Fabricating stainless canister (for fun) - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 01:39 AM Thread Starter
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Fabricating stainless canister (for fun)

Before I start this thread I'd like to disclose a couple of things.

-I love building things out of steel, stainless included. This will likely go under a steel open stand for my brackish tank which I intend to upgrade to a much larger tank, which will explain the ridiculous filter size.
-I am a pipe fitter/plumber (by trade) and metal fabricator(by trade/hobby).
-I am doing this strictly for fun and curiousity, I realize I won't be saving money and I could likely get a similar result by just buying an fx6.
-my welder is out so this is going to be more for information purpose until I repair or upgrade my welder in march.
-ALL input is welcomed, if I use any suggested parts/ideas credit will be given.
-I will not be selling this or any future canisters, if I like my first product I may just make more for myself, I love my fx5 and it is without comparison when it comes to filtration power/efficiency which is important to me.

Okay on to my current ideas and questions


For the vessel itself:
if I want a brand new vessel it seems my easiest route would be to buy a 5 gallon corny keg, I've never seen one in person so I'm not entirely sold on them, they seem to have a fairly small opening at the top which isn't ideal, but they have a good seal and are a decent size.

I could go the expensive route and buy a pressure vessel from a certified vessel manufacturer but that may be completely cost prohibitive.
This is the ideal route since I could have a flanged top.

A deep pot may be an option I'd just have to weld a flange on to it. But I doubt I can find a 316 stainless pot or vat.

Or I could completely fabricate the vessel out of stainless sheet or a piece of sch 10 316 stainless about 10" in diameter. This will allow full customization and I could easily weld a good flange lid which would be easy to remove. But I have no experience polishing stainless to a mirror or brushed finish.

The pump:
This is a no brainer for me. It has to have adjustable flow, which means dc. I also need to be able to replace the pump(reasonably inexpensively) incase of failure since it will be the only part capable of failing under aquarium conditions. The cheapest pumps that will do what I need them to are the jebao dct pumps. Priced so well I don't care if they run for 6 months or 10 years. Plus the dct 4000 I have now is working like a tank.

In and out piping:
I'll be using tubing or pvc for the sections between the filter and the in and outflow for obvious reasons. I'll likely bend my own inflow and and out with spray bar. The piping inside the filter and leading to the undertank conduits will all be 1 inch marine grade stainless including the fittings which will include threaded mip or welded unions and ball valves for on off and quick cleaning (likely all welded).

Unlike the fx5 and fx6 I don't want a cord or pipes going through the lid, it makes servicing much easier to have the lid completely separate from the canister


An added bonus for me is an option to add a heater, ph probe, and maybe even a uv option(since this is for brackish I run very high light to encourage algae, but green water sucks) to it.

Things I really need help with is keeping it fairly pressure safe while being able to run a power cord or two into it. I'm not aware of fittings that make this possible, I imagine a round cord will be required, maybe I can integrate the power into the lid and run water proof quick disconnects inside the lid to the pump and heater.

Like I've mentioned any input is welcomed, references and links are welcomed even to failed hobby attempts.


And to be clear this is for fun primarily, it could be a lot cheaper to buy a fx6 when I build the 500g tank but this isn't entirely to be cheap. That said this could potentially provide 1000+gph in a canister setup which I can daisy chain if I make more canisters less pump.

I'm a huge fan of industrialized aquaria.





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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 02:25 AM
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As a fellow fabricator I am very intrigued by this thread. Have myself done a bit of fab work, although never a canister filter :-)
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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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Awesome nice to see more fabricators in the hobby. Hopefully I have more to show soon, it's starting to look like I'll need to borrow a plasma cutter, mine won't do stainless and I doubt I'll buy 8 or 10 inch flange and flange blind in 316 ss that would probably cost way too much although it would look sick. I'm having trouble tracking down anything premade that is suitable, all American pressure cookers come close but they are aluminum which sucks.

This should be a fun build, will be sad to erase all the welds, at least the tig welds. Will likely do mig on the flange and thread outlets.

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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 02:42 AM
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Look into electropolishing for your finish. I did a fast Google search and came up a few. I don't have any personal knowledge of any of these places.

Irvine & Orange County Electropolishers | Metal Finishing

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 03:00 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrytheplater View Post
Look into electropolishing for your finish. I did a fast Google search and came up a few. I don't have any personal knowledge of any of these places.

Irvine & Orange County Electropolishers | Metal Finishing
Thank you for this!

Having trouble finding anything that will fit my needs, I may need to just tig everything unless I can find 316 ss 10 inch pipe scrap for cheap then I can bevel and mig it. Anyone have ideas for diy flanges? I'm having trouble finding something along these lines 10"id×12-13"od×1/4-1/2" rings and blanks, I don't have access to a punch machine capable of making that thick of a ring and don't care for jig saws for stainless. I need to bounce ideas around for the base and electrical for those of you that are mechanically and our electrically inclined, I don't care to shock myself or my live stock

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Last edited by Darkblade48; 12-03-2015 at 03:10 PM. Reason: Please use the edit function for back to back posts to keep threads cleaner
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 04:45 PM
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A pressure cooker pot might work for you. It's built for pressure and with a lid that's water tight.

