Introducing Frankencooler


  • Patent pending design
  • Totally self-contained and portable – no external power needed
  • 18-volt lithium-ion battery w/state-of-charge indicator
  • Two flexible cold air ducts
  • Three individual water to air heat exchangers
  • Twin high-pressure fans
  • Infinitely variable fan speed control
  • Marine pump – underdriven for durability and power savings
  • Cooling ice and water insulated from incoming air for maximum cooling duration
  • Coleman cooler features wheels, pull handle and drain valve
  • Average run time at optimum 50% fan speed: 1.5 – 1.75 hrs.
  • 30º – 55° temperature differential (outgoing to incoming air)
  • Additional batteries available for under $40
  • Hideous looks, awesome performance – proven in the desert by Arizona Cardinals tailgaters

Build your own Frankencooler – plans and parts are now available HERE

59 thoughts on “Introducing Frankencooler”

  1. Can I purchase this? I live in malt car in Florida and it gets Exermly hot in the summer !

      1. Yes please do this! I would gladly pay for a bill of materials and some basic plans

      2. Hi Jon, I’m pretty much done with the written instructions and now need to do illustrations and take some photos. Sorry I was so ill-prepared for this whole thing –

    1. Hi Stephen,
      My wife and I used to live in Beaumont, so I know about that heat. I’ve gotten a ton of emails from people wanting to buy one of these but I’m not a company, just an old guy who likes to tinker. While I don’t have the energy to build a bunch of these units, I have agreed to offer component kits and plans to those who have requested them. In a few weeks, I should be ready to go.
      This is not hard to build once you know what parts work and where to find them. If I can do it, anyone can 🙂

      1. It looks better than all i’ve seen on utube! I too live in my car in
        Tucson and i am going to make one. Thanks so much you could be a life saver!!
        Yes, if you could please email me where to find those 2 high power blowers, the fan , the heat exchangers, the pump and battery that would be amazing of you! I would pay you for the info cause its starting to get so hot now ..hurry please!! thanks …

  2. Yes, I would love to get more detail plans as well. I’m thinking of building this for my son’s classroom. His school is an older school and does not have air conditioning, so all the kids about 36 students and 1 teacher… 37 people in this classroom on the top floor of the school are all just sweating and can’t concentrate due to the heat. If I can get information on where to purchase these components it would be wonderful. I live in Toronto, Canada and today the high with humidity it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If it works well, I can get each classroom to build this as their science project! 🙂

    1. It would be an interesting science project, but a better alternative for the classroom (or anywhere with electricity) would be real portable AC unit. Most cost less than what it costs me to build my self-contained ice chest cooler 🙂

  3. If you’re not selling I live in Phoenix could I rent it for 2 weeks starting June 20? Really desperate going to a remote site to cook for a non profit

    1. I was thinking the same thing. I am in Phoenix about to run a fireworks stand for a non-profit the first week of July. i would be interested in renting or in a detailed parts list as well. This is awesome and if it works at UOP, then it really works.

      1. Hi Gary,
        I’m working on the plans now and hopefully will have them up soon. Sorry that I’m not set up to rent these – next year I will be prepared.
        Best Wishes,

  4. Also interested in the plans and parts and how to video. Looking forward to it! With this design how long does it go before it stops cooling? (I know , depends on how hot it is outside, but I’m general in warm weather what’s your experience?)

    1. Hi Phillip. At normal running speeds (about 50% blower speed – good air flow, low noise), the battery charge lasts around 1.5 – 1.75 hours. I usually use block ice, and while I’ve rarely used the cooler longer than a couple hours at a time, I would estimate it lasts for around 4 – 5 hours running time at high temps. Cubed ice would be less. Don’t forget that the cooler needs a little water to get going (pump can’t draw ice), and I add very cold water so it doesn’t immediately melt a lot of the ice – very important.

  5. Thank you for sharing! I too am interested in whatever plans, video or parts list you develop. I’d like to make one to keep the car cool while parked, a small room cool during power outages or the cabin of my 50 year old Piper cool while taxiing and climbing to cooler altitudes.

