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Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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For those who have ever floated down a river on a inner tube and dreamed of draft beer & good tunes.  


Carbon Fiber-Draft Beer Dispensing-Stereo Cooler

Beverage Capacity:
2.0 Gallons

Stereo Play Time:  6+ Hours @ moderate volume

Electronics: (4) Infinity 6.5" marine speakers, Dual Marine MCP100 USB, SD (60 watts x 4 channels), Deep Cycle Battery (23 amp hr)

Note: Wheels are removed.


About this instructable:  It was never my intention to post a detailed step by step construction guide, rather a general over-view of construction and lessons learned.  I hope to see another like it on the river some day :)
 
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Step 1: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

Picture of Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler
Outer shell constructed of 2X Owens Corning Foamular 3/4 in. (r-4) Tongue and Groove Insulating Sheathing.  3-M 77 Spray Adhesive and sheet rock screws used to hold pieces together until carbon fiber is applied..

Step 2: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Dividing wall (1.5 in.) and backing for wheel well added.

Step 3: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Styrofoam block inserted to fill dead space and provide level base for battery.

Note: I added 3/8"  wood spacer between styrofoam insert and outer walls.  logic being that it would give long term support for axle well.  It is the only wood utilized and most likely was not necessary.

Step 4: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Added outside wall for electronics compartment.

Step 5: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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After sealing joints, cracks, and holes, a simple primer coat was added.  Thinking it was a good idea, I added dry wall corner molding to help give more rounded effect. 

Note: This step was not required.  I later added top cap which I carefully routered and shaped by hand.  In short, end results looked great but added allot of extra time to the project.

Step 6: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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After sanding and floating corners, an additional 1.5 in. of r-4 board was added to accommodate the (4) 6.5" marine speakers. 

Note: Cut a wire channel between layers for speaker wire from cooler side and any additional wiring. (external switches, battery indicator, solar wiring, etc..)  Adding rigid tubing between layers would be helpful for future expansion and wire replacement. 

Step 7: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Once again float, sand, prime.

Step 8: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Apply Carbon Fiber

Step 9: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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After trimming and sanding, a top base was added.

Note to self:  Measure keg height prior to constructiuon.

Step 10: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Carbon Fiber applied to top cap.

Step 11: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Another layer of carbon fiber.

Step 12: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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After sanding and trimming, a layer of resin was generously applied.

Note: Retaining the carbon fiber look was never my intention, rather I wanted a smooth white finish. The extra cost of resin was applied to fill low spots. 

Step 13: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Satisfied that all voids and cracks were addressed, everything was once again sanded smooth.

 Afterwards, cut outs were made for stereo head unit, 12v socket adapter (for charging battery), and (2) compartment drains.

Step 14: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Decided to add a recessed beer spigot.

Note: As mentioned earlier, moving the spigot up an inch or two would have given needed clearence.

Step 15: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Constructed and primed compartment doors.

Cooler side (shown): Layer of 3/16 plexiglass and two recessed layers of 3/4" r-4 board

Electronics side: Layer of 3/16 plexiglass and one recessed layer of 3/4" r-4 board

Step 16: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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First layer of carbon fiber on compartment doors. After resin cured, excess was trimmed, sanded, and second over-lapping layer of carbon fiber applied.

Step 17: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Tires: 8" Non-Marring Rubber Tire
http://www.harborfreight.com/8-inch-non-marring-rubber-tire-47638.html

Axle: 5/8" SS tubing (local scrap yard) captured with on each side w/ removable pin. Simple 1/4" thick rubber wear gaskets inserted between tire and cooler as wear gaurd.

Axle Well: (forgot to take pic) 3/4" schedule 80 pvc.  Sealed inside and out.

Step 18: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Couple coats of marine paint.

Step 19: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Couple coats of marine paint.

Step 20: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Couple coats of marine paint.

Step 21: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Mount speakers and run wiring. 

12v cigarette lighter socket installed.

Note: 1/2" thick gasket was added to each speacker to provide adequate clearance.   Yep... measure twice, cut once.

Step 22: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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View of installed speakers and 12v cigarette lighter socket.

Step 23: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Install compartment doors and hindges. 

Step 24: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Install beer spigot and compartment door latches.

Step 25: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Add vent covers to electronics compartment door.

Step 26: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Electronics

Dual USB SD (60 watts x 4 channel) Stereo
http://www.dualav.com/marineaudio/mcp100.php

23 amp hr. deep cycle battery (Academy)
Note: Will replace this with a gel battery some time in the future.

Note: Electronics compartment was originally designed to house larger battery, small cooling fan, and 4-channel marine amplifier.  After some consideration, I decided that portability (25+ pounds lighter) was more desirable that hair splitting volume.  Given such, wheels could have been further recessed to allow proper clearance.

