Instead of throwing away those one-time use Propane tanks, this Instructable shows you how to turn them into a safe, reusable drink tankard. Best of all, it is a functional insulated container so, it will keep your drink cold, without sweating.
Perfect for the seasoned outdoorsman. Fill it with a favorite beverage, and appear to be drinking propane right from the tank.
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Step 1: Propane and Propane Accessories
Whether you are a hardcore Tailgater, Backyard BBQ Chef or the Camp's Chowmaster, chances are you have propane flowing through your veins.
Or perhaps you just need propane fueled energy to keep you warm during the cold winter months?
What better way to show it, than by taking a swig right from the tank.
In the heat of the BBQ season, or in the dead cold of winter, you need a shot of the good stuff, and now you can appear to be drinking it, with this incredibly authentic beverage container.
"Strickland Propane may have Propane and Propane Accessories but, they aint got nothing like this!"
Disclamer: Propane is dangerous!
- Propane is extremely flammable
- The beverage container in this project is for novelty purposes only
- Propane should never be consumed in any way, shape, or form.
- This project uses EMPTY containers.
- Do not empty tanks by manually depressing the valve.
- Always empty tanks through an approved Propane appliance.
- Liquid propane expelled from its container is Dangerously Cold and will instantly freeze skin.
- Never heat propane tanks they will explode
Step 2: Finally, a Use for Those Tanks!
It never seemed efficient to throw away those empty single use tanks...but thy are so darn handy.
Here is a good use for them. This project is fairly easy, and costs very little.
Empty Propane Tank - Free
Pop Bottle - forfeited deposit :(
Rubber O- Ring - $0.45
Foam - ~$6.00/can Although the can is a one time use, it probably could fill 5 or 6 propane tanks if they were prep'ed and ready when the foam can is tapped.
Step 3: Tank Type
Select a Tank with the separate plastic bottom cap
Some tanks come with a welded steel bottom cap. These could be a challenge. (Not saying it couldn't be done with this type tank but, the separate plastic bottom does a nice job of covering the hole in the bottom of the tank.)
Remove the plastic Bottom Cap. This cap is held in place with a small dab of hot melt glue. If the tank is cold, the glue becomes brittle and will allow the cap to pop off easily. The tanks used here, were outside this winter so there was no trouble removing them without damage.
Step 4: Empy the Tank
Make sure to start with an EMPTY TANK!
Shake the tank to make sure there is no liquid propane left in it. It is a good idea to attach it to a propane appliance and keep the valve open for a while to make sure there is no resididual pressure in the tank.
As a mater of good practice, remove the valves before drilling into the tank. A small pair of needle nose pliers, or hemostats, can be used to unscrew the pressure relief valve.
The pressure relief valve (the one to the side) is the easiest to reach. It is not necessary to remove the main center valve because the whole threaded tank fitting will be removed; valve and all, in a future step.
(Also, The valve in the center is more difficult to remove; requiring removal of an inner plastic sleeve and an O-ring before the schrader valve can be accessed.)
Step 5: Cut a Hole in the Bottom
Cut a hole in the bottom of the tank.
The bottom of the tank needs to be removed to allow for installation of the plastic bottle "liner". The diameter of the cut hole should be just inside the fluted "peaks" of the tank's bottom formations.
Starting with the Bottom Hole first allows the tank to be cut while holding it by the top threaded fitting clamped in a vice. (don't worry about damaging the threads on the top fitting; this whole stem will be removed later.)
Leave the "Peaks" of the tank's bottom arris formations (photo 2) so that the tank will sit level when the Plastic End Cap is replaced.
Step 6: Cut the Top Hole
Remove the tanks threaded fitting to allow the top of the plastic bottle to fit through.
A series of small holes drilled around the base of the tank's threaded fitting is the easiest way to remove the fitting. This will create the start of the the tank's Top Hole. The Top Hole is where the top of the plastic bottle will pass through.
Holes are drilled under the overhand of the fitting's threads (right were the fitting's neck meets the tank). This ensures that the resulting overall Top Hole in the tank is not too large for the plastic bottle.
Use a small pair of cutters or needle nose pliers to remove the remaining web between the holes.
A file or grinder can be used to size and smooth the final Top Hole. It should just be large enough to allow the threaded portion of the plastic bottle to pass though.
The largest bottom flange on the bottle's neck should not pass through the Top Hole. The bottle flange should be the "up" stop; bottoming-out on the under side of the Top Hole.
