I built an 8000 pound solid ice igloo with led lighting, a stereo system, and iPod connectivity. I put an inflatable mattress inside and planned on spending the night in it, but unfortunately, I failed to cover it during a freak rain storm and it melted overnight 24 hours after completion.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
-Bow Saw or Chainsaw (Safety or speed)
Bow saw should be 36" or more.
-Lots of water
-Disposable aluminum pans ($1-2)
Bigger is better.
-7 Color Led Lighting system
-Stereo and Speakers
Any old system should work.
-At least a few days to build it. mine took 2 weeks to make the ice, and 20 hours to put it all together.
Step 2: Planning
Planning my igloo was a challenge for my geometry skills. After determining the size of my blocks and the desired igloo diameter I had to determine the internal surface area of the hemisphere. I then calculated the surface area of the block to face inwards. I divided the area of the hemisphere by the area of the block face to determine the number of blocks needed. I did this in excel. I have attached the spreadsheet. Instructions for use are contained within. Any math whizzes can send me a better one if they like, mine worked for me. Planning my igloo was a challenge for my geometry skills. After determining the size of my blocks and the desired igloo diameter I had to determine the internal surface area of the hemisphere. I then calculated the surface area of the block to face inwards. I divided the area of the hemisphere by the area of the block face to determine the number of blocks needed. I did this in excel. I have attached the spreadsheet. Instructions for use are contained within. Any math whizzes can send me a better one if they like, mine worked for me.
I wanted it to be big enough to fit a twin sized inflatable mattress, so it ended up ellipse shaped.
Ible Igloo.xls23 KB
Step 3: Making Bricks
The first method I used to make ice was putting garbage bags in cardboard boxes and filling them with water. 4 weeks later, they still hadn't frozen solid and the bags made the bricks irregular. I decided to make more small bricks instead of larger ones.
I purchased 50 disposable foil pans. These froze in 12-24 hours depending on the weather and were easy to come by and use.
I filled them with warm water for two reasons. First, it was cold and I didn't want the hose to freeze. Second, warm water freezes faster. I do not understand why, nor do I want to launch a ferocious comment war as to whether or not this is true. Another advantage of using warm water is that the steam rising from the pans is beautiful.
Step 4: Buying Ice
As my winter break came closer to ending I realized I didn't have enough time to make all my bricks. I compiled a list of every ice yard in Chicago and called them all. I eventually found one that sold block ice. 4'6" tall 12" thick 24" wide $30 per block. I rented a u haul capable of holding 8000 pounds and went downtown to pick them up. I didn't think to secure them. This was a mistake. These 400 lb blocks slid around the truck breaking each other and making a terrible sound when the car came to a stop.
I moved them with a dolly and cut them with a chainsaw.
Step 5: Cutting and Laying Bricks
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This is the longest step. the pictures are pretty clear.
the first few layers you can use rectangles, but as the circle gets smaller you must cut your bricks into trapezoids.
Step 6: LED Lighting
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7 Color Led Lighting system
I picked these up 2 years ago at Costco for $39.99. Unfortunately they are much more expensive now. Alternatives would be easy to come by or make. See Dan's ible on led lighting. Waterproofing would be necessary.
After laying 2 or 3 layers of bricks I chiseled out channels for the lights and cords. The torch method pictured was extremely ineffective.
I then put the lights in and covered them with wet snow. The sound activated controller for the lights was hot glued to the speaker for responsiveness.
Step 7: Sound System
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Once I finished the lights I put in the speakers and stereo.
I water proofed the speakers with Glad Press-n-Seal and tape. Vinyl cling wrap would work as well. The stereo was placed in a wooden box and wrapped in layers of Saran Wrap and aluminum foil for appearance. I glued a nail to the power button and a small cylinder to the volume knob so the controls would be assessable; I ran the Aux cord outside for my iPod. Putting my iPod touch in a Ziploc baggie proved to be a mistake. Condensation got inside and eventually broke my iPod. I'd recommend buying a cheap mp3 player or a water proof iPod case.
I laid bricks on either side of the speakers and stereo and filled the space with snow and water.
Step 8: Epilogue
Be sure to have a large tarp on hand in case it rains. my igloo dissolved overnight in a freak 60*F rain storm in December. it was 24 hours after completion and i never got to sleep in it.