Mike's Homemade Fridge




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  1. #1
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    Default Mike's Homemade Fridge

    If you have to have a fridge in your overlanding vehicle..........which you don't............at least have the fun of making it yourself.

    I started by buying a second hand upright fridge freezer from eBay. It had just been taken out of a narrowboat on one of the Midlands canals, and for less than £50 I had a cracking little Danfoss compressor, plus all the controls etc.



    Then, it really helps if a friend from the squash club is a high-end sheet metal fabricator.

    I had to fit this thing into a very small space in my Hilux, and the space isn't regular....hence the strange looking design with a corner chamfered:





    It was important not to waste any space, so I have made the compressor "box" act as a shelf for my cooking gas bottle, and the two triangular ducts behind (cooling air extract vents) are designed to hold the gas tight in place (there will be a couple of straps). A pair of "over-centre" catches will hold the lid down tight against the seal.





    Here is the inner skin taken out of the outer shell, and showing the 6 metres of 8mm copper cooling pipe tacked to the shell:







    This is a close up of the hinge, showing the detail that enables the fridge to stand hard-up against some storage boxes without fouling the open lid:





    Everything is fabricated from stainless steel, and the white covering with blue stripe is the protective plastic still in place. This is the outer shell:





    and this is the air ducting showing one of the 60mm computer fans in place (there will be two):



    I have had a bit of help from specialists on the forum (thanks guys!!....you know who you are) and have fingers crossed that 50% more condenser than evaporator will do the trick, with forced airflow. I had fun bending this lot, and this is "work in progress". The condenser coil will sit in front of the compressor.



    This is the cover that will shield the compressor and condenser, yet allow airflow:



    The compressor is shown roughly in position, but with stray pipes sticking out all over the place!





    The next stage is to "blackjack" the cooling pipes and the skin of the inner box (to avoid condensation problems in the insulation area. Then, the insulation will be fitted. This will be a mixture of foil faced PIR ("Kingspan" or "Celotex"), with blown in expanding foam to fill the gaps. There is typically 60mm of insulation around the whole thing, but only 40mm on the long faces front and back.

    The fridge has a volume of 33 litres, and is dimensioned to fit 2 milk cartons across the width, which also is the size of my 5 litre "duty" water container. The principle funtion of the fridge is to keep drinks cool, and to preserve some veggies and cheese. Actually, it's principle function is to keep my passengers happy, and me miserable! It won't be a freezer.

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeAG; 2011/01/16 at 08:36 PM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

  2. #2
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    Patent and export!
    "Man is still the greatest miracle and the greatest problem on this earth"

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    Mike, of course you don't really need the fridge !!

    .. impressive job nevertheless

    ... a guaranteed cold one is always nice to have.

    .. enjoy
    Johan Mitchell, Swambo : Marthie.

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    Mike, this has already been copied by the Chinese and will be on the market tomorrow for 50 pounds.

    Seriously a very nice project and hope it serves you well.


    ORA
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    Ian

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    jy is nogal oraait vir n rou soutie ne! Mens moet jou erens vasmaak en teel met jou, dink net watse slim kinders jy kan he!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Engel View Post
    jy is nogal oraait vir n rou soutie ne! Mens moet jou erens vasmaak en teel met jou, dink net watse slim kinders jy kan he!
    You are ok for a raw salty hey,We have to tie you somewere and breed with you. Just immagine what clever kids you will have
    Corne

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    Thanks guys! I guess that increases the chance of me supplying you lot with a cold drink when we bump into each other somewhere in the bush.......

    Herman........you do test me, don't you! But I'm getting quite good with this Afrikaans thing..... Is it something like "You're OK for a soutie. We should ? you somewhere and breed ? with you.......Think what smart/ intelligent?? children you would have"?

    If so, you can have one of these...........but I've got a couple of bright kids floating about already, and that's plenty enough!

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeAG; 2011/01/17 at 12:32 AM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

  8. #8
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    Thanks Matoda..........I wasn't far off, then! Herman's English is still 10 times better than my Afrikaans.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

  9. #9
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    Well done so far Mike, its looking good!

