the incubator i ended up making for my quail eggs turned out different than a lot of the "make your own" incubators that i came across in my research. the main reason for this is that it is very difficult to get a hold of a Styrofoam box/cooler, the choice of many home made incubator set ups.
first some photos:
(i will add a diagram drawing of this set up for easier understanding at the end)
i started with a large food-safe container and drilled the holes in it that i would need for ventilation and inserting the light globe. (which a desk lamp was taken apart until i just had the fitting and cable)
in the bottom of the container is two ice-cube trays for water. filling three cubes gets the humidity range i want, and an eye-dropper to add more water when the humidity falls too low.
covering that is 6mm mesh, i sewed Chux cloth around the edges to cover the sharp edges and lay it over the trays.
a thermometer/hygrometer gauge was added to the rear to first monitor the humidity and as a back-up reading for the temperature.
since i was unable to use Styrofoam, i had a lot of difficulty maintaining the right temperature. i still have some insulation around the back and sides via an old blanket and the padded envelopes, but the temperature is now controlled by a thermostat purchased from ebay at approx $20AUD. the thermostat was marketed as a reptile habitat regulator but works perfectly for incubating eggs. this is a tool i didnt see many people using with home made incubators.
its probe measures the temperature and turns the light off at 38c and back on at 36c. keeping the incubator at the desired range.
eggs are placed around the thermostat probe, every eight hours they are turned and shuffled around.
the whole thing has an outer cover for two reasons. for maintaining ambient temperature around the incubator and covering the light as this set up is in my office and the light can be distracting. putting it inside a cupboard would have the same effect but i dont have the extra space and had to modify the end of my display shelves instead.
this set up is easy to take apart and clean between incubation's. i can comfortably fit 20 quail eggs and so far i've averaged a hatch rate of 85%
in the future i would like to replace the internal thermometer/hygrometer with another probe-type. but for now this is working just the way i want it.
thank you for reading.