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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Anyone built their own fridge (from scratch)?
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:48 AM   #1
Kosch
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Default Anyone built their own fridge (from scratch)?

So, as the title says, I'm looking to see if anyone has done this before. Now, I'm not talking cutting holes and just "expanding" the compartment, but essentially either

a) using the guts from a fridge and building your own compartment

or

b) finding some sort of commercial solution made for customized refrigerated cabinets

Though I know the kegerator/keezer method is probably the most cost effective, I've always wanted to see about doing it (mostly) from scratch.

Thoughts?

Thanks!

Kosch


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Old 09-28-2011, 05:02 AM   #2
spannaflicka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kosch View Post
So, as the title says, I'm looking to see if anyone has done this before. Now, I'm not talking cutting holes and just "expanding" the compartment, but essentially either

a) using the guts from a fridge and building your own compartment

or

b) finding some sort of commercial solution made for customized refrigerated cabinets

Though I know the kegerator/keezer method is probably the most cost effective, I've always wanted to see about doing it (mostly) from scratch.

Thoughts?

Thanks!

Kosch
Have a look at this

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/keg-o-vision-243386/


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Old 09-28-2011, 03:11 PM   #3
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i built a box that can hold maybe 8-10 corneys out of 3 sheets of 8'x4'x2" rigid foam insulation. its kind of a swamp chiller of sorts, though it would work without water in it.

its got a few coats of thick primer on it just to protect the foam, then i lined it with two sheets of thick plastic (sold at home despot as a drop cloth in painting dept) and filled it with maybe 20-30 gallons of water. there is a 20 foot copper coil that runs around the inside perimeter, which i pump chilled antifreeze thru.

its powered by the guts of an air conditioner that i... repurposed. the nice thing about having 30 gallons of 34 degree water in there, is that you can put a full, room temperature keg into this thing and it will be at serving temp in an hour. the only downside that im working on is that when kegs empty, they start floating. havnt found an easy soloution yet.
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audger View Post
i built a box that can hold maybe 8-10 corneys out of 3 sheets of 8'x4'x2" rigid foam insulation. its kind of a swamp chiller of sorts, though it would work without water in it.

its got a few coats of thick primer on it just to protect the foam, then i lined it with two sheets of thick plastic (sold at home despot as a drop cloth in painting dept) and filled it with maybe 20-30 gallons of water. there is a 20 foot copper coil that runs around the inside perimeter, which i pump chilled antifreeze thru.

its powered by the guts of an air conditioner that i... repurposed. the nice thing about having 30 gallons of 34 degree water in there, is that you can put a full, room temperature keg into this thing and it will be at serving temp in an hour. the only downside that im working on is that when kegs empty, they start floating. havnt found an easy soloution yet.
I was thinking of doing something like this but with an aquarium heater as well to heat the water for a fermentation chamber if I ever needed the heat. But to keep the keg down you could make a frame to hold it down or a attach the keg to some weights.
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Old 09-28-2011, 04:19 PM   #5
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There's no reason why a crafty person couldn't build a fridge from scratch. In fact, many walk-in refrigerators are custom built on site. It's quite possible to do the same thing on a smaller scale but I think you'll find the cost of components to be prohibitive.

Some folks have successfully used air conditioners instead of refrigerator components (like that keg-o-vision) in order to save money but there must be a reason why fridge manufacturers don't use them.
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Old 09-28-2011, 08:24 PM   #6
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One of the guys here (bobby_m maybe?) took the guts from a fridge and made his own evaporator from copper tubing. He had it wrapped around a fermenter, if I remember correctly. You will need a vacuum pump. I think there was another thread where they stripped a fridge down to the coils / compressor and mounted it in a fermentation chamber.
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzironaZack View Post
Some folks have successfully used air conditioners instead of refrigerator components (like that keg-o-vision) in order to save money but there must be a reason why fridge manufacturers don't use them.
a fridge compressor and an A/C compressor are the same exact things, only the A/C compressor is bigger to deal with the bigger heat load. 'bigger'=more expensive, so if 'bigger' isnt necessary, like for a fridge or freezer, they design something smaller.

most people around arent buying brand new equipment, they are looking for deals on cheap used items. so on ebay or craigslist the average price for a full used, working fridge is 100-200 bucks, plus its big so you have to get a truck.

the average price on craigslist for an air conditioner is like $20 (or often- free). so you are getting a more powerful compressor for much less money, and you can throw it in the trunk of any car. doesnt make sense not to.
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:46 PM   #8
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Cool, thanks everyone, these are some good ideas that I'll have to bounce around.

I was thinking of the walk-in functionality when I asked, but not sure if they have something for a smaller scale. I *did* find Vinotemp standalone units, which are fairly pricey (MSRP ~$690 for 1500 BTU), but it would sure be easy to work with. I'm just not sure how low of temp they can go to.

audger: how are you chilling the antifreeze? Just pumping it through another freezer?

Thanks!

Kosch
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Old 12-27-2014, 01:17 PM   #9
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Hi all, so here's my to cents to bounce ideas around. I am also looking at building a fridge. my first thought was to obtain one of those chest freezers that you get in dairy's/ corner stores the ones with the glass sliding lids easy enough to run glycol and beer or just beer up to a tap I want to have mine on a bar, and I live in Darwin hence the want for glycol. but getting ahold of one of these up here proving difficult. my next thought was two bulid one there are people who have just added a thermostat to a freezer http://mtbest.net/chest_fridge_1.pdf knowing that as soon as you open a vertical fridge you lose all of the cold air. so that's when I thought I could build one to go under one side of the bar then the rest can have the taps on. I have seen fridge systems where you can run coils through and have the keg beside the fridge system but as above my location would prove fruitless. if i was to custom make a chest fridge for say 3 X 50 litre kegs how much coil length would it need through the walls of fridge
also I was thinking of trying to run it on solar
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Old 02-21-2015, 05:28 PM   #10
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I am currently making mine and taking some building pics along the way. I completely dismantled my mini fridge keggerator and put it in a custom built cabinet. I cut through one of the condenser lines so read up on how to repair and recharge the system. I framed it with 2x2's and used 2 inch foam boards and plywood. Caulked everything and have primed it. I will then seal it with several coats of white gloss varnathane or the like.
I have one side still to finish on the condenser line and have to wait until a part comes in to draw a vacuum and recharge the system. I intend to finish the outside with thin hardwood panelling. It will comfortably hold my two kegs and ten lb co2 container. It will also have room if I decide to put a wine tap and nitrogen canister as well (still playing with that idea).


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