David B. Thomas inquired, based on a Facebook post I’d made a month or so ago, about how hard it was to make your own Sodastream-like machine at home. The answer is, not terribly hard – and much more cost effective in the long run.
One of my annoyances at the Sodastream I owned was that I had to change out the canister every month or so; it made about 30 liters of carbonated water, which was okay. The cost per liter was about 50 cents a liter, which is still a savings over the grocery store.
In typical hacker fashion, I asked, what if I could do this myself? What if there were better gear? It turns out that of course, there is significantly better gear to be had – from the beer world. Beer kegs tap CO2 and/or nitrogen all the time to add that last little punch to a brew. The equipment is surprisingly simple.
What you need:
– A CO2 canister. Most welding shops carry these. I paid $100 for a 10 pound canister. Unlike a Sodastream, this should let me make between a liter and two liters of soda per day for over a year, possibly close to two years.
– A length of hose with clamps to connect the tank to…
– A pressure gauge regulator. This tells you how much pressure is in the tank, and lets you set the pressure for your soda water. I usually set mine to 40 PSI.
– A ball lock and hose. This goes from the regulator to your bottle of soda and connects to…
– The Carbonator. This plugs into the ball lock and is what connects your soda bottle to the whole business.
– A used soda bottle, clean and free of cracks. This is the best part: you get to recycle. Sodastream bottles aren’t dishwasher safe, so over time they can get nasty, and of course, buying a new one costs a fair bit for what’s essentially just a plastic bottle. A used soda bottle obviously can hold soda (at much higher pressures), so recycle!
When put together in order, you get this:
The trick with making soda at home is to have the water be ice, ice cold. I usually fill the soda bottle with about two cups of fresh water and then place horizontally in the freezer. This makes a giant ice cube. Once thoroughly frozen, fill to the point where the side of the soda bottle begins to curve. Then attach to the carbonator, turn on your gas, and shake vigorously while the CO2 dissolves in the water. After a minute of vigorous shaking, turn off the gas, remove the bottle, and enjoy!
Enjoy your DIY sodastream maker!
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