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Here's how i built a custom sized fiberglass cooler on the cheap

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Here's how i built a custom sized fiberglass cooler on the cheap

Old 02-23-2019, 08:35 AM
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Default Here's how i built a custom sized fiberglass cooler on the cheap

I needed a specific sized cooler, and there was nothing on the market to fit my space. So I decided to build one. I wanted it to be light, strong, and cheap. Did some digging and came up with "polyisocuranate" boards available at ABC supply in various thicknesses. Under $30 a sheet, don't melt when working with epoxy. I also wanted to delve into HVLP spraying on something small and easy to fix if I massacred it.

I sprayed everything using a top notch rol-air portable five gallon compressor and one water and oil filter from northern tool. Standard purple harbor freight gun with regulator on it that every shade tree painter starts with. It worked flawlessly.

Material list:
1.5 gallons or so epoxy, plus fillers
one sheet 1" ISO board, one sheet 1.5" (used thicker on lid, wanted To maximize storage
totalboat fairing compound (like awlfair but a fraction of price)
totalboat one part epoxy top coat (thinned with xylene)
totalboat one part primer (thinned with xylene)

This is my finished product:



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Old 02-23-2019, 08:41 AM
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I used random leftover glass I had already, 12 oz biax is my preferred but naturally I didn't have much. Used some six oz on the corners lapped a bunch, and some 1708 as well. Giant fillets to make cleaning easy.

I used a mix of homemade fairing compound i mixed thin at first then the totalboat stuff ($65 for two quarts) as it got closer to fair. I used a 6" festool random orbit sander for the heavy sanding then blocks to dial it in.
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:43 AM
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Well done! Any pics of construction ?
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:50 AM
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Nice. Is that the foam roofers use?
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:51 AM
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Pics not loading. Awesome. Tried three times now. Thanks for all the "updates" THT.
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Double tyme View Post
I needed a specific sized cooler, and there was nothing on the market to fit my space. So I decided to build one. I wanted it to be light, strong, and cheap. Did some digging and came up with "polyisocuranate" boards available at ABC supply in various thicknesses. Under $30 a sheet, don't melt when working with epoxy. I also wanted to delve into HVLP spraying on something small and easy to fix if I massacred it.

I sprayed everything using a top notch rol-air portable five gallon compressor and one water and oil filter from northern tool. Standard purple harbor freight gun with regulator on it that every shade tree painter starts with. It worked flawlessly.

Material list:
1.5 gallons or so epoxy, plus fillers
one sheet 1" ISO board, one sheet 1.5" (used thicker on lid, wanted To maximize storage
totalboat fairing compound (like awlfair but a fraction of price)
totalboat one part epoxy top coat (thinned with xylene)
totalboat one part primer (thinned with xylene)

This is my finished product:



Great job, if you’re not a professional at this sort of work, end product looks like you are.

Now for the $64,000 question, how many man hours do have into the project??
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:56 AM
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I cut the sheets on a table saw and tacked with a hot glue gun. Should have used a smaller round over (I used /2" everywhere) and had to build up the lip with fairing.


Fourth try?
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Old 02-23-2019, 08:58 AM
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Damn impressivre,
How much was it all in ? Excluding your time of course.
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Mpellet View Post


Great job, if you’re not a professional at this sort of work, end product looks like you are.

Now for the $64,000 question, how many man hours do have into the project??
probably twenty or so. Maybe a few more. My office is in backyard so I'm lucky I can't just pop out here and there. Spread over a month probably. No paint booth so spraying was weather dependent. Six coats total, three inside three uot.

My wife would tell you eighty hours but shes full of it.
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:02 AM
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H


here it is after a couple coats of fairing. But before I built up the lip. Sanded to 220 before priming, 220 in between primer coats (light scuff by hand) then 320 in between paint coats.
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by oceanelectric1 View Post
Damn impressivre,
How much was it all in ? Excluding your time of course.
between $200-300 including hardware.
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:07 AM
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After primer, before paint.

