My MEGA Homemade Incubator Build

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by DMRippy, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. DMRippy

    DMRippy Pallet Queen Premium Member

    14,956
    457
    341
    May 18, 2011
    Nashville
    I have posted some comments and a few pics of my homemade incubator and have had many questions, so I thought I would start a thread will all the details as I remember them. I tried to take lots of pictures but I may have missed something. If you have any questions, please ask I will answer them if I can and if not I will try to find you an answer. We built this on the fly no plans, sorry but we used lots of stuff we just had around and was easy to get.

    Let me start by saying I had most of the parts for some time. We just had to get time to build it. We used Flexwatt as the main heat for the unit. All will be explained as I go.

    First, we found a nice stash of wood from a printing company. They had gotten an new press or something in a huge shipping crate and we took all the wood we could. Part of what we got was the bottom of the create. It was ABOUT 3 x 4 so that is the base of this incubator. With my last incubator build we used a rotisseri from a showtime chicken roaster. Ironic, huh? It worked great so that was the plan with the new bator and flexwatt that was all we had in mind when we started.

    The first thing we had to figure out was the turner. Last incubator we started with the box and added the turner. That didn't work so good. This time the plan was to build the motor and turner part first and work on the trays and stuff after. With the first egg turner we didn't know how to adjust the turner other than adding slots to the trays. This time I came up with a plan. Hubby was scratching his head trying to figure out the rise of the gears and how to make them work. He told me it was 6 inches of rise.

    This is the gear from the rotissery that is turned by the motor.

    [​IMG]

    So this is how we figured it out. First we measured 6", 3" up and 3" down from the screw since it was a pivot point for a tray. I put a ruler on the screw at the 3 inch mark and marked the start of the ruler and then the 6" mark. (see the lines in red above and below the screw? ignore the other lines.)

    [​IMG]

    So then I took the speed square and turned the wood till it was 45 degs with the square

    [​IMG]

    Then I drew a line from that 3" mark over on the wooden arm.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then I did the same thing at the bottom

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The intersection of the two lines is the spot the rod HAS to be attached at. All this will be centered on the real trays.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    We took a measurement from the screw to that intersection, I THINK it was like 5 and 5/8ths BUT don't trust that do if for yourself and make sure. This measurement is only important for the tray that is attached to the motor. That tray and only that tray will have this information on it. All the other trays will attach to that bottom tray. The motor only really is turning the bottom tray and that tray is moving the others. I don't think I have a picture of that either [​IMG]


    I will see if I can get one from the inside of the bator tomorrow.

    Next we started working on trays. The size of the trays were determined by the Egg Trays I ordered. They were 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 inches. I allowed some room about 1/4 each direction, since I did not have the trays to test with it made sense to me and it worked out great. The inside demensions are ALL that counts. We used scrap wood from the crate. We found some 1 x 4's in various lengths and that is what we used. Hubby ripped them down the center so we basicly used 1 x 2's for the tray.

    I measured the end pieces to the measurement for the trays width and cut two that size. Then I put the long sides together with the short pieces to get the length. Remember I was looking for interior dementions and it was what it was because of the widths of the wood we were using. Yours would be different. We made the frame and added hardware cloth. It just barely fit the width we had to kinda stretch it to fit some. We also added some braces for extra support because those eggs will be heavy.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Once we had one tray done we started to work on the technical stuff. We found the center up and down and side to side and marked it. We drilled both ends for a bolt we also used a paddle bit to make a counter sink for the bolt so it would not be in the egg tray area. We made the counter sink big enough for a socket wrench.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The measurement from the test tilting thing come in here. We measured from the center hole out that number and drilled the same kinda hole for the bolt that connects to the gear that turns the trays. I don't see a pic of that either [​IMG]

    We made all three trays. Only one had the extra hole and the other two just had the center holes on each end.

    Now that we had a tray to work with we could start working on hooking it up to the motor. We attached the tray to an upright added the bolt and the metal with holes in it...I don't know what it is called but it is hard metal like angle iron. With the tray and that metal in we could figure out where to mount the motor. It had to be lined up perfectly. Well as good as we could any way. Sorry I don't have better pictures.

    [​IMG]

    We used a scrap cabinet door to mount the motor to. You HAVE to keep that metal straight. We used a plastic water supply line we had laying around, but we had to buy a long bolt for the tray. We used a short bolt for the bottom attached at the gear.

    [​IMG]

    We tested it with one tray and it worked PERFECTLY! So we added the other two trays and played with it just pleased as punch! I told hubby I would not be happy till we ran it with some weight. I have a print shop so I grabbed some reems of card stock. Pretty heavy. We added two to the middle and it worked fine. I added 2 more to the top and it STOPPED! You could push it to make it work but that was no good. We were CRUSHED! all that work and it didn't work [​IMG]

    It just so happened I met an engineere neighbor that used to raise chickens. I called him and he came right over with a motor. [​IMG]It worked, BUT it was way too fast. We were hitting a wall.. didn't know what to do. Hubby was a machiniest in a past life, so he drilled a hole through the rod that holds the gears. He put the gear down box stuff off the original motor and we silver soldered it in the hole. Now it runs really SLOW.... Mama likes! It can pull 8 reems of paper with out any real effort. I don't have pics of all that sorry nor do I know what kind of motor it is but I know it was already geared down so with both gear down boxes on the motor that is why it is so slow. We did have to do some moving. We mounted the motor on a platform you will see soon.

