Step 3: Building the Ice Rig

Don't fret: you've done most of the labor-intensive work. Now it's time to set aside your pick-axe, and pick up your paint brush.

You'll want to setup the saw-horses (or whatever you're using for supports) as close to the snow base as you can get, to minimize the distance you'll have to move the ice top once it's made (trust me, this sucker's heavy AND fragile). Lay the MDF boards on top of the saw-horses and break out your level. You need to have these boards be as level as possible, so if the ground you're building on is not flat, you need to make adjustments to make sure that the boards are laying flat. You can't really see in any of the pictures I've provided, but there are smaller, thinner boards wedged underneath the MDF and the saw-horses that buttress the left side of the table up to make up for the uneven ground.

Allow me to deviate here just for a bit to relay my experience with this part. I built the ice top using only one MDF board (I can't remember the thickness of it now, but it wasn't terribly thin), and unlike what happened with the guys at Wisegeek, my ice expanded down as well as up, particularly around the corners. This is not good, as it creates an unlevel surface on the bottom of the ice sheet. Now, since the base for the table is made of compacted snow, it doesn't affect how straight the ice sheet sits on the table as much as you might think, but it does add unneccessary strain on the snow basin structure, particularly on the corners. So, I reasoned that if you used two boards and stack them on top of one another, then would be enough reinforcement to guide the ice more upwards than downwards; plus, having two boards instead of one helps with constructing the snow basin, as I had to make due with just one.

Once you get it even, lay the beams around the perimeter of the MDF boards (such that they stand 4" tall); if you've measured right when you bought/cut them, they should form a perfect rectangle that sits on the edge of the MDF. Secure them in place with something temporary (I used Gorilla tape, which SUCKS in cold weather so DON'T USE IT! If you have large C-clamps, those would work the best; put two around each corner and maybe one in the center of each beam and you should be golden). The beams themselves will not be subjected to that much pressure; they're there more as guides for the ice.

