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"Ghetto Propane Meter"

This is the fabled "Ghetto Propane Meter!"  Okay, so it's not too fabled, but it is recent project.  The purpose of this meter was to make a cheap yet accurate fuel meter.  I was going to make the meter a little differently, with a small water bottle for the meter section.    It was basically this:

Preliminary Sketch

After much consideration, I scraped the completely "Ghetto" idea and chose to go a more practical route.  Much to my dismay a 1/4 inch ball valve was added to the assembly as were a few other upgrades.  The final product was inexpensive, yet somewhat sophisticated.

The meter eliminates expensive fittings such as brass hose barbs used in my other propane meter.  It also uses one valve instead of two.  In order to reduce overall length 1.5" SCH 40 PVC was used in place of a smaller metal meter pipe.  The meter pipe, when at this size was supposed to be slightly under 1".  The 2 end caps together were about 2" long, so I had to fill about half of the section with Durham's Water Putty.  I am quite pleased with this meter, and since the POSmini spudgun was a failure, I will be revamping the meter pipe to a longer length for a different gun.


Here is a parts list with costs:

Part Cost
0-100 PSI Pressure Gauge $5.99
Propane Torch Kit $12.99
1/4" Ball Valve $5.99
Hose $0.25
Hose Clamps-Qty. 2 $1.78
1/8" X2" galvanized nipple
(sawed off to make a hose barb type connector)
1/4" to 1/8" reducer-Qty. 3 $1.68
1/4" galvanized tee $2.69
1/4" X 1.5" pipe nipple $0.99
1/8" X close pipe nipple-Qty. 2 $1.38
1/8" to 1/4" bell adapter $2.99
1/4" X close pipe nipple $0.89
1/4" Female Air Chuck $2.99
1.5" SCH 40 end cap-Qty. 2 $3.38
1.5" X 2" SCH 40 FREE!!!
Total $44.98

Crap!  Inexpensive doesn't always mean cheap!  Luckily I do have a discount at work, and the ball valve and pressure gauge was salvaged from an old project.  All prices are retail, but with good scrounging abilities you should be able to pick up some of this stuff a lot cheaper.

Some ideas for future "Ghetto Propane Projects" that you may have:

Try copper fittings, galvanized stuff is really expensive, especially adapters.  You will have to solder the stuff, but I estimate that you could make one for half the cost.
Plastic Valves?
Torch Head from garage sales/pawnshops/Ebay?


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