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Old 06-27-2012, 02:52 PM   #1
mmient
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Default Custom Fermenter Build

This is my fermenter build (still a bit of work in progress, but thought I'd document it for anyone who may be interested…)
I started by gutting the old fridge. Sorry – no pics here. As the fridge had the external coils in the back, I just started cutting through the metal on the top off with a pair of shears. I then cut down the back to where the tubing went through and unclipped the freezer compartment from the inside of the fridge. I cut around the back inside plastic so that I could just lay the refrigerator on its back, unbolt the compressor, coils, thermostat, etc. and then just lift the case off of the coils and compressor.

I started building the new cabinet by making the front and back pieces first, keeping in mind that I wanted insulation on the ceiling and floor, and enough height to hold several carboys with airlocks. I think I ended up going with standard kitchen cabinet height.
I then added a few temporary rails from front to back to hold it all together. Once the rails were screwed on, I stood the cabinet on its side, slid it over the compressor and coils, Added permanent mounting points for the compressor, coils and a temporary mount for the freezer. Once everything was attached I placed the cabinet back on its base and remembered to take a few pictures.

fermenter01.jpg
fermenter02.jpg


I wanted to use the cabinet for empty keg storage as well, so I measured where to add the wall between fermenter side and storage side, and added some wood framing for the floor.
The permanent top framing was made to allow the wood to sit flush with the front and back so that I could add a countertop. As I was measuring I kept in mind that there would be 1’ insulation on all walls, ceiling and floor.
Once the top was cut, insulation was glued on and it was set into place. The freezer compartment was then bolted directly through the ceiling. I then put the foam in the floor.
FYI - The PVC pipe in the back is the drain for my sink. It just drains into the driveway.

fermenter03.jpg
fermenter04.jpg
fermenter05.jpg

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Old 06-27-2012, 02:54 PM   #2
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Default Custom Fermenter Build (cont)

Side and rear wall foam glued in, and the floor wood added.

fermenter06.jpg
fermenter09.jpg

I added a countertop and made a temporary front piece of foam until I can afford to get the wood to make the three doors. The fermenter will hold 6 carboys, 3 or 4 kegs, and my 20# CO2 tank.

fermenter07.jpg
fermenter08.jpg
fermenter10.jpg

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Old 06-27-2012, 02:57 PM   #3
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Default Custom Fermenter Build (cont)

The fermenter is controlled via arduino, and has an RGB LCD that displays garage and fermenter temperature. The display is red when in heat mode, green when temp is ok and blue when in cooling mode. Heat mode uses the light bulb in a paint can method.

img_0736.jpg
img_0741.jpg

The trial run was able to keep the empty chamber at 36F degrees without issue so I guess I could use it for cold crashing or lagering if I added a partition with a small fan on the inside. For now I usually just keep it set at 65F-67F.

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Old 06-27-2012, 03:20 PM   #4
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A Very Nice Build.

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Old 06-28-2012, 07:58 PM   #5
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Very nice build up! Was the fridge a pain to autopsy?

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Old 06-29-2012, 12:39 AM   #6
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Nice setup! This is a similar space to what I have, and I noticed in the first pic there is no obvious drain line for the sink. How do you drink your sink

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Old 06-29-2012, 01:30 AM   #7
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Thanks for the compliments! Having consistent fermenter control (in addition to the added counter space) has been a huge difference.

The fridge was actually pretty easy to get apart, I would imagine much easier than the ones that don't have exposed coils in the back. I just took my time with a good sharp pair of tin snips. I did have to be careful to not kink any of the lines once it was apart - they're pretty fragile.

The sink just has 1/2" pvc that goes around the side of the garage, and I have a piece of flexible tubing that I just lay out in the driveway when the door is open. If it's cold out I can close the door on the pipe. There's a downspout drain across the front of the garage. I don't really wash anything nasty in there, or flush trub, etc... Just a place to rinse stuff off. Eventually I'd like to have a drum to collect water from there and from my chiller to use for watering the lawn or something.

You can see the PVC out into the driveway in the last pic (next to the brew goose).

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Old 06-29-2012, 06:49 PM   #8
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Good looking build

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