I know others have built similar torch coolers but I thought I'd post up how I built mine on a true budget. I just finished it this evening and I've still got some detail work to do in order to finish it up.
First off, I purchased a set up off ebay. I paid $35 for the assembly and about $16 for shipping. I've been in the restaurant business for about 25 years so I am intimately familar with this setup. It was an old soft drink carbonator machine and included the motor, carbonator pump (brass Procon) and carbonator tank. I really didn't need the carbonator tank but I figured I'd include it in the set up since it increases the water capacity by about 1/2 gallon.
A side note here. When buying this type of unit it's important to know if you are getting a carbonator pump or a circulating pump. The difference is that a carbonator pump is made of brass and is a high pressure pump (125 psi or so). A circulator pump is stainless steel (you can not use a brass pump to circulate carbonated water) and has lower pressure (about 60 psi).
My pump is adjustable (some are and some aren't) so I put a pressure guage on it and adjusted it down to 50 psi which is at the lower end of the pumps adjustment range without changing or cutting the spring.
Next I went down to the local restaurant equipment junk yard and found an old salad display case refigeration unit that had been parted. They had cut the tubing about 1/2 from the end of the condensor coil so it couldn't be re-used. They guy went ahead and gave me the, dual 10 row, condensor coils with base attached. It was just the right size to fit over a stainless pan that he had laying around and it looks like it holds about 2.5 gallons of water. The pan cost me $10.
Next I went to Home depot and bought a bunch of fittings and hose to hook up the pump and condensor coil then hooked it up to the welder.
The biggest problem I had was finding the right fittings. Lowes and Home Depot don't have a big selection so I had to get a little "kludgy" with some of the connections. I was obligated to use 1/4" I.D. hose from the output of the carbonator tank to the welder since the 1/4 nipple was already on the welder. Since the fitting on the welder is reverse thread I could not easily change that without a trip to the welding supply store.
Anyway, here are a bunch of pictures that show the unit set up on a small table that I use as a welding table for now. It's a stainless unit and pretty short which I like since I like to sit down to weld whenever possible. The table was $100 form the same restaurant salvage yard. That's probably a little expensive for a welding table but it's cheap for a restaurant equipment table.
Here is a shot of the overall unit. The carbonator tanks adds quite a bit of height to the unit and I may remove it later if I decide to make a cover for the unit
Here is a closer view of the unit. The smaller, 1/4 I.D tubing is going to the welder and the water return from the welder is shown going to the condensor
At the bottom of the condensor you can see the drain setup. I just used some compression fitting to tie the vinyl tubing to the copper tubing on the condensor. You can also see the 3/8" I.D. reinforced hose feeding the pump. I made a bulkhead fitting that holds a tube that goes to the bottom of the resevoir
This is the "kludgy" adapter setup I had to use to convert the 3/8" I.D tubing to the clear vinyl 1/4" vinyl tubing. I will try and find a 3/8" - 1/4" nipple fitting and remove this adapter.
On the carbonator tank you can also see the pressure relief valve which pops at about 150 psi or so. The other unused fitting is where the CO2 is supplied. There is a check valve in there so it doesn't need to be capped. Besides, if I want to supply carbonated water to the torch all I need to do is add a CO2 tank. I think the piece in the middle is for the rod inside the tank that guides the float. In a soda system, there is a switch that activates when the carbonated tank is full of water and shuts off the motor.
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Thread: Building a Tig Cooler
01-20-2007, 10:17 PM #1Junior Member
- Join Date
- Dec 2006
- Georgetown, TX
Building a Tig Cooler