Second kreezer build thread

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jseyfert3

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I figured I'd document my second kreezer build. Please note that this will not be a work of art like some of the builds I've seen on here. Also I ramble, so you've been warned on both fronts! :D

First off, this is my second build, the first was earlier this year. So let's go over that along with lessons learned. My first kreezer was build out of a 1980 Montgomery Ward freezer I got for free. I put a 2x8" collar on it, some insulation on the inside of the collar, and then painted the inside and outside with spray paint. Here's that:







The kreezer had room for 4 or 5 kegs on the floor (can't remember which right now). I had planned 4 faucets total for now, but when I built the collar I went with a 2x8 as that let me put kegs on the compressor hump. That's the first lesson learned, a bit of "scope creep." I was trying to plan ahead for maximum future flexibility. A 2x4 would have been find for faucets, but then I realized a 2x6 would let me put an Ale Pale on the hump for cold crashing if I wanted and then a 2x8 would allow me to put a keg on the hump. But this also meant that I now had to lift kegs over a full 40" high ledge, which isn't terrible but isn't fun either, even if I am 6'05". Also I realized I essentially could no longer reach the bottom to wipe up condensation or spills, which wasn't great either.

Second thing is painting. The paint on the outside is good, but the paint on the foam insulation started reacting to the foam a little bit and flakes off super easy. And the paint inside the kreezer is also peeling. I probably didn't let it dry enough before cooling and it didn't fully cure. I painted that cause there was some rust on the old freezer, but in hindsight painting the inside was not a great choice.

Thirdly was using such an old freezer. Even though it was free, that doesn't mean it's a good idea. This is a lesson I keep teaching myself... I can't remember exact numbers but when running it pulls about twice the current my 2010 era Whirlpool 14 cubic foot chest freezer does, and the walls are pitifully thin compared to modern freezer walls. Just look at the pictures, the 2x8 plus 1/2" foam board is thicker than the actual freezer walls, so it warms up quick and needs to run more often. If I remember somewhat correctly it used over twice the energy (kWh per day) to maintain 38 °F that my larger but newer Whirlpool freezer did to maintain 0 °F. So after a few years it's likely the extra electricity used will pay for a new, better insulated model.

Oh, and the final lesson was don't be an idiot. The starting relay died. I searched for a new model relay, found what I THOUGHT was the right relay, and ordered it. I then took apart the old relay to see what failed and then threw it away BEFORE THE NEW ONE CAME. Got the new one and it wasn't the right model, but because I threw away the old one I couldn't get the part number to do another search for the right relay. I rigged up a switch that let me manually start the kreezer but I had to manually start and stop it so it only worked for dispensing under close supervision. I intended to get some SSRs and make my own "starting relay" but never got around to it. Eventually I decided we should just get a new freezer, and my wife approved.

We ordered and just received a Frigidaire FFFC15M4TW 14.8 cubic foot chest freezer for kreezer #2. The idea is plenty of room for kegs without needing to put any on the hump. And I'd also like to put the CO2 tank inside the freezer, where it's more secured from falling and not taking up room outside the freezer. I didn't do that initially cause I heard the "condensation ruins regulators" argument, and later realized that's a non-issue from people who do inside tanks on here. Plus I'll have silica gel on the new build so there shouldn't be any condensation anyway.

Anyway, here is the new freezer. As you can see, lots of room for kegs. At least 8 kegs on the floor, perhaps 10 (I'll try a "keg shuffle" later to figure out the actual number), and if you built a higher collar two more on the hump. But I'm not going to do that, and just use the hump for bottled or canned beer storage, and keep the collar short.


I thought about wood, and while that can be nice, it's also more work to look nice. Then I remembered you can get PVC sheets, I got one for a project in the past (can't remember off the top of my head). I did a search and found PVC trim boards, that come in 1x nominal sizes (so a 1x4 is actually 0.75" x 3.5" just like wood). I browsed at the Home Depot and found a 5/4x4, which is actually 1" x 3.5", and picked that up.


The idea here is that if I leave the freezer white, I can put these PVC trim boards on as a collar and skip painting them and they will more or less blend into the white freezer. Moreso than an unpainted 2x4 collar. With only 3.5", the total "lift height" for kegs is just about 34", or 6" less than my prior build (the old freezer had higher walls in addition to the higher collar I built). I plan on mitering the boards with a 45° angle with my circular saw so you don't see the edge of the board as you would if butt joined. The boards can be glued with any regular PVC pipe cement. I may end up doubling up some boards for strength, especially the rear ones with the hinge mounts, but we'll see how sturdy they are after I build a single wide frame. And the inside will get a layer of foam for extra insulation, though these are approximately R2 per inch so insulation is not strictly needed. But the freezer walls are thick anyway so I may as well insulate up to that thickness.

