Happy HolidaySs Giveaway - Winners Re-Re-Drawn - 24 hours to Claim!

Get your HBT Growlers, Shirts and Membership before the Rush!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > My Mini Fridge to Fermentation Chamber Build
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-10-2011, 04:51 PM   #1
chumpsteak
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Meridian, ID
Posts: 850
Liked 94 Times on 79 Posts
Likes Given: 13

Default My Mini Fridge to Fermentation Chamber Build

A buddy and I just started brewing a couple months ago and have officially gone off the deep end with this new hobby. After 2 extract batches we went to all grain. After 1 all grain batch we bought a new 15 gallon kettle. After the 4th all grain batch we decided we needed somewhere better to ferment than the exercise room of his house, and so the idea of building a fermentation chamber came up.

My wife didn't really like the idea of another fridge/freezer in the garage, so after looking on the HBT forums I decided to clean the crap out from underneath the work bench and build a chamber there.

Step 1 was finding a cooling source. Since my garage gets to around 100 degrees some days in the summer it was important to find something big enough to cool yet still fit under the workbench. I decided a 4cf mini fridge ought to work so I set out looking for one.

After a couple weeks of looking I got really lucky and got an almost brand new frigidaire mini fridge for 50 bucks on craigslist. The guy had just spent almost 200 on it 2 months ago but needed to get rid of it.

Its a super nice mini fridge and I feel kind of bad about basically destroying it, but it had to be done. If I was ready for kegging I'd have built a kegerator out of it instead.

Anyway, the next weekend I went to home depot for materials and got to work.





















My love 2 stage controller will be here this week, so I hope to have it installed and controlling temps by next weekend.

The space is a little bigger than I originally wanted, but I decided if I made it as airtight as possible and insulated it really well with 2in foam it would probably work. I can fit at least 5 buckets/carboys in it and yesterday I had a jar of water cooled down and stabile at 41 degrees with a fridge temp of 37 in a 85 degree garage. Not too bad considering I really only built it for fermenting ales at 64. With the fridge set to it's highest temp setting the chamber stabilizes around 57 degrees and the compressor barely runs.

Right now I only have 1 pc fan running in there, but I ordered 2 more higher cfm fans to hopefully circulate for air and make the chamber more efficient at cooling. Also ordered a little personal ceramic heater that will be used later this year to help maintain temps when the ambient temp drops.

Anyway, thanks for looking and let me know if there are any questions.

I'd also like to thank everyone who posted their builds and provided lots of ideas and inspiration for this project. Almost none of the ideas used to build this chamber were my own. All were pretty much taken from this forum. I'm new to this hobby, but thanks to you guys I feel like I've already learned so much.

__________________

chumpsteak is offline
2
People Like This 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-12-2011, 06:06 AM   #2
brewguy82
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: nashua, NH
Posts: 205
Default

pretty cool...no pun intended

__________________
http://granitehop.blogspot.com/
brewguy82 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-12-2011, 10:52 PM   #3
Rundownhouse
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Cincinnati, Kentucky
Posts: 331
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

Could you post some more details about how you built the door in?

__________________
Rundownhouse is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-13-2011, 03:39 AM   #4
chumpsteak
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Meridian, ID
Posts: 850
Liked 94 Times on 79 Posts
Likes Given: 13

Default

The door surround is just roofing metal from the home depot. The door already has a magnetic strip in the weather seal so it just needs something metal to grab onto.

The hinges are the original ones that came on the fridge, but I put the top one on bottom because it was more robust, and I hacked up the bottom one and made a new bracket out of it to mount the top of the door. Basically cut it in half, bent it so that it stuck out the right distance, and drilled 2 new holes to mount it. Not that hard if you put the door in the hole and then figure out how far your brackets need to stick out. Oh, and the bottom bracket is mounted in a block of wood I cut down to get the door at the right height. The door opens and closes super smooth and shuts tight. In fact I got in there last night (yeah it's that big) to do a little more finish work and when I shut the door it was like being in a vault. It seems pretty air tight.

Let me know if you need pictures of the door brackets and I'll see what I can do.

