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Old 10-18-2011, 03:03 AM   #1
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Default Insulating round cooler lid wth spray foam

Thought I'd pass along my experience since searches pulled up some evidence and references but nothing conclusive.

I've got a 5 gallon round Rubbermaid cooler mash tun, but I imagine this would apply to most any cooler lid. The round ones specifically though. First I tried drilling several holes the size of the spray foam tube around the side of the lid. (brand new can, shaken thoroughly) When you spray the foam in it, it seems to be shooting in there fine, and you can even see the foam expanding out of the holes....but, it's a lie!!! Through some research i found that the foam needs moist air to expand and does nothing inside the lid but create a pile of wet goo. NASTY, ungodly, sticky, wet goo. So, I decided to open it up with the intent of seeing what happened and then filling it and putting it back together.

I carefully sliced the top of the lid off, just under he top rounded edge all the way around the lid with my bandsaw. I held the top against a fence and slowly rotated it. Like hot butter really, no problem. You could probably easily do it with a hand saw. Once removed, you could see the foam did NOTHING. Don't think you have partial foam areas, and it's good enough. You got nothin. First I tried wiping out the bulk of the goo with paper towels, and got 80% of it out. The rest started to turn opaque yellow and expanded slightly!? So, I waited for awhile for that to dry then sprayed foam into both halves, filling them up. Later, I'll shave them flat and somehow glue them together, and use aluminum tape around the edge/seam and that should do it. Super insulated lid and peace of mind. Maybe you don't have to totally remove the top, but if you are just spraying in holes, you are just making a mess.

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:07 AM   #2
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Pics?

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:15 AM   #3
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Interesting... glad I didn't get around to doing that yet. my recent brews have been in the warm weather so temp loss wasn't an issue.

Glad I saved the old sleeping bag I used on my 5gal bucket mash tun.

Hollow top on 10gal Rubbermaid seems like a weak link to me too.

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:24 AM   #4
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Two things I can come up with right now. The first is their FAQ page for Great Stuff Foam says it may not bond to some polyethylene and that HDPE used in coolers is a polyethylene plastic. That doesn't say it won't cure and hold in a form. The other thought is that since it's a moisture cured product you could perhaps drill several large holes in a new lid and lightly mist the inside to kick the reaction. Then easily trim excess foam.

http://greatstuff.dow.com/faq/

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:28 AM   #5
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I didn't shoot pics of the mess when I opened it, but I should have. Just trust me in that no foam expanded at all, until it came out the side holes.

I'll see if I can snap a couple of the lids tomorrow when I shave them and somehow put them together again. Any ideas? Liquid nails? Some JB Weld? What sticks foam to foam? The tape around the edge is just to seal it and looks, although it would likely be strong enough as is.

Rob- i considered exactly that. I was thinking of cutting much larger holes, say 1" or bigger, also considered cutting off larger sections like the triangle areas on the top. In the end I thought F-it, just cut it off so I can clean it out and know its filled. Putting it back together shouldn't be hard since the lid doesn't need to be super sturdy, just hold together. Actually, I can fudge a little and have the foam thicker than just a filled lid.

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komodo
I didn't shoot pics of the mess when I opened it, but I should have. Just trust me in that no foam expanded at all, until it came out the side holes.

I'll see if I can snap a couple of the lids tomorrow when I shave them and somehow put them together again. Any ideas? Liquid nails? Some JB Weld? What sticks foam to foam? The tape around the edge is just to seal it and looks, although it would likely be strong enough as is.
You could probably shoot some more goo on it then press together. I'm wondering if it didn't expand cause of lack of time. I sprayed the inside of mine and it expanded out all the breather holes. As for bonding to cooler lids, there is still yellow on my lid in a few spots after almost 40 batches through it.
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:37 AM   #7
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Just had a thought, what about drilling a bit of a larger hole and filling it with bean bag foam beans?. I think I will try that. Now to find the beans. I had a bean bag chair in the 70's. Long gone.

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevo2569

You could probably shoot some more goo on it then press together. I'm wondering if it didn't expand cause of lack of time. I sprayed the inside of mine and it expanded out all the breather holes. As for bonding to cooler lids, there is still yellow on my lid in a few spots after almost 40 batches through it.
When i sprayed mine it also expanded out of the holes . . .i had 4 holes, about 1/8th inch each. When i opened it, you could see the expanded foam just on the outside of each hole, and liquid inside. Like it was still in the can.
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Old 10-18-2011, 03:42 AM   #9
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More holes, spray a little in and let it expand, then spray a little more. Again and again until full?

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Old 10-18-2011, 03:46 AM   #10
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While this is a very interesting write up, In my experiences the biggest cause of heat loss is head space (between the top of the mash and the lid, more space= more/faster heat loss).

In an uninsulated keggle with a glass lid that seals up effectivly I can experience a loss of 1F to 4F in 60 minutes. The only variable is the head space. (Yes, I have experienced a heat loss of 1F for 90min in my keggle MLT!) In my round rubbermaid coolers I get the EXACT same results it is ALWAYS the head space that is the variable.

The above has lead me to believe there is a right size MLT for the mash. YMMV but I will guess not all that much...

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