Make Your Own Soda - - Cheap!




So I like carbonated beverages. Soda, Beer (especially beer), Champagne, whatever bubbly.
So I found this Lindsay Press deal about how to make your own soda.
There are three options
1. Spend a lot of money and buy a commercial soda fountain or it's parts. Expect to pay at least $200 even on ebay for a carbonator unit (a pump and a chamber probably without regulators)
2. Ferment. Take sugar water, add yeast and wait. This is definitely the lowest cost solution, but I don't like to wait.
3. Follow the instructions that follow
4. OK There is a fourth option: Buy the premade stuff (but hey, this is "instructables" right? We like to Do it ourselves.

So Stuff you will need: CO2 canister - If you can't afford one (or don't drink enough beer to have a kegerator) then troll the streets. Restaurants often leave these out in back to be exchanged with new ones. Choose a large chain restaurant to steal from. No, don't steal. CO2 is useful for other projects. Buy a cylinder. They last a long time (essentially forever) You will need to buy a regulator. $40. buy a new one.

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Step 1: Gather Materials

I chose this method since I had a CO2 cylinder, regulators, hoses, fittings and whatnot already in my possession. If you don't have stuff like that, then fear not. The total cost will still be less than that of the in-line carbonator devices.
So gather your materials:
*Plastic 2-liter bottles - they must have that ring below the neck
  • There are 2 neck sizes , and I have built this for the smaller, more common size.
  • Metal plate - about one square foot should be plenty. Stainless steel is probably ideal. I used plain old mild steel, and aluminum could work if it's thick enough not to bend easily.
  • Pipe Fittings - I'm using 1/4" pipe fittings
  • short nipple (i used brass)
  • valve (also brass)
  • quick disconnect air fittings (2 male, 2 female) and some air hose
  • teflon tape
  • CO2 cylinder ( you can get a very small one which will last a good long time at a beer brewing supply store, or a welding supply store)
  • CO2 regulators (also available at brewing supply store or welding supply store)
  • wing nuts and carriage bolts (1/4" are good) about 2 inches long.
  • some kind of gasket material. -- silicon aquarium sealant is probably best, but I have used bike innertube successfully

Step 2: Metalwork - Make the Plates

First measure and cut two plates of your metal.
Mine are about 1.5 inches by 3 inches.
Notice the image below. You are planning to make the bottom plate with a slot in it to fit around the neck of the plastic bottle below the "shoulder", and the bolts will run up through both plates to secure the top plate against the opening in the top of the neck. The top plate will have the hole for the CO2 to be delivered into the container full of cold water.
Before you get started, put the container filled with water into the refrigerator.

Then cut your plates.
measure for the u-shaped cut out.
The neck of the plastic bottles is almost exactly one inch, so my plate is cut out to about 1 1/8 inch, which is a bit large, but still works.

So then cut the u-shape however you can. I used a cutting torch to do mine. You can use a hole-saw perhaps to start then a hack saw to finish, or perhaps you use a jig-saw or recip-saw. Whatever you have.

Next you need to drill the holes for the clamping bolts. Stack the plates, and drill both plates at once. This way your holes will be sure to line up even if they are not perfectly spaced.

Last, drill and tap the hole for your CO2 fittings. Mine are 1/4" Pipe.

Step 3: Assemble Fittings

You now are ready to assemble the fittings.
The CO2 will enter the assembly through a quick-release air coupling. These are commonly used in workshops for air tools, blow guns, and tire fillers.
I added a valve so that I could detach the supply without blasting out all of the gas. It is a nice feature but not required.
See the picture, it's pretty obvious.

Step 4: Add a Gasket to the Plate

in order for the gasses to stay in the bottle during carbonation, you'll want a gasket.
I tried
automotive RTV gasket maker
100% silicon sealer (caulk)
glued-on bike inner tube

the bike inner tube works the best. It's not pretty.
It imparts no flavor to the product, and if you have a more food-grade gasket, that would probably be better.
I contemplated cutting up my wife's silpat cookie sheet, but I like being married.

Step 5: Make Soda

so now you are ready to make it.
Get your bottle of water from the fridge.
Open the cap
Attach the assembly and screw the clamping screws on tight. Just tight, not overly tight.
close the valve
attach the CO2 line
open the tank valve
adjust the pressure on the regulator to about 50 PSI
open the valve on the bottle.
Check for leaks, and hisses.
Shake the bottle for about 30 seconds to a minute (more shaking == more fizz )
close valve on bottle.
Disconnect quick-release
close CO2 tank valve.
open bottle valve slowly
remove assembly
enjoy bubbles.



