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Endless Liquid Refreshment 511

rabtech writes "I'm very lazy. As part of that continuing effort, I've come up with a guide for installing a soda fountain in the house. I've detailed how to get the equipment, hoses, and supplies, as well as how to install and calibrate the system. Now you won't ever need to move for lack of liquid refreshment! My next project: Food Replicator."
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Endless Liquid Refreshment

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  • by Drunken Coward ( 574991 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:31PM (#5675956)
    Would be if you'd managed to rig a kegorator to dispense Guinness. If you feel like drinking a calorie-laden fizzy beverage, it might as well be one that tastes good.

    Besides which, there is evidence that diet soda drinks are mildly carcinogenic and may slow down the metabolism enough to negate the fact that they are less caloric.
    • by iwillrefuse ( 576079 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:40PM (#5676022)
      I had my own soda machine setup in our old house for a couple of years. While the appeal is definatly there, cost savings should not be among them. The stories you hear about "the cup costing more than the actual soda" is competely false While it is slight cheaper than purchasing 2-liters, after doing the math, it really only has a cost savings of about 20%, assuming your paying around $40 per pre-mix box, and $15 or so for the CO2. It is damn cool though, and the chicks dig it.
    • I don't know, I think I would rather have the local topless bar use some of their tallent to deliver kegs to my house, and draw it for me.

    • My sister used to run a hotel. The gadgetry to dispense beer is extremely expensive, particularly the refrigeration gear to serve the beer at the appropriate temperature.

      In any case, if you're going to go to the effort of a beer tap at home, why not go the whole hog and have it dispense Chimay [], preferably Chimay Blue? Not only is it wonderful drinking - it's about 10% alcohol... :)

    • by Sax Maniac ( 88550 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @10:12PM (#5676204) Homepage Journal
      Not really. A basic setup for dispensing beer at home runs about $200. Beer is even simpler to serve than soda: there's no on-the-fly mixing. Add a few extra bucks if you want the special sparkler head that makes Guinness look so nice.

      If you don't intend to brew your beer, it's even less, because you don't have to buy the kegs to put the beer in the first place.

      So yes, that means all you guys out there, it is okay for you to go get that CO2 system to server beer on tap. Really, it's cheap, and it impresses the party guests.

      • I have a Guinness tap I made at home, and you need more than the special stout/restrictor plate nozzle. The other half of the mix is a nitrogen/CO2 mix (usually 75%/25%). It is what gives Guinness it's creaminess look, as well as the cascading shower of bubbles when poured just right. The setup is probably another $150 beyond what it would cost for a normal beer tap (I have both).

        Also, nitrogen tanks are thicker because they are filled to much higher pressue, and thus are more expensive for the tank, a
    • Besides which, there is evidence that diet soda drinks are mildly carcinogenic and may slow down the metabolism enough to negate the fact that they are less caloric.

      Aspertame (Nutrisweet) is the one that may slow down metabolism. I wouldn't say its proven yet, but compelling enough I don't use it. I do use acesulfame potasium (like Sunnett) and sucrolose (Splenda) which haven't shown to do that, and don't affect blood sugar. The only carcinogenic I can think of is saccarin, which was found to not be ca
      • by azav ( 469988 )
        You are so correct. Recent articles on newscientist and eurekalert mention what I've found out personally. Sugar and processed flour is BAD for you. Sugar leads to inflammation and promotes the body's inflammation cycle which is destructive to tissues. the inflammation cycle promotes itself and is large fault in our system. REaD: Arthritis, Crohn's disease. Also, processed flour is partially digested and very quickly converts to sugars. Sugars in addition to promoting inflammation, cause an insulin ri
    • Aspartame FUD (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jerky McNaughty ( 1391 ) on Monday April 07, 2003 @12:03AM (#5676695)
      Besides which, there is evidence that diet soda drinks are mildly carcinogenic and may slow down the metabolism enough to negate the fact that they are less caloric.


