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Old 05-18-2007, 05:09 PM   #1
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Default Yet another fermentation cabinet

I've been reading the forum for a week or two, with particular interest in this section (I love DIY projects), even built the 2-gallon mini-MLT detailed on here a few days ago, so I thought I'd say hi and post my latest project.

Inspired by some of the fermentation cabinets I've seen on the web, I built my own over the past week.

It's about 17"x17"x36", and is designed to hold a single bucket or carboy, with a couple of containers of ice in the bottom section (probably 2-liter soda bottles). There's a spot for an 80mm computer fan between the two compartments in the back right corner, and some air holes at the other 3 corners. I'm still working on a temperature controller for it.

The latch pulls it shut pretty tightly against the weather strip so it should be moderately well sealed. All the foam is 1-1/2" thick. I'm anxious to get the temperature controller running, brew a batch, and see how well it holds a temperature, and how often I have to change out the ice, etc.

There's a bit more detail on the construction (and some bigger pictures) at my website:
http://eegeek.net/content/view/68/39/

Comments/suggestions welcome!


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Old 05-18-2007, 05:44 PM   #2
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Nice build. I was thinking of creating a nice cabinet too when I got around to building this.


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Old 05-18-2007, 07:15 PM   #3
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Just asking:
Why did you put the chiller chamber on the bottom and make the shelf for the 40ish pound bucket?
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Old 05-18-2007, 07:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joebou4860
Just asking:
Why did you put the chiller chamber on the bottom and make the shelf for the 40ish pound bucket?
A valid question; my rationale was that if I put the ice on the top I'd probably end up with condensation from the ice containers dripping down through the air holes onto the carboy/bucket. Of course that could have been worked around, and probably wouldn't have hurt anything anyway, but I decided I'd rather just be dealing with wiping up a puddle in the bottom compartment only, rather than having to wipe it up from the top compartment AND all over and around the carboy/bucket.

Plus, the shelf is really strong - I weigh about 170 pounds and I STOOD on the shelf (and even hopped up and down a bit) when I was building it to make sure it was strong enough, and that was BEFORE I put the extra brace in the center of the shelf, and I hardly even noticed it flex. I would have used the same materials (plywood and 2x3 studs) even if I'd made it with the ice on top, because I already had the plywood and the studs were dirt cheap, so it didn't really cost me any added time or effort to make a sturdy shelf.

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Old 05-18-2007, 08:09 PM   #5
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Most refrig/freezer combos put the cooling unit in the top of the machine because cold air sinks and by nature that is more efficient...
You could get around the condensation problem by using the drip trays that you can get from Home Deopt of Lowes for less than $1...
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:43 PM   #6
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bottom makes sense, i'd think, because it would have better control. you'd only have the cold air rising when the fan was on, and otherwise the temperature in the top wouldn't just drop because of airflow. may be wrong or just nitpicking, but it seems like that makes sense
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melana
Most refrig/freezer combos put the cooling unit in the top of the machine because cold air sinks and by nature that is more efficient...
I was thinking the same thing. Looking at the build, it could be rather simple to correct (turn it upside down).
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Old 05-18-2007, 09:02 PM   #8
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I think either could have its advantages. In warmer weather when I'm trying to cool quite a lot below ambient temperature, having the ice on top would be a bit more efficient for the aforementioned reasons. Though efficiency isn't really a huge concern because the fan in it will use so little power, with all else being the same it would be an easy improvement.

In cooler weather, where I'm only trying to cool a little below ambient, I'd be a bit worried that the natural cold-air-sinking effect might be enough to cool more than I want it to, without the fan ever kicking on, as DeathBrewer pointed out.

Without actually testing it out, it's hard to say how significant the effect would be in either case. Either way, I don't expect it would be that important. But as Ryan_PA mentioned, it would be a simple matter for me to flip the thing over and try it either side up, to see if it makes any difference... I may do that at some point.
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Old 05-18-2007, 09:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melana
Most refrig/freezer combos put the cooling unit in the top of the machine because cold air sinks and by nature that is more efficient...
You could get around the condensation problem by using the drip trays that you can get from Home Deopt of Lowes for less than $1...
Actually thats not the reason they are built that way. It is just more convenient to have it on top. The cold air is transferred by fan anyways so it doesn't matter where the freezer is.

I have a freezer on the bottom model and it sucks to get into the freezer...


If you were to put a fan on the shelf to suck air up through it you could adjust the temps with a controller.
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Old 05-20-2007, 12:38 PM   #10
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A separate door for the ice compartment might make sense so when you change the ice you do not lose all the cool air around your carboy.

This is painful seeing all these cool closets.....gonna have to build one soon.


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