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OT: Fabricating an Ice Making Vessel

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  • OT: Fabricating an Ice Making Vessel

    Hi all,

    A Client of mine has asked if it is possible to have a vessel fabricated to hold upto 250 Litres of Water in a Cube shape for freezing. He wants this vessel to be easily disassembled as it is going to be used as a sculpture piece soon. I have access to coolrooms as needed to try out designs.

    My current thoughts are using sheetmetal to act as the walls of the tank as two pieces then use a silicon type agent to seal the two open joints. (i am planning to use some angle iron with threaded rod to provide the bracing for the walls and hold the weakened edges together)

    I know this thread is VERY open to speculation and questions, but that is what im after. If anyone has questions, comments, ideas (or whatever else) to ask / say, Please do as i am still in the stage of thinking out the design)

    Thanks,
    Gordob

  • #2
    How are you going to compensate for the volume increase with phase change? About 9% if I recall. Enough force to tear up your mold.
    Last edited by 914Wilhelm; 11-03-2011, 02:09 AM.

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    • #3
      Im thinking that if i use one or two Aquarium pumps to keep the water moving constantly as it reaches freezing point that i should hopefully be able to limit the expansion upwards. As far as i am aware, this should also remove any dissolved air from the water...

      i would expect that the angle iron should contain most of the pressures involved, But i could be wrong

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      • #4
        Does it all have to be froze at once? I would think that freezing a layer then adding more water and repeating would limit the expansion to only going up. I wouldn't be too sure about angle Iron containing it since I've seen quite a few fence posts blown out from freezing.

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        • #5
          The force of expansion will be more than most mere men can contain here on earth without containers of extraordinary construction. If you start with boiling distilled water, the ice will be clear. Too much turbulence at the water air interface using pumps will likely dissolve more air into the water making it cloudy.
          Last edited by 914Wilhelm; 11-03-2011, 03:20 AM.

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          • #6
            Cloudy ice is caused by freezing water too quickly, clear ice cubes from a machine are formed by spraying water onto either a 'post' with refrigerant flowing through it so that it builds up gradually from the inside out or into a mould so it builds up from the outside in. Hot refrigerant is passed through the 'post' or mould after a predetermined time to get the cubes to harvest and fall off into the collection tray. You can tell which method they were made by by if they are solid and have a small dimple in (mould) or if they are like a shot glass (post).

            A ship I used to be on had brine tanks for making ice by secondary cooling, ie the refrigerant cooled the brine which cooled the water in the mould suspended in the brine tank. The moulds were aluminium about 3 feet long by 6 inchs wide.

            I would experiment with a tank made out of screwed plywood with wooden battens for strength lined with a plastic sheet. As long as the ice can expand upwards into you might be OK. Once your ice is formed you could unscrew the mould and remove your berg which would be easier than turning it out.

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            • #7
              Boostin, i wasnt thinking small scale angle iron, more like 50x50x5 mm stuff. I have watched the professional ice suppliers freeze their cubes on youtube (Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itvuudjb9hk) and most of the expansion occurs vertically (but that could be the freezer also)

              Ideally i would like to freeze it all at once to maximise structual integrity of the block. I believe that the point where the sections meet could prove to be a weak point.

              thanks again for your input

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              • #8
                It needs to be four piece (technically five including the floor) and it'll have to have tapered sides (wider at the top.)

                Make the flanges at the corners, and make 'em heavy enough to take a goodly number of heavy bolts (3/8" or bigger.) The best one I saw had square broached holes on one flange, and just wing nuts to hold it together. They don't need heavy torque, they just have to be strong enough and numerous enough to hold it together.

                That same one had machined grooves for a round rubber seal (basically a cut-open O-ring) but still needed a dab of some kind of nonhardening sealer at the corners. It was meant for essentially "production" of heavy ice blocks, if you're only doing one at a time or a few at a time, a silicone or possibly even a thick axle grease might work. I even saw one that used tape.

                The water needs to be either boiled or vacuum degassed for clarity. I've seen homebrew versions of both, the vacuum tends to be quicker and less energy-intensive, but you need a high volume pump for a significant amount of water.

                A square-sided mold will blow out, or at least bulge, even if the walls are 1" plate steel. You must taper the sides, and have them smooth enough for the ice to slip a little. (Doesn't have to be mirror polished, just don't have exposed bolt heads or internal reinforcing ribs, etc.)

                Doc.
                Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                • #9
                  Doc,
                  Part of my design requires the use of a square sided design. im sure i should be able to live with a degree of bowing in the sides of the block considering its going to be sculpted anyway

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                  • #10
                    Here in Germany we have a kind of "thermal accumulator" heat system wich uses a large water filled Tank. During the winter month some kind of Refrigerator freezes the water, providing heating for the house.

                    The trick to keep the Tank from bursting during freezing ist that they start it in the middle of the bottom of this tank. This way the Ice can expand upwards and sideways until its completely frozen.

                    I would suggest insulating your "ice cube box" on all sides except bottom to generate this effect.

                    Thomas

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                    • #11
                      If I did the math correctly, a cube to hold 250 liters works out to be a box just under 2.07 feet (about 63cm) on a side.
                      ----------
                      Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                      Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                      Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                      There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                      Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                      Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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                      • #12
                        You dont*say where you are. There is a company in Clinton, Ontario, Canada that specializes in producing "sculpting ice" blocks.They supply restaurants and organizations with LARGE quantities of clear ice blocks all over eastern North America. I suspect that they can produce and deliver they required block for less than the cost of a tank.
                        Sorry, dont know the company name, I just know that they supply all the ice for the annual Ottawa Winter Carnival ice sculpture contest, which amounts to MANY truckloads.
                        Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec

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                        • #13
                          Iceculture.com
                          Dave

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                          • #14
                            I have NOT done the math, but I'll trust SGW's work above.
                            Given that it's only about 2ft cubed, I'd just get a plastic bin and use that. It will permit the bulging as the freezes.

                            I routinely freeze water in 1 gal milk plastic jugs, as well as 1/2 gal cardboard cartons, leaving about 1 inch of air space at the top. They bulge slightly, but never rupture.
                            Granted, that's considerably less than the 250 liters, but with an open top plastic container I don't think there'd be any problem.
                            Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lynnl
                              I have NOT done the math, but I'll trust SGW's work above.
                              You are entirely too trusting!

                              What I did: 250 liters is 250,000 cubic centimeters.
                              250,000cc is 8.83 cubic feet
                              The cube root of 8.83 is 2.067, so the cube is just under 2.07 feet on a side.
                              And 2.07 feet is about 63cm

                              As a check, the cube root of 250,000 is almost exactly 63.
                              ----------
                              Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                              Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                              Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                              There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                              Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                              Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

                              Comment

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