      From the MSF (Multiple Sclerosis Foundation) website, for example (here []):

      The metabolism of aspartame in the human body and the proposed toxicities from its metabolic components have concerned a lot of people and have been the emphasis of many post-marketing surveillance studies. Aspartame is metabolized by digestive enzymes and peptides to three common dietary components: amino acids, aspartic acid, and phenylalanine. Minute amounts of methanol can also be detected. Eating foods such as meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables will also produce these same components, but in greater amounts than aspartame. For example, a glass of milk has 6 times more phenylalanine and 13 times more aspartic acid and a glass of tomato juice provides 6 times more methanol than a beverage the same size sweetened with 100 percent aspartame. Interestingly enough, it is impossible for humans to digest enough aspartame to raise the levels of these metabolic components to a dangerous level.

      Show me any Internet rumor or fiction about aspartame and I'll show you research from a reputable organization with no vested interest (MSF, ADA, French and Canadian equivalents of the American FDA, Mayo Clinic, etc.) that says the opposite.

      • Re:Aspartame FUD (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kombat ( 93720 )
        Show me any Internet rumor or fiction about aspartame and I'll show you research from a reputable organization with no vested interest (MSF, ADA, French and Canadian equivalents of the American FDA, Mayo Clinic, etc.) that says the opposite.

        Excessive consumption of Aspartame causes permanent loss of peripheral vision. I know, it happened to a roommate of my sister-in-law's. The real irony? She's a nutrition major at the University of Toronto.

        Granted, she drinks (yes, present tense, as in she hasn't le
    • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) <> on Monday April 07, 2003 @12:13AM (#5676734) Homepage Journal
      Would be if you'd managed to rig a kegorator to dispense Guinness.

      There's no need to rig a kegerator when you can just buy one from the local homebrew shop...or even at Home Depot. The one Home Depot carries runs about $500 IIRC, which is probably about what you'd put into buying a fridge and modding it into a kegerator.

      (Of course, if you can get a fridge cheap/free, you could build a kegerator for less. I traded a six-pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone for the fridge that I'm now using for temperature-controlled fermentation. I still need to do a writeup on connecting an Apple II to it as a temperature controller...)

  • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:33PM (#5675972)
    Thank you.
  • hmm. (Score:5, Funny)

    by c0dedude ( 587568 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:34PM (#5675978)
    Lazy (adj.)-- One who, to reduce work, puts a soda fountain in one's house, not realizing that it took him lots of work to put the soda fountain in.
    • Re:hmm. (Score:3, Funny)

      by Guppy06 ( 410832 )
      He was too lazy to think it through.
    • even better, what is the continuing laziness effort?
    • Re:hmm. (Score:3, Funny)

      by fliplap ( 113705 )
      You don't understand. He's an "industrious slacker" -- someone who spends more time figuring out how NOT todo something, than just doing it.

      Remember, all real innovation is a product of laziness.
    • by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Monday April 07, 2003 @08:13AM (#5677983) Homepage Journal
      There are 2 kinds of lazy in this world:

      Smart lazy - a person who seeks to reduce the over-all work in their life, and thus is willing to expend more work in the short term to reduce the long term work.

      Stupid lazy - a person who always minimizes their short-term workload, often at the expense of creating more work long-term.

      Putting a fountain in is smart-lazy. Buying bottles is stupid-lazy.

      Society needs more smart-lazy people.
  • by kmac06 ( 608921 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:34PM (#5675980)
    Next project: a web server made to survive a /.
  • hmmm.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by sickmtbnutcase ( 608308 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:36PM (#5675996)
    As if people aren't fat endless supply of extra calories, extra sugar, and easy dehydration from too much caffeine. I'll install a water fountain: I perfer to keep my teeth and not get fat.

    • Teeth are overrated, and fat keeps you warm in the winter. I'll take the soda fountain, thank you.
    • Seriously, I have some weird genetic thing that kept me from having a lot of my teeth. I'm pretty sure what I have is the same as this [].

