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Old 04-08-2013, 02:57 AM   #1
aggies08brewer
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Default 1950s GE Fridge to Kegerator - with some mods

Folks here is a project I've recently started but have been planning for some time. Started off as a Craigslist find 1950s era General Electric refrigerator. I bought it with the intention of converting it into a homebrew sized kegerator capable of holding 4 - 5 gallon kegs of beer. 1 will most likely be a cider, the second root beer or cream soda for my nephew (and me) and the other two rotating seasonal taps.

Major features will be converting from a standard light bulb in the back to flush mount LED lighting on the interior, stretching the chassis 5.5 inches on the inside box and outside box to accommodate the four kegs (9" diameter each), plumbing the system for CO2, adding casters for mobility and of course, paint. Will also be adding a temperature controller for the ability to dial in an ideal serving temperatures. There will be a shelf on the top for bottle storage as well - should be able to hold 5 rows of 6 bottles. Any reasonable suggestions are more than welcome.

Starting with the chassis:



GE Logo on the door, will probably re-chrome this and paint the channels.


Door handle, I tried to polish this out later, it's very scuffed, will go to chrome.


The back panel. The compressor and coils come out as one unit. Another gentleman has restored one of these (just using black epoxy paint :scared and a "kill-a-watt" and calculated that running the same model fridge to be $6/month. Not having an auto defrost really makes these old units energy efficient.


Interior of the door. I believe this panel to be Bakelite?? Someone let me know if I'm wrong. It's very brittle, but not quite plastic like.


Freezer door, this is where the coils come into the fridge and cool the interior. Love the classic styling of the font. This will just be painted, letters and logo left intact.


Current incandescent interior light.


Compressor underneath the frame.


Lines running from coil through back panel into interior shell. Note the fiberglass insulation.

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Old 04-08-2013, 03:00 AM   #2
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Default more progress...

Shot of the temperature controller. I plan to cut out the current knob and put in a LCD programmable controller. I'll need to do some more research to see if it's rated for the temperature and UL67 rated for moisture resistance.


Inside shot of the door. Looks like someone replaced this fiberglass with a more modern flavor. It was in a plastic bag and not rotted/smelling.


Rust damage at the bottom of the door. I'm debating drilling weeping holes in the door... There are none now - thoughts?


Full shot of the interior as is. The stretch on the interior shell will happen right at the back, while the exterior will get stretched at the front. This is mainly to avoid dealing with the bead rolled floor and roof. It's also worth mentioning here that the shells are both 20ga steel. The interior is ceramic coated and is a bear to grind back for welding. I'm not sure yet how I'll tackle scuffing this for paint.


Detail of the inside of the door where the logo attaches. Interesting to me was that they used wax as a glue/sealant. The bottom of the exterior shell was covered in wax. Water got underneath and rusted it to hell. The rust wasn't a big deal, but removing the wax to paint will be troublesome. I've already washed it 3 times with AJAX.


More rust...


Insulation - 3.5 inches of fiberglass.


Cut out the bowl pocket for the light bulb to weld in a patch panel.


Here is where the bad ideas started - I used 22ga to make the panel, cut it too small and...


used a new welder with .030 wire and.....


oil canned it... Don't worry, I've already fixed it... More to come on that.

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Old 04-08-2013, 03:03 AM   #3
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Default and then....

Most of the rust removed on the bottom of the exterior shell. Used a wire cup brush and naval jelly.


Rustoleum black appliance epoxy paint applied. I know I'll be cutting and welding into this but my reasoning is two-fold: 1) at this point I wasn't sure I wanted to keep going with stretching it because I just got done warping the hell out of the other piece and 2) I really wanted to stay busy and get it cleaned up and stop any more rusting because I washed everything down after tearing it apart. Everything rusts quickly in H-town.

Moral of the story is that I really like this paint and recommend it!


Slots cut for LED lights. 12" on each side and 8" on the top. More lights will be behind the regulators on the back wall and on the tap handles..


Miller Digital Elite glamour shot....

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Old 04-08-2013, 03:04 AM   #4
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Default finally...

Preliminary LED attachment method... Used the 20ga strip I cut out, bent it, drilled it, countersunk the aluminum flush mount bezels and used a #4 countersink screw and nut. I don't think I'll weld the tabs after looking at them again, I don't see a reason to add more heat to this sheet metal. That, and the heat makes the ceramic pop and I'm worried about it flaking out or cracking later...


Bottom epoxied up. Once again, I really like this paint. Only flaw is that it has really terrible coverage or I over applied it.... Remember, no primer is used with this paint..



That's all the pics I have for now... More progress soon and thanks for looking.

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Old 04-08-2013, 04:17 AM   #5
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This is going to be awesome to watch develop!

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Old 04-08-2013, 04:21 AM   #6
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They sure don't make 'em like they used to.

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Old 04-08-2013, 02:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
This is going to be awesome to watch develop!
Thank you for reading!


@ h4mmy86 - No they don't... I was looking at my new Samsung fridge and A) it has a computer in it.. and B) the interior is all plastic. The best thing IMO that modern fridges have is water in the door and milk gallon holders... other than that.. they just lack style.
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:29 PM   #8
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subscribed so I can check out the pics and follow this story later. Love the old style fridge.

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Old 04-08-2013, 05:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggies08brewer View Post
Thank you for reading!


@ h4mmy86 - No they don't... I was looking at my new Samsung fridge and A) it has a computer in it.. and B) the interior is all plastic. The best thing IMO that modern fridges have is water in the door and milk gallon holders... other than that.. they just lack style.
heh, I don't even like those features. Our milk doesn't last as long when it's stored in the door and the water filters for the fridge are more expensive than they should be.
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:21 PM   #10
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Wow. Those pictures look familiar! Good luck on the work. I'll definitely be following this.

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