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Old 05-20-2009, 10:08 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Chillers Made of Foam Board?

My Mom is retiring as a teacher. She just bought a Haier 4.something fridge last fall for her use at school, that she now wants to get rid of. I have agreed to "take it off her hands", and the fridge is like new.

I used some 3/4" foam board a while back to build a frozen bottle style fermentation cooler. Now, I am thinking of getting some of the 2" pink foam board and build an advanced cooler.

Are there any tricks to using the thicker board? I just used a box cutter to shape the pieces for my other cooler, and used aluminum duct tape to hold it together.

I don't know if that will work for a much bigger box, made of heavier foam.

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Old 05-20-2009, 10:17 PM   #2
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score one side and snap

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Old 05-20-2009, 10:34 PM   #3
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score one side and snap
What about holding it together? Will some kind of adhesive work? I know at least some kinds tend to dissolve foam.
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:41 PM   #4
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I did this very thing. It's gone now. Shortly after it was built I was given a 10 cubic foot chest freezer.

A steak knife will cut the foam board like butter and duct board adhesive will hold the foam without causing a chemical reaction. You'll likely still need the duct tape to "clamp" the pieces together while the adhesive sets.

If you use multiple layers, plan your cuts to stagger joints and work to aid in reducing temp losses at the joints.

the absocold fridge I used did a perfect job of maintaining the 12 cubic foot dual chambered box I built at temps perfect for ales but was lousy at getting temps down to lager fermentation ranges. In retrospect, I think it could have worked for a single bucket/carboy sized chamber with some fan assited air movement.

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Old 05-21-2009, 02:56 AM   #5
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Fun site - answers your question...This to That . com (no spaces)

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Old 05-22-2009, 04:26 AM   #6
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Default Holding together a foam cold box....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpt_Kirks View Post
What about holding it together? Will some kind of adhesive work? I know at least some kinds tend to dissolve foam.
I think's it's interesting that I came upon this post, mainly because I am in the midst of just finishing my own cold box.

To answer your question I believe the best solution is to create a foam box within a 2x4 "exoskeleton". The fact that the boxes are seperate accomplished two things:

1. Since the boxes are not screwed or fastened to each other there will be less heat gain. I used a heavy duty liquid nails that did not even need clamping when attaching foam to wood. However when going foam to foam I used silcone which I thought might dissolve the foam but I did a few test pieces on scrap, and it bonded GREAT!

2. Since there are only a few seams There is also less chance of condesation and heat loss.

Lastly, check out our blog that has multiple pics of the box.

Glad to hear your questions and or feedback.

www.hombrewproject.blogspot.com
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:10 AM   #7
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there are several threads loaded with good info on this kind of project already, but I just got around to loading up my images of my recent fermentation chamber build, so here they are. Unfortunately I was in too much of a hurry to take pictures along the way, so I just have the finished product.

Inside dimensions are 45"W x 30"H x 24"D. I used 2x4 and 2x2 framework to house the 1.5" blueboard Styrofoam so that it is flush to the frame. I skinned the frame on the outside with 1/4" luan and some leftover composite (masonite) paneling. I skinned the inside with flexible rubber shower wall liner material from Lowes, and sealed it all up with caulk so it can be easily cleaned etc.

I work with this kind of styrofoam a lot so I am very familiar with how it behaves. to cut it you can use just about anything you want, a razor knife with a sharp blade works fine. I prefer the snap blade knives because the blades are easy to replace and they can be extended so they are longer than the material is thick.

I also frequently use a band saw to cut this material, and have run it through the table saw with no problems as well. I have also used hot (electrified) wire cutters, and angle grinders to shape this material (not that you need them for building a box from it)

The best adhesive for Styrofoam board is 3M Super 77 spray adhesive applied evenly to both surfaces allowed to dry until they are tacky, then align the pieces and press firmly (be sure you get it right because it can be hard to undo). This is a very strong bond, but I'm not sure I would rely on it to hold edges together without some other kind of structure. when adhering to another flat, porous, surface this bond will be very strong. layers of the foam can be laminated together this way too.

For cooling I originally tried an small thermoelectric fridge...which sucked, so I went to Best Buy to look at better refrigerators and I happened to notice a Frigidaire 5000 btu air conditioner (model #FAX054P7a) for about the same price. It is very compact and has a built in thermostat that actually regulates temperature based on degrees, as opposed to a blind "cooler/warmer" knob. This eliminates the need for a separate Johnson or Ranco controller for keeping things at ale temperatures.The downside is that the lowest the thermostat goes is 60 deg F, so its no good for lagering unless the thermostat can be overridden.
Since I am using this fermentation chamber primarily for ales (combating the Florida heat) this suited me fine.

So far it works great, and it sure beats having my carboys in buckets with ice packs in the kitchen....SWMBO agrees



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Old 07-13-2009, 03:58 PM   #8
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I got the pieces cut with a serrated knife. The edge came out a little crooked, it was hard to cut straight through the 2" thick foam.

What will work to caulk the seams?

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Old 07-13-2009, 07:22 PM   #9
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One of our club members built something similar. He also used a few galvanized rain gutter nails to strengthen the joins. Just pressed them through one board and into the lengthwise end of the next.

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