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Old 08-11-2015, 08:29   #1
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Working With Funny Shapes?

Hi Folks,

Now that I have completed our cooler project my wife and I are wondering how to best make things work with the funny shape and I imagine we are not the only ones with a cooler that conforms to the shape of the hull on one side.

I have attached an image of the interior volume of our cooler. The rectangle on the top is the hatch and the box with the rounded corners inside is the evaporator.

The interior volume is about three feet long by about twenty inches high. The narrow width at the bottom is about seven inches while the width at the top is about twenty one. Kind of a funky shape to work with. We may partition a portion to use as a freezer down the road.

For now I am interested to know in general terms how people sort and segregate various types of items such as produce, meats, condiments, etc and what kind of priority they give them in the packing order. Obviously most frequently used items are given the best access but when space is so limited, which ones?

I think it likely we will start off by installing some kind of shelf about one third of the way up from the bottom. Our concerns mainly center around stuff being buried and inaccessible so we have considered trying to find larger containers to put different items into to reduce the quantities of things that need to be shifted around.

Any thoughts or experiences appreciated!
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:57   #2
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Re: Working With Funny Shapes?

On mine, I like to let the 1.75's gravitate towards the bottom... Mixers and smaller bottles on top...

You can see the handy shelf at the top, that supports a cooler for mix drink ice, and storing six packs (upper left)

The freezer compartment I usually leave open so I can quick chill a few wine bottles...

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Old 08-11-2015, 09:25   #3
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Re: Working With Funny Shapes?

I had the same questions when I started on my reefer. Mine is located in the aftermost bilge of my center cockpit trimaran, in the raised floor of the dining area called the "sterncastle" of Searunner trimarans. The area is basically two bilges of varying depths and widths. The furthest aft contains the machinery (compressor, motor, heat exchanger, etc.), and the next forward, closest to the galley, and located beneath the floor of the dinette section, holds the actual refrigerator. The freezer, which will share the machinery, hasn't been assembled yet, but will be located in the next compartment forward of the galley, in a simpler, rectangular, waist high box.

First step was to build the outer case, of 1/4" Baltic birch ply (lovely stuff to work with, reminds me of the Tinker Toys I played with as a kid), epoxied and tinted with white pigment, since it never sees daylight. Then, I lined it with three one-inch pieces of foam. The innermost and outermost are of foil lined polyurethane. The middle sheet is styrofoam, used as a template, and later replaced with vacuum insulated panels (VIPs), using the inner and outer sheets as protection for this horribly expensive and efficient insulation. Then, I built the inner box out of more Baltic ply. Because the space is so angular, I incorporated shelves of varying size. On the upper shelves, I embedded PVC pipes and elbows to (later) pump cold air from next to the cold plate to the upper, more shallow aft end of the reefer. I have also, since, installed small stainless fittings to attach shock cord, to act as "keepers" or rails to hold stuff on the shelves in rough weather. Everything was then painted in LPU paint. Then, the lid was built, with the same three layers of insulating foam, and the hatches, purchased ready made with VIP cores, installed. Before assembling the top onto the base, I installed three sets of LED lights for illumination of the interior. There is an external switch box that allows me to choose from red lights for night watch, a single set of white lights for normal illumination, and a second set of LED lights that couples with the first white set to REALLY make things bright, say, I want to clean the box in daylight. Then, I installed the cold plate before placing the lid on top and dropping the whole box in the bilge.

When building, I installed a 2 inch opening in the back side of the box to allow for all wiring (thermostat, LED lighting, compressor plumbing, reefer fans, and the wiring for the magnetic switch that turns on the LED lights). Then, I fitted a honeycomb floorboard atop the entire assembly to dress it up, provide even more insulation, and additional stiffness and strength to the top of the reefer box. Oh, and I placed foam discs, from swimming pool noodles, onto the bilge floor to provide drainage of condensation,allow air flow, and then wrapped the entire box in Reflectex before setting it in the bilge.
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Old 08-11-2015, 10:08   #4
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Re: Working With Funny Shapes?

The self idea is a good one. But I would probably do 2 shelves split. Or 4 shelves total. This would allow you to remove only the needed layers to get to what you want.

For example, by removing two layers on the left, the two layers on the right are accessible. But since the left is most used, it will probably be depleted first, meaning less to move over all.
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Old 08-11-2015, 14:22   #5
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Re: Working With Funny Shapes?

I'll be using shelves (or, more likely, baskets) when I construct the freezer, to make things a bit more modular and to reduce the time it takes to find the bag of frozen mango slices which sneaks down to the lowest accessible layer. The least time needed to rummage through the inventory of frozen goodies.
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Old 09-11-2015, 17:02   #6
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Re: Working With Funny Shapes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMdRSailor View Post
On mine, I like to let the 1.75's gravitate towards the bottom... Mixers and smaller bottles on top...

You can see the handy shelf at the top, that supports a cooler for mix drink ice, and storing six packs (upper left)

The freezer compartment I usually leave open so I can quick chill a few wine bottles...

A man after my own heart!!
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Old 09-11-2015, 17:20   #7
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Re: Working With Funny Shapes?

Our reefer shape looks a lot like yours. I can't really get a loose beer or anything else for that matter that's at the very bottom. It's just a little too far down. Over the years it seemed like the very bottom was a waste so I filled it in with foam. Now I realize that was a mistake too, so now I'm going to rig up a water container that takes up part of that area. Then I'm going to plumb it up to the sink with a small pump. I'm thinking it's going to cut down on my beer drinking but oh well.
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Old 11-11-2015, 21:20   #8
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Re: Working With Funny Shapes?

Honestly, I've never understood the need for a fridge on a boat. Make it a freezer, and just work your way thru foods placed together. At the bottom, restock.

If you need stuff kept cold, just make ice and use an igloo or yeti.

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