Only having had my Goldwing motorcycle a few weeks now already I am making plans for next summer when the weather is a lot hotter than it's been here for the past month or more. Not that I am complaining about the fall weather we've been enjoying here in the Midwest. Nice to see another season come before old man winter sets in. But I digress a bit here. Anyway to the point of this post.
With my last motorcycle I had designed and built a custom cargo trailer for that bike. Not so sure I want to go to that extreme again with this Goldwing so I thought I would go with something a lot simpler. I really liked the capability of having a cooler along on either a day trip or even much longer journey. So with this in mind I decided to design and build a custom cooler for the trunk of my bike.
The goal with this project was to design and build a simple little micro cooler that would fit into the trunk space of my Goldwing. I liked the idea of just being able to carry a few bottles of water and maybe a sandwich or two in the cooler and still have room for my helmet and a few other necessities in the trunk at the same time. I looked at using my smallest Igloo cooler I own which would have fit by itself but not with the helmet along with it. So I came up with this odd looking shape that you see in the photo above.
I then played around with several different combinations of drinks that I could easily fit into the cooler and also allow for ice that will be needed to keep things nice and cool on the road. The water bottles are 16 oz. and the cans of pop are 12 oz. so it gives me a good variety that can be hauled in the micro cooler.
To build the cooler I started out with standard 1" Styrofoam. The same stuff that you find at any home and builders store. I had to work out the shape of the cooler to fit into the Goldwing trunk which took a little doing but was not terribly difficult.
I then hot glued the lower portions of the cooler parts together and got a general shape that I thought would do the job and fit into the space that was available in the bike. At this point I was just doing some testing to see if this idea was even possible.
After putting the micro cooler into the trunk I then tried to put my helmet in as well. As you can see it looks good at this point but I was not happy how close everything was when trying to put the helmet in. I wanted it to drop in without having to fuss with it even just a little bit so I had to make a few adjustments to the cooler to get it to where I wanted it to be.
I figured out that I only needed about a half inch more clearance to get the cooler to where I wanted it to be but I did not want to loose any volume in the process. I looked closely at the interior of the trunk of the Goldwing and on the right hand interior there was a little step that ran along the floor of the trunk as well as another extrusion that ran vertically up the back. The trunk also is nowhere near square at all so the little cooler needed to be kind of an odd shape to fit into the space. I trimmed the outer right face of the cooler to fit the extrusions in the trunk and this gave me an additional 1/2 inch to move the cooler more to the right of the trunk and in turn make it easier to put my helmet into the space that was available.
The back of the cooler also needed to be tipped 25 degrees toward the front and even the front face is angled to match the interior shape of the trunk. An irregular shape to say the least. But even with this odd shape I still managed to obtain a nice volume for what I wanted to carry when I am traveling.
Next I needed to work out the lid for the micro cooler. This again was a simple task of just tracing out the outer shape of the body of the cooler and then cutting it out using my band saw. For the inner plug that would drop into the cooler body another piece of one inch Styrofoam that is an inch smaller all the way around was added to the first part of the lid and then hot glued into place.
The final step in this portion of the project was to simply sand all of the edges of the container to get a nice rounded shape so that I can get it ready for fiber glassing. This I will start working on in the next week or so as I have the hinges for the lid on order from McMaster Carr and they should be here in short order. To give you a better idea of how the cooler will look once it is completed here are a few images of it that I created in Fusion 360 when I was doing design work on this project.
I was going to have the decal made for the micro cooler but after finding out that it would cost $8.00 just for one label I scrapped that idea. The only parts that I needed for the project so far was the hinges and they were only $6.00. Everything else I needed I had laying around in the shop so my cost is very little at this point. I would like to keep it that way. I'll post more about the micro cooler when I get it all put together and do some testing on it on how well it keeps things cold. I think it will do really well considering that it is all Styrofoam and is one of the simplest projects that I have taken on it a very long time. It should come in handy next summer when I am doing some touring on the Goldwing.
The dimensions of the micro cooler are 10" wide, 8" high, and 10" to 13" deep depending on what side you are measuring. The depth difference is because of the front angle of the cooler that roughly matches the shape of the Goldwing trunk space on the right side. No matter the shape I am looking forward to having this little cooler along with me next summer when I cruise down the road.
Stay tuned for more info on this project!