Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    My Bikes
    Cannondale CAAD9, Tom's Cargo Bike, Early 80's Trek 400 commuter
    Posts
    9
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Setting up basement for frame building

    I'm planning to make my first frame, with Oxy/Propane. I'll be in my full basement with cement floor and walls, but exposed rafters and some pipes/wires above.

    What should I do to make it safe for brazing and building? Is one box fan enough? Should I come up with walls or dividers to make the building area more contained?

    I have a couple kids upstairs so I clearly want to make sure nothing nasty gets up there.

    That said, I won't be doing this all day, but building in my spare time.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Ypsilanti , MI
    Posts
    24
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Propane and basements are a bad mix. Propane settles on the floor as it is more dense than the air. You will need to be absolutely sure no propane can get to any ignition source such as the pilot lights on the furnace and water heater.

  3. #3
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Appleton WI
    My Bikes
    Several, mostly not name brands.
    Posts
    12,999
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by rellis View Post
    Propane and basements are a bad mix. Propane settles on the floor as it is more dense than the air. You will need to be absolutely sure no propane can get to any ignition source such as the pilot lights on the furnace and water heater.
    +1 this. Maybe rig up a floor-intake exhaust fan?

    Is there a reason you don't want to use acetylene? Acetylene is less dense than air, and thus will disperse rather than pool in low spots like propane.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    My Bikes
    Cannondale CAAD9, Tom's Cargo Bike, Early 80's Trek 400 commuter
    Posts
    9
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Glad I asked!

    I'm open to acetylene, especially if it's safer in this case.

    Where else do people do this that don't have a garage or dedicated shop? Could it be done outside, or would it simply be too much to move and set up every time?

  5. #5
    tuz
    tuz is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto/Montréal
    My Bikes
    Homemade mixte, track, commuter and road, Ryffranck road
    Posts
    1,159
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Propane is hazardous, but I wouldn't say acetylene is safer?

    I'd say the risk increases for longer hoses and for multiple connections. For a brazing set up you'll have 15 feet and 2-3 connections, so the risk of a leak should be pretty low. Propane is used on boats and RVs with lines running to the water heater, stove, etc. Get a good propane sensor/alarm.
    homebuilt commuter, mixte, road and track (+ Ryffranck road)
    bla bla blog

  6. #6
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    My Bikes
    Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder
    Posts
    3,613
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've had over a dozen shops, besides the few commercial ones, that I've built in. Most all were basements, one garage and one outside brazing space. All with an OA torch. Even the early ones that didn't have any real venting there has never been a problem. But i do take full care and considerations for my tanks, hoses, connections and practices.

    The outside space was the most difficult to work in. between the wind and lighting (and this is within an event tent yet) the temp control and metal color changes were challenges. As soon as I could I moved indoors. Andy.

  7. #7
    Senior Member GrayJay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    EagleRiver AK
    Posts
    1,230
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Acetylene creates a lot of soot while lighting/adjusting the torch, soot gets over everything.
    Acetylene is also inherently unstable and mishandled tanks have been known to explode, definitely a consideration if working in your family house, some insurance policies and building codes prohibit acetylene in residential buildings. With either fuel, good idea to at least store the tank in an shed or outbuilding when not being used. A tank stored in basement is bad news in event of a house fire.

  8. #8
    Randomhead
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    12,749
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    there is always soot when lighting an acetylene torch, but if it continues to produce soot, you are flowing gas at the wrong rate (too low). I think the smell of flux is something I wouldn't want in my house. When I'm done in my garage, I open the door for a second and replace the air.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,543
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I would never do that, it is crazy dangerous to work with that stuff in a basement. You will almost certainly invalidate your insurance if you own the place, and you are probably violating all kinds of ordinances, including fire egress door type stuff. If you have gas in the home you have a fair chance of blowing several houses off the block, and if you kill members of your family you would be fair game for criminal prosecution. Obviously you are a responsible person to have brought this up.

    I have a detached workshop, though the far end which is 40 feet away has a gas pipe coming in. I work at only very restricted times during the year, so I am willing to restrict what I do to keep myself and my neighbours safe (ish). I am certainly glad I don't live next door to me.

    It would be interesting to know what the requirements would be to do this if one were setting up an industrial setting. I would think it would include some kind of real fire extinction system, like CO2; no exposed framing with fire dams in place. Fully dry walled and sealed to keep fire and gasses contained. Fireproof doors, and an egress door. Fire blankets. Explosion proof fans. Of course people use propane torches or have kitchens in their basements, it would be a mater of degrees. All the houses I have lived in had gas furnaces in the basement, an none of the above.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,543
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I like the light touch this guy brings to the subject, from the Polytech forum:



    Way too small for eventual uses, but it's a good start if that's all
    you have. But there are a lot of considerations. I have to go to
    work so I'll touch on the points and they can be hashed out later, but
    here's the basics:



    If you do any welding, you need a fresh air makeup source
    (preferably heated or with a heat exchanger if you live anywhere north
    of Florida - and even there it gets chilly. Or air conditioned in the
    summer.

