On a lark I decided to make a refrigerated hookah from scratch. Macgyver doesn't have anything on me. Though everything is airtight
now and overall the build looks clean getting everything to work together was quite the trick. In hindsight instead of going and glass blowing a base I probably should have used a stock base so I could use stock hookah parts. This is a fun project that teaches you the difficulty of margins and seals.
Oh and I may still laser etch or vinyl cut a cover for the outside. Suggestions are welcome!!!!!
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Desktop mini fridge- former coworker donated. Look for one that can get very cold.
Hookah bowl - a vortex bowl is ideal for hookah stones
Toilet float - used as the platform/gasket for hookah bowl. Only half the part was used
Copper refrigerator cooling pipe -alot of my pipe choices were limited because of my narrow vase opening I got this thin copper tubing at ace hardware
Refrigirator hose- I wanted to do all hardware I put together so it looked like a consistent build. Like other metal parts listed this was a part of something used in relation to food or human consumption so I believe they are non toxic part. Avoid lead solder!
Copper water pipe with connectors (most of this hardware came from home depot. They were very willing to troubleshoot this project)
Glass base - I went glass blowing with ps1 at Ignite glassblowing which was pretty sweet; Priceless
Gasket- Rubber cap. Tight gaskets are essential for good hookah clouds/smoke sessions. There is a picture with part info
Wind screen- I sometimes use this without electricity outside (there is a carry handle on the mini fridge and all the parts store inside the box)
Traditional hose - I found my hose to be a little leaky. Traditional hoses have a gasket at the join to the hookah draw
Diffuser- to reduce bubbling
Hammer- used to hammer flat the draw so I could fit it through the opening. Also used with punch to make gasket.
Dremmel- pilot the hole on top
Ruler- to make sure of allignment. This is probably the most essiantial tool
Drill press- to speed up making the holes
Laser- for possible future etchings
Step 2: Sizing/Cutting Pipes to Length
I went with overly long pipes so that they could be cut down as the project was refined. Because my glass base had a narrow opening I was somewhat limited in my piping options. I used a hammer to narrow/flatten the pipe (do this only once you have the correct length). I also considered adding a bend to the top to make screwing the hose in easier but decided that would be for version two. Save the cut pieces because you will use them in a latter step as a punch for your gasket. I had my pipes cut for me but you can do it yourself with a pipe cutter. Just remember one pipe is submerged and one is not so they are different lengths. I like my bowl to sit well above my draw and hose.
Step 3: Making Top Hole
I used a dremel to pilot the holes initially but for the sake of time I used a drill press for the majority of the work. I measure a number of times because getting the alignment wrong on this would mean being out one mini fridge. I used a metal file to refine my work. My holes are very very snug and scrape when the pipes are removed. Make sure to clean out your holes and fridge chamber of shavings. You will be inhaling things into your lungs and I hate even in theory the idea of metal shavings being inhaled. Treat each stage of the project as somewhere you would eat.
Step 4: Making Gaskets
Getting a good gasket is tough! I went through several iterations/attempts before a combination of home depot expertise and Steve at ps1 gave me the perfect solution. Use your excess pieces of metal from the cut pipes. Cut down to about an inch (less works) and flip your gasket so that is face down. Place punch on location you want the pipe to route through. consider putting a towel or other dampener in between and thwack with hammer. Remove rubber excess from hole. Repeat as needed for additional holes (I had two different punches and two holes).
For the gasket for the hookah bowl I used a piece from a toilet tank floater. This worked perfectly and was just serendipity. I was on one of my iterations of gasket attempts for the base when the piece I currently use for the bowl gasket broke off from my attempt at gasketing the base.
*all rubber was washed thoroughly before use*
Step 5: Putting It Together
I put my copper pipes in. Then place on the gasket. Once this is together I am loathe to remove it (don't want to damage gasket, especially since my gasket holes are so close). The pipes can be lowered for storage purposes and when in transport. I raise the pipes and gasket to the top and angle the water filled base in under them. I then lower the gasket and use my thumbs to leverage it around the base neck. I lower the pipes to the desired depths, one submerged (the bowl line) and one in the chamber (the hose draw). I usually have left on the bowl gasket unless I previously needed to clean it but add now if you are assembling. Then I place the bowl (which I have full prepped with hookah stones homemade:). I use the flexi metal hoses(from home depot) which I screw in but you could use a traditional hose. I plug in the fridge and set to chill. I then light my coal (electric heating element in the works) set my wind screen and am ready to smoke/steam.
Step 6: Addendum
This project is maybe 1/3 of where I want to take this. I may eventually make a commercial version. I have a list of 100 improvements. If you know how to talk with a manufacturer I have more sophisticated design, this was prototype 1 of several.