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Making a Clear Ice Block from the Bottom Up

6a00e553b3da2088340120a77d8b26970bNearly five years ago I figured out a method to make clear ice blocks in a picnic cooler in what we now call the Directional Freezing or Cooler Method. It works from the top-down. Now a reader has figured out a moderately easy way to freeze in a cooler from the bottom-up. 

An index to all of the ice experiments on Alcademics is here.

In the top-down method, one simply fills an insulated cooler with water and leaves the top off. The water freezes only from the top down, and all the trapped air and impurities are pushed to the bottom, where a cloudy 25% or so will form if you let it freeze that long. 

Freezing From The Bottom-Up

Commercial ice machines like the Clinebell freeze blocks of clear ice by freezing from a cold plate on the bottom, while a water pump near the surface keeps water circulating (thus preventing ice from forming on the surface). 

Reader Nome Park wrote me to tell me about a method he developed that sort of combines these two methods for the home user, producing a mini-Clinebell-type block. 

The cooler is insulated on all sides except for the bottom, and a small aquarium pump is used to keep water circulating at the top. 

 

Noname-2
The white area on the bottom is the interior of the cooler with the foam/plastic cut off so it's no longer insulated on the bottom.

 

Requires:

  • A big freezer, like a horizontal freezer.
  • A larger cooler. He uses a Coleman 20-can Party Stacker cooler, which is taller vertically and thus best for freezing bottom-up
  • A small aquaium pump

Method:

1. Cut the cooler bottom outside layers off a few inches up from the bottom. Park did this using a Dremmel tool and a knife. *Important* You only want to cut off the outer plastic and the foam insulation. Do not cut out the interior plastic otherwise it will not hold water. 

IMG_2657

2. Insulate the top lid. Park made a 2.5-inch thick piece of foam that fits snuggly inside the cooler (since the lids on these coolers tend not to be insulated. (Pump is just there for scale. It is not attached.)

Noname-3

3. Fill the cooler with water up to where the foam will hit it from the top. 

4. Hang the (unused for your fish tank) aquarium pump from the top, so that it's just beneath the surface of the water. Put the foam piece on top and the lid on that. Park cut a little section out for the pump power cord. 

Noname-4

5. Turn the pump on and wait for it to freeze. In Park's freezer, it takes  2 days and 2 hours to freeze (50 hours) into a block that isn't all the way frozen. If it goes too long (t 72 hours or so) the pump will freeze into the block and probably break.

6. Remove the cooler from the freezer, turn off the cord, turn the cooler upside-down, and wait for the block to slide out. (An hour is about normal). Now you're ready to cut it up. 

Noname-5

 

I asked Park if he tried this without the pump just to see what happens, but he had not tried it, basing his system on the Clinebell. 

So, for you ambitious sorts with large freezers, this might be a way to make larger blocks than with the small cooler at home. 

Thank you much to reader Nome Park who not only took the time to perfect this method but also to send me detailed description and pictures. 

 

Comments

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fang2415

I just discovered Camper's amazing ice saga and am wondering why this particular entry hasn't gotten more reaction as it looks like it's produced the largest and clearest block of home ice I've seen yet. (Maybe because it's not in the index?)

So, just to check: has Nome or anyone tried this without the pump now that almost a month has gone by? The pump adds a lot of complexity to this process, so it would be great if something similar could be produced without it... Seems like the directional freeze from the bottom might be enough as long as the top is well-insulated?

Camper English

I just added the page to the index - thanks for the catch!

I attempted bottom-up freezing once with a big ziplock bag in the bottom of an upside-down cooler, but the folds in the bag mad it impossible to see what had happened. So that's as close as my experiments have come.

fang2415

Interesting -- but I infer that it must not have worked, then?

Nome's method also made me think of an upside-down cooler, so I've been trying to sculpt something similar out of styrofoam. No luck so far, but there's a bunch of variables that could be going wrong; so I hoped there was somebody who had tried it with and without the pump so I could rule that one out...

Camper English

No luck due to the bag being too big. Ideally a thin plastic container exactly the size of the inside of the cooler would work.

I was also waiting for someone else to do the Pumpless Nome Method.

