Friday, July 3, 2009

Kegerator, Revision 0

Yesterday I turned the ad-hoc arrangement in the keg chiller into the first step toward a real kegerator by installing the collar I have been building this week.

People build "collars" to extend the interior depth of a chest freezer and to provide a convenient place to mount taps and other hardware without drilling holes in the freezer body or lid. There are lots of examples of kegerator collar projects available. I drew inspiration from many of them, but I won't note any by name because I don't want to tarnish their reputations by associating them with this hack job.

The collar is made of 2x6's which I miter-cut at the corners. Needless to say I did this poorly, but I was mostly able to fill the resulting gaps with wood putty so it's less obvious. I used screws and glue at the corners and also installed some corner braces on the inside, so it's pretty rigid structurally. I painted it with two coats of Kilz primer (I like white, you know) and I applied some foam weatherstripping to the bottom to insulate the connection between the wood and the freezer.

I removed the lid from the freezer body and attached it to the collar. I removed the hinges from both the lid and the body, but I realized afterward that there was no reason to disconnect them from the lid, since they go right back on in the same place. Nota bene: one of those hinges has a spring. You should put a nail in the holes on either side of the joint to keep the spring from violently retracting when you undo the mounting screws. It hurts. Also, it's a bit of a challenge to get the hinge straightened out again to remount it.

I was concerned about how to attach the collar to the freezer body. As it turned out, I needn't have been. The thing weighs a lot and the friction it applies through the foam weatherstripping is more than enough to hold it in place, even when the lid springs open.

I drilled a hole in the back for the gas line to the primary regulator and the CO2 tank. I lacked the appropriately sized spade bit, of course, so I used the closest one I had and then iteratively widened the hole diameter with my Dremel until it was just big enough for the hose to get through. At least I don't have to worry about insulating it.

In the interior I mounted a cleat and attached to it the secondary regulator of recent blog notoriety. Note the unusual orientation of the Y adapter. This was what I was trying to avoid when I built the jinky manifold (also of recent blog notoriety). Oh well, this rig holds pressure and lets me have two kegs on one pressure and another on a different pressure if needed.

Having the regulator mounted cleaned up the interior a lot, but the serving equipment was still an issue. I plan to put in real Perlick beverage taps on the front of the collar eventually, but for now I'm stuck with the picnic taps. To get them up out of the mess, I just tacked some brackets to the front of the collar, only on one side, and used them as low-tech hangars for the taps.


  1. So what's the R- rating for 2x6? Will the collar hold the low temps? Did you use treated wood? Will the Kilz control the frost that mgjt occur on the outside of the collar?

  2. I don't know about the R-rating but right now it's doing a reasonable job separating the 38 F inside from the 78-80 F outside. I did not use treated wood, and I selected Kilz specifically for mildew control. So far it seems to be working just fine.