      Kinda weird when you get a half-set of false teeth at age 16.
    • Re:hmmm.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jucius Maximus ( 229128 ) <m4encxb2sw@snk[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @11:28PM (#5676545) Journal
      "I'll install a water fountain: I perfer to keep my teeth and not get fat."

      One thing that is underrated is getting a dedicated water jug and putting it in the FRIDGE to keep it really cold. Over the last month or so I have gotten addicted to this. We have a RO Water Purification System at home (RO = reverse osmosis) because there's cauliform and iron in the well from which our home's water is drawn. (I live in a farming area, each house has its own water pump feeding it instead of a city grid.)

      Really good quality, really COLD water is REALLY good. And I never guilty about pouring myself another glass. This is really worth a try!

      The only downside is that you get spoiled. During weekdays, I live in Toronto at a place I am renting and the water tastes horrid to me. I have to bring bottles of it from home every week. And then there's the water in Quebec City... (shudder)

    • Not to mention the bone loss from the phosphoric acid in soda, there to help it stay fizzy. Not only does it leach calcium when you drink it, the effects last quite a while, negating any calcium you may have consumed with the beverage.

      Thanks, but no. I recall my great grandmothers, all frail and bent-over, from osteoporosis. While I know that I will die some day, I'd prefer not to be that frail and creaky when I go, thankyouverymuch. If I must have a beverage dispenser, might I choose one with both dec
  • Not worth it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by West Palm Beach ( 654328 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:36PM (#5675997) Homepage
    All told, I spent about:
    $300 for the system
    $50 for the CO2 tank deposit
    $200 for various fittings and hose
    Reoccurring costs that you don't recoup are:

    $16 per CO2 tank fill; should last 6 months to a year
    $4 per month for the tank rental (versus $125 to buy a tank)
    Water (we are on city water, but it is so cheap as to be listed as "free")
    Electricity (again, very little)
    Reoccurring costs that you DO recoup:

    $50 per 5 gallon box, $25 per 2.5 gallon box. The syrup has an expiration date, so I am trying to stick to 2.5 gallon boxes, since those get used up faster.

    Since we only buy a few 99-cent bottles of soda here, this is another plaything if you got over $500 dollars burning a hole in your pocket.

    An easier way is to buy soda in bulk, and keep a 2 or 3-liter bottle of soda in an ice bucket next to the couch.

    Just not as much wow-factor.
  • interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by zephc ( 225327 )
    without reading the story, how does he handle the soda NOT corroding any piping? Is it all plastic? Can plastic survive soda corrosion?
  • an insulin dispenser
  • lazy indeed (Score:3, Funny)

    by mlknowle ( 175506 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:41PM (#5676029) Homepage Journal
    "I'm very lazy. As part of that continuing effort, I've come up with a guide for installing a soda fountain in the house. I've detailed how to get the equipment, hoses, and supplies, as well as how to install and calibrate the system. Now you won't ever need to move for lack of liquid refreshment! My next project: Food Replicator."

    Wow! You're right! That 'continuing effort to be lazy" sure does take a lot of work!!!

  • by puto ( 533470 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:42PM (#5676035) Homepage
    Wow! How to install a soda fountain! The very height of tehcnology. Something I have always wanted to do. Wait a minute.

    If the guy would have installed it and controlled it with a wireless NIC and had Big Gulp cups printed with the Penguin and a caffeine molecule

    Whats next in the story department?

    1. Watching Paint Dry - The do's and don'ts.
    2. Color Coding Recycling bins.
    3. Zen and the Art of the Compost heap.
    4. Tae Boe Power Knitting.
    5. Sheep dipping for fun and profit.

    But seriously, admittingly I sit in front of computers probably far too much, this guy has no life. Diagramming his soda dispenser installation?

    Hooray that he installed then had so much time on his hands to create a web page?

