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Lab Oven to Bator Conversion

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by AngieChick, Mar 17, 2009.

  1. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    A few weeks ago I was hunting around at the OSU surplus sale and spotted an old lab oven, it looked like an incubator waiting to happen. As it already is able to keep a steady temp and is very very insulated the only elements I needed to add were humidity, an egg turner or two, circulation, and moisture.

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    I had picked up an old PC fan and an adapter at the surplus sale for circulation. I suspected the oven might be convection style so I ended up doing all drilling and sawing in the door, where I knew there would be no water tubing.

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    The entire unit is composed of 2 layers of metal sandwiching some fiberglass insulation. I drilled holes through both layers of metal on the door for the PC fan, openings for wires to exit and to be able to fit my jigsaw blade into for cutting. I decided to cover the holes that the wires go through with thick pvc tape that has small criss crosses cut through the middle of the opening so that it would keep the wires from rubbing up against the metal and getting cut. Though loud and time consuming the cutting was pretty easy. 2 layers of 3/16" thick plexiglass makes up the door. This too I found was pretty easy to drill into, you just have to go nice and slow.

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    I ended up getting a hova-bator egg turner and cutting one row off so that it would fit.

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    I am very pleased with how it turned out, and didn't have to ask DH for help at any point. Of course it was an ideal contraption to convert, so I lucked out there. It's currently heating up so that I know what to set the dial to for 99.5 deg. Eventually I'll plunk another egg turner or two in there. I'm testing out the temperature stability and how to get the humidity where I want it before I get my eggs in a couple of weeks. I'm going to put a plastic bin with shelf liner in it on a lower rack for hatching.

    Edited to add cost breakdown:

    Old Lab Oven : $30
    Egg Turner: $42
    PlexiGlass: $27
    PC Fan: $ 2
    Adaptor: $ 1
    bits & pieces: $10 or so
    Digital Hygrometer/Thermometer and remote digital Hygrometer/Thermometer - already had

    Total cost: $112 when I add another egg turner it will be $144
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2009
  2. gabrielle1976

    gabrielle1976 Overrun With Chickens

    5,561
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    Feb 21, 2009
    Columbia river gorge
    Bravo

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    Now just make me one and Ill come pick it up [​IMG]
     
  3. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    Quote:Hah! I totally lucked out finding that lab oven, I don't think it'll happen again!

    Thanks though! [​IMG]
     
  4. nhnanna

    nhnanna Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2008
    The chicken coop
    [​IMG] Don't forget to let us know how it works out.
     
  5. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    After testing, I found that the temperature was fluctuating wildly. It had a range of 10degrees, going from 96-106. I took one of the heating coils out of commission, leaving only 2 and after much tinkering I think that my thermostat just isn't sensitive enough So, I have bought a Zilla thermostat (for reptiles) and hooked it all up to that. The heating source may still be too intense, so if this doesn't work I think I will try taking one more coil out and. If I have to I can change to a different heat source, but I would rather not.

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    Last edited: Mar 24, 2009
  6. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    So, I think that the heating elements are just too strong. They put out so much heat that by the time the thermostat reacts it is too late and causes a massive spike. So, I put a 120W light bulb with a deflector down at the bottom of the bator and hooked that up to the thermostat as my heat source. If it doesn't put out enough heat I also have a 250W heat lamp that I can use. This should work, and I should have done it sooner, but I may have been a bit stubborn trying to force the existing set up to do something that it just wasn't designed for. Oh well, I'm glad that I had enough time to perfect it before plopping eggs in it.

    Now to tinker with the humidity.

    Updated to say that I put in a small container of water which is keeping the humidity at around 38. The thermostat is amazing, it's keeping temps within .4degrees. What a difference. I am still under $200 even with the fancy thermostat, and will be under $300 when I add 2 more turners. Not too bad for a cabinet incubator! Well, and a ton of work, but it will be worth it if the temp stays nice and steady and I get a decent hatch rate. Plus, it's kinda retro groovy, I think I need to paint some silly chickens on it to round out the look.

    This has been a fun (albeit frustrating at times!) project.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2009

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