Building incubator - need supplies

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by tonygrz, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. tonygrz

    tonygrz New Egg

    Oct 18, 2009

    This is my first post. Really love this site. Very helpful.

    I'm building a wooden incubator but do not want to use the old parts from my foam incubator. I never did get consistant temps. I'm really interested in a digital temp controller and fan. I have a turner already.

    Can you recommend some suppliers that handle these parts???

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    Try GQF manufacturing they sell parts for their cabinet incubators, fans, heater elements etc they should have what you need.

    Steve in NC
  3. muddstopper

    muddstopper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 23, 2008
    Murphy NC
    First, it depends on how big a wooden incubator you are trying to build. One of the cheapest places to start looking for the materials is Wally World. Go to the heater section of the store and purchase one of their cheapest/smallest, 110v electric heaters. They start in price around $10. Dissassemble the heater and salvage the heating coils, the fan, and the thermostat, switch and power cord, pretty much everything except the plastic cabinet. . These parts will work very well to build a cheap incubator. How to place these "spare parts inside your incubator will depend on the design of the wooden box. I suggest that you look at how a Dickey or Sportsman incubator are designed and copy that concept. This is a proven design and very easy to copy if you have decent wood working skills.

    If you decide to copy the Dickey or Sportsman design, you need to be aware that the heating coil from your cheap heater are probably rated for 1500W. This will cook your eggs, but a close inspection of the heater coil will show that there are actually two different heating coils combined to make one. One coil will be rated for around 600W and the other around 900W. If the temperature selector switch is place in the low heat position, you will be running off the 600W heat coil. You can disconnect the 900W coil, or leave it connected as a spare, but switched to low heat.

    The thermostat that came with the storebought heater will work just fine for regulating heat, it just takes a little fiddeling with to get the temps just right. The thermostat also needs to be placed out of direct air flow from across the heating coils. Generally somewhere near the top front and on the side of the cabinet. You can also bend a little piece of metal flashing to place around the thermostat to deflect some of the hot air current.

    You can place a pan of water in front of the heatcoil in direct air flow from the fan to regulate humidity. You will have to play around some to find the right size pan to use and the correct water level.. I suggest that while you are at Wally world that you also purchase a digital thermohygometer. Accurite makes some pretty decent ones for around $10-$15. Place this thermohygometer in your egg trays and record the readings as you regulate and adjust your temperature and humidity levels. While you are at it, take a stopwatch and time the on/off cycles of your heating coils. The amount of time between on and off is called the hysterisis.

    If you find that your temperature has wild swings from too cold to too hot between heat cycles, you can move the thermostat around some in the cabinet until you regulate the temps to stay in the desired range. Generally the farther the thermostat from the direct airflow of the heat source, the quicker it will cool off and the faster the heat coils will turn back on. This is something you will just have to play with until you get the temps regulated properly.

    If you already have your own wood and feel handy with a saw and drill, you can build this little incubator for about $50 in parts. Now if you also wish to build a automatic turner, similar to what Dickey or The Sportsman use, you will need a metal brake to bend the metal, a small electric motor and a Pulse Wave Modulator to control speed, or some electronic circuitry to control the motor. This will add some to your final expenses, depending on how much you can do on your own. Or you can purchase a complete turning tray setup, (minus the egg trays), from one of the other previously mention incubator companies. I think the starting price is around $120.00+/-.

    WARNING this type of incubator is 110V AC current and proper care must be maintained to reduce the risk of electrical shock. Especially when using open pans of water to regulate humdity. I suggest the use of a GFI type circuit protector.
  4. deerman

    deerman Rest in Peace 1949-2012

    Aug 24, 2008
    Southern Ohio
    pm me, have an old GQF, Sportsman all the wood is shot, you may be able to use some of the parts, it even has the clear door.
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009

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