A cheaper, easy and better home made chiller option if you

I have several lasers both from OM tech. A 50 and a 80 watt laser. Now the larger laser on long jobs can’t cool on the simple 5 gallon bucket with pump and even the lower priced chillers do not actually chill…they are just simple heat exchangers and if the room air is warm well they don’t cut it.

However I wanted to avoid the 500.00 refrigerant chillers if possible simply because…well…I don’t want to spend the money if I can avoid it.

What I came up with works so well I could run a 120 watt laser on it and for less than $110.00 bucks.
Now the caveat is you have to be able to run cool water from the tap and evacuate it (drain) for most maybe this won’t work but I am on a well so water is no issue and the water is cold. If you live in say Phoenix well this won’t work as I lived there and the cold water is 90 degrees.

The simple solution was to get a stainless steel wort chiller for beer. Has to be stainless steel as copper will delam copper ions in deionized water and make it partly conductive over time. Stainless won’t.

I got A 50 foot stainless wort coil chiller that fits perfectly in a 5 gallon bucket. comes with tubing and stainless garden hose fittings to attach in and out lines. Again this simply acts a heat exchanger…water runs through the coil submersed in your sump and pulls out heat.

stainless wort chiller

I used two of the pocket style garden hoses for water in and out. Since I have my shop in the basement I have water lines from the pressure tank for cold water and then I run the waste out through a hose to the outside for now.

Eventually I will plumb it from the PEX water lines above my laser and drain into the house drains but for now this was 20 dollars for two 50 foot pocket garden hoses to test.
How does it work…well water never raises above 68 degrees even under long runs 2 hour runs) at 75% power.

You do not need alot of water flowing through the chiller…just a slow trickle works fine…but my well water is 58 degrees. If I had standard city water of 70 degrees it would probably stay around 70.
Anyway this may work for a few people that have the option of using cold water from the house and can also drain it out. Again the chiller itself was like $70.00 and two expandable pocket hoses were 20 bucks at the off price outlet store. Thats it…no more overheated sump.

Now long term I have a 120 volt water solenoid that I will plumb in so that water runs through the chiller once the laser is turned on ( plugged into the AC outlet on back of laser). I will have a simple flow control valve to adjust water flow so that I can easily change flow if needed but really thats so I can set it as slow flow as needed. Water heat exchangers do not need a fast flow much like a car radiator…slow enough to have contact time. I could even very easily get a temp controller and plug the AC solenoid to open and close at a set temp…which I may do. Thats easy peasy…all available on Amazon or your online supplier of choice.

SO this may be an option for a few people who want a chiller than can actually chill a bigger laser, have access to cool water in and waste out. Certainly vastly superior to the simple $150.00 air heat exchangers and with cold water supply as good as a chiller.

Amazing work Scott! I commend you on such a thorough process in making this work for you. My specific needs are for reliable chillers. 5200 and 5000 works well for me. I make my living doing this so my choice is based on time, effort and reliability - plus Florida has no cool water source! Again, love your ingenuity.

Yah won’t work with no cool water. When I lived in Phoenix cold water was usually 110 degrees as they did not bury pipes very deep so would’t work there either.
There is a delta ( i think its called) where you can figure out how cool you can chill if you know the cooling water temp. My unofficial guess is about 3-5 degrees above cold water temps depending on size of the coil and flow.
I am automating mine as it will have a temp controller and solenoid that opens and closes water to maintain a set temp along with an analog flow control meter.
Currently at 55 degrees of cold water supply I can keep laser water at 59-60 with a flow rate of 1/4 gallon per minute.
I want the controller so I can set the temp where i want it which would be for me around 65-70.

Please keep us geeks posted. Love the ingenuity.

when its all done I will post pics…:slight_smile: Waiting on Amazon parts…

So got this setup all done well version 1. Version 2 will simply be hard plumbed into my drain lines in the ceiling verses running outside.
So total cost was 70 for the chiller…20 bucks for the two pocket hoses…20 for the temp controller and 14 for the NC valve. Thats what $125.00 or so.
It keeps my water within 1.2 degree of 72 as I set the cycle at 1 degree of 72. Can run for hours and it never gets above 72.3. Could set it colder but no need.
Uses very little supply water just a few gallons an hour as the water cycles through the temp controlled NC solenoid.
Of course I have well water at 60 degrees in mid summer so…take that for what it is.
Anyway…for me sure beats spending 500 on a chiller and added electricity.