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  1. #1
    Veteran Member westcliffe01's Avatar
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    Default Has anyone cut a 40ft container into 2 20's ? High cube - not available in 20.

    I am preparing for relocating to a remote building site. The site will be at about 8000ft elevation and with the remoteness and the kind of weather one has in the Rockies, I have no intention of slumming it in a camping trailer or tent and I will need to keep my possessions somewhat safe from casual pilfering anytime I make a trip into town.


    I have looked at shipping containers and a regular container has the roof just too low to be comfortable and no way I could park my backhoe in one either. But the high cube containers look high enough and they are slightly wider too (you can put a "regular" container inside a high cube). But locally I can only get 40foot high cubes and they are impractically heavy to move with anything I own even empty.

    So I was thinking about getting a 40 footer and cutting it in half and then just framing the end with 4x4x1/4 steel tube and steel plate. I figure I only need 1 set of doors on each half anyway. The best finishing arrangement I have seen is welding angle iron horizontally (lengthwise) for attaching paneling and then spraying the inside with foam prior to fitting paneling. I'm somewhat reluctant about fitting windows because of the degree it reduces security, but I may do a heavy steel door on the side so that one can get in and out without always opening the pair of main doors. I was thinking of fluorescent lighting on both sides where the roof meets the wall, that way there would be plenty of headroom in the middle. I have at least a year to get my act together and everything prepped. I imagine I will get the loaded containers picked up by semi and delivered to the nearest county road and from that point I would have to winch them one at a time onto my gooseneck trailer and drive them to the site with my F250. I'm pretty sure I can figure a way to avoid any crazy slopes, by taking appropriate detours...

    One container would be configured as the shop/power station with my mill, lathe, surface grinder, welding equipment, work bench, sheet metal tools, and genset with its own fuel tank and water storage tank for heat recovery from the engine. The second would be "home" with a bunk bed, shower hand wash basin, portapotty, propane hot water heater, a kitchinette and a small living room with some books. There will be a small wood stove in each, central to the living / working areas. The roof thimbles would probably be custom made, since with flat roofs they would have to be totally water tight. I will have solar panels for basic power for lighting and running the laptop and powering some appliances through a battery pack and inverter. For anything needing more serious power I have the diesel genset and the objective is to store as much heat as possible from every run of the genny to provide for stored heat to carry through the night with help from the wood stove as needed.

    I was intending to do radiant heat with the lines going down on the container floor (which is spray foam insulated from the bottom first) with plywood filler strips and then some laminate flooring over the top. After living with oak flooring, I think I will skip real wood floors where the floor is intended to be the heat source... This will mean that by using a mixing valve, the radiant heat should work over a wide range of inlet water temperatures, provided it is over 100F. There will be a diesel fired boiler as backup heat source if I do not have good reason to run the generator, its consumption per hour will be considerably less than the genset and it will not need a comparable amount of maintenance either... Most likely I will run a supply and return PEX line underground from the "shop" to "home" after placing the pair of containers on the leveled pad, similar to what people use for outdoor wood fired boilers. The thought was to use the pair of containers as the foundation for a small barn by roofing it over, enclosing the gap at one end and fitting a roll up door at the other end. The width would depend on how I can configure the roof. Once I have a barn, then it should be relatively smooth sailing from that point...

    I will probably be able to occasionally hire some labor from some of the surrounding ranches for heavy jobs but I am trying to plan this entire venture based on working by myself. I figure that the season for working outdoors is not much more than 7 months a year and I may need to take full time work off site during the winter in order to replenish funds for the next years building fund. At some point I hope to be able to work from home, since intellectual property is what I do, but that may take a few years to work out a suitable relationship with possible customers. For the moment, I think I have reached the end of what I can bear in the automotive industry so I need to finalize my plans for my "working retirement"...

  2. #2
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Has anyone cut a 40ft container into 2 20's ? High cube - not available in 20.

    We've never cut one down to a 20' but it wouldn't be too difficult. Usually anything that damaged gets scraped.

    Just a note though, all shipping containers are of the same width on the outside. Insides might be different depending on insulation.

