"Keezer Soze" (yet another keezer build)
I apologize for the rambling post in advance, but this project is a bit of a story. Last year I found an antique mini fridge and box of kegerator parts at a yard sale for $25, so of course I took it home with me. I couldn't talk SWMBO into making room for it in our tiny house, so I fixed it up as a sanke kegerator and gave it to a friend as an early x-mas gift. A few days after it was delivered we were invited over to test it out. SWMBO liked it so much that she became jealous and changed her mind about having one in our house. Here's what that one looked like before delivery-
When we were first discussing the conditions of having a keezer int he house, SWMBO was watching the movie "The Usual Suspects", so one of the conditions was that we name it "Keezer Soze". That I could handle, but the bad news was that I had a very limited budget to work with. On the plus side, I had some parts left over from the 1st project, and a GE 5.0cf freezer that was in storage. Thanks to a little luck and some craigslist scores, I slowly gathered most of the parts I needed. Yesterday I picked up 5 cornies from HBT'er Malt-O-Meal, and decided that it was time to start building.
The small freezer will just barely hold 4 ball locks and a 5# CO2 tank if I put a tall collar on it. I have a 20# tank, so I'll only have 3 kegs for now. I'm setting it up for 4 taps in case I ever put the tank outside, or happen upon a cheap 5# tank.
I started by making some boxes out of scrap 3/4" sheet goods to form the collar. I had some 1" stucco foam left over from a remodel job that I used to insulate the boxes with.
I wanted to minimize the overall height, but without having any QD's for the cornies at my shop yesterday, I didn't know how short I could go. I made the collar pieces extra tall and left them separate so that I could later rip them to optimal height. I bought some QD's and brought them to the shop today, so I was able to cut the collar to height and assemble it. I used a motley assortment of scrap plywood, particle board, and MDF pieces, so I tried to face the nicest plywood inside where it will be exposed, and the ugly sides out where they'll be covered later. Then I ripped some mesquite to cover the top with so that the rubber part of the lid will seal well. The front pieces were bowing out, so I used some clamps to get it straight before securing the mesquite to hold it in line.
I removed the lock, and hinges from the freezer, and popped the thermostat inside the mounting hole so that nothing would protrude and interfere with the frame I plan to make. I then mounted the collar, re-installed the lid, and test fit some kegs.
After much discussion, we had decided on mesquite trim/top, and a pass through tower. I originally wanted to make the tower out of some 3" copper pipe I had, but I measured and it wasn't long enough. I priced out getting some more, but it would have easily doubled the budget. I then considered making an octagonal tube out of mesquite, but decided that it would be way too much wood and wouldn't be very balanced and pleasing asthecially. In the end I decided to use a piece of 3" ABS I found in the corner of my shop, that I could paint any color I wanted, similar to this build that uses PVC-
I couldn't get the angles on the top rail perfectly in line using my miter saw, so I made a jig and used my radial arm saw to cut those. I then slathered on some ABS cement and held the joints tightly for about a minute. Some minor sanding had it looking pretty good. I then cut out a section on the back for access. Rather than use the cut out piece for the door which would be smaller than the hole, due to the width of the saw kerf, I decided to make the door out of a separate piece so that there wouldn't be any gap.
This is when my Dad showed up, and asked what I was doing. After explaining the project to him, he informed me that he had several feet of 3" copper pipe in his garage that I could have in exchang for a sixer of homebrew!!! I may have an extra ABS pass through tower for someone elses keezer project. I went to get the copper, and was able to make the first two cuts before calling it a day.
I may have to find someone with a gas chamber to weld the copper for me. I haven't decided exactly how to approach securing the joints yet. I will keep updating this thread as I make more progress, but I don't have much spare time, so it will probably be slow going.
I was unable to get in touch with the welder who owes me a favor, so I decided to look for another option to join the corners. I made a test joint soldering a 3/4" piece of copper, and was surprised at how strong it was. A surprising amount of solder pooled on the inside, creating a nice bond. It also cleaned up pretty easily with a little filing and sanding. I soldered both joints on the 3", and then reinforced them by epoxying some steel angle brackets inside. I then used a dremel with a cut-off wheel to cut out an access panel on the back. With the back removed, I was able to use some mauls to straighten out a few dents on the front side of the pipe. The pipe was in pretty rough shape, but I think it will shine up nicely in the end.
Then I soldered some small brass hinges onto the access door, and drilled holes for the faucets. I didn't like the idea of using those cheesy chromed plastic bushings to mount the faucets to the round surface, like I've seen on other towers. Instead, I cut some short lengths of 1" copper pipe and used the spindle sander to contour one side to a 3" concave radius. Then I soldered them in place. I also soldered a small brass knob on the door. I still haven't found a suitable catch or latch to keep the door closed.
After cleaning up the soldered joints, I set the mostly complete tower aside, and started on the box with the help of my wife who had the day off. We were able to score half a sheet of 16oz copper that had been damaged slightly. The "damage" was barely noticeable, and easy to work around. With that in hand, I planed and milled some 1/2" mesquite flooring I had picked out of the burn pile at a flooring mill. We made some quick frames and wiped on a coat of teak oil finish. After cutting the copper panels to size, we pre-drilled some holes and used small screws to secure them in place.
The top of the freezer had a small plastic lip that prevented the panels from fitting completely flush, so I used a flush trim bit in the router to cut it off. Then we attatched the collar and the panels.
We removed the vent for the compressor, and replaced it with a copper panel that we drilled a bunch of holes in. I hope it provides enough airflow. I think I'll probably install a computer fan in the compressor area just to be safe.
Then we made some trim pieces for the corners, and some brackets to hold the panels together on the bottom. After securing the trim pieces, we started on the sub top section. I designed it to hold a section of rope lighting that will be tucked up inside and light the copper and mesquite side panels from above. We also picked up a floor register cover to use as a drip tray. We made a little tray out of the scraps of copper, but haven't soldered the corners yet. We need it to roll, but want to limit the height, so I found the smallest casters I could and screwed them to the base. We used some scraps of 3" ABS to create the inside flange pieces with the convex radius. They give a flat surface for the shank nut to tighten against.
That's the extent of the progress so far. We're still undecided on what the top surface will actually be. One thought is a day of the dead mural painted on and then covered with bar-top epoxy. We've thought about making some old school leather rails to go around the edge of the top. I also have a bunch of colorful mexican talavera tiles we could use too. We're open to any ideas or suggestions.
I'm thinking of a movie, guess what it is...
that copper tower is going to be so cool... cant wait to see it done. keep the pics coming.
looks great... too bad SWMBO let that other one go! but this one looks like it will be a nice addition to the house.
Keep the pics coming!
Thanks for the pics!
I have a freezer about the same size and need a pretty tall collar to be able to fit 4 cornies. I doubt I'll do a tower, but at least I have proof of concept for a tall collar.
subscribed! can't wait to see this progress!
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