__________________
chumpsteak is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-13-2011, 03:53 AM   #5
nootay
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Dayton Virginia
Posts: 589
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

Looks great man! I'll be building something similar in the next couple weeks. Did you leave an airspace gap between your insulation and outside frame? I think I remember reading somewhere that a gap makes it insulate better, but don't now why and if that is even true. Is the part you built actually connected to the fridge? My brew room isn't completely built yet, so if I build a fermentation chamber I'll probably have to move it a few months down the road. Not sure if moving it would possibly break it apart or not. I also love your idea for the door! I'll have to figure that out as well

__________________
Primary 1: Andes Mint Chocolate Stout
Keg 1: Cascade Pale Ale
Keg 2: apfelwein
On deck: pale ale
CO2 Carbonation chart
Mash Calculator
Pitching Calculator
Cloverhill Brewery
nootay is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-13-2011, 03:55 AM   #6
chumpsteak
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Meridian, ID
Posts: 850
Liked 94 Times on 79 Posts
Likes Given: 13

Default

forgot to mention I used 2x2's to build the door frame. I attached it to the 3/4" plywood and then foamed around the opening with spray foam and caulked all the seams. Then once I had the plywood screwed into place I caulked everything again and then put aluminum tape around the door opening including the roofing metal that's inside the door frame.

__________________
chumpsteak is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-13-2011, 04:10 AM   #7
chumpsteak
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Meridian, ID
Posts: 850
Liked 94 Times on 79 Posts
Likes Given: 13

Default

Nootay,

There is a 1.5" air gap between the 2" insulation panels and the walls. Basically the thickness of the 2x4's I installed to give the foam something to stick and to get the foam around the house foundation.

The fridge is only attached by caulk. I set the front half way on a 2x4 and built a plywood surround that fit pretty tight. I then caulked everything in place. The idea was to be able to remove the fridge if I had to in case the compressor dies or something. I'd basically have to cut through 3 inches of caulk, foam, and plywood, but I think I could get it out without wrecking the box if necessary.

As for the door, I'd like to take credit for that, but I got the idea from a couple of other builds on these forums. I liked the idea and figured the door was always going to be the hardest part to make air tight, so why not do it like the fridge manufacturers do?

__________________
chumpsteak is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-13-2011, 04:10 AM   #8
nootay
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Dayton Virginia
Posts: 589
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

can i use osb instead of plywood? i have quite a bit of 5/8" osb

__________________
Primary 1: Andes Mint Chocolate Stout
Keg 1: Cascade Pale Ale
Keg 2: apfelwein
On deck: pale ale
CO2 Carbonation chart
Mash Calculator
Pitching Calculator
Cloverhill Brewery
nootay is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-13-2011, 04:16 AM   #9
chumpsteak
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Meridian, ID
Posts: 850
Liked 94 Times on 79 Posts
Likes Given: 13

Default

I don't see why not. I'm no Thermodynamacist, but I don't believe the wood really adds any insulating properties to the fermentation chamber. The foam board along with lots of calk, spray foam, and aluminum tape help to keep the thing air tight and well insulated. The plywood or OSB is just used for framing and structural purposes.

__________________
chumpsteak is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-14-2011, 12:34 AM   #10
nootay
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Dayton Virginia
Posts: 589
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

so did you lay the foam boards directly across the 2 x 4's on the floor? will the weight of a full bucket not break the foam boards in the gap between 2x4s? im not sure how stiff that stuff is. how big is the gap between your 2x4's on the floor?

__________________
Primary 1: Andes Mint Chocolate Stout
Keg 1: Cascade Pale Ale
Keg 2: apfelwein
On deck: pale ale
CO2 Carbonation chart
Mash Calculator
Pitching Calculator
Cloverhill Brewery
nootay is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Old mini-fridge to fermentation chamber build kerklein2 Fermenters 24 03-23-2012 06:31 PM
Fermentation chamber: Chest freezer or Build off of a mini fridge? detz Fermenters 3 06-15-2011 07:34 PM
mini fridge Fermentation Chamber question bassassassin772 Fermenters 7 03-18-2011 04:26 PM
Fermentation Chamber - A/C or Mini-Fridge? ic3scrap3r Fermenters 10 09-24-2009 10:52 PM
What is the best mini fridge for a fermentation chamber? Schnitzengiggle Fermenters 5 02-26-2009 06:00 AM



Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS