Welcome to my first Instructable! I apologize that the images start a bit into the project. I had posted some pictures of the project on a home brew forum and was asked for a "how to" guide to building the kegerator.
This Kegerator design is a popular setup using a freezer with a temperature controller to keep it as a desired temperature and not freeze the kegs.
Finally, I built this in the living room of my condo, so anyone with a few simple cordless tools and a home depot close by can build one. Hope you enjoy.
1: 1 x 1 x 8
2 : 1 x 6 x 8
1 : 2 x 4 x 10
8' x 4' x 3/4"
(please feel free to substitute..... red oak gets really expensive)
All red oak used to frame was done in 3/4 inch width. Thinner pieces were used for small trim work.
8: 3.5" x 36"
6: 3.5" x 24"
3: 5.5" x 24"
2: 11" x 24"
4: 1.5" x .5" x 36"
1 x Professional Series 7.0 cu. ft. Chest Freezer
1 x computer fan
4 x Stainless Steel Perlick taps
4 x 4 1/2" long nipple shank assembly
12' x red Thermoplastic super vinyl gas hose with snap clamps.
16' x vinyl beer hose
10 lb CO2 Cylinder
4 x Cornelius Kegs
1 x Primary Regulator
3 x Gas Shut Off Valve - 3/8"
3 x Gas Line Splitter
2 x LED Spot Lights
1 x LED Rope Light
1 x Johnson Digital Temperature Controller
1 x Mahogany Stain
1 x 8 foot foam board insulation
2 x rolls of Foil Insulation Tape
7 x 12" marble tiles
2 x liquid nails
1 x silicon
4 x "L" brackets
A bunch of screws & nails
Red Oak : 8" x 24"
4 x Push Buttons
1 x Arduino Uno R3
1 x Ardruino Proto Shield
1 x LCD 4 row 20 column character screen
A bunch of 22 gauge wire
Hole Punch Bits
Table Saw / Miter Saw
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Step 1: The Beer Parts
If you are planning to fill this kegerator with your own beer, I would recommend using 4 x 5 gallon Cornelius kegs. These kegs will fit perfectly inside the 7.0 cubic foot freezer which I purchased at Menards. In addition the shelf above the freezer's compressor works perfect for the CO2 tank. (You'll see that I have 2 CO2 tanks, but that is because I was upgrading from a 5 pound to 10 pound tank. Only 1 tank is necessary.
As you can see in the second picture. You will need to stagger the kegs, but they fit perfectly.
Step 2: Get the Freezer Ready (Build a Collar)
We are going to get the freezer ready to have the frame built around it.
Before anything I built a basic frame for the freezer to sit on. It does have legs but it does not make it easy to move. I built a simple square using 1 x 6 boards and attached those EZ move furniture mover pads on the bottom to be able to slide it around a wood floor. Some people choose to put casters on, but it will raise the overall height by another few inches.
The next thing I built was a collar around the freezer to increase it's height by 4 inches. To create the collar first remove the 2 hinges from the back of the freezer. This will allow you to remove the top of the freezer. Next cut your 2"x4"s to rest ontop of the freezer frame. To do this you will cut 2 @ 21.5" for the sides and 2 @ 33.5" for the front and back. After these pieces are cut, attach them with liquid nails and then screw each 2"x4" to its perpendicular piece.
After the collar is secured to the freezer you can attach the back hinges directly to the collar. After the freezer is put back together (but 4" taller) we are going to insulate it.
This is pretty strait forward, cover the full freezer with insulating foam board. The only area you should not cover is the vent for the compressor on the side of the freezer. In addition put insulation on the inside of the collar and seal all of it will Foil Insulation Tape (you'll see I go a little crazy with this tape).
The final step to get the freezer ready to frame is to install the temperature controller. I attached the Johnson Digital Temperature Controller directly to middle of the collar. The temperature control works by putting the temperature probe into the kegerator and then plugging the freezer directly to the controller. This way the controller is able to regulate when to turn the freezer on and off to keep the specific temperature.
Step 3: Countertop
Since I don't have direct access to a tile saw, I wanted to make the top exactly 3 tiles across.
First you are going to have to cut a piece of plywood to make the base of the countertop. I chose to make mine 40" x 22" . I attached the piece of plywood with 4 screws which I bolted to the freezer top. I then took 3 piece of the marble top and placed them on top to measure where to cut my front trim piece. After placing the 3 pieces of marble, place the red oak in front and mark where the 45 degree cut needs to be made.
After cutting the front trim piece place it and glue it to the frame. Then measure from the front of the marble to the back of the countertop. This will give you the distance of the side trim pieces. These will only need to be cut at a 45 degree cut in the front as the back will be flush with the countertop.
Step 4: Tower (The Front)
Oh the tower, this is where you can get really clever. I went with a pretty sample design, but wish I would have planned this out first, because you can add a lot of fun features like LED tap lights and such, but I went with a simple LED strip.
To begin the tower, draw out the design on the wood. It will be covered up anyway, but it helps to visualize the size.
