I decided to make a Wine Barrel into a Kegerator. Then I decided to add a joystick tap to select different brews. Then I decided I wanted it to pee beer from a statue. Here's how it went
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Step 1: Get a Wine Barrel
First, you're going to need a wine barrel. One of my friends works at a winery so I was able to get a wine barrel for a pretty cheap. I opened it up and let it dry out because there was still residual wine in it. made the house smell STRONGLY of wine,so I had to put it outside. you need to remove little nails in the metal rings. Then beat those suckers loose with a hammer or other suitable object for blunt force. Dont remove all the rings because you'l never get the barrel back together if you do.
Step 2: Get and Tear Apart a Mini Fridge
I bought a used mini fridge off craigslist for 20$ This is going to be ripped apart for the functioning innards, so I don't recommend buying a new one in case you mess it up. I went for one that was medium sized rather than the little tiny ones you find in dorm rooms and such. Remove all the metal and foam, leaving the coils and compressor isolated. You may need to pull/cut some wires but mark what wires goes where. You could probably re-use the built in thermostat but I opted to wire up a STC 1000, which is common for kegerator projects.(http://www.amazon.com/Elitech-All-Purpose-Temperature-Controller-Thermostat/dp/B008KVCPH2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417926318&sr=8-1&keywords=stc+1000) .
Step 3: Affix Refridgerator Components to Barrel Bottom
This is kind of tricky and there's no real "right way" to do it. I cut a circular piece of plywood by nailing a board in the middle as a pivot arm and flushed up a jigsaw to it. There are many ways to cut a circle (youtube it), just make sure the piece is smaller than the inner diameter of the lip of the wine barrel. In the middle of this piece I cut a circular hole to put the compressor through so the top was poking through. I then mounted the compressor with ~6" anchor bolts, so it kind of floats in mid air (less vibrations). I also cut a hole in the wine barrel to match this hole, allowing a path to put the cold evaporator coils inside.
Then I bent the condensor coils to fit on the plywood piece and used aluminum tape to secure them down and also help with heat dissipation. I put Castor wheels on there to make moving it around easier. I actually ended up using different casters than pictured to get a little more ground clearance. I switched to these on their lowest setting (http://www.amazon.com/Shepherd-9532-Risers-Adjusta...
Step 4: Insulate Wine Barrel
I decided to use ~2in thick styrofoam sheets from home depot. I then cut them in strips, similar in width to the vertical staves of the wine barrel. I used a spray on adhesive to stick them to the wood. Fill the gaps between them with expanding foam in a can. For the bottom section, cut a circular section of styrofoam and use the same method. If I were to do this project again, I would not use this method. I would buy pour-able foam and use something like a trash can as a mold to leave a hollow center. Not pictured: Use aluminum tape to hold the cold evaporation coils to the sides of the insulation.
Step 5: Create Access to Inside
Once you have the keg insulated and the refrigerator components in place, put the barrel back together. Cut a circular access hole big enough to fit a cornelius keg through.
I used a piped mannekin pis statue as my tap. It's available from most garden suppliers or amazon/ebay. To cover the access hole I glued it to a 12" marble cheese/pastry board. I used E-6000 glue, this stuff works great and dries clear. Before gluing the statue to the cheese board make sure that you drill a clearance hole for the rubber tube coming out of the statue which is where the beer will flow. A spade bit makes drilling granite pretty easy and there's no blow through on the back of the holes.
After that I put thread inserts around the clearance hole. I tried to place them in the middle of each wooden plank, so they are no necessarily symmetrical. These allow you to use machine screws to hold down the statue.
Step 6: Wiring and Plumbing
For plumbing you are going to need the normal quick disconnect adapters for cornelius keg fittings, 4 liquid solenoid valves, a bunch of barbed wye fittings, and a pair of barbed male/female quick disconnect fittings. I recommend wye splitters over converging the beer lines in a manifold because they cause less turbulence, keeping the beer from foaming up in transit. You can use whatever for the gas. Ball valves can be added but aren't necessary as most fluid solenoids are normally closed.
The quick disconnect is used to detach the statue from the lines in order to change kegs. One side of the connection goes into the pre-piped tube coming out of the statue, and the other side attaches to where the beer lines converge.
For the Tap handle I got a joystick off of ebay. Then I used a 1/4-28 to 3/8-16 thread adapter to allow the joystick to accept standard tap handles. Each position of the joystick operates a different solenoid. 3 positions are for beer while the last one is to purge the line. This is useful for changing kegs so when you disconnect the statue, the beer in the line doesn't go everywhere. I put the joystick in a small jewelry box and screwed it to the top of the kegerator, with a clearance hole for wiring.
I suggest Using a waterproof junction or electronics box for wiring the solenoids. the Inside of a kegerator is a moist wet environment (condensation) and you don't want moisture shorting connections resulting in beer being dispensed unintentionally. For the wires going to the joystick I used a 9-stranded cable (1 strand unused) to remove excess clutter. Not pictured is a small 2A 12v power supply mounted to the bottom of the barrel. Wires were ran into the barrel through a drilled hole, then hit with expanding foam to seal it up.
Step 7: Finishing Touches and Enjoy!
One thing I got caught up on was what to do with the bung hole (huehehe... "bung hole"). I found a thermometer that fits almost perfectly in the bung hole and hot glued it in place, after poking the probe through the foam. It works and looks good!
All that's left is to load the kegs in (easier said than done), connect up the gas/ beer lines and enjoy!
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