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Old 03-07-2013, 09:17 PM   #1
Hedo-Rick
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Default Looking for advice on building a collar for my mini fridge fermentation chamber

Hello All,

I recently bought a 3.6 cu ft mini fridge off CL for a fermentation chamber. And all though there is a lot of info here about building fermentation chambers, I live in a small studio apartment and need to keep the footprint of this thing to a minimum.

I'm looking for some advice (pics would be great too) on how to, as simply as possible, build an extension collar to give me an additional 6" of depth and be able to insulate it properly. The outer black shell is 3/4" thick, and it is a combined 1 1/8" thick with the inner white part of the fridge. I also plan to use the original door after reinstalling the door seal.

Thanks in advance for all the help!


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Old 03-07-2013, 10:03 PM   #2
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For 6" you'll need a 2X8 and I'd be concerned about it peeling off without a support.

I used 2X4s as I only needed that much depth. But due to the weight of the glass door on my wine fridge I was converting I mounted a piece of plywood to the base to support the collar. I used a construction adhesive to glue the collar to the opening.

I didn't insulate the collar - I see no reason to as it never feels cold to the touch and the fridge barely cycles once its to temp. Keep it simple.

I used magnetic tape to help the door seal shut - it would have been perfect except the 2X4 I used was not planed evenly enough. So I'd suggest you get finish grade lumber or plane it down yourself. I got lucky though because my fridge has a reversible door and I was able to use the empty holes to put a pin through to lock the door shut - this pulled it tight enough to seal fully.

Finally, I added casters on the bottom to move it around and I mounted the temp controller to the side of the collar so it's all together. I just role it around the garage to wherever is convenient and plug it in.

Hope that helps. I'll try to post pics tonight.


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Old 03-08-2013, 03:55 AM   #3
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Here are some shots from when I built it. I pulled the original thermostat out and ran the power line for the heat wrap through that opening, caulking it all up, etc. - that was nerve racking bending the cooling plate but it all went fine. I also took the light out and ran my thermocouple in through there. I keep meaning to weather seal the wood at least on the inside surfaces but so far I've been careful and not had any spills. (The top is on backwards in the first pic)
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:01 AM   #4
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That's a great build.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:11 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LabRatBrewer
That's a great build.
Thanks!

It was made with scrap wood I had laying around. As mentioned earlier I would use better lumber for the collar were I to do this again.

Likewise, the metal straps at the top were what I had laying around and were easy to use as they were predrilled. They don't line up perfectly but with the top on they barely stick out. Those were probably not needed but I had them and they provide some extra support for the collar. I used another bracket from a towel rack and two screws for the lip on the cover to catch onto - it has screws on the back but on the front it originally latched over the metal bracket that the door attaches to. Hope that makes sense.

I will be replacing those 1" casters with bigger ones - again it's what I had on hand but they suck and so will be replaced.

But even given what I used, I'm really happy with it.

And a picture of it completed (ignore the block of wood and left over wire sitting on top):
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Old 03-08-2013, 05:03 AM   #6
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I really like the gass door of the wine fridge. That would save a ton of energy lost to my opening the door to peek.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:13 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LabRatBrewer
I really like the gass door of the wine fridge. That would save a ton of energy lost to my opening the door to peek.
Yeah but you have to cover it up to block light from skunking the beer. I'm currently using several layers of black trash bags and have been planning on insulating the door to simplify that. I hear you though as it does make peaking easy.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:15 AM   #8
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Hedo-Rick have we totally derailed this thread or is this what you were looking for?
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlscan26 View Post
Hedo-Rick have we totally derailed this thread or is this what you were looking for?
Sorry If derailed....re: skunking: a curtain would work.
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Old 03-08-2013, 06:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LabRatBrewer View Post
Sorry If derailed....re: skunking: a curtain would work.
Wasn't calling you out, just realized the OP hadn't commented back. Glad my info is helping you at least


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