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Old 10-14-2006, 10:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Fuel Cell Plans; Can you make one?

Can fuel cells be home made? Please forgive newbie question. Can these be made. What do you need to make these work or is this a bad idea????
Loren
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Old 10-15-2006, 09:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Just Buy One From Summit Racing. They're Safe & Cheap
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Old 10-15-2006, 09:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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much easier to just buy one but if you need a custom one then yes you can build one. I have built several, take your time welding it up right test it befre you put gas in it and It is a good Idea to seal the inside with POR15 too.

Wayne
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Old 10-15-2006, 10:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The POR 15 is the key. That stuff will seal almost anything really well.

I built mine out of 16ga steel.

If you build it try and make it so you dont weld every corner. Try and bend the metal into the box or whatever shape your after rather then having independant sides.
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Old 10-16-2006, 11:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Erik' Thanks for the tip!
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Old 10-20-2006, 09:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i stretched my frame 4", cut out the rear x-member and shock mount x-member, pushed my axle back 2", and fabbed a new shock mount. that left me with a hell of a lot of room out back for a fuel cell. i'm halfway through building an internally-framed stainless stell cell that measures out to 17 gallons. the heavy gauge bottom and internal frame are designed to be strong enough to jack the vehicle up from, and slide/bash any rocks. it is super time-consuming, and the low heat conductivity of stainless and the thick to thin welding is really sucking down the argon. a summit cell is certainly cheaper, but by building it myself, i'm getting exactly what i want and guaranteeing a perfect fit.
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Old 10-25-2006, 09:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Plans sharing?

LBS,
Would you be willing to share your plans on your tank with me?
Loren
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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sorry about the lsow reply, loren. how is it going, by the way? glad to see you are still into the sam scene.

the first thing i did was measure up the space between the relocated bumper and the relocated shock crossmember. the old rear crossmember was removed completely, since the bumper replaced its structural niche. the dimensions came out to be 11x17x21, allowing plenty or room for interference, mounting, and exhaust. the volume calculates out to around 17 gallons, give or take a couple drops. (now my offroad range should be a more nevada-friendly 400 miles). i made a mock-up out of cardboard, and found it to be a perfect fit, tucking up even higher than the stock tank. understanding that it may be bashed/dragged/backed into rocks, i decided it would be best to try something new: an internal frame. i essentially built a cage out of 1" square stainless tubing, with extra bracing on the bottom and sides. this provided enough rigidity that i can literally use the tank as a jacking point when changing tires. the next issue i addressed was puncture resistance, so the bottom plate is heavier sheet (16 ga?). the sides are 18 ga, and everything is double seam welded, meaning i welded the plates to the frame, then to eachother at all of the corners. i have to add a little skid to the exposed side of the rearmost face for extra measure. the nice thing about austinitic stainless is its high ductility, it is not going to crack or puncture easily. i baffled the inside and punched vent and drain holes into all of the caging, so that volume can be used for fuel as well. the inside was baffled with rock crawling in mind. i bought an assortment of ss fittings, one for fuel, one for return, one for vent to fill neck, and one 1/8 npt fitting that will be capped in case i feel the need for it. all of the fittings and the sender are on a 7x9 plate that bolts to the top with #10 ss screws and neoprene faced washers for easy removal and modification.

presently, i am working on the top plate and mounting system. i really hope to have it in by tomorrow, then i can wire up the lights and be back on the road after several months of weekends sitting in the garage. if i remember to, i can post some pics.

if i were to do it over again, i would probably go with aluminum. the tank is heavy and strong, but the amount of filler metal and argon used to put this thing together has exceeded the cost of a ready-made cell. stainless is slow to weld, because of it's poor heat conductivity. the up side is i am getting something that fits exactly the way i want it to.

btw, all of the stainless i bought was 300 series scrap, mostly industrial kitchen panels and racks from the salvage yard. i wish i had a bench shear and a pan brake after this job. plasma cutting stainless is not an option because of nitriding and carbon precipitation, everything had to be abrasive cut.
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