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
A Coleman cooler rediscovered.
One of the things that we're known for at the markets is our fresh greens. Harvested either the day before or the day of the market, we keep our lettuce mixes, arugula, kale, microgreens, and leafy greens in our cooler to retain the freshness of the produce throughout the markets. These procedures are essential as some of the markets can get pretty hot, and that heat and direct sun can literally cook greens left out.
However, bagging each customer's order at the time of purchase can get to be a pain and many times making customers wait as we work through the line of patrons. So at the end of
last season, I decided to come up with some way we can pre-bag the greens into pre-sized amounts, charge a single price for each, but keep them as fresh as we have in the past. After pricing electric coolers and considering the logistics of powering them, I had an epiphany...Why not come up with an air delivery system that circulated the cold air in the bottom of the cooler (down where the ice packs are) up and over the bags of greens? Luckily I have a friend that has a 3D printer and can engineer almost anything out of plastic. So after drawing up some plans for the cooler layout, I had him create a case for a 12v computer fan. This fan powered by rechargeable batteries will power the flow of air from the bottom of the cooler to the top, over the produce and then back down again to be recharged by the ice at the bottom. In theory, this should allow the cooler to act just like an opened top cooler at a grocery store.