Cooler Cooler Part 2
For those of you that were wanting more information regarding my Cooler Cooler, I’ve finally finished the project, and it might just work! Last weekend we ran a test and found out two major problems with my original design as well as a handful of lesser issues that we needed to address before we could put this project to bed.
First was the entire original design. Although it was sound for the most part, it just took up to much vertical space in the cooler. My initial thoughts were to have two double polycarbonate panels with the ice packs in between, with the fan below the bottom-most panel. By the time I had all those levels in place, there was very little vertical space for the bags of greens. Additionally, the fan I purchased; 38 cubic feet per minute (cfm) didn’t produce enough flow to reach the furthest most parts of the piping.
Plan B...A new Cooler design
Off to plan B. I dumped the two-panel idea and went with the ice packs on the bottom of the cooler and a single panel on top of that. It’s necessary to separate the greens from the ice packs anyway because they’ll freeze the bottom of the produce if set directly against each other. Instead of having a single fan at the bottom, I placed two 240 cfm fans at each end. For circulation, I cut a 4-inch hole directly below each fan using a hole saw and then cut three slots along the length of the panel on a table saw. I also left a little space on each side of the panel to allow air to flow down along the sides as well. These changes gave me back the vertical space I needed.
Each of the two fans are powered through a single wiring harness that I ran through the piping. Each fan has it’s own quick disconnect option, and the whole system has a plug so I can quickly pull everything apart for cleaning. I can disassemble it in about two minutes.
I also finished the rustic façade of the cooler as well. The addition of the wood made the cooler about 25 pounds heavier than it was initially, so I built a stand with locking casters. This season at the farm, I’ll place the cooler in the van, load it up with ice packs and bagged produce. That should save my back from having to lift it after being filled. I’ll place the stand on the cooler for the trip to the market. Once there, I’ll pull the stand out, lock the wheels, pull the cooler on top, and roll it to where ever it needs to be. Should be a no-brainer, but we will see.
One thing for sure is that the new arrangement will look cooler and should be cooler, not to mention easier for customers to get their greens quickly and efficiently.
If you would like more information regarding how I constructed the Cooler Cooler, just go to our contact page and send me a note. A special thanks to Carl and his help with the custom fan case, both of them!
Brad Wicks has owned DenverFarmer.com along with his wife since 2014. His dedication to growing and selling organically grown vegetables and herb is tangible. Many of his blogs are about growing vegetable in the altitude, short season and soil challenges of the Metro Denver area of Colorado.