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how to make a block ice machine


Creating a Block Ice Machine: A Beginner's Guide

Ice is a common need in hot weather or commercial settings, but your standard tiny ice cubes may not be enough for your needs. Sometimes, you need larger, dense blocks of ice that’ll melt slower and last longer. Instead of relying on store-bought block ice, why not make it yourself? In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to make a block ice machine from scratch.

What is a Block Ice Machine?

Choosing the Type of Block Ice Machine to Build

Materials Needed to Build a Block Ice Machine

Building a Block Ice Machine: Step-by-Step Guide

Tips and Tricks for Using Your Block Ice Machine

What is a Block Ice Machine?

A block ice machine is a device that creates large, solid blocks of ice for commercial or residential use. These machines create ice denser and colder than regular ice cubes, which is why they last longer and usually have fewer impurities. Block ice machines come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but generally, they require more work and maintenance than other types of ice makers. That said, if you have a freezer, some spare time, and a desire to create large quantities of ice, then building a block ice machine could be an excellent option for you.

Choosing the Type of Block Ice Machine to Build

First things first: you need to choose which type of block ice machine you want to build. There are two main types: horizontal and vertical. A horizontal block ice machine is much easier to build because it operates similarly to a regular freezer. Generally, you fill up a container with water, freeze it, and then remove the block once it’s frozen. Vertical block ice machines, on the other hand, require more work and proper insulation to create the solid blocks of ice that you crave. However, they’re more efficient in terms of space and energy, making them the preferred option for commercial use.

Materials Needed to Build a Block Ice Machine

The materials you need to build a block ice machine will depend on several factors, such as the type of machine you want to build and your budget. As stated above, a horizontal block ice machine requires less material than a vertical block ice machine. Here’s what you might need:

- Insulated container or tank: this is what will hold the water as it freezes into a block of ice

- Insulation material (if necessary): if you decide to go with a vertical block ice machine, you will need insulation in order to keep the water frozen as it is slowly frozen from the bottom up

- An air compressor: this is required for the cooling process that will turn the water into ice.

- A thermostat: this will be used to regulate the temperature inside the container as the water freezes

- Copper tubing: used to build the cooling system

- A drill, saw, and other basic tools for cutting materials and assembling the machine

Building a Block Ice Machine: Step-by-Step Guide

Building a block ice machine can be quite a complicated process. However, don't worry, as we’ll guide you throughout the process. This is a brief overview of what needs to be done to make a horizontal block ice machine:

1. Insulate the container: Insulation helps keep temperature regulated and maintain the integrity of the ice blocks. Line the container with foam insulation to maximize chilling and slow down melting.

2. Install the cooling system: The cooling system will be installed into the insulated container. It is recommended that you hire an HVAC professional to do this unless you feel confident with copper tubing and PVC fittings.

3. Install the thermostat: The thermostat helps keep the temperature regulated within the tank. Place it in the ideal spot to prevent freezing the compressor.

4. Fill the tank with water: Once the cooling system is secured in place within the insolated container, it’s time to fill it up, leave some space for the block to expand as it freezes.

5. Wait patiently: It can take up to 24 hours for the water to be turned to ice, so be sure to leave plenty of time, so the block forms as desired. It's also critical not to open the container while the ice is forming, as doing so could cause cracks in the ice.

Tips and Tricks for Using Your Block Ice Machine

Once you've created your block ice machine, you'll want to make sure you get the most out of it. Here are some tips to help:

- Use distilled or purified water: This will minimize the impurities and minerals present in the water, improving the quality of the ice

- Keep the machine clean: Regular cleaning and maintenance will ensure the longevity of the device.

- Stack the ice properly: To prevent air pockets in the ice blocks, stack the blocks in the freezer as tightly as you can.

- Don't refreeze melted ice: If you allow the ice block to melt and refreeze, it may form a weaker block that won’t last as long.


Building a block ice machine is complex, but it can be an excellent way to have access to solid blocks of ice any time you need them. With some basic tools, patience, and a willingness to learn, you can create a block ice machine that’s tailored to your needs. Just remember that it takes some experimentation and trial-and-error, so don’t get discouraged if things don’t work out on your first attempt. With practice, you’ll be churning out block after block of dense, long-lasting ice.


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