Another Freezer Project…Oh Joy

Those that follow the blog regularly know that I have a love-hate relationship with our freezer. We love the fact that the freezer is really large. We regularly stock 3-4 months worth of food in there with plenty of room left over. What I don’t love is the amount of maintenance this thing demands. The compressor is water cooled, meaning sea water is pumped¬†up to the compressor for use in the cooling and evaporation process. The sea water flows through a strainer in order to keep the lines and tubing clean. Here at Liberty Marina the water is pretty turbid and the strainer has to be cleaned at least once a week. Defrosting is usually done about every two months and is fairly easy to do. I picked up a few tricks to speed it up from watching my mother defrost our old fridge when we were kids.

The latest project involved the lift strut that holds the freezer lid up. It really boils down to a poor design at the attachment point at the¬†lower end of the strut. When you open and close the lid, this lower attachment experiences shear forces that are too high for the small surface area that the two screws go through. This results in the screws pulling out of the freezer wall. The temporary solution was to use larger screws, but even those pulled out. I knew I had to somehow spread out the load on that attachment point. Here’s my solution…

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Here you can see where the attachment point normally screws in.

Here you can see where the attachment point normally screws in.

You see how small the surface area is on attachment point. Here I've welded it to a 6"x6"stainless steel plate to spread out the load.

You see how small the surface area is on attachment point. Here I’ve welded it to a 6″x6″stainless steel plate to spread out the load.

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Here is the plate attached to the wall of the freezer.

Here is the plate attached to the wall of the freezer.

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With the strut attached, now you can see how the load is spread across the whole plate, instead of just a small section of fiberglass freezer wall.

I want to add that not only does the strut hold the door open, it also holds it tightly closed. This reduces air leakage into and out of the box. All in all, the project wasn’t that hard and I believe offers a permanent solution to that attachment pulling out. Notice that the top attachment point is configured so that the forces are tension and compression. I haven’t had any problem with that one.

 

Until then….