After the beams are in place, line the whole inner part with the plastic sheet. If at all possible, try to smooth out the bottom as much as you can, as it will make it easier to detach from the ice block later. (In fact, I was never able to detach mine, so in the end I just trimmed the excess plastic away rather than try to separate it; since it's clear, its invisible in the final product). Secure the plastic to the beams either on the top or outside of the beam, not the inside. Then place the whatever weights your using on the corners to minimize the edge of the plastic from flipping back into the water basin (see the photo for what I mean by this).
<p>What is a Beirut table? I know it sounds silly, but I have never seen one, nor heard of it!</p><p>If you are going to have good temps all day, but bright sun make a cover out of old political signage,</p><p>Duct tape sheets of the plastic material, then tape on sides so you cover it all day, the white of the non printed side will keep away the sun. You remove it at night, or after the sun dips past the tree line. I made a lean to over a small snowman to extends its life!</p><p>enjoyed this, but am not sure what it is though.</p>
I made a similar table for shuffleboard a couple years ago.<br> -Instead of making the table top seperate, I dug a wide channel down the center of the snow bank and lined it with a 6 mil painters plastic sheet. <br>-Then I filled it layer by layer by layer on a super cold northern minnesota night to about 4 inches thick. <br>-Then we trimmed the edges of snowbank with straight shovels, cut off plastic sheeting from sides, and used a clothes iron (ice carving trick) to smooth the ice edges. <br>The beauty was that the Ice was self levening, and as long as the original trench was halfway level (give or take an inch) it'll come out great with less physical effort.
errr... whats a beirut table??? all i know, is that the capital of Lebanon <br>(my country.... yes the one with amazing food) so wat differenciates it from other snow tables??<br>
Honestly, it looks like what we call Beer-Pong...
Uh. You mispelt English in this line:<br><br>Buy Materials / Do a snow dance (however long it takes you to do that; my snow dances might take days--like speaking Entish--but yours may be shorter/longer).
I don't think it was a misspelling. Think Entish as in the language of the ents (like tree Beard ) from lord of the rings. It took me a bit notice this but when I did it was good for a laugh.
or you can take spray -paint and while you are freezing the last layer spray it in . this will couse COOL swirly effects in the finnished &quot;table&quot;<br>
Couldn't you make a layer about an inch thick, put it on top of the table, then put the sides back up and finish the rest of the top while it's in place? Less moving and you could make it thicker.
you could also when compacting the snow put another board on the snow and then jump/pound the snow so that you get a smother surface without boot print in it
for those minnor imprefections and major cracks you could use a blow torch to melt them away, but a word of caution you need to to fast over the ice to not cause more imprefections it should create a little a big problem if you dont. and it will melt the ice together over the crack, and it will create a very clear and shiny smooth surface.
how is he going to get a blow torch?????
I know! The store :)<br>
use LED lights inside of a clear plastic hose to cut down on heat emissions. you could also add all kinds of things inside the ice layers. i.e. matchbox cars, ornaments, party favors, plastic place mats, beer bottle caps...ETC use your party theme for Ideas. Lastly, to create clearer ice use hot water, &quot;sand&quot; the surface (like a Zamboni) with warm/hot water and fine steel wool then apply 1 last thin layer of warm water with a washrag. This will make the process take longer but the end result is a clear sexy table.
Wow this is great.&nbsp;We just got a pretty good storm on the East Coast and hopefully it will stay cold maybe we'll even get some more snow and I&nbsp;can put one of these together for New Years. Possible paint a hockey rink onto a thin layer of some material for under the ice (with the NHL winter classic&nbsp; logo in the center) Would make for a great New Years Party at night and winter classic&nbsp; party during the day.<br /> <br /> I&nbsp;was thinking that I&nbsp;could possibly bury a wooden frame inside the snow basin that will support the heavy ice top slightly better than just 2 trash cans.&nbsp; The snow would come out a couple inches past the frame.<br />
I would try carving benches into those walls. might add some extra seating for spectators!
Spectators?<br /> Of wha.. oh, Oh, OH!<br /> YAY! SNOW&nbsp;ORGY!
What does the sign on in the last picture say?
wow took me long enough to realize what it was
Just a pointer: --form the ice on a bed of deck lumber, or stronger lumber than what you used --to lift the ice, slide 2x4 or similar boards under the ice, carry it over to the table, put it down, and slide out the boards. --freeze LEDs in the ice for the lighting, because they give off almost no heat. But over all, great Instructable. I'm definently building one this winter.
Thanks for the pointers... the boards for carrying the slab wouldn't really work since the top of table is (albeit packed) snow; I was working with powder so the pack wouldn't be as thick as heavier snow. The sliding of the boards out from under the slab, with the pressure of the slab's weight bearing down on them, would've compromised the walls of the table. I tried several approaches like this, but couldn't find one that kept the snow base mostly intact. Good points on the LED's and the bed of lumber; I was kinda making this up as I went when I first built it, but second time around's always tend to be better. :)
Boil the water first inside then let it cool so when it freezes it will be more clear, and you can better see your logos or lights in it. Great instructable!
For lights, I bet you could use clear PVC pipe or tubes to shelter the lights from direct contact with the ice. Then you put any christmas lights you wanted in there.
I'm pretty sure cutting ice would be akin to cutting glass, in case you do want to know. Scour along the area in which you want to cut with an implement harder than the ice(i'm sure a metal ice scraper would suffice) and then apply quick pressure to that area. The scoured line should produce a pressure fault in which the ice would crack along because that would presumably be the weakest part of the sheet. I'm not an ice or a glass cutter by profession, but I've heard that same basic concept explained a seemingly endless amount of times.
Oh, or there's my favorite route... a chainsaw C:< just make sure that the chain doesn't get caught... nobody wants fly shrapnel chains.
Use a divider in the middle layer so you can have two different colored sides with use of food coloring in the water. Or you can spray paint stencils into it? I dunno about the spray paint I don't see why not, but you never know, as long as the freezing point isn't above the water's, or what the local temperatures is. If you want to incorporate lights and you have plenty of burly friends, you can freeze them into the last layer and then carefully flip it over, obviously using a thick bored on top as a brace(and maybe even clamp both sides just for measure).
you could just paint 3 or 4 2x4's white an freeze them into the ice,and you will have built in support against cracking, and plus it might be a little lighter, since it will displace a little water. Plus, painting them white will make them look like they were never there. EB
cool...but i didn't get snow this year
If you don't live close to snow you should try using clay or sand
Lovely presentation-The Midwest should be "due" a real winter soon-I hope to convince some friends to help me do this. One thing I would add to give it a little extra sumpin' sumpin would be to imbed in a lower to middle layer either metallic confetti, leaves, berry branches, golf balls, plastic fish, or? uh oh see what you started? THANKS LOL
This is brilliant!<br/><br/>just one tiny thing... Contrary to logic, hot water freezes faster than cold water (Mpemba effect ( <a rel="nofollow" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mpemba_effect">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mpemba_effect</a> )). Which is why zambonis always have steam coming from the back.<br/>
Huh - can't say I knew that. Thanks for the tip!
wow i wish we had snow like that here in the uk i would be whacking one of these together for sure (any excuse for a party lol)we only get that slushy crappy snow nowadays on account of global warming (i blame them bloody chineese lol).
That is so awesome! Im totally gonna do this. I like the idea of the party!
Great snow. Here in the Inland Northwest we normally get depths like that only on thew mountaintops.
Man.... good job!

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