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Old 01-02-2013, 03:18 AM   #11
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word of advice; any piece over 18" long, cut in half. Without a powerful hot glue gun, you can't glue up more about than 24" of styrofoam and get it in place before the glue starts to really harden and become self-defeating.
yeah, or use a caulking gun and a tube of 3M's 5200 marine sealant (fast cure with red label), it's about $14 for a tube and will cure hot or cold dry or wet or even under water. I'd venture to guess one full tube would be enough for both your nifty contraptions there.

nice work, it's inspiring to see. I have been using a Kenmore 15 for the last 3 years... wouldn't trade it. In fact if it dies I will replace it because having the chill box for cold-crashing and cold-conditioning made my beer THAT MUCH BETTER.

get the Johnson Control external thermostat, you can choose setpoints from below freezing to 70F if you should desire--- this makes proper lagering and cold storage a reality for the home brewer.

oh yeah--- you gotta have it
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:15 AM   #12
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Looking good. Would have been nice to have that extra fermentation space!

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Old 01-02-2013, 04:00 PM   #13
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Im actually heading to home depot tomorrow to get the parts needed to start my build using the same freezer.

I see that you designed yours to have the lid and the collar open at the same time, can I ask why you chose to do it this way?

Also, regarding the 1x6 pine, does that fit on the lid without removing any of the plastic or weather stripping?
I designed it to open this way for three very simple reasons:
  1. The beer lines, gas lines, faucets and shanks are raised out of the way when the lid is opened, allowing for easier and safer loading/unloading of kegs, CO2 tanks, and fermentors. Imagine for a moment how you'd react if you accidentally knocked the beer hose off the faucet tailpiece, sending up a gyser of beer that goes everywhere, fills your keezer, and then causes your other kegs to backflow into your air lines.
  2. The height that items need to be lifted vertically to get them in and out because the collar lifts out of the way with the lid is reduced by the full height of the collar. This could easily by the difference between needing a stepladder, needing a helper, or losing control of a cold, slippery carboy.
  3. When the lid is opened, the total height is only marginally (< 1") taller than in the factory configuration. If the collar didn't lift out of the way, the keezer would be 10" taller when the lid was opened fully. This is important if you have shelving installed above the keezer, as will be my case.

The only downside to this layout that I can find is that you need extra clearance behind the feezer to open the lid this way. In other words, if the freezer's back is snug against the wall, you need to pull it out 10" in order to open a 10" collar and lid to 90º. This is easily solved by adding wheels to the base or setting it on a rolling frame (and allows for easier cleaning behind).

Lastly, I used 1x10 pine (nominally), which is actually ¾"x9¼", because I calculated this model needs a bare minimum of 7¾" to fit a ball lock keg on the hump. You can get away with 1x6 pine (nominally, actual ¾"x5½") if you put a pin lock keg on the hump instead because then this model needs a bare minimum of 3¾".
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:11 PM   #14
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Looks good. Are you adding the collar to the ferm chamber so you can add a 3rd fermenter on the step? I have one these now for ferm but can just fit 2 buckets in there.
Negative. Even with the collar, you won't be able to fit a 3rd fermentation bucket.

The collar was originally planned for consistency. They were to be placed in an L-shaped pattern initially, and then a side-by-side pattern later. I like things consistency, even though it drives my wife nuts when I spend hours trying to get an even feel on things too small for most people to notice. For example, every door knob in my house is identical, every light switch is from the same style line, and almost every piece of our cookware is stainless.

I also wanted some room for future expansion, so to speak. If I later moved into a bigger place and got space for a giant fermentation chamber, who's to say I wouldn't want two serving keezers? It's takes only marginally longer to build two of the same thing initially and then later I'd only have to drill the tap holes. Most of my time on this project was spent waiting for paint to dry.

Lastly, the week before I started the build, I stumbled onto the idea of using cornys for primaries. This collar allows me to swap out my two fermentors for five ball locks some day without any modifications.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:19 PM   #15
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yeah, or use a caulking gun and a tube of 3M's 5200 marine sealant (fast cure with red label), it's about $14 for a tube and will cure hot or cold dry or wet or even under water. I'd venture to guess one full tube would be enough for both your nifty contraptions there.
Yeah, or that. I ended up having to crack open a tube of the silicone adhesive anyway, which is also very tolerant of cold and moisture. We just happened to have the hot glue gun sitting on the countertop from the previous day's project and grabbed it. If you rigid insulation is cut to the proper length, it holds itself in place for the most part anyway.

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get the Johnson Control external thermostat, you can choose setpoints from below freezing to 70F if you should desire--- this makes proper lagering and cold storage a reality for the home brewer.
Trust me, I ordered one for each. The blue pre-wired A419's were $69.99 ea + $6 S/H ea from Beverage Factory. They're due to be delivered today, along with my refractometer (Optical Factory via eBay), Perlick combos, distributor, and Bev-Seal Ultra line (Birdman Brewing). I should probably merge my keg parts list into this build thread at some point.

I had wanted the Love controller in the collar, but my building inspector is not keen on seeing self-wired appliances and I have a final inspection coming up.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:21 PM   #16
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Looking good. Would have been nice to have that extra fermentation space!
Darn skippy! I'm planning a 20-gallon brew day to help break it in.
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Old 01-04-2013, 05:16 PM   #17
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Day before yesterday, the distributor came in. I set it aside. The beer line came. I chopped it into four 20' sections and two 10' sections. The faucets and shanks came. I bolted them on. The controllers came in. Programmed them (one for cooling the serving keezer in the dining room, one warming the fermentation chamber in the unheated laundry room) and tested them out.

Last night, almost all of the rest of the guts came. I cut and assembled the gas line to the barbed swivel nuts, then clamped each. I assembled the distributor to all the gas lines, and hooked it to the new primary. Got out the heat gun and put the 1/4" swivel nuts in the 3/16" Bev-Seal Ultra line. That took me... probably 2 hours. Finally worked out a system, but the first few attempts were very heartbreaking.

Here's what I have to show for it - a 4-keg gas and serving setup, a 5th carbing keg setup with picnic tap for testing, and a jumper hose.



This morning, I threw the two batches ready for kegging into the serving keezer and set it for 38F to cold crash. The kegs hopefully arrive tonight.



I moved the heater in there and set it to "fan only". Before I knew it, the inside of the freezer was around 26F, but the probe was showing 41F. Turns out I need to have the probe in the path of the fan's air flow to get a decently accurate reading. The freezer food service thermometer confirmed it.

Heading out today to get the tanks filled.

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Old 01-05-2013, 12:33 AM   #18
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I don't see where the probe is, but you might just want to have a glass/jar/box of salt water or something to keep the probe in. That way you aren't measuring air temp which might be far off from beer temp.

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Old 01-05-2013, 12:35 AM   #19
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I don't see where the probe is, but you might just want to have a glass/jar/box of salt water or something to keep the probe in. That way you aren't measuring air temp which might be far off from beer temp.
That's a great idea. I'd planned for a 1L bottle blowoff eventually in the fermentation chamber. Perhaps I should carry the idea over. As it is, it's cycling on and off rather much.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:29 PM   #20
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Subscribing for future reference....nice work!!

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