You'd find plenty on craigslist for cheap where "cooks" have given up.
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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 04:55 PM
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Very cool project. I don't know much about the metal fabrication, but I do enjoy reading about this sort of fab work.

I haven't used them myself, but for passing through electrical power cables (heaters, etc), I had bookmarked these when someone else had mentioned it in another thread. They make them in various sizes:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NI01AI/
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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-01-2015, 05:53 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SL Dan View Post
Very cool project. I don't know much about the metal fabrication, but I do enjoy reading about this sort of fab work.

I haven't used them myself, but for passing through electrical power cables (heaters, etc), I had bookmarked these when someone else had mentioned it in another thread. They make them in various sizes:

Amazon.com : Ancor 764998 Marine Grade Electrical Wire Seal (Round Cable, 18 to 10-Gauge, 3/8-Inch NPT) : Boating Wire : Sports & Outdoors
Definite possibly, I'd like to have something a little less of an eye sore but if needed I can run it through the lid which I didn't want to do at first, it may be easier to run everything through the half inch blind flange maybe I can weld a stainless ring around the opening to hide the black fitting. I am considering adding a co2 connection incase I ever use this on a planted tank. So far on paper is looking nice, trying to track down that 10" sch 5 316ss pipe now.

Think I'm going for a 10 or 12dx24tall filter

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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 02:48 AM
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For Rolled Alloys, I could not find if they stock 10 or 12" 316SS pipe from the web site. You will need to contact them. The other two list 10-12" Sch 10 316 SS seamless pipe.

Rolled Alloys Rolled Alloys, Inc. - Global Leader in Specialty Metals

TW Metals Specialty Metals Supplier - Industrial Metal Distributor | TW Metals

Penn Stainless Products Stainless Steel Plate, Sheet, & Bar Products - Penn Stainless Products

You might want to try an oil refinery equipment maker. They may have short pieces of pipe you could use.

Jerry Smith Bloomingdale, NJ, USA

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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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I'm going to find a boiler or pressure vessel company in cali to see if I can snag some 12 inch scrap, think I want a little more volume than the 10 inch will provide

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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-02-2015, 07:15 PM
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A scrap metal place might be a possibility. I do a lot of AC and metal fabricating work for a local Dole food processing plant. They dump quite a bit of stainless including large and small pipes. Of course it is all picked up for scrap recycling.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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A scrap metal place might be a possibility. I do a lot of AC and metal fabricating work for a local Dole food processing plant. They dump quite a bit of stainless including large and small pipes. Of course it is all picked up for scrap recycling.
Been in contact with a salesman at a local scrap yard he is looking for thin wall stainless for me, should be calling me back by 5 pm, if I can't find 316 does anyone know how detrimental it would be to use 304/304L in 1.003 to 1.006 water? My experience with stainless is not related to salinity so I have no idea how corosive that would be to 304

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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
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And that said I can easily pick up s10 10inch 304l from work, maybe even 12.

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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-03-2015, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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According to a stainless data sheet there is a lot of misinformation in the hobby about the resistance of 304 stainless, my salinity is almost 8 ppt, and it isn't all sodium chloride, 304 stainless steel starts mildly pitting at 25ppm am missing something? If I can get 316 for cheap I'll get it but it seems over the top for this. Will make the lily pipes and stainless fittings cheaper too, buying 12 or 10 inch flanges is out of the question no matter what but 1 inch flanges are 36 dollars each valves are way more. So obviously not saving money, no problem this will look sick when completed

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-04-2015, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimpNewbie View Post
According to a stainless data sheet there is a lot of misinformation in the hobby about the resistance of 304 stainless, my salinity is almost 8 ppt, and it isn't all sodium chloride, 304 stainless steel starts mildly pitting at 25ppm am missing something? If I can get 316 for cheap I'll get it but it seems over the top for this. Will make the lily pipes and stainless fittings cheaper too, buying 12 or 10 inch flanges is out of the question no matter what but 1 inch flanges are 36 dollars each valves are way more. So obviously not saving money, no problem this will look sick when completed

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This sounds about right. I am an engineer that works almost exclusively on marine projects. In a marine environment (dockside utility cabinets and such) anything less than type 316 starts to look bad after a few years. But in that environment we are talking about salt spray, so as things get sprayed and the water evaporates, it is coated with a thin coat with very high concentrations. I would think about that for your setup: is there anywhere where the steel might be staying mostly dry but getting splashed a bit? I would guess probably not for a canister.


Also think about galvanic corrosion, if any type of steel has a solid electrical connection to another metal that is very far from it on the galvanic series: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_series, it will set up a galvanic cell and one of the two pieces will start to corrode like crazy. I.e. if you had a part that was aluminum somehow connected to your stainless steel canister, the aluminum would be gone before too long in a marine environment. I am sure that this effect will be less in brackish water, but it will still occur.


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