    And you MUST provide a vent hood over your welding table that
    exhausts to the outside. Even if you have a variable speed fan so you
    turn it down while doing relatively clean TIG welding, you still
    produce fumes of nasty stuff that have to be removed. Oxy-Acetylene
    MIG Fluxcore or Stick all make varying levels of bad stuff in the
    smoke that has to be removed, and the metal fumes in the weld smoke
    can cause severe health problems - zinc fume fever is just one.

    Any ventilation blowers should have another control switch outside,
    so they can be used by the FD for smoke ventilation in case of a fire.
    The fan needs to be remotely mounted and the power and control wires
    all run outside the extreme fire hazard area, so it keeps working.



    Yes - but you'll need to do so much prep work to build a welding or
    machining workshop under the house and do it safely that it would be a
    WHOLE lot easier to sell that house and buy one further out of town
    that does not have the restrictions on a shop outbuilding in the back
    yard, or to build a new house from scratch (or a total
    almost-ground-up remodel) that was planned for that use in the first
    place. I'm thinking a concrete slab floor between the basement and 1st
    floor as the ultimate firestop.

    To get around the codes somewhat, you can just build an addition to
    your existing garage to make it a 4-car, or add a second two-car
    garage on the other side. After it's all built and the permits are
    passed as a garage, then you can turn it into a workshop. (Creative
    Interpretation.) ;-) Or go up - make it a 2-story detached garage
    and you have the whole upstairs.

    With a separate shop building 100 feet from the house you don't have
    to be nearly as paranoid about life safety, because you don't have
    people sleeping upstairs. If it burns down or blows up it can be a
    serious annoyance, not a tragedy when a few people die.


    Fire Safety: You need outside windows from all main basement rooms
    for ventilation so the fire can go out instead of only up - or worse,
    the heat builds until the floor above flashes over.

    You need automatic fire sprinklers inside all basement rooms, a
    water-curtain sprinkler head over the windows so the flames pouring
    out the basement windows don't catch the house on fire. And an
    outside sprinkler booster hookup for the pumper. This way if they
    decide it's too dangerous to go inside, they can let the sprinklers
    keep working on it.

    Lots of extinguishers, including a bucket of Class D powder on hand
    in case you ever machine magnesium or other highly reactive metals.
    And a few strategically placed 1-1/2" hose racks with a fog nozzle by
    the doors might prove useful if you can jump on a fire while it's
    still small.

    NOTE: You always put the fire stuff near the Exit door - that way
    you have the exit behind you when you decide to fight or flee. Or you
    try to fight then change your mind as it gets worse.

    And you need an outside walk-up or storm door access to the basement
    (two ways to get in would be even better) so the FD can get inside
    safely to fight the fire without going through the house. And at
    least one large access door helps when you want to get equipment and
    supplies in and out, too.

    You need a 2-hour rated ceiling and walls in all the basement rooms
    (double 1/2" drywall or better), and a 2-hour commercial fire door to
    the upstairs so the fire doesn't spread. You need proper fire dampers
    in all vent and duct penetrations, and firestop collars on all
    conduits and pipes.

    You need heat (rate of rise) type fire detectors in the shop rooms,
    and smoke detectors in the hallway headed upstairs - that way the
    smokes shouldn't give false alarms as often, they are a door away from
    the welding or paint spraying. The alarms need to be linked to a
    burglar alarm with a dialer, so even if you work in the shop and leave
    for the evening and something is smoldering, the FD gets called while
    it's still small.

    You need to keep all larger quantities of flammable gases and
    liquids outside the house in a steel storage shed, including your
    welding gas bottles - The odds are very low, but Google the terms
    'acetylene deflagration' sometime and you'll get an eye full - the
    bottle just decides to go BOOM!... There shouldn't be any more
    flammable stuff stored inside than you plan to use that day.

    And on a general basis, you will always have potential moisture
    control problems in a basement - you may need a dehumidifier that can
    run 24/7, and you may (depending on the water table and the
    waterproofing of the basement walls and floor) be fighting a
    never-ending battle against water intrusion and dampness.

    You'll need to do a lot of soundproofing in the basement ceiling.
    And any ductwork or pipes can still carry the noise upstairs.



    Fine aluminum and steel shavings and dusts can catch fire all by
    themselves, especially if you mix in a little sawdust. Add in some
    oily rags...

    This is why you normally do that work in a garage at home - because
    by all modern building codes an attached garage is isolated from the
    rest of the house by fire rated walls and a fire rated solid door,
    there are ventilation ports at the floor and ceiling levels to prevent
    fume buildups, there is a big door for easy access...

    I gotta go, more tonight. I'll put out the verbal flames then -
    probably just as many from the people who think I'm being overly
    paranoid as from the people thinking I haven't gone far enough in my
    safety considerations, but that's to be expected. It's that "There
    are Old pilots, and Bold pilots, but few Old Bold pilots..." thing.

    --<< Bruce >>--
    --
    Bruce L. Bergman, Woodland Hills (Los Angeles) CA - Desktop
    Electrician for Westend Electric - CA726700

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •