Underground Drinks Cooler

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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:

Materials:

16cm diameter 2meter length PVC pipe

PVC pipe endcaps (one for 16cm diameter pipe, another larger)

1cm thick polypropylene board or plywood

Wood screws

CA glue

2pcs of 32mm PVC pipe elbows

Spray can paint

Tools:

Drill and bits

Angle grinder

Jigsaw or band saw

Heat gun

Hose clamp

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.

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    31 Comments

    0
    LarryG7
    LarryG7

    9 months ago on Step 17

    Good instructable.
    It won't keep anything cool, however. The air in a shallow hole in the ground will be very close to the temperature of the air above the ground. Maybe even warmer depending on the seasons. The grass patch on the top will likely absorb heat and transfer it to the underground drinks. I think the writer of the instructable likely knows this. l

    0
    Gofish
    Gofish

    Reply 9 months ago

    In MOST of the world temperatures stay constant from about 18" below surface until you get a couple of hundred feet down.

    0
    LarryG7
    LarryG7

    Reply 9 months ago

    Constant does not mean cold or even cool. That hole is not going to cool anything. You have to know this if you actually made that thing, why are you arguing? For one thing, as I said hot temperatures will percolate down through the grass cap.

    0
    psargaco
    psargaco

    9 months ago on Step 17

    Awesome. And it has double functionality: beverage cooler in the winter and beverage heater in the summer... although... how useful will that be? Who cares?! It's so cool!

    0
    Gofish
    Gofish

    Reply 9 months ago

    One of the primary reasons for building underground is constant temperature year around.
    Drinks will be relatively cool in Summer and wont freeze in Winter.

    0
    AladarB
    AladarB

    9 months ago

    Very good for making "archivní slivovice" (google say archival plum brandy). When you find it after 20 or more years :-) It will be a treasure.

    0
    spiritburner
    spiritburner

    9 months ago

    Looks good but as a cooler though a complete and utter waste of time. Good Instructable though, might as well just bury the fridge in the grass!! Sorry, but the truth sometimes hurts.

    The orange pipe to which some poster commented is the standard pipe used in europe as a soil/poop pipe to the main drains from the toilets or to a septic tank, No idea why they are orange apart from ease of visibility when using large machinery in the near vicinity of the works. The old pipes from a hundred plus years ago which were made from a ceramic material and fired were of this colour on the outside so I guess they carried it on through...

    Seriously as a cooler there are too many explanations as to why this will not work, just accept it wont, and if will fill with water , crud, maggots and a complete assortment of creepy crawlies despite all attempts to prevent it of that I am sure. Thank you though for an instructing write up.

    0
    chrishensongs
    chrishensongs

    1 year ago

    This is exceptionally cool! One minor thing: Depending on how well you know your lawn, you should consider calling your utilities provider[s] before digging to ensure you don't strike a buried gas, power, water, sewer, or comm line. Most municipalities have a "call before you dig" service that will mark all underground utilities for free. Just a safety thing. Carry on.

    0
    rspcharger
    rspcharger

    Reply 9 months ago

    In the states, simply dial 811

    0
    ElectroFrank
    ElectroFrank

    9 months ago

    I am so desperately keen to see this rise up automatically by pressing a button on a remote control !
    Perhaps just a gas strut from a car tailgate each side, and some kind of foot operated catch ?
    But have a camera ready to catch the gobsmacked expressions on your friends' faces !

    For improved cooling, put in some picnic ice packs in the top section, slots in each floor for air circulation, and have clear perspex doors for each compartment ? (You can get perspex tubes in various sizes.)

    0
    treesap
    treesap

    1 year ago

    Very cool! Not sure how great it'll be at keeping things cold, but seems useful for hiding things in general.

    I've never seen burnt-orange colored PVC pipe before, but it would've been a great color even without painting it (though I would've probably painted the inside so it wasn't white.)

    0
    Ulfson
    Ulfson

    1 year ago

    Great idea! If I didn't have bedrock 25 cm (10'') below surface I'd do it in a heartbeat! And maybe consider burying tables too... One potential improvement might be integrating cupboard soft-close mechanisms and/or automotive gas springs or the like to enable just stepping on the grass patch to lift it slightly before lifting the inset.

    0
    JGB
    JGB

    1 year ago

    While I will never be able to do this, it is an AMAZING Intructable. Very informative and clear. Well done!

    0
    robrider
    robrider

    1 year ago

    Nice! You should put some dry ice at the bottom if there is space. That will keep the drinks nice and cold, and will also look super cool when you open it up to get a drink!

    0
    Rayjo
    Rayjo

    Reply 1 year ago

    Cool (literally!). Would also be neat to have a speaker in there that makes a loud air pressure release sound as you start to pull it up :-D

    0
    volvorod
    volvorod

    1 year ago

    Very nice idea - if you don't own a refrigerator.
    If you DO own a refrigerator and don't have an urge to HIDE beverages from your spouse - ... not so much. 🙂

    Why should i hid my beers in the ground where moles and worms can feast on MY beverage..? 🤔 🤠

    0
    terrefirmax2
    terrefirmax2

    1 year ago

    I was just thinking how nice colored pvc was and you painted it!

    0
    MichaelL628

    Very good and creative idea. But if temperatures drop drastically causing bottles to burst will that mean the grass will come up(grow) half cut(drunk..) sorry I am 60+ and couldn't resist that old joke. I must escape this padded cell/lockdown.But on a serious note how about table and six chairs come up in similar fashion for those small social gatherings that we are only allowed to have

    0
    Rose Workshop
    Rose Workshop

    Reply 1 year ago

    Hahahaha! You made my day!