C

fang2415

Well, we've given him a week. Maybe you could drop Nome a line and repeat your hint to simply do again what he does already, but in an easier way?

COME BACK NOME! WE WANT TO SEE YOUR PUMPLESS PHOTOS!!

Jeffrey

Use very clean water, like osmose water or freeze water for second time, poor in very slow en don't freeze too fast,max -8 degree so the oxygen can slowly escape out of the water, Isolate the top of the tank so the ice and oxygen can expand to the top!
A pump wil extra prevent the top from freezing but can disturbed the water and give air into the water if not use correctly and wil results in to a white ugly block of ice.

There are some experiments mixed with salt and lemon juice but I never tried.!

I am testing a block of 60kg with a bottle inside and plumbing inside of the block.
To be continued...
Kind regards, Jeffrey from the Netherlands.

Rush

So has anyone tried to do this without the pump yet? Maybe an easier way to create the setup would be to turn a gallon sized screw top Igloo jug upside down (since the lid is not insulated) and see how that turns out?

Camper English

I tried to do this by putting water in a ziplock bag in an upside-down cooler but it didn't work due to the folds in the bag. I still don't know anyone who has succeeded with this model but hopefully when someone does they'll share it here!

fang2415

I tried several rigs without success, but the problem is that I don't know whether they would have worked WITH the pump, so I can't eliminate the pump as a variable.

Increasingly, my thinking is that the answer is no, it can't be done without the pump -- because ice (and cold water) floats. Several times I tried insulating the top and sides of a container and interrupted the freeze while it was still liquid in the center; when I cut a cross-section I could actually see crystals that had formed at the bottom but floated to the top. So even if the cold water at the top wasn't freezing, it looked like ice was nucleating on the bottom and then floating up, which would both make sense and mean that it couldn't work without something like the pump.

But that's only a theory, and as I say until I can get a batch of clear ice as a control (indeed ANY batch -- even top-down in a cooler isn't working for me), I can't be sure there isn't some way to do it without the pump.

Camper English

Thanks - I suspected that might be the case- ice floating. What's wrong with your cooler method though? Lots of motion in your freezer? That can ruin otherwise good process.

fang2415

Well, like I say, that's only my theory. It might just be that Nome's container is better insulated, or he's got a better freezer, or who knows what else.

As for my top-down attempts, I just can't seem to get it directional enough. The best I've been able to get is about an inch and a half of clear ice at the top, with a huge cloudy dome underneath (which sometimes causes stress fractures in the clear stuff). When I look at interrupted freezes, the ice on the sides and bottom is usually pretty thick -- not as thick as what's on top, but maybe 1/3 or 1/4 as much. All in all, it seems the best I can do is to move the last part to freeze from the center to about 2/3 of the way down (while your giant ice tray, for example, looks like it gets the final freezing point about 9/10 of the way to the bottom).

My current best guess is that the problem is my freezer, which (while world-beating compared to most British home freezers) has no auto-defrost and no fan. I think the fan might be the real key since it seems like the convection could make a disproportionate difference on the uninsulated side; my memory is that most US freezers do have a fan, so that might account for why my ice looks worse than every pic I see on US websites. The lack of auto-defrost also creates a strong incentive to use what I hope are non-insulating lids (like tinfoil) to avoid the heavy snowfall that otherwise covers my freezer, so it's possible that they do in fact insulate too much and contribute to the low success rate; but I have tried uncovered freezes and they're only slightly better. My other guesses are lousy insulation or poorly-shaped containers (too wide/short instead of narrow/tall). I don't think there's much motion in the freezer (neither things getting moved around nor the whole freezer shaking)... but hey, I guess it's a possibility? As I say, without a successful process to compare it to, it's hard to know which variable is going wrong...

Camper English

One more variable to consider is the possibility that your freezer is too cold. One of my readers has a super strong freezer and it prevents clear ice from happening. Might that be a possibility?

My freezer doesn't have a fan but it doesn't get frosty either.

fang2415

Wow, really, it doesn't have a fan? I just called my mom in Chicago to ask and at first she said her freezer didn't, but then realized there was a vent at the top with air blowing in. I thought I remembered you mentioning in one of your posts that the ice on the side of the cooler nearest the fan froze differently...

