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Old 09-22-2013, 08:00 PM   #1
markstache
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Default Insulated shelving unit as a fermentation chamber

Has anyone built a fermentation chamber around a steel shelving unit? The cooling would be provided by a window a/c.

I was thinking of building a lightweight frame around it to provide the insulation. On three sides, there would be vapor-barrier plastic, fiberglass fill, and an outer layer of polystrene. The front would have doors of a similar construction.

A shelf would make better use of my garage space and would provide both a space for fermenting and cellaring bottles.

Thoughts?

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Old 09-22-2013, 08:22 PM   #2
Onkel_Udo
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I would look mor into the "Metro" chrome wire shelving that you see throughout the restaurant industry...now cheaply reproduced through the wonders of big box stores like this...

http://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-48-in-W-x-72-in-H-x-18-in-D-Decorative-Wire-Chrome-Finish-Commercial-Shelving-Unit-6T60184872C/100655787#.Uj9QP8asgvw

Just remember the three rules of of a cooler: insulation, air sealing, circulation. The first and second are a lot harder if you are using the a form factor that allows you to access the full width of a shelving unit.

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Old 09-22-2013, 08:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onkel_Udo View Post
I would look mor into the "Metro" chrome wire shelving that you see throughout the restaurant industry.
Good suggestion. I was thinking of drilling holes through the shelves, but these are of course better in that regard. I was under the mistaken impression that these types of shelves had lower capacity. Glad I looked at your link.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:51 PM   #4
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The real stuff has some pretty impressive capacity but I am not sure about the big box store clones. How many gallons per foot are we talking (assuming 8# per gallon). I do know the 18" shelving units we used we 500# evenly distributed. for a 4' unit.

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Old 09-23-2013, 07:12 AM   #5
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Typically Metro racks are rated at anywhere from 250-500lbs any any given time like stated, make sure you distribute weight evenly. figure a 5 gallon fermentor weighs 40-45lbs, you should be safe putting 6 or 7 or so on there. It also depends on the clip type. I'm building a ferm chamber out of just wood and polystyrene sheets. It will definitely be strong enough to double as a shelf.

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Old 09-23-2013, 02:52 PM   #6
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I've got some Metro style shelves on order as they were on sale, but out of stock at my local big box.

Given that I could probably fit at most 4 carboys across a shelf, I should be good for weight. I estimate a shelf full of bottles would weigh on the order of 250 lbs, so again, good.

On wood: if I had the wood lying around I would have done that (as I did for the other shelves in my garage and pantry), but I figure that I'd end up spending closing to $50 in wood to build an equally strong shelf. The cost may be flipped for other people.

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