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FBC Fermentation Cabinets
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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 7:07 pm    Post subject: FBC Fermentation Cabinets Reply with quote


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I started a thread two years ago this month about my idea for a fermentation cabinet and controlling the temperature (it doesn't seem that long ago...or maybe it does). In May of this year I thought I would be done in a month, turns out that was laughable. NOW, I'm hoping to be done before family comes for Christmas. I think that's mostly doable.

*(Edit: I finally finished mid-Jan). I've also updated the pictures to show the finished product. I'll start posting the build pictures and items that I used now that I'm done.

The idea was to have 4 cabinets that were multi-funtional. I currently plan to use one as a beer cellar (the far right one with a solid door and no LED's - since light damages beer), one as a wine bottle cellar and two for fermentation/ conditioning. I made them all the same (sensors and control boxes), so they can all be used as cellars or fermentation cabinets at a later date. I can fit:
(1) Blichmann 14.5 G Conical on extension legs (or expand to 26 G if I get the Blichmann Capacity Extension (without legs))
OR (2) 7 G conical fermenters if I ever buy any,
OR (6) 5 gallon glass carboys or (4) 6 gallon glass carboys,
AND/ OR (5 or 10) ball lock kegs, and/or various combinations of the above.

Some of you will probably ask why I didn't just buy fridges off Craigslist. Surely I've seen all the fermentation cabinet builds using fridges and temp control switches? This certainly would have taken less time if I'd done that, but I wanted to maximize that wall space and maybe could have fit 3 fridges along that wall. I also didn't want to deal with 3 different appliances that were in various conditions that could fail, plus - the aesthetics. I wanted glass doors and everything to look the same. That would have been crazy expensive to buy commercial fridges new. If you've seen my brewery build, you know that aesthetics are important to me. I also didn't want three to four fridges all drawing 120V and cycling all the time.

To control noise, heat, and electricity draw, my build is based on a 24v DC system. Each control box has a power converter to drop 120v to 24v. Powered are: the solenoid that allows glycol into the chamber, two computer fans, Auber DIN controller, a light bar, thermocouple, and a flexible pad heater. The air circulates continuously over a fin transmission cooler that has glycol flowing through it, when indicated. These cabinets don't function so much like a fridge (which removes heat) as much as a cold room (where cold is added) - although that's just semantics - there is a transfer of heat, and the cabinets do cool well. In a test I was able to cool 12 gallons of 86'F water to 45' in two days in a 75' room. I was able to hold 65' F no problem on a recent Berliner Weiss. Lagering tests to follow.

Links related to this build:
Control box wiring: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=320735#320735
Cooling experiment data: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=30538
FBC Brewery Build: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=28523



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Last edited by McGruber on Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:31 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Mr Walleye



Joined: 23 Dec 2013
Posts: 73
Location: Ossining, NY


PostLink    Posted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Very cool!
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10652
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow - nice job! Thanks for sharing!

Kal

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jcav



Joined: 21 Sep 2011
Posts: 191
Location: Central Florida


PostLink    Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man that is awesome, great job!

John

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rhoffmann79



Joined: 13 Oct 2016
Posts: 2
Location: Columbus, OH


PostLink    Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks GREAT!! What kind of cabinets did you use for your build?
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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rhoffmann79 wrote:
That looks GREAT!! What kind of cabinets did you use for your build?

Thanks! People have been asking me where I bought the cabinets, but I built them. Because I wanted to fit 4 cabinets along that wall I just figured out the size that I wanted them to be and custom made them. I took standard framing 2X4's and ripped them to 2 X 2" (actually 1.5" X 2") for the walls, and built a base plate (3/4" plywood) that would handle the weight of whatever I put on it.

Edit: I should note, that the side wall framing seems to be spaced out strangely, but that was so I could mount shelving brackets closer to the edges of the walls to carry the load better.



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Last edited by McGruber on Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then I cut high density R-13.1 rigid insulation into/around the frame, caulked any large gaps, and then insulation taped all seams to make it air-tight.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Thermasheath-Rmax-Thermasheath-3-2-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-R-13-1-Polyisocyanurate-Rigid-Foam-Insulation-Board-613010/100573703

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Reflectix-2-in-x-30-ft-Reflective-Foil-Tape-FT210/100318556



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Last edited by McGruber on Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:35 pm; edited 2 times in total
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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I then covered the cabinet in 1/4" plywood to keep the weight and overall dimensions as little/small as possible, and yet provide a durable exterior.

I would do this differently next time, and choose something more rigid and smooth (more on that later). Despite pre-drilling it showed screw indentations and insulation height imperfections super easily, and caused me headaches with where the panels joined at the edges (wavy).