The vodka in my freezer is at -1 F, which according to Dave Arnold's book is actually on the warm side (he doesn't mention ideal temp when he discusses the cooler method, but he does say that colder is better in general). So that doesn't seem too likely (and I'd rather not turn it above 0 F in case it ruins my food).

After posting before I found this video, which makes me even less inclined to think it's a container problem because he's using the exact same cooler I am. When I saw the video I just laughed, because he gets more clear ice using two inches of water than I do by filling the whole thing. (I am now trying it using only two inches -- who knows?)

If you really get your results in a fanless freezer though, then I'm back to stumped. I was starting to feel sure that fans in freezers were so ubiquitous in the US that people were forgetting to mention it as a critical factor. I was thinking of buying one of those tiny desk fans and putting it in there as a test, so maybe I'll still give that a try...

The one other thing I can think of that I haven't tried yet is distilled water. I'd be amazed if it made that big a difference though (and I'm not sure they even sell it over here). Other than that... maybe Coleman sent me a defective cooler?

westy

The tray or molds make a difference. Two inches of water enclosed in a tray/mold, then surrounded by more water, then surrounded by the cooler is not the same thing as two inches of water inside a cooler.

With just water inside a cooler, I get about 2/3rds clear. 4 inches of water = 2.5 inches clear ice.

Camper English

There is definitely a vent at the top, so maybe I'm wrong and there is a fan I just don't know about. The "ideal" temperature is just barely below freezing to make the clearest ice, but that takes forever to freeze. Super cold freezers seem to cause cloudiness.

Distilled water has not made any significant difference. Directional freezing does.

Thanks for the link to this video. This person uses my methods without ever giving credit. Has a whole website about it.

fang2415

Yeah, it seems like there's more and more people doing things like that these days. :) I guess that's the downside of an innovation that seems so common-sense once you know about it. (I'm not sure I saw a credit in Arnold's or Morgenthaler's books either, unfortunately...)

I know the distilled water shouldn't work, which is why I haven't tried it yet, lol. But who knows, maybe there's some crazy mineral in the water over here that wasn't present in your tests and is screwing everything up? But I doubt it. I still think it's the fan. Once I order a little hand-held one I'll rig it up somewhere inside the freezer and see what difference it makes.

fang2415

Hm, that's kind of surprising since the molds are so thin. Have you found that you get more clear ice with molds or less clear ice?

I just finished freezing 2 inches of water (with no molds) inside my uncovered Coleman and got almost exactly the reverse of your ratio: about .75 inches clear and 1.25 cloudy. More clear than I was expecting actually, but still way less than the guy in the video above (or the guy in this video, who interestingly gets slightly more cloudy ice using what looks like exactly the same cooler, and who also doesn't credit Camper!)...

fang2415

One other point closer to the actual topic (I'd feel guiltier about the digressions if Camper hadn't asked!) -- I'm also wondering what happens using Nome's method but using only the pump. That is, ditch the insulation entirely and just put the pump at the top of a regular tupperware.

I should just probably just cut the Gordian knot here and buy an aquarium pump...

Camper English

Another reader had a problem in that water from the tap goes through and aerator, and he found that if he let the water settle (or take it from a Britta) he got clearer ice. Just one more thing to add to your list of experiments....

fang2415

Yeah, Arnold's book mentions the aeration (and particles) and recommends solving it by filtering, boiling, and letting it cool before putting it in the freezer. I've tried all that with no noticeable difference, which is why distilled is the only other thing I can think of to change the water itself...

westy

You will get more clear ice from 2 inches of water in a tray than just 2 inches in a cooler. First, the tray is insulation. Second, the water surrounding the tray is even more insulation. Third, you are only harvesting ice from a smaller center cut portion of the cooler. Which portion is also the most insulated.

Two inches of water in a cooler by itself is just too shallow to work very well. Try 4 inches of water and you'll get better results. Or 5. Or 6. The more vertical you use, the better. Tall and insulated works well. Shallow and insulated does not work so well.

fang2415

Huh, I wouldn't expect the tray to make much of a difference, but maybe I should try it (once I get a tray that doesn't give the ice an off flavor).