Step 7: Remove Valve Stem Tube
The pressure release valve stem tube needs to be removed.
The metal tube that housed the stem valve, will interfer with the "shoulders" of the plastic bottle if left in place.
The Valve Tube can be drilled out from the top of the tank.
Note: The photo shows the top of the tank cut off - this is not required. It was done only to better show the Valve Tube
The Valve Tube narrows just below the top surface of the tank thus, a proper size drill bit will remove the tube without disturbing the flared shoulder on the top surface of the tank.
Paint the inside of the cut tank.
After cutting the Top and Bottom Hole, filing the edges smooth, and removing the Valve Tube, the inside of the tank, and any raw edges of the tank, should be painted. As shown in the photo below, the exposed inside of the tank will start to rust within a few days if left untreated.
Mask the outside of the tanks so that it does not get paint on it, and give the inside of the tank a shot of spray paint. Make sure the edges of the top and bottom holes also get painted.
Step 8: Shrink the Bottle
20 oz PET bottles are too tall to fit in the tank so they must be shrunk.
Even 16 oz bottles are too tall (same height; just narrower) That leave 8 oz bottles. They fit but, most people drink more than a cup at a time.
Solution: Shrink a 20 oz bottle. PET bottle are manufactured via a blow molding process. Essentially, a molton blob of plastic is inflated like a balloon and then cooled to hold its shape. This process leaves a lot of internal stress in the plastic. With a little applied heat the softened plastic will shrink.
Process: Fill a 20 oz bottle about 3/4 full of water. Place it in the microwave and heat.
(Start with hot water from the tap; it will shorten the micowave time.) Put the bottle in a shallow bowl. There is a good chance that water will overflow as the volume of the bottle decreases.
Be carefull! The bottle filled with boiling water will be Hot. Remove it from the microwave carefully. Pour out the hot water, and run the bottle under cold water to stop the shrinking process.
It may take several attempts to get the bottle to the right size.
Try not to over shrink the bottle; the goal is to reduce its height enough to fit in the tank, yet retain as much usable volume as possible.
Note: After shrinking a 20 oz bottle to fit in the tank, it should still be able to hold the contents of a 12oz. can (with room to spare)
The photo below show the before, and after, size of a 20 oz plastic pop bottle.
Step 9: Install the Bottle
Place the shrunken bottle in the bottom of the cut-out propane tank
In order to reinstall the tank's plastic Bottom Cap, the bottle should not protrude beyond the bottom of the tank.
Step 10: O-Ring Holds the Bottle
Place an O-ring around the flange of the plastic bottle to hold it in place.
Use a 7/8" diameter O-ring with a 1/8" thickness
Step 11: Foam in Place
A can of household insulating foam will hold the bottle in place and keep your cold beverages cold.
Note: There are two types of foam available. One cures rigid and the other remains soft (like seat foam). Given the possible expansion of carbonated beverages, the soft foam was used for this project.
With the plastic bottle and o-ring in place, turn the tank over and fill with foam through the Bottom Hole.
Note: Be sure to plug the tank's drilled-out pressure relief Valve Tube, or foam will flow out this hole. A small wad of aluminum foil stuffed in the hole works well.
Insert the applicator straw to the bottom of the inverted tank and slowly spray the foam. It will expand, so several small shots, a minute or so apart, will help to keep from grossly over filling the tank.
Note: This foam needs moisture to cure so, the inside of the tank was spritz with a water mist before foaming, and in between the several small shots of foam.
After the foam expansion slows (minute or so), scrape off the excess foam. Leave about 1/2 inch of foam above the tank. This foam will be used to adhere the Bottom Cap.
While the foam is still tacky, press the plastic Bottom Cap in place on the bottom of the tank. Clean off any foam that may squeeze out.
Be prepared when using this foam! This can be a messy operation.
Urethane foam sticks to everything; including skin. Once cured, the only way to get it off skin is to let it wear off - there is no solvent.
Step 12: Finished Product
A black bottle cap will make the illusion complete.
At this point the project is complete. It will looks strikingly just like a propane tank.
Fill it with your favorite beverage, and shock your friends as they see you taking a swig from a propane tank.
Step 13: A True Energy Drink
Fill it with an "energy" drink to "Fuel" all your outdoor activities.
Step 14: Built in Umbrella Holder
The pressure relief valve port makes a nice garnish / paper umbrella holder
Finish off your Manly drink with a paper umbrella just to soften your grizzled, propane swilling, tough-guy image.