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Non-Gun DIY Projects and Customizations This section is for your DIY spearfishing projects and customization other then spearguns.

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Old 04-01-2015, 04:49 PM   #1
Peezy
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Home made cooler

Thinking about making a cooler on my own, thanks to outrageous prices for quality ones.
I have heard balsa wood is a good insulator (which would be nice from a weight standpoint), but I have a hard time believing it is better than high density foam. A simple coating of fiberglass with reinforcements along the edges to finish it off.
Any thoughts or personal experience?
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Old 04-01-2015, 08:16 PM   #2
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Re: Home made cooler

making anything rather than buying it is 10x more badass.
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Old 04-01-2015, 08:24 PM   #3
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Re: Home made cooler

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bentley41 View Post
making anything rather than buying it is 10x more badass.
I'll bet 10 more $$. Not counting your time.

Balsa core surfboards are more expensive than foam.

Many/some sailboat owners make their own coolers. Usually structural foam and fiberglass.

My guess $300-500 for materials. Resin, cloth, foam/balsa, hardware.

Good luck! Keep us posted.
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Old 04-01-2015, 10:25 PM   #4
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Re: Home made cooler

I've done it. Balsa works great and my old cooler kept ice longer than a yeti of its size. It is real easy to over do the fiberglass and make it heavy so be careful with that. I used a stainless piano hinge for the lid hinge, same clamps as a yeti and some epoxy ed flip flop cutouts on the bottom. The seal is an important part, and so is the lid. The thicker the lid the better.
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Old 04-01-2015, 11:43 PM   #5
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Re: Home made cooler

Car seat belt or tow strap in place of the expensive piano hinge. Cheaper and lasts longer. SS through bolt hardware for handles.
Not just for a new cooler but also for refurbishing a worth while older cooler.
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Old 04-02-2015, 08:59 AM   #6
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Re: Home made cooler

What about using a pelican-style plastic case? Just occurred to me that I have one I am not using that would be about the right size, that would eliminate the issue of overdoing fiberglass exterior and hinge issue-though I do like the seat belt idea.

Snapper, did you use balsa block wood or shavings?
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Old 04-02-2015, 09:36 AM   #7
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Re: Home made cooler

When dealing with foam a closed cell of low density will have a higher R value than the same type of either heavier closed cell foam or open cell foam. 2 lb/cubic foot closed cell Ethafoam is stable at a couple inches thick and is a significant insulation layer. I've used it as a conduction barrier around cast concrete in ground chilled water holding tanks without any problem, and cut heat conduction loss to less than 5% of the uninsulated rate even in saturated soil. Closed cell polyurethane board is more rigid, but is also more brittle if it is going to be handled a bunch, and has about the same R value.

Balsa is good, but is generally a bit more expensive per cube and will water-log and loose much of it's R-value if you have a liner failure.
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Old 04-02-2015, 04:53 PM   #8
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Re: Home made cooler

I used the block wood, crazy light, super cheap.
What Fred said is true, If you use balsa you have to seal that thing tighter than a ducks ass. Every screw etc gets lots of sealer.
You could also use the r-max foam board from home depot that is used for attic/roof insulation. It's like $30 for a 4x8 sheet. You just gotta peel off the aluminum foil liner on one side. And yes, it will work with polyester resin, and epoxy
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Old 04-02-2015, 07:28 PM   #9
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Re: Home made cooler

Awesome guys, thanks a lot. Now to find the time....if I can get to it this summer I will let you know how it goes.
Thanks again!
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Old 07-25-2015, 08:42 PM   #10
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Re: Home made cooler

Just saw this thread. What are you guys making your lid seal out of?
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Old 07-26-2015, 01:37 PM   #11
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Re: Home made cooler

Picknasty-

Work has been insane and I have not been able to make any progress, but I was thinking of using seal tape. It can be purchased from any hardware store and is made specifically for creating a soft seal between a truck bed's rails and a camper shell that goes over the truck bed, the idea being to keep something soft and waterproof between the metals.
Probably something better out there but again, no progress yet made....
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Old 07-26-2015, 10:32 PM   #12
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Re: Home made cooler

I'm actually working on a truck cooler right now. When I am done the coolers OD will be 60"X24"X20". We are making it this big for extended trips to the keys. So far we have spent $100 on epoxy (1/2 gallon of west systems), $80 on styrofoam and 1/4" plywood, about $30 on 6oz fiberglass, and expect to spend about $35 on stainless hardware and seal.

A yeti or frigid-rigid of this size would have cost us about $1k. Its obviously not going to look and work as good but its going to be a fun project.
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Old 07-26-2015, 11:25 PM   #13
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Re: Home made cooler

I was just sent this set of West systems instructions http://www.westsystem.com/ss/building-an-efficient-icebox-2/

As far as prices go, I have found that eBay has the best prices on West Epoxy bundles; resin, hardener and pumps. Most offer free shipping.

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