biulding an icebox from scratch
I am building an icebox from scratch on my boat and could use advice on a few things. I have most of it figured out, type/thickness of insulation and general design. My main question is what is the best way to line it and the "plug" for the door, the actual out side of the door (top load) is a very thick/heavy 3" wood cutting board that extends to the sink. The actual food section is approx 12"x 18" x 16" deep(the block ice is up and behind the food, loaded from the deck). Any suggestions are welcome, I also plan to someday move out of the 19th century and put in some sort of thermo-electric system so am building it to be upgradeable
Fiberglass interior from lowes, door from rparts
I added some blue foam insulation to the interior my existing box and covered it with fiberglass panels from Lowes home center. The fiberglass panel is meant to be used on the wall of a cheap shower surround. It had a bumpy front surface, which is not what I wanted. But the back was smooth so I polished that and waxed it and used it as the inside of the fridge. On the other side I sanded the of the high points of the bumps and glued it to the insulation. I used caulk on the edges. It came out prettty well and was a cost effective way to upgrade.
There are 'pultruded' fiberglass panels that are probably a stronger solution, but they are also much more expensive. See White Fiberglass Sheet for what rParts offers.
I used rParts to supply me with a new door - see RParts: Refrigeration Parts Solution (Click down to building materials) I glued my own wood exterior onto one of these doors with thickened epoxy. The rood swings from hinges mounted to the glued on panel. These doors/hatches are also pretty expensive, but half the price at Rparts than I could find elsewhere.
Large door - $329 online; reaching the beer at the bottom of the fridge - priceless.
We created our own on a former boat, basically we 'framed/formed' it with foam panels, then sealed it with a few layers of epoxy resin and cloth (used regular construction styrofoam, OK with epoxy but would dissolve with polyester resin).
For the lid we made a two part lift lid (top load) and put the same foam w/epoxy skin on the underside. A small opening section for quickly grabbing a beer, but both lids up to load/rearrange things.
You could also carve a "mold" out of styrofoam, spray it with mold release and then glass over it to make a nice, fairly good looking fiberglass box for the interior of the icebox. You could even mold in a drain and such into the fiberglass. It wouldn't be that hard to do, and would be fairly strong, especially if you laminate the foam to the exterior and glass over the whole thing again... :)
BTW, a friend did this and we glassed in a PVC pipe for the drain to the refrigerator and installed a drain plug from a sailing dinghy, like this one, for the drain:
If you're planning to make it upgradeable, you could glass in some PVC pipe to make openings to run the copper pipe through for when you decide to upgrade to a refrigerated unit, and then back fill the PVC pipes with either expanding foam or styrofoam that is cut to fit.
It is a pretty simple project and would give you some good experience with fiberglassing and epoxy... and that is never a bad thing on a GRP boat. :)
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