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      72 Discussions


      5 years ago on Step 5

      The only quibble I would have with your setup, and it is fairly minor with the way you use it, is the potential for metal poisoning. Carbonated water is by itself a weak acid, and if left in contact with copper, brass, or bronze, will leach copper from the metal into the carbonated water. The copper can have adverse effects on your body, and if there is enough consumed, it is quite toxic. It will also corrode the steel, but iron in this form is much better tolerated by our body chemistry.

      The way you use this setup, the contact of carbonated water and the brass fittings is fairly brief and should not cause any problems. IF this does still bother you, or want to have carbonated beverages on tap, then change over to stainless steel or food grade plastics for the surfaces that are in contact with the carbonated water. Cola flavors are more acidic and this is more of a problem with them. If you have small children or pregnant ladies, or nursing moms in the house, be more careful, as metal poisoning is very bad for developing nervous tissue.

      1 reply

      Reply 5 years ago on Step 5

      You are right ! I have since switched over to full on keg sized soda making for most of my soda water needs, and I agree that people should definitely heed your advice. Perhaps I should remove this instructable...

      Now I use this product to make 2-liter batches


      8 years ago on Introduction

      Can either of these regulators from Harbor freight be used for the project? If not could you explain why?


      I would assume this hose would work since adding the pressure from the regulator doesn't excede 90PSI?



      I disagree because the tire valve is made with copper that is not food-grade. It contains lead and it will leach it into your drinks.


      Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

      Well, I don't know how you are qualifying "better, easier, and cheaper" because it is exactly the same method except for where you connect to the water bottle... whatever.


      Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

      Sorry, was just putting the comment there for someone that might be looking to do home carbonation so they knew there was easier ways. I don't know why people make this more complicated than they have to. Heck even the other instructable makes it more complicated than it has to be. Just stick a 1/4 inch barb onto your regulator if it doesn't already have one, attach a tube, and stick a 99 cent tire inflater on the end of the tube. Then stick a cheap schrader valve in a plastic soda bottle cap and you are done. You can carbonate any liquid in about 5 seconds. Better, easier, cheaper, faster, whatever...


      Yeah, except that the copper in the tire valve is not food-grade copper. It contains lead and will leach lead into your drinks. Toxic stuff!


      Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

      I noticed in the original article that a kegerator is referenced but I have also noticed that soda regulators have pressures of 160 PSI but beer regulators only go to 60 PSI. I have found really nice beer regulators at some of the lowest prices at but they only sell beer regulators and beer kegerator equipment. Is it enough for soda too?


      Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

      60 is plenty. A two liter soda bottle is supposed to be able to handle up to 200 psi but in testing they can burst around 140 psi. Of course in the real world you don't want to get anywhere near their burst point. Most people do not like having more than 30 psi carbonation for their soda, and commercial soda products never exceed 30. Its actually hard to drink (and annoying) at much higher levels of carbonation (you'll be burping continuously).


      Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

      hmmmm maybe I do need a soda regulator so I can make some special 120 psi soda for my mother-in-law and sit back and watch the show.....


      10 years ago on Step 5

      By the way, I notice a lot of people seem to carbonate warm liquids. It is known that gasses (non polar) dissolve more readily in cold water and salts (polar) dissolve more readily in warm water. So for maximum absorption of CO2, make sure your drink is ice cold before adding CO2


      10 years ago on Introduction

      Can i use any kind of tubing from the CO2 tank to the bottle?


      11 years ago on Step 5

      perfectly safe as far as the bottle holding up, I put 180 pounds on my setup (20 oz, 1l, 2l, & 3l bottles). your contraption for the top, I'm not too sure about. when I made mine, I just used a valve stem, took the valve out, drilled a small hole through the cap, attached the valve stem there, 1/4 in hose to a couple ball valves and it worked fine, much cleaner and quicker. also turning the bottle upside down in introducing the co2 made it carbonate much quicker. best of luck, Dave

      Matt D655

      11 years ago on Introduction

      you should use a mix of 70% nitrogen and 30% Co2 for crbonation, co2 is ok but nitrogen is better.

      1 reply