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Old 07-28-2012, 10:30 PM   #1
Manon_Theedge
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Jun 2011
Austin, Texas
Posts: 20
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When I first started brewing, I became very popular with my wife's family - every holiday I'd bring a couple of cases of homebrew. But then I started kegging, and now I only bring homebrew when it's cold enough outside to keep the keg cold (which is not very often in my part of Texas).

I want something to keep a keg in that keeps it cold but is also small enough to be portable, but I don't want to mess with ice, so I came up with an idea for a kegerator that is just large enough to hold a 5 gallon ball lock keg.

 
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:41 PM   #2
Manon_Theedge
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Jun 2011
Austin, Texas
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I started by scanning ebay and trolling consignment stores until I found a cheap mini-fridge. I found this one at Goodwill for $35 - it was ugly and a little smelly, but it got very cold when I plugged it in.



There was a little mold on the door (something SWMBO pointed out when she noticed it in the back of the car - this was right after she reminded me that I already have two freezers in the garage devoted to homebrew (a kegerator and a fermentation chamber)). But you could hardly smell it after it was turned on for a while.


 
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:44 PM   #3
Manon_Theedge
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Jun 2011
Austin, Texas
Posts: 20
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My initial plan was to build an insulated box attached to the mini fridge to make enough room for a keg. However, this wouldn't have been quite as compact as I'd like it to be, and it also wouldn't look that nice. Then I remembered that we had this...



It's a stainless steel trash can. At one point it had a foot pedal to open it, but that fell off shortly after my boys discovered that a trashcan lid popping open makes a good catapult and that the harder you stomp the faster the payload takes off.

We had put off replacing it, because we didn't think the boys needed a new catapult that badly. But when my wife saw me measuring it and lowering an empty ball lock into it she commented, "So you think it's time we get a new trashcan, huh?"

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Old 07-29-2012, 12:01 AM   #4
Manon_Theedge
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Jun 2011
Austin, Texas
Posts: 20
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With a plan formed, I only needed time to get started. An opportunity presented itself when my wife went off for a girls' weekend with her mom and sister. As she was leaving I said, "I'm probably going to destroy that mini fridge this weekend." (Her response: "That's ok.")

I began by removing the door - no more mold:



Then the fun began; I started prying off the sides.



Here's one side off:



And here's the top off:


 
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:21 AM   #5
Manon_Theedge
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Jun 2011
Austin, Texas
Posts: 20
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I apparently didn't take any more pictures of the mini fridge tear-down, but after pulling off the outer shell I separated the coil from the fridge and cut a hole in the back to pull the cooling plate through.

Here is the guts of the mini fridge:



I very briefly plugged it in, and the plate immediately started getting cold - I hadn't broken it yet!

 
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:38 AM   #6
Manon_Theedge
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Jun 2011
Austin, Texas
Posts: 20
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The stainless steel trashcan wasn't quite tall enough to hold a keg and allow room for the connectors, so I used a black plastic trashcan to extend the bottom. This picture shows the bottom - in it I've started running the parts of the fridge where they will need to go. (The board the black plastic bottom is on is attached to the frame the compressor is on; screws hold the black plastic bottom on it, and the board will be the base of the kegerator.)


 
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Old 07-29-2012, 12:57 AM   #7
Manon_Theedge
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Jun 2011
Austin, Texas
Posts: 20
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Next I attached the shell of the stainless steel trashcan to the plastic bottom with bolts. Then I attached the coil to the inside of the shell with metallic tape. (After doing this I briefly plugged it in again - it still appeared to work.)



I used the remainder of the black plastic trashcan, along with part of a five gallon bucket to make the inner lining of the kegerator. You can see it on the left side of the picture above.

 
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:22 AM   #8
Manon_Theedge
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Jun 2011
Austin, Texas
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I inserted the cooling plate into the inner lining and began filling the gap between the inner lining and the stainless still shell with spray foam insulation.






 
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:54 AM   #9
Manon_Theedge
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Jun 2011
Austin, Texas
Posts: 20
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This gets me to where I'm now at - the main body of the kegerator is together with insulation nearly to the top inside. Here are a couple of pictures of what it looks like so far:





After I finish up the insulation, I'm going to build a small box over the compressor that will have a hidden shelf to hold a CO2 tank. I plan to install a digital aquarium temp controller to maintain its temperature (I ran the probe threw the back with the line for the cooling plate - it pokes through the inner lining across from the cooling plate.)



After I'm done with the main part of the kegerator, I'll build a top (probably tiled) that has a tap in a black metal tower. Hopefully I'll get this done in the next weekend or so - my goal is to have it completely done before Labor Day.

 
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:29 PM   #10
Homebrew35
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Jan 2012
Denver, CO
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This looks like a great alternative to the box extenstion on a mini fridge.

 
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