Building a fermentation chamber. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Building a fermentation chamber.

Hello all, I'm big into home brewing and wanted/needed to build a fermentation chamber for better temp control here in S Florida. I gutted a mini fridge I had that had a broken door and took out the refrigeration unit to be used in the chamber. At first I was going to make this a top load with a freezer type lid but after I started the build I decided I want front load with doors.

Now I'm no Bob the Builder so I'm sure you will all see problems with my design and build. This is all going together with material I acquired from friends/work. I'm trying to do this on a budget (I'm broke) so I don't have the money for the stuff I would rather have so I must make do with what I have.

For those of you who don't know what a Fermentation Chamber is, its like a fridge but with a much wider range of temp control.

My biggest problem right now is the doors. I need them to seal tight so no air leaks in/out.

What I'm hoping to get from all of you is help with the design of the doors.

Dan
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post #2 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 11:36 AM Thread Starter
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Here are some pics of the build so far.








Dan
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post #3 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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In these pics you can see what will be going inside of the chamber and the size relationship of the stuff to the chamber itself.




Dan
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post #4 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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In these pics you can see that I put a bottom on the chamber, wheels, mounted the compressor and condenser.








Dan
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post #5 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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OK, now that you have seen what I've done so far I'll explain what I still need to do and what I need help with.

Next I need to attach the exterior walls with 3/4" plywood then seal all the internal seams, install the insulation which will be two layers of R-Matte Plus 3 R-5 for a total insulation value of R-10.

Then I will cover all the insulation with plastic sheathing. Oh I also need to run the wiring for the temp controller and fans. This will be done before the insulation is put in.

As for putting plywood on the front where the doors go, Im not sure yet as what I'm going to do.

Inside the chamber the insulation will fit inside the 1 1/2 inch space inside the frame walls. That being said the floor will be 3/4" higher then the bottom frame.

You can see that the soda keg is almost as big as the opening already so I dont want to make the opening much smaller if I dont have to.

So my main question is this. How should I design/attach the doors so they are square and seal good.

Dan
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post #6 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewman View Post
OK, now that you have seen what I've done so far I'll explain what I still need to do and what I need help with.

Next I need to attach the exterior walls with 3/4" plywood then seal all the internal seams, install the insulation which will be two layers of R-Matte Plus 3 R-5 for a total insulation value of R-10.

Then I will cover all the insulation with plastic sheathing. Oh I also need to run the wiring for the temp controller and fans. This will be done before the insulation is put in.

As for putting plywood on the front where the doors go, Im not sure yet as what I'm going to do.

Inside the chamber the insulation will fit inside the 1 1/2 inch space inside the frame walls. That being said the floor will be 3/4" higher then the bottom frame.

You can see that the soda keg is almost as big as the opening already so I dont want to make the opening much smaller if I dont have to.

So my main question is this. How should I design/attach the doors so they are square and seal good.

Dan
Can I make a quick suggestion regarding insulation? Have you considered spray foam insualtion? You will get a much better vapor/air and moisture seal, and depending on how thick you go with it, a much better R-value. It won't break down or matte over time like fiberglass batting will and it will add a little bit of ridgitity for you in terms of structure. You will basically have a foam cooler effect. I would look at closed cell spray foam as an option. I know you said budget is a bit tight but you can get small kits fairly inexpensively and it's very easy to apply.

Just a thought

Last edited by Tom5151; 01-25-2012 at 01:12 PM.
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post #7 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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I've used two part foam before in my High Power Rocketry hobby but never used it as insulation. Do you need a special sprayer for this?

Dan
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post #8 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:17 PM
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I've used two part foam before in my High Power Rocketry hobby but never used it as insulation. Do you need a special sprayer for this?

Dan
Hey Dan,

Nope. Nothing special needed. Everything you need comes with the kit. There are a number of suppliers out there but I have had good luck with one in particular. Here is a link to their smallest kit

https://www.sprayfoamdirect.com/prod...mart/Itemid,1/

I have used their larger kits before to spray a house and it makes a huge difference. Their site gives a lot of good information.

