Looking for a fun weekend project? How about making your very own kegerator for about $100? Well, minus the keg of course.
First you’ll need a run of the mill mini-bar fridge. These can be had for free if you prowl student neighborhoods at the end of a semester; it’s amazing what you can find being thrown out. Next you’ll have to modify it a bit: remove the shelving and pop a hole in the top. The trickiest part is building the top out of wood, although [jypuckett] shows us that it’s really not that difficult, and wood stain is your friend!
The most expensive part of the build is probably going to be the fittings, hoses, and tap, but that’s a small price to pay for your very own kegerator.
While it’s not quite as fancy as this over-engineered kegerator, the six-tap freezer chest kegerator, or as vintage as this 1950’s General Electric
fridge kegerator, it is a great example of making one for cheap, that works, and looks good.
It also raises the question: if it’s this easy to make, why haven’t you made one yet?!
6 thoughts on “An Elegant Kegerator For Less Than $100”
So where does the $100 come from? How much is the tank and regulator? Those details were ignored in this “$100” fantasy.
Most mini-fridges have a large freezer compartment that will prevent you from fitting a keg. You can attempt to “bend” the freezer to a vertical position, but kink the line and all the coolant will leak out (been there).
The fridge used here has a smaller than normal freezer, so it’s not clear if any modification was done. There are also a few models (e.g. Danby) that don’t have the upper freezer at all and will fit kegs off the shelf.
The neat part of this hack that separates it from other kegerators is the method used to find the cooling lines–a corn starch/rubbing alcohol paste spread across the top of the fridge that melted when running to reveal the location of the underlying lines.
No way that cost less than $100, no way. Just did a conversion last week, the CO2 tank, hoses, valve and faucet look identical to what I used. Unless he had them lying around, or got some insane craigslist deal, he spent more like $200, not counting the wood and tile
I have to agree with the others. $100 is a stretch. Most of the cost of doing these things is *not* the fridge. You can easily find a dorm fridge or even a full sized fridge for free or the cost of removal. It’s the keg, tubing, fittings, tap, CO2 tank, regulator, and the rest that’s the cost. And you’d be hard pressed to do it for less than $100 if starting from scratch. A faucet, knob, and shank assembly alone would easily eat up $40-50 of your budget.
That said, you *can* do it for much, much less than the cost of a retail bought kegerator. In fact, for the $400 to $500 some want to charge you for a kegerator, you can have a multiple tap set up if you can get a full size fridge for free…..which you can do since there are people out there who remodel their kitchens and get rid of a perfectly good fridge simply because it doesn’t match their new decor.
The only way I can see doing this for less than $100 was if you bought some used kegging equipment off craigslist or a friend.
Haha I like how he doesn’t really warn about the dangers of the condenser coils that are all around the outside shell of the fridge, then he devises some wacky plan to find them safely with rubbing alcohol and corn starch, which worked about as well as a dowsing rod, then just drills right into one!
If you don’t see condenser coils on the back (or bottom sometimes) of the fridge then they’re usually foil taped to the sheet metal of the shell to use as a heatsink. Don’t hit them with a drill or you let the magic steam out! It’s refrigerant, r134a, and it’s bad for you and the environment, so don’t let it out!
There are many people trying the DIY chillers on the brew (and hydro) forums, and the general consensus is that a mini fridge doesn’t have the HP to get something big like that cold. It may stay cold once it’s there, but it’s still going to be running outside of it’s intended use, 24/7. Here’s a picture of where the coils usually are, it’s a few posts down from the top. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/another-e-herms-build-266110/
And $100 is ridiculous, he doesn’t even say $100 in the instructable. The kit he mentions is at least $150.
Oh…wow…yet another kegerator article.
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