There were several discussions around March 2014 in multiple threads in multiple sub forums about using a people heating pad to simulate the Brinsea or Premier brooder heater. I was able to fashion this one and thought I'd put it in it's own thread for ease of updating this particular design idea.
This needs to be updated, as of 5-10-17, have used a different rack, and the pad is held under the rack with small bungee cords Will get to it eventually. Cover pic shows newest iteration. Will add details later......
....well here are the details I have, seem to have lost some pics<scratcheshead>.
T-nuts were hot glued(this did not hold up well long term-more glue maybe) to 16 x 20 bakers rack for 1/4-20 x 4 & 6" bolts or threaded rod to make adjustable legs. Bolt heads or plastic tips(removed when moved to coop) protect the plastic sheet in lining the floor of my brooder.
I can't say enough about the adjustablilty of the legs, the height of the pad is critical for this heater to work effectively. Chicks must be able to touch their back to pad....if chicks are getting squished or too hot or too cold..and when they grow the height of the pad is easily adjusted with these legs.
The efficacy of gluing of the Tnuts remains to be seen, it's a bit wobbly but in use now so I can't fix it at this point..hopefully it won't all come apart before the current batch of chicks is done with it. The height of pad is easily adjusted by hand by turning the bolts from above.
The bungee's are 6-8", bought a pack of various sizes and I had some 12" already on hand-trying those convinced me they would work. I didn't like the huge chunky bungees but these are really nice. You can see the 2 end bungees are poked thru the cardboard top cover because the rack doesn't match the size of the pad....which bummed me out, but I tried it anyway and it's worked out fine. Might even be an advantage for a mixed age chicks like i have now(4wk range) the bigger ones can be under the cardboard but not too close to the heat as they need less heat than the tiniest chicks.
The cardboard top cover has held up well for a the couple weeks, tho I did put a piece of plastic between the rack and the cardboard in case of watery soak thrus. Cardboard has holes and slots for bolts and rack legs, it is just pushed down over bolts, is holding well so far.
When I move the heater to the coop I put it on and upside down dog crate tray which is set up bricks with shavings piled between them to raise it above the level of coop shavings-not necessary but I found it to work well when I send chicks to the coops at one week..especially earlier in the season when it can provide some insulation from the cold floor. The legs fit right into the groove under(over?) the lip....it's easy to tip up the whole thing to check for any trouble under there.
Older designs below.
I really like the idea of the heater plates because of the 'natural' day/night cycles and the lower power cost. I've read folks saying that the chicks are quieter under a plate than a light and so far, I couldn't agree more. It's a great concept but I can absolutely not justify the expense of the Brinsea or even the Premier when I probably will never hatch chicks again.....the 2 hatches I've done have been with a borrowed incubator. Plus I am a designer by nature and trade, working in the pharmaceutical equipment design field for 20 years. I love to solve problems by building 'stuff'.
So now I have made a page documenting the build showing the updated 2015 version.
Found a rack that's been kicking around in my garage for years that fit perfect.
Used some 2x2's, tnuts, and carriage bolts to mount adjustable feet.
Bolts can be easily changed out for longer ones if needed.
Used bottle caps as washers and dry wall screws to attach rack to 2x2's.
Nice little lip on back of rack holds pad from sidling off.
Link to heating pad I purchased, recommended by Blooie who has a similar chick warmer device:
Sunbeam 2013-912 Xpress Heat Microplush Heating Pad for Quick Pain Relief, Extra Large (12" x 24")
Piece of 3/16 luan plywood to protect pad, will cover wood with Gladwrap peel and stick plastic for washability.
Wood is heavy and 'sticky' enough to not slide around without attachment.
It has worked out very, very well!
The wood stayed in place nicely to keep the pad clean and tho it was not 'wet washable', the poops dried up and flicked off easily.