BTW...I have no vested interest in this company. I simply have had very good results with them.
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post #9 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:22 PM
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For your doors you could use a foam core door that you can get at any big box. You'll just need to modify them to fit your sizing needs. Then some good old weather stripping to eliminate any drafts or airflow.

You could always make a foam core door by sandwiching some ridgid foam insualtion between a couple of peices of plywood and enclosing the edges.
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post #10 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Hey Dan,

Nope. Nothing special needed. Everything you need comes with the kit. There are a number of suppliers out there but I have had good luck with one in particular. Here is a link to their smallest kit

https://www.sprayfoamdirect.com/prod...mart/Itemid,1/

I have used their larger kits before to spray a house and it makes a huge difference. Their site gives a lot of good information.

BTW...I have no vested interest in this company. I simply have had very good results with them.

With the 1.5 inches I have to work with the spray foam will give me a R value of 10.05.

After I spray it in the areas I want it how do i cut it down flat so I can put the plastic sheathing on it.

Dan
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post #11 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:29 PM
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With the 1.5 inches I have to work with the spray foam will give me a R value of 10.05.

After I spray it in the areas I want it how do i cut it down flat so I can put the plastic sheathing on it.

Dan
You won't need plastic sheating with the foam. It's acts as its own vapor barrier. If you end up with high spots you can shave them off with a hand saw or scrape them down flat. I even used a bread knife in some spots. It's very easy to tool this stuff once its dry
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post #12 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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For your doors you could use a foam core door that you can get at any big box. You'll just need to modify them to fit your sizing needs. Then some good old weather stripping to eliminate any drafts or airflow.

You could always make a foam core door by sandwiching some ridgid foam insualtion between a couple of peices of plywood and enclosing the edges.

What I WAS thinking is this. Put a piece of plywood over the front with the holes cut out for the doors. Then get to more pieces of plywood bigger then the holes so you have overlap and in the inside of the door place the insulating sheathing so when you close the door it goes in the hole to the same depth as the rest of the insulation.

Will the foam core doors have an R rating?

Dan
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post #13 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Brewman View Post
What I WAS thinking is this. Put a piece of plywood over the front with the holes cut out for the doors. Then get to more pieces of plywood bigger then the holes so you have overlap and in the inside of the door place the insulating sheathing so when you close the door it goes in the hole to the same depth as the rest of the insulation.

Will the foam core doors have an R rating?

Dan
You can certainly try it the way you were planning and see what you think.

The foam core doors do have an R-value. It just depends on the thickness of the door and the foam in the door. What I have also done in the past when using a foam core and needing more R-value, is to build a 2X4 picture frame on the inisde surface of the door and then put a sheet of properly sized ridgid foam inside that frame.
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post #14 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:39 PM Thread Starter
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Are you talking door like a bedroom door or something? I would have to cut it down to size then it would have exposed foam on the cut sides. Then I would have to cover the cut sides with something.

Am I correct in this thinking?

Dan
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post #15 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:42 PM
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Are you talking door like a bedroom door or something? I would have to cut it down to size then it would have exposed foam on the cut sides. Then I would have to cover the cut sides with something.

Am I correct in this thinking?

Dan
Yes you are correct......It is simply a flat door with foam in the middle. Depending on the size of your doors you might be able to get both of them out of one door.......I would check the big boxes in your area to see what they have....

btw...i am home brewer myself...i am not very good at it but I have a lot of fun with it.....have a coffee stout just about ready to bottle.....
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post #16 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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Very cool. Do you have a ferm chamber or do you use something else?

Dan
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post #17 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:49 PM
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Very cool. Do you have a ferm chamber or do you use something else?

Dan
I don't have a ferm chamber at this point.

I just primary and secondary in the house. I can control the temp pretty good in one of the rooms i have.
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post #18 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Extract, partial mash or all grain?

Dan
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post #19 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:53 PM
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Extract, partial mash or all grain?

Dan
LOL...I am a total newb.....all extract so far
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post #20 of 52 Old 01-25-2012, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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We are making the jump from extract to partial mash / all grain after we get the chamber up and running. There are some good forums out there for home brewing. Temp control is very important, that's why we are making this chamber.

Dan
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