    Now I have seen everything.

  • by ( 631162 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:43PM (#5676039) Homepage
    ...or with that same $500 you could've spent $495.00 on a decent web server, and then bought a case of your favorite soda.

  • by Safety Cap ( 253500 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:44PM (#5676050) Homepage Journal
    an automated insulin injector [], thanks to your newly-developed diabetes [], too!
  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:46PM (#5676057)

    The whole thing is pretty absurd, hence I feel silly being serious about this...but...making it that much easier to consume soda, which is LOADED with calories(among other things- mostly from sugars), is only going to give you diabetes sooner and plump you up mighty quick. I forget exactly what economists call it, but you're more likely to spend money that's easily accessed. Ie, the bag of chips next to you is gonna get eaten faster than the one downstairs in the drawer.

    Seriously, folks- get out and walk, jog, run, bike, skate/skateboard/rollerblade to the local corner store, and carry the 6-pack back. If you're lucky, it'll all balance out. you'll get your daily exercise(what is it, minimum 30 minutes raised heart rate per day?), which means you'll feel better(excercise creates endorphines), and you'll live longer, too. You'll also get to excercise the brain, and reduce eye fatigue, since you'll be moving your eyes a lot and focusing on different things.

    There's also cool stuff like(gasp!) water, fruit juice, and vegetable juice. All three are much healthier for you, and(at least IMHO) taste better. I'm not saying switch off soda completely- just go for variety; it's probably the most common thing you hear from nutritionists- eat a little of everything. It's more fun/interesting, too :-)

    700,000 people a year die from heart disease. "A little exercise won't kill you" is truer than you think, and eating healthy is great insurance. Ask people who just came out of having heart-bypass operations or their first heart attack, or just got diagnosed with diabetes, and ask them if they wish they had eaten better. I'd be amazed if the answer isn't 100% "Yes".

    • My beverage system? Oh man you should see it - it actually dispenses this liquid that is like the foutain of youth! It makes me feel better every time I drink it, and drinking it makes me actually healthier! It's what we call a (making a Dr Evil like quote gesture) "water" dispensor.

      Ok maybe it is cool that the dude made a fountain, sure. But the author of the referring post is right - we need to stop this crazy binging on sugary drinks. And remember, researchers in psych found long ago that the number o

    • To quote Chris Rock:

      ya still gonna die
    • There's also cool stuff like(gasp!) water, fruit juice, and vegetable juice. All three are much healthier for you,

      There's almost as much sugar in fruit juice as in fizzy sugar water. Even though fruit juice is still healthier for you, you'd be much better off eating a piece of fruit.

    • I have never drank a juice that tasted better then soda.

      Also, the guy is probably aware of the points you make.

      OTOH you could decide to forgo the soda machine at work and get killed by a bus on the way to buy some juice.

      Who am I to talk, I drink too much soda, eats like crap, I'm almost 40 and my coloesterol is still lower then my doctor has ever seen. My heart beats like clock work(68-70 BPM). Ont time the insurance company for a place I worked sent some people to test cloresterol. I sat next to a guy w

    • Yea, but it'd still be nice for parties. I'd like to see someone with a home-designed bar with not only soda but a beer tap in the style of a soda fountain. Just stick your cup under and it pours. Imagine the parties....

  • by polv0 ( 596583 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:47PM (#5676070)
    And if going to the bathroom becomes too inconvenient, try some of these. []
  • by moertle ( 140345 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:47PM (#5676073) Homepage
    Does it run Linux?
  • by ErikRed1488 ( 193622 ) <> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:50PM (#5676086) Journal
    I work for one of the vendors listed on that site. We sell every part you could possibly need to do something like this, but we don't sell to home consumers or even individual restaurants. We're a sister company of the largest manufacturer of fountain soda machines in the world. So, working were I do, I've found out a fair amount about these machines. We have about 90 employees in our office and haven't installed a fountain machine because with so few employees the lines would get coated with syrup in no time. You really need a larger volume of people, or you will have to flush the lines all the time. Personally, I say just get yourself a Culligan water dispenser and save your money and teeth. If you really need soda, buy 2 liter bottles.
  • My next project: Food Replicator.

