DIY Cooler (Part 2) Proof of Concept

How do we test this idea without spending a ton of time and money on making a box that may ultimately be a complete failure?

Cardboard mockups!

Using $1 boxes from a local big box store. We could have used leftover shipping boxes, but for scientific comparison, we needed identically sized boxes. Each, lined with 2″ foil-faced iso insulation.

Test subject #1: “Flex Seal”

This stuff is about $30/pint and it looks like one can will coat about 1.5-2 boxes this size. Note that, despite the label, this is not pourable/dipable. It is too thin to cling to vertical surfaces and gravity will make it run and sag. You must leave it reasonably horizontal for about 12 hours. Both Flex Seal and Plasti Dip are pretty noxious going on but apparently food safe once dry.

Test subject #2: “Line X”

Same box as test subject #1, but we took it to a local Line-X dealer to have them spray it. It ran $40, but I suspect a good chunk of that is labor that would effectively be the same with a larger item. The spray builds up a lot more unpredictably than the flex-seal and I had to cut some of it off to get the lid to fit in. I added a strip of foam weather seal (not shown) to both test subjects.


For testing in part 3, we’ll be using an old MIE cooler for baseline performance

Two tests were performed on each subject, to determine performance and durability.

For performance, each test cooler was filled with ice and set out in the shade, and timed as to how long it took the ice to melt. For durability, a full beer bottle will be dropped from 3′, cap-side down, to determine how well the lining holds up to abuse.

Read on…

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