Anyway, that's where I'm at right now with the build and my thinking. I don't usually draw up plans, just think about things in my head and try them out. Doesn't always work out the best but it usually works out okay. I plan on doing some cutting and gluing of the collar boards later today.
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, I just completed a keezer build using the same FFFC15M4TW. It can hold as many as 10 ball lock kegs on the floor in two groups of 5 kegs positioned like the 5's on dice.

Good luck with your build!

Cheers!
 
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jseyfert3

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@day_trippr how did you do your hinges? I know you have a tower on yours but you still needed a collar as it's too short to have connected kegs. Or did you rework the lid to increase the height that way?

I'm debating right now, I realized that 1" is not a good width. I'd prefer 1.5" or 1.75" after looking at the seal. So I'm heading back to HD shortly to get some different boards. And before I left I took a closer look at the hinges, unless I drill new holes in the freezer 3.5x height isn't the best for the hinges. It's still workable, I think with larger washers I can use the top holes for the bottom hinge holes but I'd need to cut the overhanging trim on the freezer. Also not a terrible thing, but I was hoping to leave the freezer not cut if I didn't have to, in case it died early and I needed a warranty replacement for some reason. But to not touch and not modify the freezer I'd need custom hinges or I'd need to build a 4.5" high collar so the hinges mount completely on the collar.

Detail of hinges, showing overlapping trim on freezer and rough dimensions:
 
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day_trippr

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I serialized my "K3" keezer build in the What I Did For Beer Today thread in the General forum. First post is here.

Last post was a few days ago with the inaugural pour. In between there's quite a bit of detail.

I will be pulling those posts into a build thread soon but I'll be open to questions in the meantime...

Cheers!
 
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jseyfert3

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Okay, I decided to stick with my original plan of 3.5" high collar and just do the slight mod of cutting the overhanging trim on the freezer.

I did a test piece with some scrap where I used spray glue and glued it together. It was hard to hold straight while the glue dried, and I didn't like how the edges didn't touch. So I decided I needed screws to hold the pieces together while the glue set. Here's the first long collar piece along with the test glue piece.


The screws did not work as well as I had hoped, and the edges of the screwed piece had the same gap. At this point I figured "whatever" and decided I didn't really need glue with this many screws anyway.


Here's my general process. I clamped the pieces together so the edges were lined up, while they sat edgewise on top of the other pieces so they were flat while I screwed them together and wouldn't end up with a bow. Turns out I have not a completely flat piece of flooring anywhere in my house. I need to get around to building that flat workbench for stuff like this, but I digress...


Completed screw holes. All holes drilled with a countersinking drill bit tool, so the screws are recessed and don't get in the way when I layer insulating foam on top of them.


I decided for the back collar piece I would do some glue for extra strength since the hinges will partially bolt into that piece. Since I need to act really fast after I spray the glue, I started all the screws.


The glue is a PVC spray all-in-one glue I found at Home Depot.






Repeat the drill and screw process for the side collar pieces. Also got a beer, a cheap beer from Aldi cause I currently have no kreezer for any homebrew (that problem is soon to be fixed!)


I messed around with cutting 45° angles on a circular saw.


I was not happy with the corners though.


After several test pieces I looked at my miter saw, then realized even though it's not compound I could cut a 45 with the pieces held vertically. It had just enough clearance to do the cut. Corners worked out a lot better.

Unfortunately, I went too quickly and cut one of the pieces backwards, which means the screws would face the outside of the kreezer.


I only had a single piece of trim left, and not long enough to cut in two for the doubled up sides I'm making. But I realized that since the screws were on the long side, I was good. I could simply unscrew the pieces, screw the countersunk piece to the one remaining leftover trim piece, and recut the corners. I did just that.




Finally it was time for a test fit. Looks pretty good without taking the lid off. It may be hard to see in the picture, but the PVC is just slightly off-white. I don't think it'll stand out too bad, but it is noticeable if you look.


Overall I think this will turn out okay. My plan going forward is to glue these four pieces together with PVC glue, then glue the collar to the freezer with caulk. After that dries I'll drill the faucet holes and the kreezer should become functional, sans working hinges.

I'll finish up the kreezer by getting the hinges operational, adding a couple computer fans for air circulation, and at some point I'd like to mod the wiring to get the lid light working when the temp controller has the freezer off, or add my own lighting.
 