Most of my attempts are indeed with much more water, probably five or six inches deep, and I still don't get more than an inch or two of clear ice on top (that was why I was surprised the guy in the video got so much out of only two inches of water, and why I wasn't surprised when I didn't). So far for me, shallow and insulated doesn't work so well, and tall and insulated doesn't seem to work so well either. I still haven't had a chance to try the fan thing though, so we'll see if that helps...

westy

If you only get an inch of clear ice on 5/6 inches deep of water your freezer is too cold or otherwise screwed up. Every ice experiment detailed on this site is basically the same outcome -- top half or so clear; bottom half cloudy. I don't think your fan idea matters. I get fine results from a chest freezer with no fan and no defrost feature.

Cody

I see alot of the same questions I had on here so I will try to give input after a few testing cycles.

1) This setup works great when done very similarly (I only insulated my sides about halfway down to increase freezing speed/efficency)

2) Will this work without a pump? I tried this with no success, for one reason or another it created long air bubbles that looked like a shooting star all pointing at a big couldy bit right above the center.

3) Will this work with only a pump? I tried this and had limited success but also found ice would still form on the top in a thin layer which I could easily break every morning and remove.

In short, I think this method needs some sort of directional freezing even if it isn't all the way down. The next experiment is to try regular container with only the top insulated. Cheers!

Camper English

Thank you for the research!

fang2415

Cody, this is terrific info -- your comment inspired me to finally get around to buying a cheap aquarium pump.

And, well, wow. I stuck the pump inside an uninsulated 5L plastic container with the lid on and 24 hours later I had nearly the entire thing full of the largest amount of the clearest, cleanest, most regular ice I've seen in any of my home experiments.

The details: I did end up with a plume of cloudy ice in front of the pump's outlet nozzle, and about 2 oz of water was left unfrozen immediately in front of the nozzle. This leftover water was totally disgusting: it had so much white sediment in it that looked like cloudy coconut water. Also, the pump did freeze. It was still humming when I took the ice out, but the intake side seemed frozen solid so I'm not sure it was actually still pushing any water. After I cut the ice up, I put the pump under some running water for a few minutes, then plugged it in and it worked fine. The top of the water never froze over for me; my guesses are that this was either because the air under the lid provided enough insulation, or that my (600L/hr!) pump might be more powerful than others and/or run hotter.

My biggest question for is: how do you get the pump out? For the pump to work I had to put it far enough down that its lower edge was 3 inches underwater -- so with a 6-in-tall container I lost a lot of space to the pump! Nome's block above looks like it doesn't have any pump-shaped holes -- maybe I should be removing the pump before it freezes or something?

Anyway, this is embarrassingly exciting: all my attempts at directional freezing (which I'll try to catalog once I exhaust a few remaining variables) have been decidedly lackluster, and this is the best freeze I've gotten by a long shot. Aside from making the most and best clear ice of anything I've tried, the ability to use an uninsulated container also means it freezes much faster and takes up much less space! Based on my experience, my personal recommendation to anyone wanting to make clear ice at home would be to save the $10 you'd spend on a small cooler and spend it on a cheap aquarium pump instead!

The next thing I want to try: get an ice tray and lay it on the bottom -- maybe I can get a tray full of clear ice cubes and then just discard the water left on top?

Cody

Fang,

Terrific to hear of your success! I used a container that was about 20 inches tall so it was no problem with having too thin of ice left after taking the pump out.

One idea to get around this though for you is if the pump came with tubing for the inlet side (mine came with about 4 inches of tubing) you could easily hold the pump all the way out of the water and only insert enough of the outlet tip so that the water doesn't cavitate.

fang2415

Hah, wow, you have a tall freezer! :) That does make sense though; I assume Nome did something similar in his original test and simply poured off the top of the water.

I did think of using hoses and keeping the pump outside the container; I don't think the submersible pumps like being out of the water so my plan was to use a separate smaller container with an inlet and outlet tube leading back to the main one. The problem is that my pump doesn't have an inlet tube but an open grating over its whole back panel, so it won't be easy to rig up an intake that will get enough suction...

