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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Georgetown, TX
    Posts
    19

    Default Building a Tig Cooler

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Georgetown, TX
    Posts
    19

    Default Building a Tig Cooler (cont.)




    This picture shows the motor and the unique wiring. The pigtail goes to a switch in the soda system that turns the motor on/off. I've installed a connector and used a jumper so the motor will run. My plan is to use a solid state switch and tap the solenoid on the welder. I know this is not the recommended method, but I don't want to have the pump motor run all the time. This way, the motor will only run when the contactors are closed with the foot pedal.




    Here is the cooler on top of the Dialarc HF. I will be taking it apart to clean everything up and secure the pump assembly to the pan. I will also use some Adel clamps to secure the water lines and motor cord to the side of the welder. I've still got to make up some hangers to support the torch and ground cable when not in use.




    If anyone has any questions about this set-up I'll be glad to try and answer them if I can.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Default

    looks like a realy nice setup. you have any plans of adding a fan to help cool it?? just thinking if you close that in the motor will create some heat and may end up heating the water insted of colling if the condensor coils dont have moveing fresh air acrost them.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
    summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
    JAMES

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Raymore Missouri
    Posts
    1,920

    Default

    Many condenser coils have steel tubing on units like that. Is yours? If so,
    rust could be a problem. A good set up can be made with a discarded
    dehumidifier.........most have alum evaporator and a fan comes with

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Default

    i got a truck heater core from auto zone for a lil under $20 , its all copper so should be no problems and it was a good price and size i thought.
    i am also using a small fan with a home built shroud to insure good cooling capasity.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
    summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
    JAMES

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Georgetown, TX
    Posts
    19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by monte55 View Post
    Many condenser coils have steel tubing on units like that. Is yours? If so,
    rust could be a problem. A good set up can be made with a discarded
    dehumidifier.........most have alum evaporator and a fan comes with
    Actually, this unit is steel and I hadn't thought about the rust issue. I know some people have said that antifreeze can clog the torch so maybe I'll search around and see what else I can add to the water to help inhibit the rust. Something like Redline's Water Wetter or maybe the LWS has something.

    Thanks for that reminder.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Georgetown, TX
    Posts
    19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fun4now View Post
    looks like a realy nice setup. you have any plans of adding a fan to help cool it?? just thinking if you close that in the motor will create some heat and may end up heating the water insted of colling if the condensor coils dont have moveing fresh air acrost them.
    I hadn't planned on adding a fan since this is a 10 row, double deep cooler. I've got a small food thermometer that I'll stick in the water and monitor the temps. If it's a problem, I'll add an electric fan to the unit.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Lake of the Ozarks MO
    Posts
    3,470

    Default

    stainless would be a better option...too many diferent metals= strange problems later. I have a homemade one with it's own weird set of problems one being aluminum and copper and brass and hi-freek all together.
    I hope this unit serves you well. As long as you are not in the biz of mfging these for folks I'd say you'll be fine anyhow...mines been working prolly 20 yrs or better now and I use car antifreeze also. Been waiting a LLOOOONNNNGGGG time for that torch to plug up so I can buy a new flexhead.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    near rochester NY
    Posts
    9,881

    Default

    i was just wondering as it looked like you might be hooked up to a larg welder with high amps output, mine only has 185 to ofer so its not as big a deal.
    also many use anty freeze in there coolers no problems, i supose it would keep the rust under controle but it would not hurt to incorperate some form of filtration just to be on the safe side.
    thanks for the help
    ......or..........
    hope i helped

    feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. james@newyorkmetalart.com
    summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
    JAMES

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Georgetown, TX
    Posts
    19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fun4now View Post
    i was just wondering as it looked like you might be hooked up to a larg welder with high amps output, mine only has 185 to ofer so its not as big a deal.
    also many use anty freeze in there coolers no problems, i supose it would keep the rust under controle but it would not hurt to incorperate some form of filtration just to be on the safe side.
    The welder is a Dialarc 250 HF but I haven't run it real hard at this poin. I tried my first shot at AL this evening and made a real mess of some scrap but at least the cooler worked well. I have to weld an aluminum bracket but there is no way I can actually produce something acceptable at this point.
    Last edited by MNellis; 01-21-2007 at 08:45 PM.

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