|Project by mbfunke||posted 01-31-2014 07:03 PM||2179 views||30 times favorited||4 comments|
Hi all, I know there are tons of these out there, but mine has some cool features and science.
I was out running one day and noticed that an apartment complex nearby was throwing away some pine shelving from a laundry room. I came back and picked up a ton of the stuff, which is good because this thing took lots of lumber. It’s probably thicker and bigger than necessary, but all that lumber helps with the insulation.
Speaking of insulation, the coleman cooler I had laying around did a lousy job of it. Here in Florida insulation is important when keeping things cold and my old cooler couldn’t handle ice for more that 5-6 summer hours. With added 3/4” foam insulation and 3/4” pine insulation, now it’s a three day cooler! Seriously, I tested it in a shady spot outside, filled with ice, on summer days averaging stinking hot and the ice lasted three full days!
I built frames for the sides of the cooler first, using butt joints and pocket screws. I built each dimension 3” too large so that I could accommodate the vertical “panels,” solid insulation and the cooler. Once I was sure the cooler would fit I glued and screwed boards inside the frames to conceal the cooler body. These boards have beveled edges on the outside to add decorate appeal. Then I attached the 3/4” foam insulation board to the decorative boards.
Next was the frame around the cooler opening. I am terrible at producing miters, but decided that the top should really be mitered—I think it turned out ok. Also of note is that this top frame is proud of the support structure on three sides, front, left and right. It sits just forward of the back support frame to allow the lid to fall back slightly beyond 90 degrees. I also beveled the top of the rear support frame for this reason. I was worried that at only 90 degrees the lid might fall on someone’s fingers.
The lid is a bit of a punt really. The lid frame is just butt jointed with pocket holes because I’m terrible at mitering and I figured the front wouldn’t show any end-grain either way. There is a rabbet all the way around about 3/8” deep so that the “panel” boards sit proud about 3/8”. They are beveled all the way around and produce a sort of pillowed effect. The cooler lid is attached screws and the entire lid with a piano hinge. It opens and closes perfectly with a very satisfying vacuum noise.
Although the cooler can be removed I wanted to add a fixed drain both because removing the cooler is a pita and because it looked cool on other coolers here. Conveniently, the stock drain comes apart and the inside bit fits with commercially available pvc fittings. I attached the stock fitting to a piece of pvc tubing, bent the tube to a close enough angle using a heat gun and added the brass drain spout to the outside.
The shelf on the bottom is there because I like using available space and it seemed like a handy place for drink storage. Also, the bottom has 3” locking castors.
Finally, I added a fancy handle and bottle opener. My neighbor loves it. My wife wonders why we can’t just use the refrigerator.
I told her the neighbor has a refrigerator. Some people will just never get it. :)
-- Mike Funke