Step 27: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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2 Gallon Stainless Keg (eBay)
12oz Paintball CO2 Bottle (Academy)
Regulator (eBay)

Step 28: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Ready for ice.

Step 29: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Wheels added.

Step 30: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Step 31: Carbon Fiber Draft Beer Dispensing Stereo Cooler

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Resting on sandbar after third successful trip.



jboorom1 year ago

Maybe a dumb question but how do you fill the 2 gallon keg with beer?

Deano1969 (author)  jboorom1 year ago

Good question. Gravity fed 5 liter kegs of Warsteiner into 2 gal vessel couple days prior to taking out. Put 5L kegs and empty 2 gallon vessel in freezer for a bit to try to retain some of CO2. After topping off (actually over filling), placed back in refrigerator connected to CO2 bottle and forced CO2 back into beer. Would roll keg around couple times a day and adjust CO2 (you can hear gas going into the liquid and see pressure drop). Not perfect, but good enough for me. Buddy also has keg fridge and did almost the same thing but reversed filled (pumped beer from hose connected to tap in through outlet side of 2 gallon vessel and controlled a slow bottom-up flow by valve on discharge. This worked very well and required very little CO2 injection.

Man you did an awesome job on this cooler!

frost7k2 years ago
very nice i really like it have considered as my next project my cooler has a trailer hich on the back but nothing really to tow so a cooler boat to go with my cooler truck might be just the thing
dcastor3 years ago
Very nice, but why carbon fiber? It seems like fiberglass would have been more than adequate.
Deano1969 (author)  dcastor3 years ago
Good question and very true. Fiberglass would have been more than adequate, easier to work with, allow for more design flexibility, and cheaper.

Thinking back... I'd seen a couple fiberglass stereo coolers on the web, always wanted to work with carbon fiber, materials were available, and the idea seemed too over the top to pass up. Truth be told, I thought the whole concept very humorous. :)

Note: It has survived 5 river trips so far and I still don't know if it is bullet-proof.



megaduty3 years ago
Wow, now this is a cooler!
furby3 years ago
Basically you built an esky/cooler with a tap & stereo.

Three questions.

1. how waterproof is it. in the last step it's in a raft, if the raft "develops buoyancy problems" will the electronics die?

2. related to 1, is it self buoyant?

3. did you have any problems with the short beer line?
Deano1969 (author)  furby3 years ago
Good questions.

Very true, I took common ideas and combined them. In the past, I've built several radio coolers for outdoor activities and even modified an over the counter cooler to dispense draft beer. For me, it was to see if I could employ carbon fiber technology to limit foot print, increase portability (1 person load/unload, enhance mobility (wheels), provide multi-directional quality sound (nice when floating with a group of people), increase durability (in a sense bullet-proof), fit inside a cooler float, and dispense enough home brew to make it through the day.

As for waterproof, yes & no. Given current status, the electronics are subject to water damage. Sealing the two small 3/8" holes for speaker wire pass-through, sealing 1" pass-through hole for charger wire, adding water-tight stereo cover (done), and adding light gasket material on compartment doors would bring it there. (Had plans to do such but summer came faster than expected.) In addition, speaker holes, drain inserts, axle insert, and beer spigot hole were sealed to guard against water migrating between layers.

As a side note, marine speakers are very water resistant, but I would hardly consider them water proof. But sealing 3/8" hole would keep electronics compartment dry if the speaker membrane failed.

So to fully answer question #1 :) When rented cooler float pops, I will just tie it to another tube and float it down the river and salvage what is salvageable. I better add modifications listed earlier. Doing such, should make it water proof and you can listen to music as long as marine speakers hold out. Worse case scenario, you would just have to replace a speaker or two.

It is very buoyant, but not self buoyant. When tossed into a pool it floated on its side while playing "Love Me Do" by the Beatles. In the design phase I considered alternate pontoon designs w/ recessed wheels, but scraped them because of increased foot print and holding to the idea that it would be used for family picnics and camping trips. After the pool scenario I did sketch out two 6"W x 28"L carbon fiber pontoons which simply fasten under speakers (basically a cradle). But given the amount of time already spent, it was put on hold till next winter.


Lastly, was very pleased with CO2 and temperature issues in the beer system. Measuring the 3/16" beer line again, it came out to be 8' (extra hose coiled around base of 2 gallon keg). This was sufficient (for me) to keep beer cool and control foaming.

Thanks for your interest and questions



ilpug3 years ago
You might want to fix the step titles, other than that, great!
DJHeadcase3 years ago
Hats off to you fine sir. :D