Thanks for the info on how you deal with the pump though -- now I can stop wondering if I'm doing something wrong!

fang2415

So, after what has apparently been about six months of trials, I've finally figured this out, having just finished a freeze with about 2.5 inches of clear ice on top and less than .5 inches of cloudy ice beneath that. The short answer: water purity. I'll post a longer answer, including a list of failed attempts, over at the actually relevant thread.

One detail which is about the pump-freezing method though: I realized that this is actually a pretty good way to purify water. What I've ended up doing to get pure water (since it turns out that distilled water is indeed not easily available in the UK) is to do a pump-freeze as I described below and then pour out the cloudy water on top and keep the water from melting the clear ice that remains.

I bought this meter to measure how pure the meltwater was compared to other methods. My tap water was about 280 ppm; one pass through a new Brita filter took it down to 215 ppm; Volvic drinking water was 94 ppm; and the melted water was 7 ppm! I don't know how well calibrated my meter is, but clearly the meltwater is MUCH purer than filtered or bottled water and is probably pretty close to distilled water.

So this way to purify water seems very labor- and materials-efficient (while being rather clock-time- and electricity-inefficient -- it doesn't require much intervention and won't burn through filters, but it'll take a day or so of running the pump). Of course melting any clear ice would presumably get the same result, but using the pump method gives you a fast, high-volume freeze and makes it easy to pour off the cloudy remainder.

Hope somebody finds this useful, especially if you live somewhere where you can't get distilled water!

Camper English

The no distilled water for sale thing is odd. I've found lately that most bulk purified water on shelves these days is distilled but then has minerals added back into it, which doesn't help us for our clear ice experiments.

I remember as kids that you were supposed to use distilled water in the iron so that the minerals didn't clog it.

fang2415

I get the sense that the history of distilled water in the UK has been pretty different from the US. As far as I can tell, it's never really been on the grocery market here. My theory is that it has to do with the minimum TDS regulation for drinking water that Kevin mentions in this article (apparently that policy is currently under review, but who knows if that will make distilled water available if there's no existing market for it).

The closest thing I can find is "battery top-up water" sold at gas stations which is apparently deionized, but it's certainly not meant for drinking so I'm not sure how good I'd feel about that. A friend of mine thought of the ironing thing and checked it out. Turns out they sell special water here just for ironing, but it's fragranced.

They also don't sell rubbing alcohol here. I frequently find myself wondering how this civilization has survived for so long.

wesq3

This technique worked to great effect for me. I used a $10 aquarium pump from Amazon and a 9x9x12 "Tillsluta" food container from Ikea. I wrapped a towel around the top of the box and let it freeze for ~72 hours until I heard the pump laboring as it was about to freeze. The result was a nearly full block of clear ice. I filled 3 gallon freezer storage bags with cut blocks.

Images here: https://imgur.com/a/omzPc

Thanks for paving the way, Camper and Park!

Camper English

Awesome, thanks for sharing your success.

Casey Wagner

What about using an ultrasonic fogger turned on its side to provide water movement? Instead of blowing fog up, it would just be disturbing the water.
Then you don't have the moving parts that a pump has to risk damage.

Camper English

From my understanding, this is basically how a Kold Draft ice machine works (spraying on a cold plate), though I'm not sure it's ultra-sonic, just mist.

As people mentioned somewhere on these posts, the aquarium pumps apparently don't break when they freeze since they're magnetic so it may not be that big of an issue. I guess either way there is a power cord to deal with.

-Wally

If you use a 4" buffet pan full of water on the floor of a chest freezer with an upside down Coleman cooler over it, at the 6 hrs mark before the water has frozen at all remove the cooler and agitate the water with a knife instantly turning the water slushy, continue the freeze with the cooler removed and the resulting block of ice in the pan will have frozen from the bottom up and be clear its the same process as using a silicon cube tray in a dorm fridge and freezing from the bottom up, trick is to catch the water before it freezes when it will turn to insta slush upon agitation

Camper English

Interesting - It sounds like you've accomplished this and it's a smart/simple trick. Would you care to share pictures of it for a future blog post? You can email me at camperenglish at gmail if so. Cheers.

Gil

Thanks for this post Camper English, could you explain the fish tank pump a bit more? Do I leave the tube off? Lower it just under the surface of the water?