    Number 6: And I invented the bottemless peanut bag.

    Homer (number 5): Wow!
  • by ebbomega ( 410207 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @09:56PM (#5676113) Journal
    Hopefully, the important lesson is this: If you're going to slashdot your server, at least have one capable of handling such an effort.

    I got about half of the images broken and the other half weren't even found.


    Anyways, for all the flame mongers out there complaining about how it's not "worth it", please. This is what hacking is about. If you sit around asking "Why? This is useless!" how do you expect to have any fun in life?

    Flying cars and voice-operated light switches are pretty useless, doesn't mean I wouldn't want one.
    • How is this "hacking?" He installed a common, purpose-built device in the manner and for the purpose it was intended. The only thing "noteworthy" about it is that it's in his home instead of a cafeteria.

      It's about as much of a hack as setting up an iMac in the bathroom.

  • Now, all you need to do is buy and install a large theatre-style popcorn maker, a keg of beer, and a 60" high definition TV.

    1. Invite friends over to watch the game or a dvd on your big-screen t.v.

    2. Charge them movie theatre prices for the fountain soda, popcorn, and beer.

    3. Profit!

    (Repeat until your friends get tired of paying for refreshments and you run out of paying customers. Don't forget to offer "loyalty discounts" to those that stick around.)

    • Micro thaters, or portable thaters.
      Man, you are on to something here.

      Charge 15 bucks, include a drink and popcorn, have a theater that only seats about 50 people. You know they'll all be adults, so you can give a good movie experiencs for serious movie goers. it would also be great for critics.

      You could also get a motor home, trick out the inside and drive it to customers houses so they can have the 'movie experience' without going to a movie.
      obviously, you would target the rich and famous.
  • even lazier (Score:5, Informative)

    by trmj ( 579410 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @10:01PM (#5676146) Journal
    Well, I'm too lazy to find all of that stuff and then go install it.

    So, I found this [] instead.

    It seems like it should work just as well and have only a minimally higher cost, but the up front cost is much much less (~$500 vs. ~50).

    w00t for extended laziness!
  • by happyhippy ( 526970 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @10:10PM (#5676191)
    Why didnt you hook it up to cool down your rig? Jeez it would be worth the expense then.

    Disclaimer: The link is slashdotted so I dont know he did or not.

  • Make an old-style soda counter, then you only need a single siphon for soda, which would be much cleaner than beverage.

    Then one enters a pump full (in the old style soda counters) of syrup, and fill with soda water.

    Then a vanilla Coke is a shot of Coke syrup, and one of vanilla. And one can make root beer, floats, black cows, etc.

    Less hardware, more varities.
  • by zaren ( 204877 ) <> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @10:21PM (#5676253) Homepage Journal
    (Not only a fitting double-meaning topic, but a nice subtle X-Men comic book reference ;D )

    We had a free soda fountain when I worked at ANS - err, UUNet Ann Arbor - err, Worldcom - err, a hollow shell of a building... but I digress. After they put Mountain Dew on tap, productivity incresed... as did the waistlines of a lot of co-workers.

    I finally decided one day that the weekend caffine withdrawls (since I was drinking upwards of 3 to 4 liters of Dew a day when at work) and related mood swings were causing too many problems around the house, I quit cold turkey. I lost ten pounds in the next month or so, after having cut over 1000 calories a day out of my diet. Great while it lasted... but then I replaced the raw calories with fat and sugars in the form of chocolate, and gained them all back :p Still, the endless fountain was great while it lasted.
  • Soda's ok (Score:5, Funny)

