Introduction: Underground Drinks Cooler
This time I will make an underground drinks cooler from a PVC pipe. This underground drinks cooler project is quite simple and can be made by using minimal equipment and cheap materials.
How I did it - you can check by looking DIY video or you can follow up instructions bellow. For this project you will need:
16cm diameter 2meter length PVC pipe
PVC pipe endcaps (one for 16cm diameter pipe, another larger)
1cm thick polypropylene board or plywood
2pcs of 32mm PVC pipe elbows
Spray can paint
Drill and bits
Jigsaw or band saw
Step 1: First Cut
I used a regular PVC pipe measuring 16 cm in diameter and 1 meter in length. These PVC pipes are very cheap and you can find them at your local hardware store.
Measured 80cm of needed length and cut with an angle grinder.
Step 2: Cutting to Right Diameter
Now I need to ease the diameter of this pipe so that it fits into the other PVC pipe. I made the first cut and then measured how much I should cut out to get the proper diameter. All cuts were made with an angle grinder, but you can also use a jigsaw that will make it a bit less messy.
Step 3: Heating Up
Looks like that diameter will fit now. There is some tension remaining that stretches the pipe to the outside. Not a big deal - I’ll change that by pressing pipe on the opposite side and some heat.
Used two metal hose clamps connected in series at one end. On the other end, I used two zip ties connected in a circle, because those two were the only metal clamps that I had. Metal hose clamps and zip ties perform equally well, just remember that the zip ties aren’t heat resistant. Try to not overheat them. When the tube cooled down, I removed the clamps and zip ties and had the tube is in its proper shape.
Step 4: Preparing Material for Shelves
Time to make the shelves that will hold the pipe in the right shape. Basically, that will be a circle cut in 14cm in diameter. I used this 1cm thickness piece of poly propil something. Not sure about the name of this material, but it is often used as a base in advertising products. It is perfect for my purpose because it’s lightweight, resistant to moisture and it cuts like butter. This material easily breaks if it is passed with a utility knife. So it can be cut without any fancy tools.
To make each shelf thicker and stronger I glued two pieces together.
Step 5: Cutting Shelves
To get several identical circles, I made a simple jig for my band saw. It’s just a piece of plywood with a hole for the circle center point.
Since I need a circle with a diameter of 14cm, I drilled a hole at a distance of 7cm from the blade.
Step 6: Installing Shelves
Measured, marked and drilled holes for shelves. This pipe will be placed inside another pipe, so all screws must be countersunk and sit at the same level with the surface.
Hose clamp came in handy again and held it all in one piece until I screwed all the wood screws in. The glue line on the circle edge served as a guide for screws.
Step 7: A Handle
On top, I used the ring instead of a full circle. Also, I cut half of a ring for a handle. Glued with CA glue and screwed with wood screws for extra strength.
Cut out the pipe to the needed length and installed the handle.
Step 8: Cutting Some Holes
Made some cad work behind the scenes and cut two templates for holes. Each window will be cut 2cm above the secured shelf. Drilled a hole for a starting point and the rest was done with the jigsaw. Jigsaw with metal cutting blade works just perfectly.
Step 9: A Bit More Holes
When everything was cut, I wasn't happy with the result. The pipe looked too bulky for me, so I made another template and cut more holes.
All these cutting leftovers have significantly reduced the weight of the pipe, which is really nice.
Step 10: Outer Shell
Underground cooler insert is pretty much finished, time to make an external housing.
I used the same 16cm of diameter PVC pipe. Cut to length and closed one end with a circle. All gaps were sealed to prevent moisture from getting inside. At this point, I could stop here and use this PVC pipe end cap to close the pipe. But my goal is to make this cooler visible as little as possible, so I need to make some kind of a grass plant on top. This PVC pipe end cap that is made for 20cm of diameter PVC pipe will fit perfectly.
Step 11: Top Cover
The idea is to glue them into one piece, which will close the underground cooler.
I sanded both top surfaces to get a tight fit. Cut off the lip from the bigger end cap and sanded flush all around. I made two pick up points for my fingers and later closed them with bottle caps. Also, drilled 4 holes to drain any potential moisture from the cap. And finally glued both end caps together.
Step 12: Place for Fingers
I used this short piece of PVC pipe to make the outer structure, which will hold soil and grass from falling inside the underground cooler. Same as the end cap - here I also need to make a pickup place for my fingers. Drilled holes will be closed up with pieces of the PVC pipe that were cut from 90 degrees PVC pipe elbow.
All modifications of the closing lid are done and work perfectly.
Step 13: Giving a Better Color
Gave a quick spray can paint job because I’m not a fan of this orange pipe color.
Step 14: Digging a Hole
I found a good spot for cooler in my back yard and started to remove the lawn. Center round piece will be used at the top of the closing lid. This big lawn ring was removed to save a lawn in on piece. After all soil works, it will be planted back and will look like nothing happened.
I dug a hole 85 cm deep. It took a while because I had to fight with rocks and hardened clay.
Step 15: Hiding the Cooler
Leveled the closing cap with lawn surface and started burying the pipe with sand. At the top changed from sand to soil which is way better for a healthy and nice lawn.
Installed the outer pipe and temporarily sealed the gap with painters tape. This is needed to prevent the soil from coming inside the pipe while planting job is done.
Step 16: Try to Find It!
Looks like nobody was digging in here, but if we look closer we can see some contours of underground drinks cooler.
Step 17: Finished Cooler
My cooler version holds up to 9 drinks in bottles or cans. They are easily accessible and at the same time won't fall out.
In general, this underground pipe can be used as secret storage for anything you like. But by keeping drinks there you get the double benefit - you hide them in the yard and keep them cool too. This underground drinks cooler project is quite simple and can be made by using minimal equipment and cheap materials. If you’d like a finished product - check the information in the video description.
Second Prize in the