Ever since I bought a CO2 tank, I've been carbonating my own things for years now. I say "things", because the possibilities of what can be carbonated are almost limitless. Nearly anything that contains water can be quickly and easily carbonated for some additional "pop". Most people think of soda when we speak of carbonating things, but I've successfully carbonated apples, oranges, grapefruits, grapes, pineapple, blueberries, tangerines, strawberry smoothies, all types of fruit juice, and even ice cream! I've made my own sparkling cider and amazing desserts.

It's fairly simple to begin carbonating things; here's a list of the things you'll need to follow this instructable step by step:

-CO2 supply: This can vary greatly between setups. I use a 20# tank, but you can use nearly any size CO2 tank with a regulator. Heck, I've even used 9-20oz paintball tanks to carbonate things! You can find good used 20# tanks on eBay (I got mine for around $40)
-A Regulator -this is a good one.
-To carbonate liquids, you'll need an empty 3L soda bottle.
-A clamp-in schrader valve for the 3L soda bottle - you can find these at nearly any auto parts store. Here's one that will work. Here's another.
-To carbonate fruits and other objects that you can't pour, you'll need to build a pressure vessel out of PVC pipe and other standard fittings that can be found any hardware store. This will be discussed in detail later in the instructable.

Step 1: Setting up your carbonating equipment

We'll need a supply of high-pressure CO2 for this project - CO2 is sold commercially in steel and aluminum tanks of varying sizes, which are typically measured in pounds (#). Some of the common sizes you'll see are 5#, 10#, 20#, and 50# tanks. I own a 20# tank, which I can get refilled for around $22 in my area (NJ). A "20-pound tank" is so called not because it weighs 20 pounds, but because it contains 20 pounds of CO2 gas. The CO2 is stored in liquid form inside the tank, similar to propane except at a much higher pressure. My cylinder weighs around 40 pounds empty (depends on if the regulator is attached), for a total weight of around 60 pounds when filled. I prefer this size tank because it is the largest that is still possible for me to carry by hand (a 50# tank weighs around 160 pounds when full). Tanks smaller than 20# do cost a bit less, but you will have to pay a slightly greater cost per pound of CO2 when filling. 

Twenty pounds of CO2 can carbonate a lot of water. Remember that no matter what you're carbonating, it is still CO2 dissolving into water (this is why high-water-content foods work best). A 20# tank holds enough CO2 to highly carbonate around 500 gallons of water - with this amount you could drink 2-3 liters of home-brewed seltzer per day and not have to refill the tank for several years! The CO2 cost of what I make in this instructable is only a few cents! 

In addition to the tank, you'll need a suitable regulator to bring the gas down to working pressures of under 100psi. I use a regulator that allows me to adjust between 0-100 psi, pressure which are more than suitable for carbonating things. You can find a good regulator at any home brewing store. Ideally it should have two pressure gauges (one for the high-pressure side and one for the low-pressure regulated side), a safety relief valve, and some sort of shutoff valve.

Note: Please DO NOT try to use a tank without a regulator - CO2 is stored in a cryogenic liquid state in the tank at pressures of around 1000psi and opening the tank valve without a regulator attached could lead to a very dangerous situation! I suggest that you read and become familiar with the MSDS sheets for CO2 - it's a very safe gas to work with as long as some basic procedures are followed.
<p>Carbonated Meat</p>
<p>Perhaps a thrift store pressure cooker could be handily repurposed into a pressure vessel and be safer than dealing with PVC's explosive potential.</p>
I want to make one of these but only have paintball tanks laying around. What set up do you use when your using paintball tanks I havent been able to find a good solution to go from the paintball threading to a 1/4 npt to go into the regulator.
If you are still interested in doing this... I actually use a paintball tank myself for carbonating and then I refill the paintball tanks with a large tank. Search amazon or ebay for &quot;CGA320 PaintBall Adapter&quot;. The adapter should be between $13 and $20 depending on brand and style. One kind goes between the existing stem of the regulator and the tank and another kind actually replaces the stem. I have both (long story) and they both work well.
I actually use a paintball tank myself for carbonating and then I refill the paintball tanks with a large tank. Search amazon or ebay for &quot;CGA320 PaintBall Adapter&quot;. The adapter should be between $13 and $20 depending on brand and style. One kind goes between the existing stem of the regulator and the tank and another kind actually replaces the stem. I have both (long story) and they both work well.
Shoulda read the whole i'ble before I asked ?? on previous step.....My bad
Hello my dear Chris Marion, <br>Could you please tell me if it is possible to carbonate a large quantity of drink for a party occasion. After carbonating should one necessarely maintain the beverage hermeticaly closed ? If yes is it possible to keep this carboated beverage in a plastic container with a plastic cover not hermeticaly closed ? For how long could a carbonated drink last in such a plastic container ? <br> <br>Many thanks. <br>Mokaba
It's definitely possible to do large quantities of fruit for parties and large gatherings, but keeping the fruit adequately carbonated will most likely be an issue. I find that once I remove the fruit from the high pressure CO2 atmosphere, the optimal time for consumption is within a few minutes. After that, the fruit will loose the majority of it's &quot;zing&quot; - it will still be bubbly but the great effects of carbonation that we're after will be mainly lost. Of course, the amount of time you have after removing the fruit from the CO2 has to do with a variety of factors, such as the type of fruit (i.e. does it have a thick or thin skin?), the temperature of the room (I'd recommend keeping the fruit on ice or as cold as possible to maintain carbonation for as long as possible), etc. One thing I might suggest would be to carbonate the fruit in stages in a few different containers, and open them as necessary as the fruit is consumed. This way you always have a fresh supply that you can crack open to provide fresh fruit. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. <br> <br>-Chris
I'm wondering if you could put regular ice in the vessel you made to do fruit in?I read in other i'bles cold liquids/fruit absorb better,but wasn't sure if ice did something &quot;freaky&quot; under pressure.Or maybe put your container in an old fridge,and let it &quot;charge&quot; longer?
Can i use steel tank and reguler CO2 regulator for this system sir?
I've done it using a 3 liter bottle and some dry ice, letting it sit overnight in the fridge. (use only a thumb sized piece) As the dry ice sublimates, it fills the bottle w. co2. Advantage is that it's cheap. Disadvantage is that the results I've gotten have been varied. (some really carbonated, some just a little). <br> <br>Ie I love the pressure gauge and thank you for the pressure estimates of the bottles. <br> <br>From the carbonated drink front, I've also done home made ginger ale with yeast before. Alton Brown @ food networks as a nice recipe that was a great project to do w. kids. <br> <br>When you did ice cream, I'm guessing that you put frozen ice cream under pressure? (awesome idea)
this seems simpler than the soda stream machine, and more cost effective too

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Bio: I'm Chris Marion, an 18-year-old kid fresh out of high school and full of ideas, ready to make his impact on the world. I ... More »
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