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jseyfert3

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Update: The corners don't really line up all that well. Mostly I think this is just my cheap miter saw. In any case I said "screw it" and pushed on ahead. Did I mention I want this operational by Friday? My plan is to find some white 90° trim to put over the corners to hide these.


I went ahead and got some silicone caulk, applied some beads, and stuck down the collar pieces.




It was at this point that I realized I hadn't applied glue or caulk of any kind to the actual corner joints...that's what I get for going fast. Ah well. I can glue in a gusset of some sort. It's only the back I'm really worried about, since it has hinges, the other sides don't have any major loads.

In any case, despite the rapid work I don't think this will look half bad. Others can and probably will disagree. But the white blends in to the white freezer decently well, and even though there's a small lip on the front collar piece to the freezer, it blends in quite well cause there's a lip on the freezer itself.

I also tried drilling a 7/8" hole into a piece of scrap, and unlike the 2x8 my first kreezer was built from where I practically had to hammer in a shank the shank fits fairly easily into the 7/8" hole on the PVC.

Anyway, the caulk is curing now, so can't continue with this until tomorrow evening when it has had a chance to cure.
 
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jseyfert3

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Update: I haven't done much more on this. Been lazy, especially as our friends are no longer coming up this weekend so I don't have a deadline. I just test fit the lid, it fits quite well, which means I didn't mess up the measurements too bad. 😁


I'll probably do some more caulking around the collar for sealing tonight, but I also want to try and get some of the cider/beer I have downstairs kegged, so I may focus on that tonight.
 

day_trippr

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It looks really good! :mug:
Since I started replacing all of the exterior trim on our house with cellular pvc I had wondered if anyone had used it for a collar.

Seems like a great fit - never bothered by moisture, only modestly affected by temperature (and in our usage, that's a pretty small effect). Only thing is they don't recommend it for "structural" use, but I don't think this application fits the concern - it's barely load-bearing, after all :)

Cheers!
 
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jseyfert3

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Thanks!

While I had the idea for using this PVC since pretty much after my first build, I did stumble across one person here who used it while I was looking at collars for ideas right before I started this project. But that's the only one I've seen so far.

The main reason was it's unpainted resistance to moisture, after seeing how much could collect so fast on my first build, though this time I bought a bakable desiccant can which I hope to solve the moisture issues with. I also I figured it might look nicer with less work vs wood.

Only thing is they don't recommend it for "structural" use, but I don't think this application fits the concern - it's barely load-bearing, after all :)
That is true. I'm planning on using wood screws to attach the top of the hinges to the PVC. I'm not sure if they will hold up long term, but the alternative is a through bolt. May as well start with the wood screw cause I can always drill out to a bolt later on.

As I wrote this I finally remembered why I once bought a 4'x8' sheet of 1/2" PVC! I knew it was for a project that needed moisture resistance, and that's why I had remembered it for this, but I couldn't remember what project, and it was driving me nuts that I couldn't remember. We had an old pop-up camper for a couple years, and we wanted AC. But camper AC units start at $800 and I balked and putting an $800 AC on a $1300 camper. I wanted to mod a cheap used window AC into a roof mounted AC via the existing roof vent hole, but I needed a way to direct cold air into the camper and return warmer air to the AC. I didn't want to use plywood since it would be subject to weather year round, so I browsed Lowe's for inspiration until I stumbled across the cellular PVC sheets. I built a box with a divider to split the airflow and glued it to the AC and the camper roof. Although the setup looked a bit hacked (it was), it worked just fine with no leaks for a year and a half until we sold it and upgraded to a hardsided camper that had a factory AC unit installed.
 

Elric

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Between Your thread and others I was planning to go with these pvc boards to build my keezer. I was out for a walk yesterday and found a pile of these composite boards at the curb and grabbed several to use instead. Good and solid at 1 1/8” x 5 3/4”. Should look spiffy with black contrast on white freezer.
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1DF63B8B-EE29-4E2B-973D-43FA7E4B7431.jpeg
 
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jseyfert3

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So I haven't progressed past this "test" stage yet. I did however put my power meter on it two days ago. It's used 0.44 kWh in 41.3 hrs, at an ambient temp of 65-68 °F and a set temp of 38 °F. This is 7.7 kWh per month, or about $0.84 per month operation cost at $0.11/kWh. Obviously this will be higher overall by some extent as cooling new kegs will take some power, but this is the baseline standby operation cost. I'm quite happy with it.

These power measurements are taken without the collar insulated, though the cellular PVC has itself a decent R-value.

I have the temp sensor in a cup of water to prevent short cycling the compressor, as that's not very efficient, but I will probably change this to a sealed jar of water or similar later to avoid condensation issues with an open jar of water.
 
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