Building a lab out of 2 shipping containers!

HighTechLab

Solar Addict
Moderator
Decided that I need bigger space to do all my projects, testing, etc. so we are taking 2 shipping containers, welding them together, framing them in and building a lab!

We are videoing the whole series, which I will be posting in this thread! More details to come soon!

Part 1:
 

Steve_S

Offgrid Cabineer, N.E. Ontario, Canada
Boy oh Boy you are about to learn what Little Fun it is to weld Corten Steel !
Good Welder, should be able to do it, will take a bit of practice with Corten,
FYI If you are removing the sides to make one big opening, you may need to consider a center post.
If you want to put a Roof over it, there are adapters that fit into the Locking Blocks which allow for wood framing to go on, or alternately to bolt on metal work to support a roof structure.

An error you will likely regret happening.
The containers or on the ground (soil) not concrete or asphalt.
It would have been very prudent to place 24"x24" 6"-8" thick concrete pads at all ground contact points, in the center the two seacan's could share that same pad.
BY not using Container Interlocks to lock them together in the centre at all four corners, you may discover over a short time that was a mistake to omit. There are several varieties available out there, as mentioned above some of these interlocks also have an attachable "adapter" to allow for adding framing or steel work for roof cover or other uses.
 

HighTechLab

Solar Addict
Moderator
Boy oh Boy you are about to learn what Little Fun it is to weld Corten Steel !
Good Welder, should be able to do it, will take a bit of practice with Corten,
FYI If you are removing the sides to make one big opening, you may need to consider a center post.
If you want to put a Roof over it, there are adapters that fit into the Locking Blocks which allow for wood framing to go on, or alternately to bolt on metal work to support a roof structure.

An error you will likely regret happening.
The containers or on the ground (soil) not concrete or asphalt.
It would have been very prudent to place 24"x24" 6"-8" thick concrete pads at all ground contact points, in the center the two seacan's could share that same pad.
BY not using Container Interlocks to lock them together in the centre at all four corners, you may discover over a short time that was a mistake to omit. There are several varieties available out there, as mentioned above some of these interlocks also have an attachable "adapter" to allow for adding framing or steel work for roof cover or other uses.
The welding wasn't too bad, we've got it all done now (next video coming out on Friday). Our Miller Multimatic 215 is the smoothest running machine I've ever ran in my life, sure makes life easy! We will have two center posts, they will be 4x6's with electrical outlets on them, that way if we are filming or doing projects there is quick and easy power available. The roof over it is going to be all solar panels that will serve two purposes. When testing products or equipment, we can use the solar for that, or, they can be tied in to our main power system to provide additional power for the ranch.

We did end up leveling out the ground next to the containers and dragging them over, that will be shown in part 2. It's hard to have already recorded part 6 and be so far along, but not spoil any of the videos!!! Let's just say things are going well and we are very happy with the project!
 

toms

Solar Addict
I’ll be interested to see the costings. Was thinking of doing a similar thing but went with a steel frame/insulated/colorbond clad shed on a concrete base instead as it was nearly half the price.
 

HighTechLab

Solar Addict
Moderator
I’ll be interested to see the costings. Was thinking of doing a similar thing but went with a steel frame/insulated/colorbond clad shed on a concrete base instead as it was nearly half the price.
Our costing so far:

Land - Varies, for us we got 40 acres of raw land for $200,000 in California.
$5600 for 2x Shipping Containers: $2800/ea Delivered
7018 Electrodes and Innershield wire for welder: $130
Grinding Wheels: $60
Rebar - Already owned, approx $15
Framing Lumber & Screws - $960
More screws, touch up paint for outside, flex seal- $100
Insulation, Staples, stapler - $910


Other equipment and machinery we needed:
Welding machine already owned - Ours was around $1800
Excavator already owned - That was around $22,000
Red Tractor & Attachments new were around $45,000
Later in the series we bought a plasma cutter for $1600.

I will edit this post as things progress.
 
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toms

Solar Addict
Don’t get me wrong - i love my shipping containers, here’s three of mine supporting my timber milling canopy.

They are just too expensive to use unless you are able to use them uninsulated.
 

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HighTechLab

Solar Addict
Moderator
Don’t get me wrong - i love my shipping containers, here’s three of mine supporting my timber milling canopy.

They are just too expensive to use unless you are able to use them uninsulated.
We were analyzing stick building something, and the cost was significantly greater. Right now lumber prices are through the roof, so we may be waiting a little bit before we go spend a ton of money on wood.
 

toms

Solar Addict
Yes, i guess it is quite area specific. Where i am (South Australia) there are often second hand industrial steel frame and clad sheds for sale.
I wouldn’t have timber anywhere near the ground where i live - the termites are ferocious!
 

HighTechLab

Solar Addict
Moderator
I would suggest using POR-15 over the entire welded seam to prevent any rust etc... It isn't cheap, a royal PITA to clean up (wear gloves) but once it's dry & cured, it is sealed forever.

That's a great idea! I tried to find it though and was having trouble because the lab is in California and they ban just about everything! I could go on a rant - you can't even get denatured alcohol anymore.

I did a test yesterday, running a wire wheel over things just to be sure they are nice and clean, and then did a test with some spray on flex seal. It actually came out pretty nice! After we were all done welding, we pressure washed the whole roof to try and see if the high pressure jet would make any leaks appear, and it did. We welded in that piece of rebar, but I forgot to weld over the top of the piece of rebar at the end joints! Once we get that fixed up real quick, then we can proceed with getting the whole thing cleaned up and coated in flex seal. I was considering just globbing on the flex seal spray at that joint in the rebar, but figured a weld would much better stand the test of time.
 

HighTechLab

Solar Addict
Moderator

Here is part 4! I tell ya what, this plasma cutter we got is awesome! Cuts like butter, is super light, and sure beat having to use a ton of cutting wheels on the grinder.
 
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