Monday, July 2, 2012

Constructing the top

Below is a picture of the Cougarator without the top constructed.  I left it like this for several weeks due to not having all the supplies on-hand and time to construct.  This version actually worked pretty well and I served a keg of IPA using a simple picnic tap.  I'm glad I was at this stage of the project for a while because I was constantly inside the freezer making adjustments and getting everything figured out.  Now that my project is complete I open the lid a lot less due to its massive weight.

While waiting for all the materials to arrive I decided to make the emblem that was to be placed on the front of the Cougarator.  I started by taking to large scrap pieces of 1/4" plywood and I glued them together.  Second I went on the internet and found the emblem I wanted.  I placed that on my large screen TV and used some lite paper to transfer it to the plywood.  I then took a cordless jig saw, cut it out, sanded, painted and applied polyurethane.  Right before we began construction on the lid, we removed the freezer and from the back side of the front panel, we used wood screws to attached the emblem.

Once the materials arrived and my friend Shawn was available, we began working on the top.  I had ordered two tower style taps a few months back, so my design was made around those two center pieces.  Looking around we had seen a few keezers where people had used tiles.  Since this was the Cougarator, we bought some glass mosaic tiles that were as close as possible to the WSU school colors, crimson and gray.  First things first, we had to build a base for the lid.

The first thing we did was cut a piece of 1/2" ply wood, so it exactly matched in size the dimensions of the trim/walls below.  Second we took the 2x4 scraps I had laying around and attached them to the base of the plywood, around the sides and front.

Next we needed to attach the plywood top to the freezer.  To do this we used a large metal bit and drilled four holes through the plywood and freezer top in order to insert large bolts.  Within the freezer I also placed a smaller piece of 1/4" plywood so the bolts would have something to grab onto rather than the weak plastic lid.  One other small note is that we countersunk each of the bolt heads using a paddle bit.

With the lid now permanently attached, we took the 3" trim pieces we used before and attached those to the 2x4s.

With the lid attached to the freezer, it was time to start adding tile.  My friend Shawn came up with the awesome idea of wrapping the tile over the edges, so we went with that.  My only issue was I had bought just enough to finish the top,so it looked like the tile would be completed in two phases.  

First step with the tile was to mix the thin set and spread it over the lid, trowel and lay tile.  I had no idea how to do this, but luckily Shawn was an expert.  As you can see below I was a little short on tile.  I had bought a drip tray that was roughly 2' long, so we did not tile the area where that was going to sit, so it could appear recessed.

Once all the tiles were set, we applied the dark gray grout and cleaned up the tiles.  The next challenge was mounting the two tap towers.  We drilled one large hole for the liquid lines and four smaller holes for the bolts.  The picture below shows the two tap towers attached along with the drip tray inserted.

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