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    Mike don't worry about Herman's English. It is just an act. His English is quite up to scratch. A helluva lot better than your Afrikaans.

    That fridge really does look damn good. Even though you don't need it.
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    Nice job Mike!
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henris View Post
    Mike don't worry about Herman's English. It is just an act. His English is quite up to scratch. A helluva lot better than your Afrikaans.
    I know! I met him a couple of years ago in Jozi.......Hy praat lekker Engels.


    Quote Originally Posted by Henris View Post
    That fridge really does look damn good. Even though you don't need it.
    Cheers Henri. I only want to make it once, so may as well do it properly. I took dozens of measurements when I was last out with the car, but will still be holding my breath when I first offer it into place. I'll look pretty damn stupid if it doesn't fit!


    Thanks Barto, Sarel.

    Mike
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

  13. #13
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    Hi Mike, looking good - now you'll have to start intensive training to drink cold beers!

    Are you going to thermal compound between the shell and the tube?

    Uys


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  14. #14
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    WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MIKE AG?

    can't be Mike.. thats a mobile fridge... it must be an imposter... the real Mike does not even have a fridge at home!!!


    "the village scoundrel" - Uys
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uys View Post
    Are you going to thermal compound between the shell and the tube? Uys
    Hi Uys. (isn't that a type of taxi-van, a mutatu?)

    Thermal compound? I've never heard of such a thing..........but it seems like a good idea. What do you have in mind?

    Mike
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeAG View Post
    Thermal compound? I've never heard of such a thing..........but it seems like a good idea. What do you have in mind?

    Mike
    Mike.

    The biggest problem, which you obviously know off- is to get proper thermal conduction between the shell and the tube. This will greatly affect the efficiency. You get a thermal compound that can improve this, but the only I know off is the type used between CPU's and the heat sink. 5ml costed me R80 a while ago.
    Last edited by Uys; 2011/03/13 at 06:50 PM.


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  17. #17
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    Very neat job Mike.

    Have you any idea what the actual cost of this project is, including time, yours and your very clever metal sheet bender.

    Just trying to rationalize whether it is really worth making something like this or whether it is just easier and more cost effective to buy one. New or second hand.

    I am aware that your unit is very specific to available space in your vehicle and that and off the shelf version may not suit your requirements.
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  18. #18
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    Rob,

    Off the shelf wouldn't have fitted...........and I just hate buying things I can make. The compressor cost around £50 with transport, and the sheet metal work will cost around £100 to £120...then there is a bit of plumbing and gassing to do. £200 the lot, maybe? I never cost my time on stuff I do for myself. It's my hobby, my pleasure.

    My mate the sheet metal worker does an absolutely brilliant job.......and he can get me a TIG welder for £300!!! It's handy to know people!

    -

    Uys......do you have a brand name I could look up?

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeAG; 2011/01/17 at 12:11 PM.
    "A poxy, feral, Brit architect who drinks bad beer and supports the wrong rugby team." Tony Weaver

    "Mike for President" Freeflyd

  19. #19
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    That looks like an impressive piece of engineering Mike....good on you
    Neil

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  20. #20
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    thermal compounds are usually heat transmitting greases... useful for PC boards and so on, and bloody expensive....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_grease

    the trick is to increase the contact face between the pipe and the shell. packing polystyrene between the shells would be a good start - the cavity will be cooler, less heat transmission from the outer layer and so on...

    soldering it to the case would be a huge advantage contact area wise but it will not stick to the stainless of course...

    my engel has the element in the box... that works well, as its cooling the box not the cavity and relying on heat transmission to the walls and then the cavity, but obviously not as neat and tidy as you have it....

    don't know what to suggest other than packing the cavity with polystyrene to improve things... taping over it all with aluminium tape might help a lot - have you tested it?

    looks great by the way!!!

    "the village scoundrel" - Uys
    Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. Douglas Adams
    those who can, do; those who can't, teach George Bernard Shaw
    A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. Henry Ford
    it is better to be irresponsible and right than to be responsible and wrong Winston Churchill

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