You will first be building the frame, then insulating it, and finally putting on the trim and tiles.
The tower begins with a simple 3 sided box. The sides are secured to 4 1x1 posts on the interior. I first attached the 1x1 posts to the sides. Make sure to allow a 3/4 inch gap in the front, back and top allowing tall sides to be flush. After building the 3 sided box and attaching them to the 1x1 posts with screws, I mounted an additional 1"x2"x24" board in the front which I then mounted an LED strip below. After the front and sides are attached, I mounted the top and screwed it in to the 4 1x1 posts.
Next we are going to attach the front trim plate. This will be 6" so it goes below the LED lights and hides them from view but creates a recessed lighting of the tiles. I drilled a hole from inside the tower to run the power cord to the back and not have it visible.
Mount the 6" red oak panel and then measure 4 tap holes evenly spaced. You will be attaching 4 of the shank assemblies through these holes.
To ensure a clean cut, put painters tape on the front of the trim piece so it does not scratch and helps against splintering. Also cut front rather than the back to ensure the trim does not splinter.
Finally, attach the shank assemblies and lastly cut tile pieces to fit remaining front under the LED lights and glue them overnight.
Step 5: Tower (The Back)
Oh, foil insulation tape, how you and I have become friends.
Now that you have the front and sides installed we are going to work on the back and interior. First we need to insulate the tower. I used 3 layers on the sides and 2 layers of foam board on the front to insulate the tower. After cutting and placing the foam board, I would recommend using foil tape to ensure you don't have any holes where you will lose air.
Next we are going to cut 2 holds to allow for beer line and air flow to come to the tower. These holes were a bit on a pain to cut because the freezer lid has a thin sheet of metal which my bits had a problem with.
After cutting the holes mount the tower to the countertop with "L" brackets attached to the 1x1 posts. After the tower is mounted you are going to build a small block of foam board which is going to serve in helping create a wind tunnel inside the tower. I mounted a computer fan below the hole which doesn't have beer lines going through it. You don't want to cool all of the space in the tower, so by creating a small box, the air will flow in one side and back down where the lines come in. This keeps the beer lines cold and reduces foam.
After the box is built and the tower is mounted give it another good layer of foil tape.
At this point I mounted the sides and top with red oak.
After the wood had time to dry, I decided to build a back which was on hinges incase I needed to get to the beer lines. This was quite easy. Cut a piece of wood to the size of the tower. Then use a table saw or circular saw to cut it in half again. I installed 2 hinges and a handle to allow for easy access to the lines. Don't forget to insulate the back as well. I put 2 layers of foam board on the back as well.
Step 6: Glass Cubbies and Reinforced Collar
I had some extra red oak so I decided to create glass cubbies with spot lights for glasses. The cubbies are quite simple. Each is comprised of 4 pieces of wood. Top, side, back & top trim.
The Top: This is a thinner piece of red oak because it will have a 1 in trim piece put in front of it to allow for a recessed spotlight.
In addition, since the collar was only attached to the freezer with liquid nails, I added a thin piece of plywood in the front which connects the front of the collar to the base the freezer sits on. This way when you open the freezer it doesn't pull the collar off.
Step 7: Framing and Staining
You'll see that it was two-tone because it took me quite of time to frame the kegerator. I had lots of ideas of grandeur which began to fade. Finally I decided it would be easiest to make it look more simple, and instead put the time into the skyline which goes on top.... you'll see that part later.
The frame uses very simple lines. There were 7 pieces of 3.5" wide red oak framing the kegerator. The height is almost exactly 36" which makes it easy to pick up pieces. The actual wood which is framing the kegerator is a 1/4 inch sheet of similar looking wood I was able to pick up at Home Depot.
I used liquid nails and finishing nails to mount all of the wood.
Finally, I used a mahogany stain on the whole thing.
Step 8: LCD Skyline
Everyone always asked me what was on tap so I needed to come up with something clever to let people know what they were drinking. I have a little brewery set up on my roof deck in Chicago so I wanted to incorporate the skyline in the kegerator. I came up with the idea of cutting a skyline out of red oak and then mounting a 4 row LCD screen with buttons above each tap.
After using a router, metal file, hand sander and going through 3 pieces of wood, I came up with the below design. I used a 10" x 24" piece of red oak making it the full width of the tower.
I attached the LCD screen to an Arduino controller and spent about 2 weeks teaching myself how to code and wire something together.
I used 4 small pieces of wood to give it depth by putting them behind the buildings directly behind each tap. Then I installed buttons and blue LED lights into them. Now when a beer is on tap it will light up with a blue light, letting everyone know which taps are dry. When you push the button behind the tap it tells you:
Row 1: Beer Name
Row 2: Beer Type
Row 3: Alcohol % and IBUs
Row 4: A graph of Malty |----x----| Hoppy
Please feel free to ask me all sorts of questions and I will try to add more in depth instructions to this instructable. Thanks all for reading and let me know what else I can do next to upgrade the keezer!
ActionTekJackson made it!