DESIGNING AN INCUBATOR

HickoryHollow

Songster
7 Years
May 28, 2012
423
54
113
Bolivar, Ohio
I absolutely love Sally's cooler-bator and started rounding up parts to build one. Then I made this mistake of checking out some of the homemade incubators in the "learning center". I have worked with wood all my life, and also fell in love with a couple of the wooden cabinets in there. Since I have the tools, and some of the wood I need, I decided to build a wood cabinet incubator.

It will have a wood frame with 2" of styrofoam and a thin plywood skin inside and out. My biggest concern in fan and heat location. Do I need to worry about the circulation fan drying out the egg? I mean by blowing right on the eggs. How do I avoid "cold" spots inside the cabinet? I am thinking bulbs as a heat source, and I have electronic controllers on the way for thermostats.

For the "perfect" incubator are there design concerns as to heat location, fan location, etc? Since I am building the cabinet, and designing this thing myself, I am pretty much unlimited as to how I configure it, but need some direction here. HELP! :)

Thanks in advance.
Tim
 

Daedalus62

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 12, 2013
147
17
99
Portugal
My Coop
My Coop
Hi Tim,

I don't think there's an "incubator design guide" out there... If you find one, please let me know...
wink.png


I think you're best approach will be getting inspired by other people's designs... Especially factory made ones.

On the fan location... I think you shouldn't have it blowing directly to the eggs... The (sole) purpose of the fan(s) is to circulate the air inside the incubator, ensuring a good heat distribution minimising cold areas.

The bigger the incubator the more air circulation is needed... One stronger fan or two small ones, strategically positioned to maximise air circulation avoiding cold spots.

Lightyears away from what you're doing, but (just as an example) take a look at my fast & simple foam build... Small and easy construction, optimum air/heat distribution... Fan blows toward the top (not to the eggs), air heats up when passing by the bulbs... Simple but effective.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/868776/yet-another-cheap-diy-incubator

Hope this helped a bit.

Cheers
frow.gif
 
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Fred's Hens

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Spend some time over on Incubator Warehouse. Lots and lots of resources there.

I bought an incukit from them this week and it is holding my hatcher at 99.0 rock steady. That's the temp I want for hatching. It does not swing even 1/10 of a degree. The incukit has a small digital thermostat that doesn't just snap on and off, but progressively puts out heat at the required amount.

Everything an incubator builder would long for is shown. Lot's of How To's and so forth.
 

HickoryHollow

Songster
7 Years
May 28, 2012
423
54
113
Bolivar, Ohio
Hi Tim,

I don't think there's an "incubator design guide" out there... If you find one, please let me know...
wink.png


I think you're best approach will be getting inspired by other people's designs... Especially factory made ones.

On the fan location... I think you shouldn't have it blowing directly to the eggs... The (sole) purpose of the fan(s) is to circulate the air inside the incubator, ensuring a good heat distribution minimising cold areas.

The bigger the incubator the more air circulation is needed... One stronger fan or two small ones, strategically positioned to maximise air circulation avoiding cold spots.

Lightyears away from what you're doing, but (just as an example) take a look at my fast & simple foam build... Small and easy construction, optimum air/heat distribution... Fan blows toward the top (not to the eggs), air heats up when passing by the bulbs... Simple but effective.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/868776/yet-another-cheap-diy-incubator

Hope this helped a bit.

Cheers
frow.gif
Daedalus62

Thank you for the advise. I checked out your incubator, and that is hilarious! I mean that in a very complementary way. What I learned from your incubator post is this: There are things that are important about an incubator that effect the "hatch rate" and there are other things that just really don't matter. I plan on mine having an oak outside skin. The only reason for that is just a challenge to ME. Building a wood cabinet is just something I want to do, just to say I did it. All the fancies will not impress the eggs, or the hatched peeps any what so ever. Nor will it determine if it is a good incubator or not. 100% hatch rate of all fertile eggs can't be beaten. You sir.....have the perfect incubator, all other things are just "fluff".

Thanks again for your advise!
Tim
 

HickoryHollow

Songster
7 Years
May 28, 2012
423
54
113
Bolivar, Ohio
Spend some time over on Incubator Warehouse. Lots and lots of resources there.

I bought an incukit from them this week and it is holding my hatcher at 99.0 rock steady. That's the temp I want for hatching. It does not swing even 1/10 of a degree. The incukit has a small digital thermostat that doesn't just snap on and off, but progressively puts out heat at the required amount.

Everything an incubator builder would long for is shown. Lot's of How To's and so forth.
Thank you Fred, I will check them out!
Tim
 

Daedalus62

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 12, 2013
147
17
99
Portugal
My Coop
My Coop
Daedalus62

Thank you for the advise. I checked out your incubator, and that is hilarious! I mean that in a very complementary way. What I learned from your incubator post is this: There are things that are important about an incubator that effect the "hatch rate" and there are other things that just really don't matter. I plan on mine having an oak outside skin. The only reason for that is just a challenge to ME. Building a wood cabinet is just something I want to do, just to say I did it. All the fancies will not impress the eggs, or the hatched peeps any what so ever. Nor will it determine if it is a good incubator or not. 100% hatch rate of all fertile eggs can't be beaten. You sir.....have the perfect incubator, all other things are just "fluff".

Thanks again for your advise!
Tim

Hi Tim,

You made me laugh also
lol.png
lol.png
lol.png


Not a perfect incubator, but... It just goes to show that knowing the basic principles on egg incubation (temperature, humidity, egg turning), using some common sense when designing and the KISS principle when building, it's easy to make an 100% successful incubator... Without breaking the bank... Whence my above made-in-a-hurry-cause-I-need-it-for-tomorrow-foamy-thing...

I also like to build things... Just because I can and for the fun of it... Perfectly understand your "Just to say I did", Tim!!
wink.png


Right now I'm also in the process of designing/building a more permanent (and more egg capacity) cabinet-like incubator... Keeping it simple, but this time incorporating the only thing I really missed on my foamy... Automatic egg turning... Just because I'm not always home, to turn the eggs 4 times/day... Other things, like humidity % for example, are not that critical for the embryos and can safely be controlled once daily, IMHO.

Trying to build a "good quality" incubator but as cheaply as possible, instead of wood I'm using some leftover PVC boards (don't know what you call them), like these: http://www.flaviense.com.br/pisos-e-revestimentos/forro-de-pvc/forro-de-pvc-branco.html...

I wonder if two layer of this material (closed air cells, really), will provide as much insulation as an 2" thick styrofoam board...
hmm.png


Tim, best of success on your build!!... And keep us posted.

Cheers
frow.gif


Carlos
 
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Daedalus62

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 12, 2013
147
17
99
Portugal
My Coop
My Coop
That's coming out really awesome!!... Wish I had half your building skills.
wink.png


Allow me a couple of comments on your design/construction, Tim... And please, please don't take this badly!... Just my opinion, and I hope you take it as healthy criticism...

1 - When the eggs hatch, it gets pretty messy (dirty and gooey) in that bottom area... Not so bad with the water tray, but avoid the lamp in that area... Notice how, in (most?) commercial cabinet incubators, these elements are placed above the eggs?...

1 - Hope that fan is strong... You're going to need some good air displacement in there, being 45" tall.

2 - IMHO you could have used any normal wood board in that middle panel (where the fan is mounted)... The temperature being (practically) the same on either side of it, no need for insulation... Perfectly OK as it is but, just for ease of construction...

Keep up the good work, Tim... And thanks for sharing!!

Cheers
frow.gif


Carlos
 
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