FrogDog Chest Freezer Conversion

 

The following DIY project converts a chest freezer into a keg cooler.  At this point in time the keezer will only be equipped to handle homebrew kegs and not commercial kegs.

 

**WARNING**

This project does use power tools.  Please read the operating manual and use the appropriate safety gear. 

 

Below is the finished product.  I will be buying 4 additional tabs and a drip tray in the future. 

 

Parts List

Item

Quantity

Price Each

Price Total For Me

Items Bought Specifically for this project

Chest Freezer

1

$50

$50

2 x 6 wood

3

$15

$45 (Free for me!)

Can of polyurethane / Brush / Mineral Spirits /Sand

1

$35

$35

Faucet assembly

Beer Hex Nut $1.05

        Neoprene Washer $.10

Perlick Forward Seal - 525ss $28.99

SS Shank 4" $20.99

      SS Tail Piece 1/4" $3.25

    Tubing 3/16" 10 ft  $6.50

 

5

$61

$305

Various Screws / Drill Bit / Caulk/ Spray Paint / Wood Glue

1 each

$28

$28

Items that I had but would need

Single Keg Setup

5 lb CO2 Tank

5 Gallon Soda Keg

CO2 Regulator

Picnic Tap / beer line / Ball Valve

Gas Line / Ball valve

 

1

$158

$158

Additional  Kegs

4

$35

$140

5 Way Air Distributer with check

1

$73

$73

Ranco Digital Temp Controller

1

$100

$100 (Xmas Gift)

Total Price

$889

 

 

Recommended Tools

 

12 ‘’ miter saw (Could use circular saw or miter box)

Table saw (Could use circular saw)

Palm Router

Palm Sander

Nail Gun

Drill

Screw Driver

Wrench Set

Square

 

Build Steps

Before I begin I would like to explain that I did not come up with this plan.  I have to give credit to others on the internet.  I do however feel that my design is unique in the way of the wood I used, cedar, and by using a solid piece of wood, 2x6, instead of using a 2x4 with a 1x6 on the outside.  The initial design was taken from Chest Freezer Conversion for Serving Homebrew.

 

Why build a wood collar?

In the original design 2x4 wood was cut to the same size as the outside diameter of the chest freezer.  This is created to add additional height to the chest freezer and as an area to drill holes, hang pressure regulators, etc..  You do not want to drill holes into the original chest freezer because of the internal cooling parts.  Drilling through a coolant line will leave you with a big metal box that doesn’t cool!  The 1x6 is used as an overhang/skirt to secure the 2x4 to the chest freezer.  Because we do not want to drill into the chest freezer to secure the 2x4, the 1x6 overhang is used to secure the entire addition to the chest freezer by means of silicone and wedging.  As stated above, I am using a single 2x6 instead of the multiple board concept.  I will notch a 2x1 section out of the 2x6 to create the overhang.    The height of the collar will depend upon the original depth of your chest freezer.  You want to make sure you can get all of the homebrew soda kegs into your keezer that you can.  A homebrew keg is aprox 26’’ tall when the posts are attached (exact keg dimensions can be found here).  You might also want to make sure you have enough room on the chest freezer compressor hump to add additional items….such as a carboy, CO2 tank, additional kegs, etc..  What ever you decided, make sure you have measured and written down your plans before you begin your project.

 

 

  1. Measure the outside diameter of the chest freezer.  In my case the measurements were 40 x 21.5 inches.

 

 

 

  1. Determine 2x6 cuts

Note:  If you use cut lumber then the size of your 2x6 will actually be 1.5x5.5.  I was lucky enough to get a rough cut 2x6 where the actual size was 2x6.  I had to plain down the lumber 1/16 of an inch on each size so that I did not have to sand too much.  I wanted to point this out before we got started because this will effect your end measurements.

     

The overhang portion of my collar is aprox 1 inch.  That leaves me with 1 inch to sit on the top of the chest freezer and 1 inch as the overhang.  The width of my chest freezer is 40 inches so the total width of the front and back boards will be 42 inches each..  The depth was 21.5 so the left and right side boards will be 23.5 inches each.

 

                  Front and Back board sizes

                              40 ‘’ (width of chest freezer)  +1 (width of overhand on left)  + 1 (width of overhang on right) = 42 inches

 

Left and Right board sizes

                              21.5 ‘’ (width of chest freezer)  +1 (width of overhand on left)  + 1 (width of overhang on right) = 23.5 inches

 

 

        

  1. Cut boards to length with 45* Angle

 

Mark the measurements you took in step 3 on the 2x6 boards.  These markings will be your outside measurement of the 45* angle.   Mark the boards so that each has a 45* angle and will join to make a perfect 90* square when laid out.  You can mark the 45* angle by measuring the height of the board (2’’ in my case) and then measure in by the same distance.  Connect the 2 markings with a line.  This will create a 45* angle.  Cut the 45* angle with a miter saw, miter box or a circular saw with a blade tilted to be 45*.  Always measure twice and cut once!