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Last edited by McGruber on Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Then I cut Plastic Composite FRP wall board to fit all surfaces in the interior, fastened it with Paneling Adhesive, and trimmed it all out with panel corner moulding, vinyl 1/4 round trim, and caulk.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/4-ft-x-8-ft-White-090-FRP-Wall-Board-MFTF12IXA480009600/100389836?MERCH=REC-_-NavPLPHorizontal1_rr-_-NA-_-100389836-_-N
http://www.homedepot.com/p/854-1-2-in-x-7-8-in-x-8-ft-PVC-FRP-Inside-Corner-Moulding-White-0085408011/100576770
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Alexandria-Moulding-1-2-in-x-1-2-in-x-144-in-Vinyl-Quarter-Round-Moulding-PM332-ZW144C/202053804
http://www.homedepot.com/p/DAP-Dynaflex-230-10-1-oz-Premium-Indoor-Outdoor-Sealant-18275/100035980

Had to get creative with bracing while the adhesive dried, and trim joints.

(BTW: most of the trim pieces are placed onto the panel before the panel gets glued in place - makes them more difficult to move or cut)



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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The outside of the cabinet was then covered in a stainless steel veneer ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BAUPS9M/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&psc=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=theelectricbrewery-20&linkId=ec6cf30e3e99eda3ef1a3560b310456b )


Because application requires spraying the back of the sticker and the surface it is getting adhered to with water, it was suggested that I seal the wood against the water so it didn't swell. So they all got roll-on painted with a oil based sealant (I forget exactly what it was) - I think a grey deck primer? This had the added benefit of covering up some of the texture and imperfections. However, this created more work and expense for me, and is another reason why I would find an exterior panel that was more sturdy and smoother than the plywood I used.

The sticker manufacturer says that it will hide imperfections like scratches, textures, and dents. But in my experience, this is an exaggeration - it would certainly hide scratches on an appliance (its actual intended use) but it shows any texture. Without question, the veneer worked best when applied to the smooth Melamine Board I used for the Beer Cellar door.



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Last edited by McGruber on Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They also all got heavy duty adjustable Leg Levelers.

https://www.amazon.com/Leg-Leveler-with-T-nut-4-pack/dp/B015TLY4YM/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=P78XH80FC3CAV6752BWF&linkCode=ll1&tag=theelectricbrewery-20&linkId=2f694bade91cf57567cf3f216dd6c39b

* You can see some of the warping (from screwing to the frame) of the 1/4 plywood in the picture at the door opening. Not a big deal, but it was an annoyance.



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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Framed the doors using 1" X 4" hemlock with Biscuit Joints and wood glue. Double pane, tempered, Argon filled, Low E custom glass ordered from Home Depot cost me about $45 per door, which was considerably cheaper than I was expecting. Very Happy (The price moves up fast if you get any of the window trim or mounting stuff ordered with it).

My original plan was to use mirror hanging tabs to secure the glass to the frame, but a friend suggested I might tap the edge of the window with the fermenter or something stainless and blow it out. Seemed like a great thought, so it was built with a full edge protecting trim, also of hemlock.

Everything got several coats of ebony stain, and then my buddy spray-laquered it.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Minwax-1-qt-Wood-Finish-Ebony-Oil-Based-Interior-Stain-70013444/100204711

Drilled countersunk holes for the screws, caulked in the glass with "Seal 'n Peel"** and then centered and joined the wood with 1" wood screws.


**I recommend the Seal 'n Peel as I had a poor experience using construction adhesive to secure the glass to the first frame I made. Discovered a little too late that I did not adhere to the 'Measure Twice, Cut Once' rule on my too-wide for the cabinet door opening interior edge protector and couldn't get the glass out. Ended up experiencing how tempered glass 'works', while trying to carefully scrape away at the bond. Had to order a new pane of glass and build another frame... Crying or Very sad

If I were to do this again, I'd use a thicker wood. When closing the door against the cabinet with enough pressure to seal, there is some flex of the wood because it's so long and thin. The door makes a complete seal with the cabinet, but a more rigid frame would probably be appropriate.



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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's all for now. I'll try to post specifics on the door hardware, drawers, and the cooling system and control box builds within a couple days.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10652
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, Belgian IPA, Red IPA, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Wit, English Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! You've got some pretty good woodworking skills there! Seeing how it's done puts to light how much work it actually is...! Nice job.

