Did you make a cooler / ice box? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-01-2010 Thread Starter
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Did you make a cooler / ice box?

I'm thinking of making a cooler out of fiberglass and foam. Putting a lid on the top for loading, and a small door in the front to get drinks/sandwiches out of with out having to pull it out from underneath the companionway to open the lid.

I do like the location, as its centered, low, and acts as a step at times. But it's a real inconvenience to drag it out when we want a beverage. Here is a pic of another boat's set up. My cooler fits farther back under the opening.

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post #2 of 8 Old 04-01-2010
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as im working on upgrading my icebox ive been doing some reading on this, one thing that was mentioned is that as cold air sinks, a 'front loading door,' can be sorta inefficient as when you open it, the cold air spills out

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post #3 of 8 Old 04-01-2010
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A toploading ice box IS the only way to go on a boat, esp w/o refrigeration. So for your situation in that location you'd end up taking up more floor space for decent access.

Using foam and glass works well, we made a pretty efficient one that way a number of years back, but it was built into the galley against the hull, lined with 4 inches of foam and the whole thing skinned with epoxy resin and cloth. We were able to maximize the volume by following the hull curvature and created a bottom cavity for ice, leaving more space for food (and BEER!!)


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post #4 of 8 Old 04-01-2010
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You want to maximize insulation and minimize infiltration for an efficient cooler. This means a very small opening on the top if you want a very efficient setup. There are diminishing returns on increasing insulation since infiltration starts to become more important and you also can't store anything at some point since there is no room left inside.

If you decide to make it out of foam and fiberglass, make sure that no water can get into the foam. We recently built a new icebox to replace one that had gotten contaminated and doubled in weight and lost most of its insulating properties. Excluding vacuums, air is one of the best insulators (foam basically traps air and prevents convection) but water is a very poor insulator so you need to keep it out of the foam.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-02-2010
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There are lots of googleable sites out there to assist in fabribcating an fridge. I reinsulated my OEM icebox and used an alder barber cold machine to turn it into a true refer. I found inexpensive 3M foam board and conventional bathroom 'frb' as very suitable. I used 3" of insulation on all 6 sides and the little alder barber will freeze the 9 cubic feet interior solid if I'm not careful to keep the temp setting correct. Good luck.
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-03-2010
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I used spray foam to glue it all together before I glassed it.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-03-2010
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Get some 100# capacity ball bearing full extension drawer glides, make a small platform for the cooler to set on, a couple of blocks at the corners will transfer weight directly to the sole when cooler is used as a step. (set up so when closed the platform sits on the blocks) A drop pin, or latch to keep it from sliding out when you don't want it to.

It's the way I have the icebox set up in my Ariel, under the counter at the companionway, Ice box is 18" deep, so when it's closed I have a 6" step at one end, and a shallow drawer/cabinet at the other.

The 24" glides were $12.00/pair at the local Menards store (big box store like home depot)


Edit: I agree, the topload design is the way to go, just look at the energy consumption stats for freezers in the local appliance shops, toploaders always have much lower figures.
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-04-2010
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The things don't fall out of a top loader when heeling.

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