Mini Fridge Coaster – WIP

Next Task: Waiting on paper design

Introduction and Analysis

This project was an idea that was sparked by a video I saw on youtube about a thermoelectric phone charger. This charger used TEC1 thermoelectric modules to generate electricity by the transfer of heat. These modules can also be used to cool an object, they do this by shifting heat from one side of the module to the other. I thought this would be a great module to create a mini cooled fridge or coaster for my desk! This project will allow me to gain an understanding of the thermoelectric modules, work with insulation techniques and possible lead onto bigger and better projects, like the thermoelectric phone charger.

Project Planning

This project shouldn’t cost too much, I will only need to buy the thermoelectric module. I have collected some polystyrene from work that should make a good insulation material. If I need to create fridge door hinges or mechanical parts, I can use my 3D printer to create them.

This project is relatively simple and shouldn’t take long to build, once the module arrives i should have the project finished within a few days.

Specification

  • TEC1 Thermoelectric module driven
  • 12V – 15V power supply
  • Built using insulative polystyrene
  • Should be able to sufficiently cool a stein of soft drink

Design and project development

I decided that before I create a final design, I should test how easily I’ll be able to but my insulating foam that I’m going to use. I thought the best way to easily do this would be to heat up a cutting knife with a blow torch so it could easily slice through the foam. It worked really well. I cut 1 8cmx8cm piece for the top and 4 8cmx15cm side pieces. I assembled them with hot glue, but it didn’t seem to fit all that well…

I think I was being far too slow with my cuts, and the foam was not only being sliced by the knife, but melting unevenly as I cut. Next time I’ll need to be a lot quicker to get the best results.

Evaluation

 

TEC1 Module: http://artofcircuits.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/TEC1-12706-1.jpg