Building an incubator...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by cheryl98117, Nov 13, 2010.

  1. cheryl98117

    cheryl98117 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2009
    Indianola Washington
    Ok, I think I have succesfully fried my brain...Ive been reading on building my own incubator, and I think I have confused myself even more... I am SO not a technical person, and the thought of wiring anything non automotive just makes my brain freeze... It has GOT to be easier than my brain makes it out to be, right?

    So I need a container of some sort, a heat source, fan, humidity and temp monitor, some form of humidity source, egg racks and turner... What else am I forgetting. Anyone have any tips for wiring in the thermostat and humidity meter. "can't for the life of remember what thats called."

    Is there a preference on materials used for the box itself? Would a full on plexiglass box work? or would styrofome or wood work better? I have a 3 gallon plexiglass aquarium that I am no longer using. Would something like this be able to be converted into an incubator?

    Is it better to have the heat source up top, in the middle, or on the bottom of the incubator?

    I'm sure I will have lots more questions to ask, so please be patient with me...
     
  2. Rainwolf

    Rainwolf De La Menagerie

    2,818
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    Aug 4, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    My Coop
    Quote:The aquarium will work but you should insulate it somehow. I'd suggest making a outer box with a layer of ridged foam insulation in between. you will need to make a insulated lid as well.

    So a cardboard or wooden box that the aquarium fits inside with a inch or 2 of clearance on all sides. put panel of foam board under and on 3 sides. leaving front window open to view.

    make a lid that fits well and seals the top. You will need some vents both in bottom and top if possible. you can also make a little slide cover that makes the vents adjustable.

    heat source: (like a light bulb or ?)

    humidity source: dish with water place a sponge inside to allow for more surface area to evaporate. (sea sponges are great for this and in the paint dept for low cost.) any sponge will work.

    Thermostat is in my opinion the most important part. spend your $ on the thermostat rather then anything else. note that if a light bulb is the heat source it will flicker as the thermostat turns it on/off for heat control. for least amount of wiring use a zoo med RT500r They work great have 2 plug ins for your heating choice and a probe to place where the eggs are.

    Fan: this creates even heating in the area by moving the air around. can also put a air intake fan that brings in air by the heat source. I use a old computer power supply fan I took out of my dead power supplies. (I'm a computer geek) I then wired the fan to a old cell phone charger (10volts or so) so the fan runs pretty slow but allows intake of fresh air and circulation

    Egg turner: a simple egg turner can be a pvc pipe dow the middle... you lay the egg carton over the pipe to make the eggs "lean" one way and every 6 hrs lean it the other way. but there are many many many ways out there to make a turner.

    Hygrometer: I use a cigar hygrometer I got from ebay for a few dollars. http://cgi.ebay.com/Tobacco-Cigar-Humidor-Hygrometer-Easyread-Golden-Large-/330495691785?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cf3140c09

    make
    sure to have a few thermometers that you trust and while testing place them around the incubator to test for cold/hot spots.

    I'm not sure how big a 3 gallon tank is but it might be a bit to small. many people use old coolers or wooden boxes even old cabinets.
    Key points is that you have space for your eggs, heat, fans and water. insulated is great as it helps keep heat stable even with outside temp fluxes. If you have extra room having hot/cold packs, water bottles, or anything that can retain heat will help keep the incubator warm when you open the lid/door. it also allows the incubator to come back to temp faster after opening.

    Hope this helps some!
     
  3. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

  4. countrychix

    countrychix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 18, 2010
    Frewsburg, NY
    Most vets have lots of styrofoam boxes laying around that they are more than happy to pass along to you free of charge. Pet shops which sell fish have plenty of them too. We got some from both sources; the bigger the better so that everything fits inside without frying the eggs. This is a relatively easy project as my then 11 y.o. assembled one with her father's guidance. Just relax and have fun with it. Good luck. [​IMG]
     
  5. FuzzyButtsFarm

    FuzzyButtsFarm Rest in Peace 1950-2013

    I'm using a 10 gal aquarium. It is now insulated with bubble wrap and foam board that I picked up at Wally World. The front is open for viewing. On the origanal one I used 2" styrafoam around it but it made such a mess. It has a raised bottom so its not so deep and easier to get in to. Part of the bottom is for two water pans for humidity. One is filled for day 1-18 and the other is filled at lock down for added humidity. The themostat I used is from an electric frying pan. The wires are attached where the prongs go into the thermostat and the probe that usually goes in to the frying pan is the sensor. It is hooked up to a light socket with a 40 watt bulb which I change to a 15 watt once the incubator warms up as it is easier to reglate. My first hatch rate on this contraption was 80% so I was not disapointed. I set 24 eggs on 11/7 to see if i could repeat the results. It is modled after one of the home made incubaters in the learning center on this site. You need to check it out.
     
  6. cheryl98117

    cheryl98117 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2009
    Indianola Washington
    Quote:The aquarium will work but you should insulate it somehow. I'd suggest making a outer box with a layer of ridged foam insulation in between. you will need to make a insulated lid as well.

    So a cardboard or wooden box that the aquarium fits inside with a inch or 2 of clearance on all sides. put panel of foam board under and on 3 sides. leaving front window open to view.

    make a lid that fits well and seals the top. You will need some vents both in bottom and top if possible. you can also make a little slide cover that makes the vents adjustable.

    heat source: (like a light bulb or ?)

    humidity source: dish with water place a sponge inside to allow for more surface area to evaporate. (sea sponges are great for this and in the paint dept for low cost.) any sponge will work.

    Thermostat is in my opinion the most important part. spend your $ on the thermostat rather then anything else. note that if a light bulb is the heat source it will flicker as the thermostat turns it on/off for heat control. for least amount of wiring use a zoo med RT500r They work great have 2 plug ins for your heating choice and a probe to place where the eggs are.

    Fan: this creates even heating in the area by moving the air around. can also put a air intake fan that brings in air by the heat source. I use a old computer power supply fan I took out of my dead power supplies. (I'm a computer geek) I then wired the fan to a old cell phone charger (10volts or so) so the fan runs pretty slow but allows intake of fresh air and circulation

    Egg turner: a simple egg turner can be a pvc pipe dow the middle... you lay the egg carton over the pipe to make the eggs "lean" one way and every 6 hrs lean it the other way. but there are many many many ways out there to make a turner.

    Hygrometer: I use a cigar hygrometer I got from ebay for a few dollars. http://cgi.ebay.com/Tobacco-Cigar-Humidor-Hygrometer-Easyread-Golden-Large-/330495691785?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cf3140c09

    make
    sure to have a few thermometers that you trust and while testing place them around the incubator to test for cold/hot spots.

    I'm not sure how big a 3 gallon tank is but it might be a bit to small. many people use old coolers or wooden boxes even old cabinets.
    Key points is that you have space for your eggs, heat, fans and water. insulated is great as it helps keep heat stable even with outside temp fluxes. If you have extra room having hot/cold packs, water bottles, or anything that can retain heat will help keep the incubator warm when you open the lid/door. it also allows the incubator to come back to temp faster after opening.

    Hope this helps some!

    Thanks Rainwolf! This helps quite a bit. I appreciate it.
     
  7. cheryl98117

    cheryl98117 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2009
    Indianola Washington
    Well I think I will scrap the aquarium idea. It sounds like it would be to small, for everything to fit inside... So I guess I will look into styrofome, or a wood box.
     

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