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Redheaded Stepchild of Fermentation Chiller

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madcow_number_6

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After discovering the need for someway to cool my carboy, I searched for ideas and found quite a few: Swamp Cooler method, Converted Fridge, Widow A/C built into a Closet in the garage. But none of them struck my fancy (and fulfilled my need to spend a whole weekend making SWMBO worry that I'd finally lost it) as much as the Son of Fermentation Chiller.
What a fantastic idea I thought. But 50-70$ in materials was pushing my luck with the already skeptical of my new hobby Mrs. Madcow. So off I went to design a cheaper version with equal performance.

Behold: the 0$, Redheaded Stepchild of Fermentation Chiller!

Working in a box factory provided me with unlimited amounts of construction materials:


A Little something to make it stick:


10 sheets of A-Flute Corrugated Fiberboard equals 2in. Plenty thick enough:
 
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madcow_number_6

madcow_number_6

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coming together:

The eleventh board is coated in parrafin wax(think frozen chicken boxes) this acts as a vapor barrier and keeps condensation from passing to the non coated boards:

Had a fan laying around and the thermomostat is from the old gas furnace that used to be in this house. Had it rewire it to make it cool instead of heat.

Ta Da:

my red healer checking on the brew with me:
 

509inc

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Looks great.

Does it do the job?
 
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madcow_number_6

madcow_number_6

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Its working great!

air temp is hovering around 62* . The fermometer says my beer is staying at 65*

change out the frozen 2L soda bottles that i use every 8 hours or so
 

Crabnut

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Mrs. Madcow cann't hang you out to dry for that...., Well, except for the space issue. Very nice use of found materials. Best of the best in DIY. Me, I am stuck with a water bath for a while. Not near as "sexy."
 

Ibrewaletx

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That looks pretty nice. Actually has a better look than the 2" foamboards of the son of fermentation chiller. Great job!
 
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Very creative. It looks very stout, more so than I would have expected from cardboard. Homebrewing brings out the MacGyver in all of us.
 
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madcow_number_6

madcow_number_6

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I worried about blow outs too while designing it. The innermost sheets are wax coated to keep moisture away from the rest, and i left enough room in the main chamber to fit 2-1gal jugs (possibly 1-3gal) so i could rig up a blowoff tube if i needed it. Or add a couple of small experimental batches.

Plan on tossing a mead in there with the beer as soon as my local honey guy hooks me up with some of the fall harvest
 

Catt22

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I think you could market this thing. Might be feasible if you could have all the pieces mass produced/precision machine cut. Ship un-assembled a la Ikea and without the fan or thermostat. Those could be sold separately or not at all. They would sell like mad if the price were low enough. Just something to maybe think about. Might be your ticket to the 15 minutes of fame thing!:D
 

NoNothing

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I love the idea!

Cardboard is pretty damn decent at being an insulator as well, being mostly air.

I was skeptical at first, but with the wax layer, I just may have to call my buddy who works at a cardboard plant :D
 

Catt22

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I love the idea!

Cardboard is pretty damn decent at being an insulator as well, being mostly air.

I was skeptical at first, but with the wax layer, I just may have to call my buddy who works at a cardboard plant :D
Years ago, before styrofoam insulation was available, they used to insulate refrigerators and freezers with this type of cardboard. Electrical power was much cheaper back then too, so energy efficiency wasn't a really high priority as it is today. This is second hand information, so I don't know for sure if it's really true, but I think it is.
 
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madcow_number_6

madcow_number_6

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Not a bad idea Catt22, a little far over my head i think. * Make a few of them i'm sure i could handle. Mass production in the box plant i work in, not so much. *There would have to be considerable demand for it break even financially( and i doubt anyone would want to pay for the labor i would charge per unit either) *Would need at least 2 cutting die-boards at about 1500$ apiece to make the compontent pieces. *I ended up using about 2 quarts of glue(overkill i'm sure). *We have a CNC type machine in the design lab thatll cut them perfect every time but it isnt really suitable for production purposes. I ended up glueing 5 sheets together at a time then hacking away with a circular saw,

But hey, if someone with deep pockets want to go for it, i can hook them up with the people they'd need to talk to to make it happen. Rough guesstamate is about $.55 per board cut(i'm basing this on the customer cost of the boards i used, your milage may vary) at 20 sheets, making it about $12 per unit, minus glue.*
 

Catt22

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madcow,

Yeah, it would be a very narrow market and the start-up costs prohibitively high it appears. Maybe the Chinese could do it cheaper. Dem Chinese make good stuff.
 
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madcow_number_6

madcow_number_6

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LOL I don't know about good stuff but they sure make it cheap.

Maybe one of the big Home Brew Stores could handle the investment. Start off with a run of 1000 units then sell the kits at 50$ a pop, They might sit on several for a few years, but already marketing to the Home Brew crowd would definitely be in their favor. They could pocket a few more bucks by rigging the fan with an hour on/hour off timer instead of a thermomostat and it would still keep things nice and cool.
 
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madcow_number_6

madcow_number_6

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Just an update: The Son of Fermentation Chiller plans say that doweling the front and top will help keep your cool air from leaking out the cracks (and keep the cat from knocking the front off while your at work and letting the internal temp get up into the high 70s(guess how i know)). So... a pocket full of brass thingie-bops, and a few pieces of 7/16 dowel....

 

soulie

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This is really creative; I especially like the idea of using the recycled thermostat. I'm going to have to give this some thought.

Heck, you could probably drop $10 on some insulation board and change the bottles even less frequently if you wanted.

Of course, then it wouldn't be a $0 chiller AND it wouldn't look quite as cool either.

Well done.:mug:
 

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