    by quintessent ( 197518 ) <my usr name on toofgiB [tod] moc> on Sunday April 06, 2003 @10:24PM (#5676265) Journal
    Soda's alright, but I'm more of a water drinker. Do you think you could adapt this thing to dispense water on demand?
  • Lazy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by s0rbix ( 629316 )
    It would be a million times worse to replace the syrup than get a new can/bottle of soda when it runs out, even if it is only every week or so. Plus, fountain soda is definitely not as good as canned/bottled soda.
    • it can be, but you have to watch the mixture. This guy is going to use tap water, so it will never be as good as store bought.
      Syrup is easy to replace.
  • Food Replicator, zoo repliscmater. Just get a few 20 lb. bags of Bachelor Chow very couple of weeks or so.
  • My uncle brews a little, and in the rec room in the basement at the sink behind the bar he has hot, cold, and beer.
  • Sodamistic (Score:4, Informative)

    by caduguid ( 152224 ) on Sunday April 06, 2003 @11:18PM (#5676509)
    You just brought back one of those embarrassing first job moments. Worse than selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, it was selling home pop-machines! Evil company called 'sodamistic', long-since-defunct, I'm sure.

    A valuable formative experience in the sleazy world of hard-sell direct sales, it lets me watch movies like Tin Men or Boiler Room with an insider's appreciation, and more importantly, it taught me the importance of never ever letting a salesman inside your house. (Not that time-share group sales pitches are much better.)

    For those who are interested, a google search for sodamistic turned up a minor reference in the comments section of this totally on-topic to this story web page: How to Make Your Own Carbonated Soda (Coke, Pepsi, ...) [].
  • by shadowj ( 534439 ) on Monday April 07, 2003 @12:13AM (#5676735)
    Sometime in the 80's Coca-Cola decided that they'd try to promote Coke as an office beverage, directly competing with coffee. Towards that end they developed the Breakmate, a little self-contained soda fountain about the size of a large microwave oven.

    The basic machine attaches to a water line and draws 110V from a wall outlet, and that's all that you have to hook up (you can even buy an accessory water tank, eliminating the water line). Inside the machine is a little refrigerator, a small CO2 cylinder, and space for three 1-litre syrup boxes.

    The thing actually mixes pretty decent soda, but apparently there were reliability and maintenance problems. In any case, the whole program flopped,and Coca-Cola no longer manufactures the Breakmate. They still make supplies, though, and you can buy a used Breakmate for $200-$300 on Ebay or through vendors like this one [].

    Drawbacks? Well, you're restricted to a short list of Coca-Cola beverages... Pepsi and others are out of the question. The syrup packs are relatively expensive... each pack makes about 30 glasses of soda and costs $8-$10, so you'll pay about $0.25-$0.35 per glass. More bad news: the little CO2 cylinder doesn't go very far (many Breakmates have been modified to use larger cylinders); fortunately, they're refillable, and CO2 is cheap. Despite the drawbacks it might be worthwhile; the machine does work, it's a lot cheaper and simpler to install and use, and it's sorta cool besides.

  • by Mulletproof ( 513805 ) on Monday April 07, 2003 @04:42AM (#5677511) Homepage Journal
    Homade Soda Fountain instructions


    "Be aware that there may be mistakes or gross errors on my part, as well as omissions. IF you spot any errors of this sort, please contact me so I may correct them at once!"


    A very bad idea.
  • Taco Bell (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zakabog ( 603757 ) <> on Monday April 07, 2003 @05:29AM (#5677603)
    I work at a Taco Bell and in the back they have a soda machine for the really lazy. You just put the cup down and it automatically fills to the top, waits a few seconds till the foam goes down and then gives a last little squirt. It doesn't matter what size cup you use or how much soda is already in it, it will always fill to the top and there's never any mess (the cups are titled and any excess foam goes over the top of the cup into a drain and not down the side of the cup). I've wanted one ever since I started working there, I'd get the CO2 and the syrup from my grandmother (she owns a bar so she's getting syrup and CO2 all the time)

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972