This idea is all the result of a great post I saw from my friend Ben at Ben’s Homebrew. I have to thank him as always for the awesome innovation that I get to fuck all up in my upstate half ass way.
Here we go.
First off, I had to cut two hole in the bottom of my fridge to have the cold air flow two and from in. Ben used a tool that he said does this very early. I couldn’t find anything like this and (considering the holes had to have 3″ PVC pieces in it) I could not find something to drill a hole that big. So I did the next best thing. Tin snips. They worked great. I drilled a hole big enough to get the tin snips in and never looked back. It was a much easier process than I anticipated.
After getting the holes in the metal cut out, I had to get the foam insulation and the plastic from the inside the fridge cut. Initially I was using a box cutter for this, but it was a real pain so I used the sawzall, much easier. In the end, I had two holes with PVC coming through them.
After those hole were drilled I had to drill the same sized holes in the top of my box. This was a lot harder than I thought, it was not easy to line up (but I am not known for ‘exact measurement’ so I probably made my own problems). But in the end, it wasn’t anything a little insulation from the basement couldn’t fix.
You will note below, on the right is a computer fan that I am using to circulate the air from the mini fridge into the box with. The other picture is below the mini fridge what the view is from the box to the mini fridge.
Finally I had to get CO2 into the box. I also had to get a manifold for the CO2 distribution. I did this with yet another visit to harbor freight. I picked up a 4way splitter for a air compressor and some brass barbs. I picked up three ball lock valves and was ready to go.
This is a very simple manifold that does the trick. The manifold gets fed from the CO2 tank and has three ball locks that connect to the barbed fittings. Everything is 1/4″. I used the thread sealing tape that I also used for the ball lock on the mash tun.
Once I had CO2 going into the box and a line going out to a tap, it was imperative that I test it to make sure that it was going to pour a glass of brew. As you can see here, the test was successful.
When it was all said and done, two of the three taps are ready to go, I need to work out some logistical issues with the cold plate and how the external keg is going to work, but I am in no rush with that until I get another couple kegs.
Upon Ben’s advice, I placed a fan to blow on the back of the fridge. It’s really working hard to get down to an equilibrium temp so it’s important that I make sure there is plenty of air circulating.
It’s not cooling all that quickly, but it’s going. In a few days it’s gone from 65f down to 56f. Ideally I would love to have it at a steady 52f, but I am questioning if that’s going to be possible. it’s not bad now though.
If you click on the image below you can see a drawing I did of how the finished product would work. Though it is wacky, I have to say I am pretty fired up that a) it’s functional and b) it was a lot easier than I anticipated.
I think in my old age I have started to do a little more planning and a little less “I have 3 hours free, I should totally re-vamp my system” which has produced some better products. Either way I am always looking towards the next step in my gadget empire. I was reading some of Adam’s posts about chest fridges and couldn’t help but dream. I think I am going to stop and smell the flowers for a little while with this on though, plus the wife is quickly noticing my many beer projects and starting to ask questions. It’s time to come out of the basement, for a few weeks anyway.