Low Cost Chiller Ideas

Tired of filling my open end dewax columns with dry ice, would be so easy to just flip a switch and have it be pumped with fluid at “cryo” temps. But im not sure a recirculating chiller is worth the $$$ just cause i wanna save 5 mins. :sweat_smile: Personally ive been pondering if dry ice in alcohol w/ a submergible water pump would work, but have no clue how a plastic pump would do soaking in alcohol… Possibly a fire hazzard too… dumb idea? Are there small pumps designed for this i havent heard about? No results on google for submergible alcohol pumps lol


Better to just get a chiller. For all the trouble of making that system your still using dry ice to do the same thing. The circulators I use have a metal impeller on a shaft, the drive motor is away from the heat transfer fluid.

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You’re probably right, the chiller would pay for itself not having to buy ice anymore. Gas Money too :thinking: haha Thank you for the response. Just needed to bounce that idea off somebody and get some feedback

Have you considered getting a liquid tank of nitrogen? It is somewhat inexpensive. You can spray a small stream of liquid into a column jacket and have it vent outside. It wouldn’t require any pumps and would be bulletproof.



@fkndabs what’s your budget?

Fwiw, I always use positive pneumatic pressure to move super cold flamible solvents.

Little pancake compressors are cheap and effective


very interested in this topic. Future, how do you set up the pancake compressor in the way you’re mentioning?

How would you get a pump effect like this? The liquid couldn’t return to a pressurized resivoir. The only way I could see this working is with an asperator. Although you would want an inert gas to drive it, I could imagine an ensuing flamethrower.

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Looking to build one of these for a roto. Anyway, on icmag
at least one person is using this 160$ pump for this:


Biggest issue was getting it primed once dry ice was int he liquid sublimating/creating bubbles…


and depending on the temperature of your application, you may want to take note of:


No budget necessarily. If i could rig up something for under $200, i think would be worth it for short term. But @Soxhlet made a valid point, the chiller will pay for itself pretty quickly. Not having to drive and buy large amounts of dry ice every couple days would be nice also :smirk:

Isnt that kinda what they use on some vortex brewers? Pretty sure thats how my grower has his home built one setup. If so i should get his help haha

Check this out perhaps:

Haven’t built mine yet, but I’ve successfully pumped ethanol as cold as I want to using a Finish Thompson centrifugal, magnetic-drive pump made of polypropylene housing and Viton seals.

As for the Chugger pumps, lots of people I speak to recommend them but I bought two a while ago and could not successfully get either to pump ethanol through a 36 ft, 3/8" coil - even with 2.5 gallons of an overhead priming reservoir. Super weak pump for the price if you ask me.


LN2, Liquid Nitrogen if available in your area should be option to conceder to explore or even Co2.
Mechanical advantage over all electrical do hikeys and potentially failure of a chiller.
Some Swagelok throttle valves, fittings, lines, relief valve…let it flow


yeah LN2 is something i’m definitely looking into also, i just have no experience using it for cooling. Need to look into how to properly setup, and find out how long a tank would last me and crunch the $$. I’ve just got gallons on gallons of ethanol and iso sitting around that i could use, why a cheap chiller route is burned into my head lol

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@Soxhlet @Bronx120
Been looking at chilling my column using ln2 could either of you elaborate a little more on what exactly is needed to make this work other than the ln2tank. Ty

Read this, it is a good guide. Cryogenic liquids are dangerous, asphyxiation becomes a risk. Good ventilation and ppe must be had. You don’t need a regulator for these tanks. They have a pressure building loop, you shouldn’t need to use it much.


Apply positive pressure to the headspace on a closed vessel. We do it with 55 gallon drums, adapt a prv, a valve to atmosphere, and an air hose quick connect to the small bung hole, drop a threaded dip tube down the large bung hole. Apply pressure and watch the solvent flow. I also use this method to move solvent to and from Extraction vessels @clouds


That makes sense for moving solvents in drums. Although i was referring to the topic of this thread on diy chillers. How would you get a constant pump like action with compressed air and circulation like a chiller? It would either need to be a pneumatic pump, or a barrel to barrel type system that went back and fourth.

I have read on icmag to get a 50’ 1/2" cooling coil and submerge it in dry ice / iso / ethanol.

You then have a closed system of ethanol within that line, attached to a reservoir and whatever you would like to chill hooked up to a chugger max pump.

I’ve read the chugger max can move a lot of ethanol without a problem and quickly fill and circulate a 6x48" column. I would be sure to keep all lines bigger than 3/8".

I’ve also heard from my local extract shop you can tear apart some portable AC units and rig the radiators (or whatever the fuck they are) into the liquid you have submerged the coil into and have good results.


I’m going to try building one myself in the next month or two. Dry ice has been irritating as fuck, and purchasing a cooler to circulate a 100lb tank, and multiple 6" x 40" sleeves is way beyond my budget. I will submit a build thread here when the time comes.

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