I like the idea of using 2 light bulbs. In the event one burns out the other will keep things close enough. My incubator is the size of a bottom under-counter kitchen cabinet. I use two 100 watt halogen spot lights. Probably overkill but.... From the experience of others, it seems that if you use a fan it helps distribute air better and if the air is blown over the light bulb, the light bulbs last much much longer.
You Say; How do you do this whole process? Do you just put the eggs in the incubator and turn them 3x a day for 21 days and hope they hatch? I'm really clueless but I want chicks and my hens are halfa$$ sitting on their eggs lol so I'm going to take over and do it for them!!
There are some key variables you will deal with. Some are very critical and others where there is some differing opinions about. For the most pat everyone agrees that the temp should stay around 99.5 or so. Humidity is arguably the most controversial variable we deal with. Read about it and decide. Another issue is to either stand your eggs up on end or lay them on their side as they are in the nests. I personally stand shipped eggs and lay down local eggs.
Go to YouTube and type in "INCUBATOR" then try "Thermostat for incubator". Youtube has some very instructive videos. You just have to be specific in your search. Then, there is a place in the Learning Center here at BYC with an entire section with homemade incubators like crazy. Many of them have photos taken of the entire build project. If you have any mechanical aptitude,or help, you can quickly determine who's incubator is most like the one you want, and build one. You will get very quick responses when you come back here to ask any questions you might have. Right now, your questions are too general for us to help you. Give us an idea of how many eggs you want to incubate at once. How much do want to spend? How big of an incubator did you have in mind? I still think the"Homemade incubator" section will help you decide which type most suits your needs.
Some folks try to get by with a dimmer switch to raise and lower the temp by making moves manually. I never even considered that route. A $20.00 dollar thermostat will turn the heat source (light or element) on and off automatically, keeping your eggs at a constant temp ALWAYS! Quintinp and others very successfully, use a water heater thermostat that costs only $10.00. I would certainly trust one of those that have been drilled.
You sound like you're in a hurry to get those eggs out from under those chickens. It would be a great idea if you could cram-read all you can, very quickly before you just throw something together and snatch the eggs away from under the hens. Try the Learning Center here at BYC on actual incubation of eggs. There are wiring diagrams for the simple little set-ups that we use. This stuff is easy. You just GOTTA know a little before you take off.
The "search box" here is an incredible source of information. Type in "fan", bingo, all you wanna know. The same with "heat sources", "insulation" "humidity". I bought a digital thermometer/hygrometer at Walmart. It gives me a reading of the temperature and humidity on one little meter. Now this little meter ONLY READS, it does not CONTROL anything.
So, if you use the "search box" here at BYC, then visit YouTube, and come back here and read some more for a while, you will be asking questions from a much more learn-ed position. And, armed with you new tidbits of knowledge, we can easily direct you or, at the very least make some suggestions you might be interested in. I promise you can build a very nice, first class incubator on your first try!
Looking forward to helping you along.
Edited by bigoledude - 6/10/12 at 1:47am