 

Example

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Cut notch for overhang/skirt

 

Once the boards have been cut down to size and the 45* angles have been cut you can cut the notch out the boards for the overhang/skirt that will wrap around the chest freezer.  To do this simply mark distance that you decided earlier that you wanted the 2x6 to overhang the width of the original chest freezer outside dimensions…In my case this was 1’’ (Step 2 lip measurement).  Then mark the distance that you want the skirt to hang down past the original top of the chest freezer….I selected 2’’. 

 

I used a table saw to make this cut.  The first cut will be the 2’’  cut.  Adjust your fence on the table saw 1’’ and the blade height to be 2’’.  Make all of your first cuts before changing the fence and blade adjustments for the second cut.  The second cut requires the fence to be adjusted to 2’’ and the depth of the blade to 1’’.  Make sure the cuts are on the inside of your 45* angle. 

 

 

 

  1. Nail and glue collar

 

All of your pieces should now be cut.  Layout all of your wood and verify that your cuts were correct and your collar is square.   If there are any issues correct them….if there are not, glue and nail.  I used Gorilla glue and a finish nail gun with 2’’ nails.  To date, I have had no problems with the collar coming apart.  You could use screws instead of the nails if you feel the nails will not hold the collar together.

 

  1. Route hinge sections

 

The hinges for the top of the chest freezer will be attached to the new collar that was just built.  The hinges must be flush with the outside diameter of the original chest freezer.  Because I used a 2x6 and have a 1’’ lip around the entire chest freezer, I notch out the area that the hinges will attach to the collar.  To do this I used a router.  Simply place the chest freezer lid on top of the collar.  Draw a line around the area that the hinge will need to be on the collar.  This area will be routed down 1’’ so that the hinges will fit correctly.

 

 

 

Once the hinge area has been routed you can mark the holes to attach the hinges.  Drill each hole with the appropriate drill bit.  I used galvanized screws with a washer and nut to secure the hinges to the collar.

 

 

 

  1. Add bar to attach Air Distributor

 

I had to add an additional bar to the inside of my collar because the collar did not sit flush with the inside of the chest freezer.  This bar will allow me to mount the CO2 air distributor or additional regulators without hitting the inside lip of the chest freezer.  This step is optional and will be determined by the construction of your chest freezer.

 

 

 

  1. Drill Holes for Faucets

 

 

 

I decided to go with 5 faucets on the front of my collar.  The number of faucets that can be added will directly be related to the number of kegs you can fit in your chest freezer.  My faucets are offset 4.5 ‘’ from the center.  I did this because in the future I will buy a 24’’ drip tray that has the faucet cut outs.

 

Find the center of your collar.  This will be the position of your first faucet.  Measure 4.5’’ to the left and right of the center position.  This will be the other two faucet positions.  Then you can measure 4.5’’ from the previous markings to get the rest of your faucet positions.   The height of your faucet should be the center of the collar that is exposed to the inside of the chest freezer and not the entire height of the collar from the outside. 

 

Once you have marked the faucet position carefully drill through the collar with a 7/8 hole drill bit.  You can either place a piece of wood or a piece of tape on the back side to keep the drill bit from splintering the wood when it comes through the back of the wood. 

 

  1. Finish Collar

 

I finished my collar with nothing more than polyurethane.  I wanted the natural grain of the cedar to pop.  I patched any nicks and scratches with sanding dust and wood glue.  I used 80, 120,  and 180 grit sandpaper to finish the collar.  I then added 3 coats of indoor/outdoor polyurethane with a 220 grit sanding between each coat.  I used the indoor/outdoor polyurethane due to the moisture that might occur due to the freezer condensation. 

 

                   

 

  1. Paint Chest Freezer (optional)
    1. Remove lid from chest freezer. 
    2. Remove seal from lid.
    3. Tape up all areas that do not need to be painted.
    4. Paint chest freezer the appropriate color.  Make sure to paint with overlapping sprays or the final look will not turn out correct.

 

  1. Put it all together

 

You are now ready to complete your project.  Place a little caulk on the top of chest freezer where your collar will sit.  Push the collar down on to the top of chest freezer….you might have to hammer it down because of how tight the fit is around the outside of the chest freezer.  Be careful during the collar installation because you don’t want to scratch your new collar.  You can use a towel and an additional board to get the collar to sit flush on the chest freezer.  Once the collar is in place, caulk all around the collar, attach the chest freezer lid, drill your hole for the temperature probe that is attached to your thermostat and install your CO2 gas distributor. 

 

Hopefully you have a couple of kegs filled because you will want to test out your new keezer as soon as you can. 

 

 

Cheers!!!

 

 

Pictures of my finished keezer….