Camper English

The pump circulates the water on the surface to keep it from freezing over (and starting a top-down freeze we want to avoid). So yeah you should need the tube and near the surface is where you want it.

tulane87

My 1st attempt at this worked great. Instead of adding foam insulation inside of the cooler (which reduces the overall block size), I created a more insulate top. After 24 hours, my super clear block was 11x7x7. What is the block size generated by Park in his 50 hours? I noticed that the sides froze completely and the top surface was beginning to freeze. I had hoped the pump would eliminate the top freeze, but since the submersible pump actually needs to be about an inch below the surface to operate, that is to be expected. I guess I could look at trying to insulate those areas a bit more and see if that helps. I'd also like to find an external (non-submersible) pump.

Camper English

I guess it depends on how much clear ice you need. This method is probably good for extra-large sized coolers, but if you just want the typical lunch-sized cooler, than the regular directional freezing method would work.
http://www.alcademics.com/2009/12/clear-ice-blocks-at-home-in-an-igloo-cooler.html

Icebreaker

I wanted to open a question here again, I don't have the skill set or capital to try an experiment that I thought of.

Since you have seen that they have start creating portable drafts for canned beer pouring them out with perfect foam. They do this with ultrasonic sound waves.

So my theory is as follows:

Can you use ultrasonic sound waves and vibration to push air out of the water from the bottoms up ?

Regards

Camper English

Certainly people have looked at using vibration - not necessarily ultrasonic - to eliminate air. I even went to an adult store once to try to find a vibrating device with a cord, but turns out those aren't really a thing. I wouldn't waste batteries on it for environmental reasons - plus also either with the ultrasonic or regular vibrations, the noise in my freezer would probably drive me insane.

It would still be fun to try for proof of concept but I can't recall anyone who has achieved it.

Annabelle

How do you keep the aquarium pump plugged in while it's freezing? Do you need to keep the freezer door slightly open the whole time?

Camper English

Many (most?) freezers have a squishy seal that can fit a cord and still say closed. I'm pretty sure mine would anyway.

Mateo

Just want to say Thank you for all the info. Can I ask what pump you actually used? There are so many and being a total newbie, I am not sure what kind or how powerful I need. Any education is greatly appreciated.

Ourmanflint1

I've read and followed this site for a while. My own experiments and intuitions have yielded similar results. I have a set-up like Nome Park, but have made 2 modifications: 1) I used insulation foam to fill the hollow top (along with some extra exterior insulation. 2) I have cut the plastic bottom out of the 18QT ice chest and installed a 1/4" Aluminum plate (using food grade silicon adhesive) to further conduct the cold to the bottom. I'm in the middle of my second batch and the results are very impressive. It's the clearest, flattest, largest yield I've very had. I'll be making an image log to pass along. I posted an image on Reddit last night and received 400K views...https://www.reddit.com/r/mildlyinteresting/comments/9b5yq9/ive_been_obsessed_with_making_clear_ice_this_may/

Camper English

I saw the traffic from your post, thanks! Please let me know when you post that image log- feel free to comment again and/or send me an email (address here: http://www.alcademics.com/about-alcademics.html )

Cheers!

Ourmanflint1

Just Sent you some images and a note. Cheers

mghtbgiant

Hello, I just recently caught into the homemade clear ice obsession. I started with (come to find out) Camper's method discovered through various YT videos. I then find this thread late last week and had a new cooler and aquarium pump delivered last weekend.

I JUST harvested the biggest, clearest, most flawless block of ice using Nome's method. When I pulled the cooler from the freezer it sloshed around and I didn't think there was going to be much of anything. I ended up with a 10"x7.5"x4" nigh perfect block!

I pretty much followed the directions detailed here and in the comments. When I cut off the bottom of the cooler exterior, I cleaned up the outside of the inner plastic. I then covered it (and the now-exposed insulation) with aluminum foil tape (so sticky). Oh, I also cut a piece of 3/4" foiled foam board and put it on top of the lid and aluminum taped that as well to try to help insulate the top a smidge.

I cut a notch for the pump cord. I put the pump as high as I could and filled the water just high enough to enable the pump to run.

Next run I will let it go for 4 days. If the freezing process yield ui linear, based on my setup, I netted 2"/24 hours.

