Store bought soda carbonators are convenient, but the cost of maintaining them can add up quickly. Turns out, you can make any flavour of soda you want at home for a fraction of the price. Assemble your own inexpensive soda carbonator with several easy-to-find parts.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- CO2 tank
- Dual gage CO2 regulator
- Braided polythene tubing
- Hose or gas-fitting tube
- Carbonator cap
- 2-liter PET (polythene terephthalate) bottles
Purchase a CO2 tank. They are available in various sizes, but a 9.07kg. tank is ideal: small enough to be carried by hand and placed in a cabinet and large enough to make hundreds of gallons of carbonated beverages.
Attach a regulator to the CO2 tank. The regulator reduces the gas to a pressure that is low and controlled. It consists of two valves, one for low pressure and one for high. CO2 regulators can be purchased from soft-drink distributors, welding suppliers or home brew hobby suppliers.
Connect flexible, braided polythene tubing or hose to the CO2 regulator. This is also called a gas-fitting tube. The tube will deliver the CO2 from the tank to the liquid in the PET bottle.
Connect the braided polythene tubing to the carbonator cap. Carbonator caps are ball-lock gas fittings with threads for plastic soda bottles. They are available from online brewing sites.
Attach the carbonator cap to the 2-liter PET soda bottle. The PET soda bottle will be prefilled with the beverage you intend to carbonate.
Tips and warnings
- It is illegal in some locations to refill a CO2 tank. Instead of purchasing a new tank when the CO2 runs out, exchange the empty tank at a local welding supply company, keg brewer or anywhere that refills fire extinguishers.
- CO2 fire extinguishers are another source of gas and can be bought cheaply and adapted to work as carbonators.
- Always use braided tubing. Unbraided vinyl tubing bursts at low pressures.
- Carbonator caps have leaky seals. Do not leave the gas on for too long when using them, or the CO2 tank will be empty.
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