  6. Hi I love your design and I’m very interested. I live in The Netherlands, which has a very different climate from Arizona, bit we do get very hot days here as well, way up in the 90’s. Houses here are typically brick with no air conditioning, so after a few hot days my appartment basically turns into a brick oven.
    I’d love to take on the project of building this.
    Details of materials would be very important since I would have to ‘translate’ them to local standards and availability.
    I’m also curious as to what it cost to build it, and if modifications for running on solar panels would be possible.
    Can I sign up anywhere for news/updates?

    1. Hello, CeeGee. I appreciate your comments but doubt that my cooler would be a good alternative for your application since you have household current available.
      If I were you, I would purchase an inexpensive portable air conditioner – in the US they can be bought for less than what I spent on parts alone for my cooler and you don’t need to bother with ice, batteries, or even solar. I bought one for my elderly mother, and it worked great.
      In answer to your questions, converting my cooler to operate on solar would not be difficult, and there are a lot of inexpensive 12 – 18V solar cells available on the market.
      I’ve spent around $375 in parts on the coolers I’ve made, but they certainly could have been done for less. Maybe a lot less.
      I will have plans available soon on this site – I’m working on them 🙂

      1. would love to see a solar version or a deep cycle/inverter version as i live in a van

      2. That’s very doable. 12 – 18V solar panels can now be had for fairly cheap and some include the needed voltage regulator. A 100 mah gel cell would cost around $150.

  7. Extremely interested in parts list and design! This is the best design that has a lot of thought put into it. I’m in Oklahoma and it’s in the 100s the next couple of weeks and this would definitely help.

  8. This is really interesting! Considering how well it performs for you outside, where the incoming air is continuously 90+ degrees, I’m wondering how it would fair in an enclosed space. Specifically, my VW camper, which lacks the luxuries of a generator and A/C.

    1. Hi Derek,
      I honestly don’t know, as I’ve never used it in a small space. By virtue of the fact it would be recycling the air, it would have to help, but I’m guessing its main effectiveness would still be direct airflow.
      It’s interesting that you brought this up, as I have been sourcing components for a tent-cooling “super” version of my design utilizing a high-end ice chest (I’ve been using cheapos) and high-end air-to-water heat exchangers. It would be powered by a 100 – 2oo mah gel cell charged by a portable solar array. The cooler inlet would be flex-ducted to a port near the apex of the tent with cooling tubes ducted to lower ports in the tent walls.
      The inspiration came from an individual who contacted me needing a cooling source for his tent at the Burning Man festival in August.

      1. Hello from Tokyo. Stumbled across your YouTube video and then this site when looking for a way to cool a tent. If you ever get around to realizing your tent project please post a report here, as well!

  9. I plan on building one for the small airplane I fly. I am looking forward to your plans being posted.

      1. That would be great! Your invention is amazing! hope you do soon, /Thanks so much

  10. Hello,

    I know a lot of people are asking to buy one of your coolers..I live here in Phoenix, my daughter plays travel softball and this summer heat sitting at the softball field for 6-7 hours a day for the weekend is brutal.. May you please build me one if I purchase all of the materials and pay for labor, plus a bonus… lol… i play on an adult league and just yesterday, we played 3 games and the temperature was still 110 at 7:30 yesterday evening.. pleaseee pleaseee pleaseee

    1. Hi Dovie,
      LOL, I’m also in Phoenix and it is definitely brutal.
      I really appreciate your generous offer, but I’m afraid the eight hours or so it takes for me to build one of these things is more than my back could handle (I’m an old guy), otherwise I’d be working on 50 orders right now.
      As much as it pains me to recommend them, Icy Breeze makes an ice chest air conditioner you can buy today. It cools with a single (weak) stream of air, but goes through ice at a rapid rate – bring plenty.
      Be strong!

