We made unbelievable progress on the container this weekend. Jonathan and I went out on Saturday to make sure the air compressor was working and modify the 50A connectors on the compressor and extension cords so that we were ready for the heavy duty tools needed for Sunday's tasks.
Wayne and Jerome came out on Sunday with their Miller Spectrum 625 to cut out the rough openings for the windows and patio door. The actual cutting was a breeze but required some setup and preparations. I definitely recommend using a plasma cutter for container modifications. It would have taken considerably longer had we cut everything out with an angle grinder like I've seen used in other container modifications.
Miller Spectrum 625 Plasma Cutter
We used the following method to get the most accurate cut for each frame. This method is good for any novice DIYer like myself, especially if the tolerance on the frames is fairly wide. Wayne did an excellent job welding the frames and I measured each dimension to be within 1/8" so this probably wasn't necessary as one can just measure out the dimensions of the frame and trace onto wall.
1) Place frames in desired location. Since the frames are heavy (11 gauge 2" steel sq. tubing), we used the frames from other windows to prop them up. This method kept the frame square with the floor - which was handy because the container wasn't level - and also kept the single hung windows at a uniform height without having to hold the heavy frames in place.
2) Trace the frames. I used a sharpie to trace the areas of the frame that came in contact with the container. Then I used a piece of cardboard to trace the line into the corrugated sections.
3) Make the cuts. As I mentioned, we used a plasma cutter for this step. Originally, we'd planned to tack weld a piece of 1" angle to the container to create a straight edge. We ended up 'free-handing' the cuts and they all worked out pretty well - it will all be covered with caulk so the deviations from center won't be noticeable.
4) Fit frames in rough openings, center on corrugation and make any adjustments or additional cuts to make the frame fit.
We made 6 rough openings. One for the 72" x 80" patio door, three for the 36" x 60" single hung windows, one for the 24" x 48" bathroom window and one for the 42" x 48" kitchen window.
Here is a video of the first cut!
I ended up deviating from the original plan and not installing the frame for my casement window. There is already SO much light from the 5 windows and the door and adding more just makes privacy more of an issue. I'm very happy with how it turned out and the view through the bathroom window is picturesque. The window is placed so high that I'm looking at the neighbors beautiful trees. With the openings cut in the container, I can really visualize where this is going.
Special thanks to Jonathan, Wayne, and Jerome for volunteering their time and all their great work!
My name is Ashley. I want to minimize my footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle. I'm an engineer with a love for simplistic industrial design and fabrication.