Kal

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kentuckyjelly



Joined: 11 Sep 2014
Posts: 47
Location: Omaha, NE


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW! Tuning in for this. Great work sir. Mug
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perogi



Joined: 12 Feb 2012
Posts: 843
Location: NH

Drinking: Perogi Pale, NEIPA, Nutter's Crossing Nut Brown Ale, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter Clone

Working on: Max's Maibock


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep it coming!
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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys! Continuing. I trimmed out the door with the same material for the FRP panel, but outside 90's. I used these because they weren't as thick as the wider moldings you can get in PVC or wood. However, I did have to cut off the inner flange and make it just a simple 90, because the paneling actually fit perfectly flush with the 1/4" plywood and I couldn't get that inner flange under it. It was easy enough.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/852-1-2-in-x-3-4-in-x-8-ft-PVC-Composite-White-Outside-Corner-Moulding-0085208011/100540903

Also, by far my most used tool during this build was a utility knife with a Roofing Utility Blade. I think I bought a blade specifially to trim these pieces and it became my go-to tool. It's more versatile than I could have imagined and I use it all over my house. Buy it.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-Roofing-Utility-Blade-5-Pack-DWHT11134/205472243



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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Door hardware:
After much searching and hand-wringing I decided to buy the Chrome-Plated Zinc Load-Rated Strap Hinges (Two of #4 in the picture on McMaster-Carr' site (https://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/123/2971/=16222bc) which is Item #: 1276A91 with the 1 1/8" offset.

And the 304-Stainless Steel-Polished Push to Close Latches with Handle (https://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/123/2946/=162240c) Item# 1256A4, for each cabinet.

$213.14 in door hardware for each cabinet was painful and was the biggest single expense. However, for the small size (there's only 3.5" of hemlock on the door frame to attach to and a narrow strip of cabinet surface area) and the fact that it was weight rated sealed the deal. That double pane glass is quite heavy. Plus, again the aesthetics were much nicer than anything else I found online or in Home Depot.

I wanted to compress the door against foam strip to create a seal. It would probably work to do flush mount and thin foam, but I was thinking that I wanted thicker foam so it could be compressed more and create a better seal. Not sure that's necessarily true, but that's what I was thinking, and that's why I got the 1 1/8" offset hinges.

To make up the difference between the foam and door I used 1/4" Hemlock screen moulding on the door frame to compress the foam more uniformly (see previous comments on wavy 1/4" plywood). It was stained and lacquered like everything else, and secured with a brad nailer and small amount of glue on the back.

After mounting the door, I found the best way to attach the foam strip to it was simply to figure out where the door lined up with the opening, measure and mark the door frame and apply the foam strip directly to the door.



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1 3/4" screws for securing hinges to the cabinet, and 5/8" screws into the frame.
I just realized the 1 3/4" screws in this pictures is Oval Head, but I used flat heads on all of them and returned this pack of 3.
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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Later on, the exterior of the box was trimmed out with 1/2" angle aluminum.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-1-2-in-x-96-in-Aluminum-Angle-Bar-with-1-20-in-Thick-802677/204273980

Due to the fact that there were slight differences in total cabinet height and variations in the warping of the plywood, I ran as long a length of aluminum down the top and bottom edges as I could to visually make the cabinets the same height. This worked out to covering two cabinets at a time. Because I wanted to make the cabinets easily removable, I didn't want to glue longs sections of trim on permanently, so I mounted the aluminum trim to the cabinets by using a series of velcro dots on the inside edges. However, the bottom trim kept falling off after a day or two due to gravity and the fact that some of the dots were barely holding onto the edge of the 1/4" plywood in some places. I ended up using an epoxy on the bottom trim, but the dots are holding fine on the top and side edges. I'll just cut those bottom pieces with a Dremel tool or something if I have to.

And I'll mention here before I move onto drawers and glycol, that I secured each cabinet to a stud in the wall with a 4" angle brace to prevent them from tipping forward.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-4-in-Zinc-Plated-Corner-Brace-2-Pack-15309/202033899



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McGruber



Joined: 12 Aug 2014
Posts: 237
Location: Idaho


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Drawers:

The cabinets are built kind of "C" shaped as you look down into the interior of the cabinet from the top. As in, it's 2" from the inside wall to the door opening. This leaves room to move things around and store items inside the cabinet but the door opening is narrower than the interior. For the drawers, I knew that I was going to have to build sections back out so the sliders would clear the door. I considered putting in a big slab of something (plywood?) to mount the sliders to, but figured a gap between where the sliders attach was good to allow air circulation.

Because no wood that I could find came in a true 2" depth with at least a 2" width and the fact that I don't have a planer, I opted to make sections of wood that were exactly 2" deep. This involved gluing and screwing together two sections of 3/4" thick select pine, and 1/2" thick "Poplar Project Board" (both from Home Depot). This worked, but ended up being a giant pain in my keister due to all the gluing/screwing and having to go back several times and make cuts to adjust the total width and take out some warp that developed. The best thing to do would buy some straight wood that you don't expect to warp, and plane it to the width you want. This whole process added materials and time to my build.

Then I filled gaps, sanded, primed/ painted with white paint, and ran a few coats of textured white paint over the wood. The textured white spray paint (same kind as used on the control boxes) was supposed to help it look more like the textured walls. This worked OK, but not quite as well as I had hoped.



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The bottoms are notched so I didn't have to try to cut out the interior trim.
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Painted braces/ shims
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I snapped chalk lines where I knew the studs ran.
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