I was expecting nearly the whole thing to be frozen but that wasn't even close to being the case.

All-in-all, I'm amazed. This was an awesome experiment. I did all employ Camper's method for the smaller cooler when using silicone molds; those always come out perfectly and freeze much faster !

Thanks to everyone's r&d here! Such a fun experiment!

mghtbgiant

Forgot to mention that I thought, after pulling out the block, that only the part of the cooler where the insulation was removed froze but that wasn't the case.

The block had grown about an inch higher than where the insulating was cut.

I'll be leaving it longer next time just to see.

I also don't want the pump to freeze and risk damage!

Camper English

Awesome, thanks for sharing. Some other experimenters have said that pumps don't break when they get frozen into the ice blocks, but don't take my word for it.

coach_greg05@hotmail.com

I've been trying to make a large block for carving. (rubbermaid 50qt chest cooler) I used the previous ideas and couldln't avoid ice forming at the top. I added the sheet metal bottom modification and that seemed to make a difference. In fact it took me a while to believe any ice was forming because the ice was so clear. (and its taking a long time. over 2 days and will take another 2) I think I could insulate the top better.

Re: the pump I suspended it from my foam lid in the center (away from the edges). I think this is allowing me to leave it in the cooler much longer.

So far so good. Long ways to go though.
Thx all. Greg

Darrien

Hi fang2415,

Just wanted to know if you succeeded with laying the ice tray at the bottom of the tray.

Nontouchable

Hi guys, first of all, thanks a lot to Camper English for paving the way and inspiring us!
For a few weeks I've been totally obsessed with clear ice creation and I've built several prototypes of isolated plastic boxes in order to get the best results at home possible.
What started off with the "simple" top-down freezing method, now I am "growing" my blocks from bottom up.
Since I've also started to use some of the cubes for gins in our bar, there's some kind of pressure involved now and I'd like to step my ice-game up a notch.
Therefore I am planning to get a chest-freezer, since I'll be able to produce much bigger blocks in there.
Did anyone ever try using a chest-freezer and just fill it up with water and let it freeze directly in it?
On youtube I've seen people who take ice baths in chest-freezers but obviously the pressure on walls etc. isn't the same by far.
Cheers!

Camper English

People have definitely used larger coolers, but I think the freezer itself is not a great idea. In the first place, how would you get the block out?

Nontouchable

I did not elaborate enough on this thought I guess. What I'm thinking is to create a plastic box / a liner that would fit pretty much snuggly into the chest freezer. That one I'd have to equip with hooks, maybe something along the style the clinebell machines use, in order to lift it out when frozen.
We'll see, I'll just start by upscaling from where I'm at rn. That's a 5L plastic box, a small piece of polyurethane to isolate the top and upper part of the sides and a small 200l/h pump on the lid. Love this journey!

Camper English

Some call it a journey; others call it a slippery slope :) Have fun.

Tom

So, how did this turn out then? I was thinking something simmilar, but has not worked for me... yet?

Nontouchable

Hey Tom
So sorry for not having answered this one yet!
I did totally forget to catch up on the alcademics page since I've gone on instagram and connected a bit with Camper there.
Long story short, I upgraded to a 280l size chest-style freezer and have it on absolute minimum settings (my thermometer says it's about -10°C in there on the ground lvl).
In there I am now using a 31l-plastic box(BPA-free ofc.) for which I've made a polyurethane insulation for all sides except for the bottom. Still the same lil' pump I've used on my 5l-box, works like a charm. Every 3 days I get +- 30kgs of perfectly clear ice outta this.

I am now however using up the space to create clear spheres with the top-down method, containing all sorts of edible stuff (lemon-cuts, gold-leaf, strawberries etc.) for this I'm using a big BPA-free plastic container, that's rectangular in shape so as to fit 2 silicone molds with 4 5.5cm spheres each, they fit in nicely and all the water below does insulate this enough for the freezing to start from the top, so my spheres are almost perfectly clear.
Almost I say because the 31l-thing produces REAL perfectly clear ice, where as the way with the molds is still a little bit contaminated with airbubbles.
You can see the results on my insta- got the same username as here!
So long, cheers!

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