  11. Wowed…maybe I won’t be retiring after all!!!
    I deliver mail and spend upwards of 6-7 hours daily, driving my “HellTruck” without AC in this Texas Sauna. I have quite a few rechargeable 12v batteries I can put to good use. Thank you for sharing your efforts and knowledge I can’t wait to start this build.
    Sincerely, Melting in Texas

    1. Wow, I can’t believe Uncle Sam doesn’t give you AC’d trucks. My dad was mail carrier back in the day in the Midwest and I remember him sweltering in his truck all summer. I assumed we had progressed since then. I guess not.

  12. HI Bob, will you be listing a more detailed explaination on how to make your invention?
    Like where to order the parts and maybe some details on how to construct it?
    I am starving to get started…thanks so much, jest

    1. Hi Christopher. It just helps cool the air a little when bringing it into the cooler. Since I use an insulated divider to keep the air away from the ice, it’s not a necessity.

  13. Bob thank you for your help, I feel like I’m also completely ready to make one. I started this morning knowing absolutely nothing. I’m trying to figure out what two radiators are on the blowers. I searched Amazon and found this (AGPtek® 12 Pipe Aluminum Heat Exchanger Radiator for PC CPU CO2 Laser Water Cool System Computer) for $18 is that the wrong type of radiator? Also if you have a moment I wanted to see if this fan blower is the right type (iPower 4 Inch 100 CFM Booster Fan Inline Duct Vent Blower for HVAC Exhaust and Intake 5.5′ Grounded Power Cord) also on Amazon? I cant thank you enough for your help!!

  14. Can I ask how long does it take to build one of these with your instructions? And are you selling all components needed to build this including instructions soon?

    1. Hi Patrick,
      Depending on how hard it is to mount and seal the radiators on your particular cooler (some have major contours, etc on lid bottom), I’d estimate around 4 hours.

    2. Sorry, I didn’t see this comment. I am offering all the major components (pump, blowers, heat exchangers, etc) online, but you don’t have to buy these things from me to build my design. The plans tell you what you need and where to find them. Everything is on the Frankencooler website.

    1. Hi Tom. No, a single pump. I’m actually posting the pump today, as I was finally able to get a few in (it’s hard getting marine-based components this time of year).

      1. I understand. I am a retired electronics teacher (local college) and I fish. I too have built a few swamp coolers. The one I use is similar to yours, except for the incoming air radiator. Looks to me like I need a “home” addition. I use 2 small cpu cooling pumps. They move 65 gph and seem sufficient. I use frozen water bottles as my cooling agent. I use older 4 inch bilge blowers, but they are noisy.

        Thanks for sharing your info.


    1. Yes, the temperature differential between incoming and outgoing air is increased – by exactly how much, I don’t know. Since there’s nobody selling dry ice close to my home, I’ve only tried it once, and the air was noticeably colder. I actually went out to buy some dry ice Saturday but they had none. I’ll try again and post temps.

  15. Pure dry ice is not going to work, because you need to pump cold liquid through the radiators. However, it may be possible to mix some water with the dry ice, assuming you can keep the water in a liquid state and not turn it into a solid block. It may be tricky. However, dry ice has an enthalpy of fusion of 571 kJ/kg, which is about almost twice that of regular ice (333 kJ/kg), so it should be more effective. The fact that dry ice is colder is not going to make much difference because once it sublimates at -78C, it will vaporize and be gone. The enthalpy of fusion is what you gain. However, dry ice is about $2/lb, whereas regular ice is less than 10 cents/lb. That’s a 20x difference in price for a factor of may be two improvement in cooling. It doesn’t sound like a great idea to me.

  16. Great engineering and looks like a fun project. My only hesitancy with it is the battery life/run time.

    Have you experimented with higher capacity battery packs and/or more efficient fans?

  17. With everything installed, the lid is very heavy, and I am concerned it is going to stretch the plastic hinge at the back if I open the lid and leave it hanging. It might need a support bar of some sort. Did you have any suggestions for this?

    1. I agree, the weight will overtax the crappy hinges. I take a 4 – 5″ section of the small 1/2″ vinyl hose and split it end-to-end, and with #6 stainless screws, fasten one end to the lid and the other to the side so that the lid will stop before swinging too far.

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