Still waiting on drain assembly to arrive. Used an engel hatch I bought off eBay and a couple gemlux hinges I had on hand. No handles yet, not sure I need them.

Volume measurement comes uot to 70 quarts, which is perfect. I've got a 75 yeti up front plus well insulated fish box up front, this is the day trip beer/water/snack cooler.

my big takeaway from this project is that you don't need a giant compressor to spray smaller items. This was my first time spraying HVLP and it was shockingly easy. I've got lots of experience with fiberglass, paint I'm a rookie. Yeah, there is a lot of prep and a lot of outside factors to consider, but it really laid out well.

Looks perfect up to about 6" away, then yuo can see some minor pinholes and imperfections. My goal was to get it to look good from 2' away, so I'm very satisfied.

Last edited by Double tyme; 02-23-2019 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by gofastsandman View Post
Nice. Is that the foam roofers use?
yeah it sure is. No styrene. Closed cell, coated with fiberglass scrim. It's thirsty but very easy to work with.

I am considering building a small coffin box so wanted to do a cooler first. I'm confident I can do a coffin box after this one but will probably wait a year,
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Old 02-23-2019, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Mpellet View Post


Great job, if you’re not a professional at this sort of work, end product looks like you are.

Now for the $64,000 question, how many man hours do have into the project??
he down plays it, but he built that beautiful boat that cooler is sitting in as well.
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Old 02-23-2019, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Iron View Post


he down plays it, but he built that beautiful boat that cooler is sitting in as well.
Doesn’t surprise me even a little. One thing that I have learned is to never underestimate the mechanical, building and fabrication skills of a lot of guys here on THT. I get all excited when I can make a straight and square cut in a panel to install a piece of electronics or change a water pump without fukcing something up, mean while there are guys here like D.T. who can build boats from the ground up, beautiful fish boxes etc.

Very very nice work indeed....
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Old 02-23-2019, 06:49 PM
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Excellent work.
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Old 02-24-2019, 06:08 AM
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I appreciate the compliments guys. The take away here is that this is a pretty simple project.

I think west system has plans on their site for a cooler as a good "beginner" project, as you utilize all phases of glass work in a non-structural and non-critical product. That's also why I felt comfortable using the $22 foam board as opposed to one of the $200 plus marine foam boards I've used in the past.

Bunch of square cuts, some simple glass work, then some fairing and paint. I cut all my pieces of glass ahead of time, two layers in most places, three at the stress points, and it only took two hours active work time. It was cold (below 60) and night time when I was laying the glass, so I had infinite pot life, then brought it all into my heated office to kick.

I was intimidated by the paint, but my little homeowner size compressor handled it like a champ. No spray booth, just an overhang on the back of my shop, and I paid close attention to humidity levels and dew points, as well as mixing instructions, thinning instructions, and coat thicknesses.
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Old 02-24-2019, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Double tyme View Post
I appreciate the compliments guys. The take away here is that this is a pretty simple project.

I think west system has plans on their site for a cooler as a good "beginner" project, as you utilize all phases of glass work in a non-structural and non-critical product. That's also why I felt comfortable using the $22 foam board as opposed to one of the $200 plus marine foam boards I've used in the past.

Bunch of square cuts, some simple glass work, then some fairing and paint. I cut all my pieces of glass ahead of time, two layers in most places, three at the stress points, and it only took two hours active work time. It was cold (below 60) and night time when I was laying the glass, so I had infinite pot life, then brought it all into my heated office to kick.

I was intimidated by the paint, but my little homeowner size compressor handled it like a champ. No spray booth, just an overhang on the back of my shop, and I paid close attention to humidity levels and dew points, as well as mixing instructions, thinning instructions, and coat thicknesses.
DoubleTyme-
That cooler came out great! Incredible job.
What brand slides are those and how did you mount it?
Also did you use the GAF energy guard iso board? If so where did you buy it?
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Old 02-24-2019, 07:26 AM
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OUTSTANDING JOB!!!! What did you use for the corners? They are perfectly shaped.... Great post..
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Old 02-24-2019, 07:39 AM
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Nice job, how much do you think it weighs?
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