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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > DIY Fermentation Cabinet
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Old 11-02-2008, 07:25 AM   #1
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Default DIY Fermentation Cabinet

Winter isn't too bad around here. It rains a lot and the parties are dead, but at least my beer keeps cold. In fact, I'm really looking forward to making some beers with my conical now that the ambient temp in the brewhouse has gone down. Last winter i made some of my best beers ever.

But then summer came and it made a fruity, estery mess of my beers. That got me in a mood, so i bought a bunch of lumber, an AC unit, some casters, a whole mess of styrofoam and some screws.

Here's some of that mess which became my fermentation cabinet:





You wouldn't believe how i got those huge panels of foam home in my scirocco.

We started with the base:



Then screwed in the casters:

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Old 11-02-2008, 07:32 AM   #2
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beautiful, start isn't it?



at this point we realized i had made it too wide (i wanted to fit at least four carboys in there) and it wouldn't roll out the door. whoops!

It's not going to leave the building any time soon, however, so we simply constructed the rest out of their own frames, like you would do with a window. Here's the back being set up:





Here you can see it sitting on the base. This made it very easy to screw it down:

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Old 11-02-2008, 07:36 AM   #3
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Looks good so far, please snap some pictures of the cooling setup and the finished product please. Right now I'm using an old fridge, but I can only fit two carboys in there.

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Old 11-02-2008, 07:41 AM   #4
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A nice thick, flat piece of plywood was screwed into the base before we added the panels. We put the panels together with plywood before we attached the panels to the base. The doors were made of a simple 2x4 and 2x2 frame.



Here's a pic of us holding it together. the plywood hangs over the sides enough so that we can screw it into the frame and the sides overlapped the back panel. it also made it look better, as you couldn't see the framework:



a pic from the inside after we screwed them all together:



and the outside:

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Old 11-02-2008, 07:51 AM   #5
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the plywood kept it all solid. We screwed the back panel down into the base, then screwed the sides into the back and the base:



Then came adding the foam. The first part was pretty cool, just get 1.5" foam to match the 2x4 frame and cut them perfectly. We added some glue and shoved them right in:



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Old 11-02-2008, 08:02 AM   #6
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any gaps you see were filled in with liquid foam.

After we added the layers of foam inside the frame, we added a full 1.5" layer of foam on the inside and back, cutting only a hole for the AC unit.

We added the top (unfortunately i don't have pictures) overlapping the same way after we installed the foam and screwed it into the back and the sides. this made everything so solid, i could stand on it confidently.

Here is the cabinet as it is now:



We installed hinges on the door and lined around the doors with stripping. You can see the extra layers of foam here. We also put a thin piece of plywood on top of the bottom foam so it wouldn't get damaged from moving carboys in and out:



And here it is full of beer. it fits six carboys, easy. you can see the ac unit in the back and we drilled an additional whole for the cable to come out and attach to the external temperature controller.:



The foam pieces are all glued only to their individual panels, so it can be taken apart piece by piece (top, sides, and then back) and moved. We added liquid foam to seal them a bit, but nothing a razor blade won't take care of.

In addition, here is some math my friend did for the energy it would take to cool in regards to space, insulation, etc. it works pretty efficiently. it kicks on every few hours for a couple of minutes and maintains a nice ambient 58°F:

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Old 11-02-2008, 08:06 AM   #7
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he's a mechanical engineer. i don't understand a letter (there is often a lack of numbers ) of this ****:



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Old 11-02-2008, 08:10 AM   #8
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anyway, that's it. all i left to do to it is add some thicker stripping (it doesn't quite get the seal i'd like) and replace the straps with something permanent. They work well but are kind of a PITA.

This was actually easy as hell to build...it only took two weekends and it was usuable immediately after construction. Now the problem is what to do with my beer when this is full! I think i'll do something for my apartment next...

Feel free to ask any questions. It's been a long time since i built this, so i may have left things out. i could also take more pictures if you want to see something specific.
Cheers!

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Old 11-02-2008, 09:00 AM   #9
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Whats the lowest temp you can achieve in this?

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Old 11-02-2008, 09:53 AM   #10
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I've tested it down to the mid 40s, but it could probably go in the thirties. it's pretty efficient. i'm sure i could use it for lagers, but this is my ale fermentation cabinet. i hope to get a chest freezer for lagering soon...i have truck payments now, can't throw money around like i used to.

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