anybody have any ideas?


    Steve

  • #2
    18" solid stainless? This "door" wouldn't be somewhere in a mountain in Wyoming, would it?????

    If I lived anywhere with a 18" thick vault door in the basement the last thing I would be doing is removing it.

    andy b.
    The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining

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    • #3
      No it is in California. They are not removing the door, welding the hinges in the open position. But the good old ADA ''Needs'' to have a legal door and threshold. There is no way short of major demolition to the building to remove the vault door. Too bad it is a real piece of art... 100+ year old Herman Safe Co. of San Francisco Vault . The Contractor told Me the door weighs about 3 tons.


      Steve

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      • #4
        First of all, not to be a party pooper, but :
        If the "door" is welded open, it is no longer a door, so what does ADA have to do with that?

        Second, before you consider anything, you better drill a hole through the "door" to assure yourself what the composition is. Heresay coments are the fastest way to loose your butt, unless he is paying you T and M

        Third, Most vault doors from years ago used copper as heat sinks to remove
        any torching capability. Bi Metal doors make for difficult cutting tasks.
        If it is SS, I would remove it ( only 6,000 pounds) and have it cut at a ship yard. that would be no more difficult that putting a big milling machine in/out your basemant

        Forth, I hate to tell you, but 3 tons is nothing for a 18 inch door, and I doubt it is that ?
        A steel door 6 feet tall, by 6 feet wide by 1.5 feet thick, is 54 cubic feet of steel at about 500 #/cu ft = 27,000 pounds.
        And I am guessing about your size.
        I think the contractor is leading you astray

        Rich
        Last edited by Rich Carlstedt; 11-18-2009, 11:48 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Agreed Rich..

          I see no way that the door could weigh in at 3 tons. Heck...my gun safe is 1500 pounds.. It doesn't even have close to the material that safe door has.

          Mac.

          Comment


          • #6
            Hmm ... I can't offer too much input besides the fact that most SS doesn't cut worth a darn with O/A. It will melt but it will not cut the way ordinary steels do. Think cutting aluminum or cast iron or the like with an O/A torch!

            In fact, I believe plasma arc cutting was developed in the 1950's specifically for SS, copper, and the like. So if you can find an incredible plasma cutter, you might stand a chance If you find a plasma cutter to do that, let me know.

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            • #7
              I went to a SS steel supplier in Houston that's all they carry. And the plasma table would cut 6" SS plate but they had two Miller machines the size of out door A/C units tided together to be able to cut it.It would take a lot of power. Or you could let me blow it up with some liner cutting charges.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Rich Carlstedt
                First of all, not to be a party pooper, but :
                If the "door" is welded open, it is no longer a door, so what does ADA have to do with that?

                Second, before you consider anything, you better drill a hole through the "door" to assure yourself what the composition is. Heresay coments are the fastest way to loose your butt, unless he is paying you T and M

                Third, Most vault doors from years ago used copper as heat sinks to remove
                any torching capability. Bi Metal doors make for difficult cutting tasks.
                If it is SS, I would remove it ( only 6,000 pounds) and have it cut at a ship yard. that would be no more difficult that putting a big milling machine in/out your basemant

                Forth, I hate to tell you, but 3 tons is nothing for a 18 inch door, and I doubt it is that ?
                A steel door 6 feet tall, by 6 feet wide by 1.5 feet thick, is 54 cubic feet of steel at about 500 #/cu ft = 27,000 pounds.
                And I am guessing about your size.
                I think the contractor is leading you astray

                Rich
                Rich, thanks for responding. Maybe My original post was not clear.
                I'm not dealing with the door. What I am looking at is the hole that the now fixed (open door) used to fit into.
                ADA does not like a step and duck type of opening and they want a flat threshold . The customer and contractor wants a flat level header area so when the new 36'' wide X 84'' high door is installed and the sides framed in it will look normal with exception to the 72'' diameter old door standing nera by.
                The door , what ever it is made of ,or what ever it realy weighs is not part of the problem, it can not be removed practicaly .

                Steve

                Comment


                • #9
                  double post
                  Last edited by doctor demo; 11-19-2009, 02:24 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The best way to do this is with a wire saw.
                    But it aint gonna be cheap.

                    A wire saw uses a spool of wire- a mile or two, literally, that is coated with abrasive, often tiny chunks of industrial diamond.
                    You custom set up the spools inside and out of where you need to cut, and run the wire from one spool to another- kind of like a bandsaw, but with infinite length of blade.

                    Depending on the material, it may need to be water cooled as it works.

                    Wire saws like this will cut thru 40' of solid concrete, 10' of solid steel, rocks, glass, you name it.

                    companies like this do it.
                    http://trentec.cwfc.com/ProductSolut...eteCutting.htm

                    It is not a DIY process- you need experience, expensive equipment, and deep pockets.

                    But there are no sparks, no danger of fire, and the cuts are accurate, straight and clean.
                    As mentioned, the plasma power supplies to plasma cut 18" of stainless would be in the $50k to $200k range, and be about as big as a pickup truck.
                    Oxy-fuel wont cut stainless.

                    You could, I suppose, use a thermal lance- like in the old movie "THEIF", with James Caan- but it is like using a cannon to shoot rabbits. Overkill, messy, dangerous.

                    Gotta be a wire sawing company in So-Cal.
                    Call companies like these guys-
                    http://www.accucut.cc/index.html

                    and ask if they dont do it, who does?

                    http://www.concoring.com/index-3.html
                    they say they do wire sawing.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ries
                      The best way to do this is with a wire saw.
                      But it aint gonna be cheap.
                      Thats the idea they used in the raising of the sunken Russian submarine K141 Kursk. They used a tungsten carbide studded cable to cut the bow section off underwater.
                      Ernie (VE7ERN)

                      May the wind be always at your back

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ries is on target

                        Wire saw(s) were used to cut nice huge blocks of old fashioned granite found beneath the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Block by block, each sawn then removed and replaced by steel cribbing to support the lighthouse, premove.

                        Spent a chin dropping day watching the Hatteras action, on how to move a huge mortar/brick structure. Google: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse move.

                        G

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                        • #13
                          For a proper industrial plasma cutter you should contact goodwin air plasma. They make big machines. IIRC the scene in aliens (the second one) where the space marines cut the door to the colony was a goodwin air plasma unit. The special effects dudes added most of the smoke...

                          Dave

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                          • #14
                            you probably don't "have to" do anything

                            Doc:

                            Check with the local ADA people. If the building is truly 100 years old, not heavily modified from its original use, and you can make a reasonable accommodation in a different way (different entrance), then you don't have to do anything and you will still be in compliance. But check to be sure. I have seen this work elsewhere, and it is not as bad as if first sounds. And the new ICC will support the same decision, I am sure. Your guy is already in compliance.

                            Not legal advice, but I'm just somebody that reads a lot...

                            gwindt
                            gwindt

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks to All who have posted ideas so far.
                              The last place that I was an actual '' employee,'' was with a concrete cutting co and that was a ten year run so I am familliar with wire saws to an extent that they are messy and costly. I have ruled out plasma, and any thing with flames. Portable water jet is probably out as well.
                              I was kinda wishing that somebody would say : Why don't You use a portable self contained lightning fast E.D.M. machine that will work in all positions? But no one has .

                              As far as'' not having to do anything'' like Gwinn mentioned, the customer/general contractor wants a price to do the work. The first thought that I shared with them when they contacted Me was ''see if there is some way to get a grandfather pass'' and that was a no go.

                              I am however leaning towards leting this one pass Me by.

                              Steve

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