    Only cans I've ever seen wider than normal were Boeing cans and those were double wide/double tall.
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  3. #3
    Elite Member
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    Kubota BX2360

    Default Re: Has anyone cut a 40ft container into 2 20's ? High cube - not available in 20.

    Some of those Boeing containers:


    http://paineairport.com/images/kpae4223.jpg


    Photo above from:
    KPAE Paine Field: October 2008

    Bruce

  4. #4
    Veteran Member westcliffe01's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has anyone cut a 40ft container into 2 20's ? High cube - not available in 20.

    According to this website Container Technology, Inc a high cube container is 6" wider which allows a "regular" container to "just" fit width wise. They offer shipping 2x 20 foot containers inside a 45ft or longer high cube container.

    They also have nice pictures of insulating and paneling containers




    Unfortunately, they are a long long way from where I live, transport cost would be outrageous I am sure.

  5. #5
    Silver Member firemanmike69's Avatar
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    Default

    What about getting an ex refer cube, it would already have all the insulation you need ?

  6. #6
    Veteran Member westcliffe01's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has anyone cut a 40ft container into 2 20's ? High cube - not available in 20.

    The reefer sounds attractive till you realize that it has a bunch of equipment on it that you won't be able to use, has no wiring or lighting, no access to anything structural since it is already finished, so much harder to customize. More expensive to buy also. They are probably good if you need cold storage and can use them more or less as is.

  7. #7
    Elite Member
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    Default Re: Has anyone cut a 40ft container into 2 20's ? High cube - not available in 20.

    Quote Originally Posted by westcliffe01 View Post
    According to this website Container Technology, Inc a high cube container is 6" wider
    Yes I see that and doing some quick research confirms such, but honestly, in the thirty years I've been doing this I've never seen one in any yard or loaded on any of the container ships. They just won't fit.

    I'm curious as to where they've been using them.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Has anyone cut a 40ft container into 2 20's ? High cube - not available in 20.

    Because everybody likes pics, here's some of my work places.

    Work Stuff Photos by willphotoalbum | Photobucket
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  9. #9
    Veteran Member westcliffe01's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has anyone cut a 40ft container into 2 20's ? High cube - not available in 20.

    Will, the dimension in my case is of no real significance and I'm not planning on nesting containers anyhow... But certainly the extra headroom would help make one feel less claustrophobic. It looks like the most cost effective oil fired water heater will be one of the Toyotomi systems like this Toyotomi U.S.A. - Instantaneous Oil Fired Water Heater - OM-148

    I thought it would make more sense to go with a Webasto type unit which is made to run off DC but they are so expensive ($5000+) so a unit like the OM-148 at about $1400 on ebay seems the way to go. Propane would be awfully expensive for delivery, and all my equipment runs off diesel anyway, so I figure it would be a lot less headache to run everything off diesel. Last time I bought any, it cost me $55 to fill a 20lb propane cylinder in Grand Junction vs $17 in MI, so at least diesel is going to have a relatively consistent cost and I can transfer it out of the auxiliary tank on my truck without any hassle.

    I need to investigate the workings of that water heater a little more to figure out the electric consumption. They usually have a combustion air blower and a fuel pump on the same shaft as well as a spark ignition system which is only active for lighting it off. I found the spec sheet. Looks like 98W to run it when it is firing, so equivalent to 1 or 2 electric light bulbs. Given that its output is nearly 150k btu it should run fairly infrequently..

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Has anyone cut a 40ft container into 2 20's ? High cube - not available in 20.

    I used to deliver and pick up the containers with a 48' Landoul semi trailer for a local company that rented them for storage. I have even picked them up at the port when they would buy 50 at a time.
    Your best bet is to buy two 40'ers have them spotted with a Landoul type trailer and do a roof over in between them. By the time you cut them in half and seal back up you will have a lot of work into the project.
    Also you seem to have a lot of plans for a 20' area! Tractor storage and all the shop tools you have listed ain't gonna work.
    And make sure you spot them based of prevailing winds and weather direction. That can really reduce heating costs if one is blocking the other from bad weather.

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