    Here is a side view with the rod to attach all the trays together. That is the same metal we used to attach the tray to the gear.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After we got the tray turner working we built a three sided carcass. We cut three panels to fit the sides and back. We temporarily attached the sides to the incubator base to make sure everything fit. Where the motor was mounted on the platform we had to make extra cuts for that. We left the sides screwed together and just unscrewed it from the base so we could work on the inside.

    [​IMG]

    I made some markes at the bottom so I would know where the base of the incubator started and to insulate up from there. I also marked the edge of the board the motor was mounted on so I would not put flexwatt in that area. First things first, insulation then metal flashing for the flexwatt. It is mounted on NON FLAMABLE material. I also marked the level of the lower tray to start the flexwatt.

    [​IMG]


    I didn't get a pic of the Flexwatt ... dang! Maybe you can see it in the other pics. We just taped it in place with foil tape. I insulated the bottom of the bator too. Then we attached the carcass to the base again. Worked perfect. Next we cut the two side panels and the door. Since we are not carpenters we just traced the door on the wood so it would fit better. You can see the new platform and motor on the side. The bucket will be for a gravity fed water supply. My son did all the electric so I can't really help much on that. The electric is only partially in in this picture.

    [​IMG]

    I wanted PLENTY of room to get in and out with those egg trays. I wanted lots of room between trays too. Some of this came from the previous bator we made. It was just not very functional, but it worked great.

    This is the door. The glass was from my dads old stove he was tossing, works great too. I added the insulated tape I picked up at a yard sale cheap!

    [​IMG]

    The top

    [​IMG]

    Here is a look down into the bator. The fan had to be moved to the back corner and is pointed straight down.

    [​IMG]

    OH YEAH! We used some blocks to brace the uprights of the trays to keep them stable. The fan is sitting on one. They are on both sides.

    [​IMG]

    Just a side view of the new motor and the water bucket. The bucket has not been mounted yet. It will be on a little platform too so the water will drain.

    [​IMG]

    This is the thermostat. It has heating AND cooling and is working great. My son was in charge of this but there are videos on youtube for using it. It is a STC-1000 cost $25.

    [​IMG]

    The turner is on a timer and will run for 2 mins 6 times a day. Got that from walmart. Hubby also insulated the bottom with 2 inch foam insulation.... it fell on the floor [​IMG]

    The whole kit and kaboodle.....

    [​IMG]

    Here it is running! 99.5 the thermostat is C only and it has a .3 operating temp swing.

    [​IMG]


    I am SOO pleased with it. After we tinkered with the temps, flexwatt was not enough. We added a 75 watt light in one corner. I have the one fan at the top (blowing down) and one at the bottom (blowing up). It has the probe from the thermostat, the probe from the thermometer and then the thermometer too. If we don't open the door for a while there is very little difference in temps.

    After we got back from Newnan I set eggs. 115 and then 3 days later I set 180. I had been collecting eggs for a while waiting for the new bator and I picked up a few doz at Newnan. Some were old eggs and will not hatch... but I had the space so we will give it a try! Did I mention it hold 540 chicken eggs [​IMG] I told my hubby it was too big. He wanted it bigger but that was all the trays I ordered [​IMG]and that is what fit in the crate bottom. Now go order some of my hatching eggs so I don't have to hatch more.... [​IMG]

    Well that only too 5 hours! LOL! I am going to bed now! I will proof read this in the morning and laugh!
     
    2 people like this.
  2. cva34

    cva34 Chillin' With My Peeps

    667
    9
    111
    Aug 10, 2011
    Van Vleck ,TX
    WOW !!!! For Inc and thanks for blow by blow write up and all the great pic ...cva34
     
  3. quintinp

    quintinp Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,069
    12
    171
    Oct 22, 2010
    Southern Oklahoma
    Really great incubator. I like the size A LOT.
     
  4. jarvisite99

    jarvisite99 Out Of The Brooder

    54
    0
    39
    Jul 22, 2011
    Want to send me the blue prints?
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. DMRippy

    DMRippy Pallet Queen Premium Member

    14,956
    457
    341
    May 18, 2011
    Nashville
    No problem. I hate to find a thread that has SOME info I need and can't get the rest. If you need more info let me know.
     
  6. DMRippy

    DMRippy Pallet Queen Premium Member

    14,956
    457
    341
    May 18, 2011
    Nashville
    Now that I am using it I think it will be too easy to fill it up. [​IMG]Got to have control.
     
  7. DMRippy

    DMRippy Pallet Queen Premium Member

    14,956
    457
    341
    May 18, 2011
    Nashville
    I don't really have any. We really did wing it. The base that we found WAS the blue print [​IMG] I wanted to share to give ideas. Everything we did could be used on a smaller incubator.

    Thanks for the praise. I will let you know when I have my first hatch. I am so excited to candle them next week [​IMG] I will have to pace myself on candling.... that is A LOT of eggs.
     
  8. DMRippy

    DMRippy Pallet Queen Premium Member

    14,956
    457
    341
    May 18, 2011
    Nashville
    BTW Yours is pretty nice too [​IMG]
     
  9. DMRippy

    DMRippy Pallet Queen Premium Member

    14,956
    457
    341
    May 18, 2011
    Nashville
    It was requested to see the turner in other positions so I took a video of it in operations. Hope it helps


    I noticed watching this that my hubby cut the corner of the metal. He did that because it was hitting the gear on the motor and stopping it from moving. If you use narrower metal you may not have that problem.
     
  10. NCGrammie

    NCGrammie What's Cluckin'?!

    712
    2
    101
    Mar 14, 2012
    Pinnacle, NC
    I came across this thread, and I was wondering how your hatch rate turned out and I didn't see the video you spoke about, am I overlooking it!

    TIA!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by