An Inexpensive Scuba Cylinder Storage Rack

by

Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D.

 

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This article was taken from the author's comments on practical matters of teaching the DAN Oxygen Provider Class.

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It is often convenient to store scuba, oxygen or other gas cylinders horizontally in a rack, especially during transport. A rack also prevents annoying and potentially hazardous cylinder movement. The following is a description of an inexpensive cylinder rack I assembled from 2" PVC pipe, 1/4" polypropylene line and some of the diver's universal tool known as duct tape. 

Oxygen Cylinder Storage Rack

To Assemble:

1.Cut the PVC pipe to appropriate lengths (I used a 24" length of  PVC pipe for the oxygen cylinder rack and an18"  length for the scuba cylinder rack. The number of pieces cut, obviously, depends on the number of cylinders to be stored or transported. In my case, the size for the oxygen rack was dictated by the cart (see below) I use in transporting oxygen provider class materials between my vehicle and the classroom or hotel room.

2. Drill 1/4" holes in each PVC pipe piece    ....2 sets, extending straight through the individual piece of pipe.   Since I did not  want the knots securing the line in place to be exposed on the outside of the rack, an additional 2 holes were drilled in one terminal piece (see image, below right).

3. Thread the 1/4" polypropylene line through the pipe pieces and secure with a knot or line splice.

4. Wrap the exposed line between cylinders with duct tape to hold a consistent spacing between the cylinders. This spacing depends on the size of cylinder stored. A gas cylinder held between the PVC pieces assists in determining the proper spacing.

The assembled rack looks like this:

 

The Oxygen Rack

Close-up of the Line Termination Point

The illustration (below left)  shows the rack filled with oxygen cylinders as it would appear in a lecture room.  The cylinders shown (left to right) are 2 steel D's, 4 steel E's and an aluminum D.  I store and transport my aluminum jumbo D's in the appropriate Pelican case provided by DAN. Incidentally, numbering each cylinder with vinyl stick-on numbers (I number each  cylinder size separately, to facilitate keeping numbers for each cylinder size in a rank order) makes record keeping and cylinder usage a bit easier to track. Storage on a rack keeps the cylinders in a secure location during lecture phase of the course, but provides easy student access for the practical exercises of the oxygen provider class. It also appears a bit more professional than having cylinders scattered about the room.

 I cut the first PVC pipe piece in the rack a bit shorter than the others. This facilitates securing the rack to a cart when transporting cylinders between vehicle and class room. This is shown in the image (below right). Note that the shortest length of PVC pipe rests at the far left of the cart, on the opposite side of the handle assembly from the cylinders. This prevents the rack from sliding off the cart.

Oxygen Cylinders on the Rack

Cylinders on a Cart for Transport

 

Scuba Cylinder Storage Rack

I have a similar arrangement that resides in my vehicle for scuba cylinders (below left). Because I anticipated much harsher use for this rack, I secured the ends of the line with a line splice, instead of a knot (below right).

The Scuba Cylinder Rack Close-up of the Line Termination Point

In use, the black cylinder protector lies against the cylinder rack PVC pieces to assist in holding the scuba cylinders in place. The rack with 4 steel "72's" is shown below left. The rack, with two "72" cylinders secured by a cam shackle belt in my vehicle is shown below right. 

Scuba Cylinder Rack With Cylinders

In the Car ... 2 Cylinders Held In Place With A Cam-Shackle

Because of its flexible nature, the rack folds back onto itself for easy storage. See below

 

Conclusion

These racks are lightweight and portable. These two racks together cost me about $5.00 in materials when they were assembled in the early 1980's. The only maintenance that has been required in more than two decades of use has been an occasional replacement for some of the duct tape wrapping. They are not pretty, but they do the job.

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 About the Author:

Larry "Harris" Taylor, Ph.D. is a biochemist and Diving Safety Coordinator at the University of Michigan. He has authored more than 100 scuba related articles. His personal dive library (See Alert Diver, Mar/Apr. 1997, p. 54) is considered by one of the best sources of information in North America.

  Copyright 2001-2004 by Larry "Harris" Taylor

All rights reserved.

Use of these articles for personal or organizational profit is specifically denied.

These articles may be used for not-for-profit diving education