Tools and Equipment – Odpod

Tools and Equipment – Odpod

Question from Elle:
“This is awesome. I’m glad I stumbled onto your project. I want to build something similar in the Philippines — I like how it’s 2-stories. I heard these containers are waterproof too (for when used during shipping). Are the structures capable of handling extreme storms and earthquakes? I’ve spoken to a place there that can sell me shipping containers, but I want to know what equipment I would need for the build.”

Hi Elle
The equipment you need really depends on the type of structure you want to build. For example if you want plaster walls then you will need plastering tools, if you want to leave them raw then you won’t need them. If you want to make a house you will need all the regular construction tools and then extra tools to modify the containers. I have made a list of these extra tools we used below.

  • Decent MIG welder with suitable power. (you could use an ARC it’s just slower)
  • 5″ grinders 9″ grinders with lots of cutting disks and grinding disks, (we have used over 300 for the 5″)
  • You will need to be able to fabricate steel or buy laser-cut components.
  • Hammers, cold chisels.
  • Safety gear, mask, goggles, earmuffs, gloves, protective clothing.
  • Lifting gear, like a block and tackle or slings.
  • Band saw for cutting large sections of steel.
  • A drill press is handy for larger holes.
  • Drill and drill bits.
  • Straight edge, string line, level, plumb etc.
  • Accurate measuring and marking equipment.
  • A laser level and dumpy level is good to have.
  • Laptop for calculating levels, angles etc.
  • A utility or truck to transport materials (very handy to have your own)
  • Zinc rich paint.
  • First aid kit to deal with welding and grinding injuries, most common are burns splinters and eye debris.
  • Air compressor and pneumatic caulking gun (or battery) for sealing big gaps.
  • Raw steel for reinforcing the cutouts in open plan spaces, around windows and doors.

Thanks Elle let me know if you have any other questions.


Starting the Balcony – Odpod


Starting the Balcony – Odpod

We started making the balcony by welding laser cut steel cleats onto the side of the containers. To get them all in the correct position we used a laser level, straight edge, plumb bob, square and a dumpy level. We set the cleats at the correct height so the internal step down onto the deck is a good height. The exposed steel is always finished with zinc rich spray.

The column heights were different to each other since the concrete footings are different heights. We used excel spread sheets and CAD with the laptop onsite to make sure they are as precise as we can make them. It’s important to make sure the handrail is level all the way around the deck, which sits on top of the columns.

We found a great little band saw online and picked it up for a bargain. It cost another $25 for a new blade and makes a really nice straight cut. The canola oil lubricates the blade to reduce friction of the cut. We could buy some cutting oil, but found the canola works really well, especially because it foams up and doesn’t just drip off.

While welding the first base plate the wire feeding unit started leaking argon gas. You can see how much of an impact this has on the weld; it looks like volcanic rock, and is very brittle. When the welder is fixed the weld will have to be ground back and re-done.

The rain has been a huge setback all the way along the build. Hopefully we get some nice weather so we can finish off the deck and stairs.

After sending the columns to be galvanized, we applied an etching primer undercoat using the spray gun. The undercoat adheres to the surface of the galvanized metal which then is painted with the top coat. It is very important to use the etch primer, as it allows for a durable and long lasting top coat. The colour chosen was Colorbond® Monument (a dark grey). This will match the windows and roof colour.