Canadian Cooler Cooling Contraption




About: This is me. This is who I am. What you see is what you get. *However I can also be ordered as a combo with your favourite side (fries or a salad) and a beverage*

Okay... so I know there are like a million of these spot coolers here on Instructables (or at least 10 or so) and that's what made me want to make one.!/

(Just to list a few)

I think this is a great little build and wanted to give it a go

I came... I saw... I was Inspired!

I originally hadn't planned on posting anything regarding this build (Hence a couple of initial product shots pilfered from the internet) but I was happy with the way it turned out, so I wanted to add it to the many others and hopefully throw in a couple of extra suggestions to maybe help further the idea.

I'm not trying to save the earth with this one or even save a couple of bucks on the hydro bill, I just wanted to build something, and I think I'm going to give it to my friend who lives in an apartment with no air conditioning.

The bonus to this project was that I already had everything I needed except for a couple of bolts, here and there and a few more $1.50 re-freezable gel ice packs.

Step 1: Supplies - the Cooler

Cooler by Coleman.

This blue beauty has a 45.5 L (48 qt) capacity and can hold 63 cans plus 7.7 kg (17 lb) of ice (That's before you turn it into an air cooling Frankenstein). It sports a hinged lid, "easy to lift" 2-way handles and a rust-proof / leak-resistant drain

COLEMAN - The Outdoor Company

*this pic BORROWED from the internet

Step 2: Supplies - Old Used Computer Fan

Old used computer fan... for intake of warm air, and circulation air inside the unit.

This isn't EXACTLY like the one I used, but you can see mine in the pictures to come!

*this pic BORROWED from the internet

Step 3: Supplies - the Floor Vent Register Air Thing

This will be the vent for the exhaust of the cool air.

The extra added feature of this is, is that it is somewhat manually directional with the tweaking and turning of the attached knobby pushy thing! (Not official technical term)

Get crazy if you want... choose any colour or pattern floor register you want!

*this pic BORROWED from the internet

Step 4: Cutting the Lid

I wished I had taken a picture of this step (The most annoying step)

Trace around the computer fan on one side of the lid, (the left side shown in this pic) and cut out the square.

Trace around the inner dimensions of the Floor register on the other side of the lid (the right side as shown in this pic)

Test fit each piece, and trim if necessary until you get a nice tight fit. (Still talking about the project!)

Step 5: Secure

Secure the fan from the top into the lid...

I originally used the clear plastic mirror mounts to hold the fan in place from the top, but then remembered that some people have pets and children who like to put body parts into interesting slots, holes and / or places that they really shouldn't so ended up screwing on the safety grill as an added step

Coleman logo shown with added colour details courtesy of me and Sharpie!

Step 6: Secure Some More

Secure the floor register (shiny metal venty thing shown here) to the lid of your cooler with screws or bolts, whatever makes you happy!

Step 7: Secure It Under the Lid

On the inside, underneath the lid of the cooler I bolted the computer fan in nice and tight with some metal strapping. Now it is completely secured from the top and underside of the lid so it won't slide upwards, fall into the cooler, or rattle and vibrate and drive you nuts!

*NOTE - Underside of floor register also shown for those out there who want to see the underside of a floor register.

I also ran the power chord for the fan out the back of the cooler by one of the hinges (secured that as well) and gave myself plenty enough cable in order to hang myself with or move the unit around the room to whatever location you wish to make... cooler!

Step 8: Now Let's Jump Inside

Inside the cooler you want the air to be... cooler, but you want the air to be able to move around freely so the the cool air is blown out of the exhaust vent (The floor register)

*NOTE - Warm and hot air rises and cool and cold air falls.

Without the fan moving air around inside the cooler, the cool air will not escape through the exhaust vent.

I took a piece of metal shelving and bent it into a "V" shape to fit into the bottom of the cooler... so that you can put re-freezable gel cooling packs into the bottom of the cooler, and air can still circulate around and underneath the packs.

Step 9: Supplies - That Reminds Me...

Your gonna need a bunch of these re-freezable gel Pack Thingamabobs.

I got the large ones, and started with three inside the cooler. After testing I may add more...

I have 8 of these all together so I can always switch out the old thawed ones and throw in some frozen cold ones from the freezer, and then refreeze the thawed ones. (Common sense really)

You can use a bag of ice if you want, throw in a little water as well, or even add some cans of Pepsi for later. It's all about experimenting and moving forward!

Step 10: Any Thing Else?

That's it really... You should have something that resembles (or closely resembles) something like this.

If yours doesn't look like this you have either screwed something up really badly, missed a step or two (or 5) or made changes to the original design (like I said before, an original design that is not mine) and have made this better and more productive (Good for you)

Step 11: Ta Daaaaaaaaa!

I have tried this out and have enjoyed four major things...

1. The handles and long cable make it easy to move around and use in a variety of ways and in many locations

2. I used it as a foot rest / Ottoman and it cooled me down quite well

3. I enjoyed building it... it was relatively quick and easy. (Thanks for the Inspiration)

4. Cold Pepsi

Step 12: Updates - Future Plans

I think tomorrow I may head to Canadian Tire, and pick up one of those magnetic directional air flow floor register scoop watchamacallits!

May add more re-freezable gel packs to the interior of cooler (let's try 4... will keep you posted!)

*this pic BORROWED from the internet



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    62 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 12

    Dude, great post! Thanks for sharing; but why not just freeze bottles of water?

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    Just a thought, by chance you could put 3 "sheets" of plastic vertically. As to push the air between the ice packs and the opening besides them. Then the air technically would travel between 3 packs and then out, instead of just escaping. It may allow for cooler AC :)

    lasted about 4 hours with the 3 large ice packs, then I switched the defrosted ones out for three more I already had in the kitchen freezer.
    It does, however, all depend on how hot it is outside of the cooler, as it is drawing the warm air from outside the cooler to inside the cooler.
    I like to run an extension tube from the exhaust vent up under the sheet at the bottom of my bed so It's like a pillow of cool air under there.


    6 years ago on Step 12

    I love this, thank guys. The only thing that it doesn't mention (unless i missed a step) is about how the electrical fan is hooked up to a regular cord. Correct me, Ty.

    1 reply

    I got the fan off the back of an electrical rack in an old recording studio.
    It already had two little prongs (male) attached to the fan, and the power cable that had a matching (female) plug for the fan on one end, and a standard, everyday, household plug (male) on the other end of the 12 foot cable.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice, but i think freezing gel packs in freezer frequently, will harm the freezer! Because its like that you use your freezer to cool your room...

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Has anyone built one of these using small solar panel(s) for power instead of batteries? I'm thinking of making one for my vintage car. How many panels did it take, one or two, and were they hooked up, in series or parallel, and what fans will run off solar. Thanks


    7 years ago on Step 11

    Brilliant sir I have seen many designs but this one is my favorite well design, good looking finished product and simplicity of the steps and i must say the sense of humor of the writer. Good job sir.

    1 reply

    lasted about 4 hours with the 3 large ice packs, then I switched the defrosted ones out for three more I already had in the kitchen freezer.
    It does, however, all depend on how hot it is outside of the cooler, as it is drawing the warm air from outside the cooler to inside the cooler.