Tall Homemade Cabinet Style Incubator Heat/Fan Question


10 Years
Aug 4, 2009
North West Alabama
I have built several incubators but I want to build on that is taller, about 48" tall and about 16" wide and 16" deep. Just wide and deep enough to accomodate several of the standard auto turners, one above the other. My question is, should I put the heat source at the bottom and fans blowing down on it to get the air moving or should I put the heat source at the top and blow the air down. If I put the heat on bottom I am afraid that any eggs right above it would get too hot and if I put the heat at the top I am concerned that the eggs toward the bottom would not get enough heat. Should I have mulitple fans, multiple heat sources tied into multiple thermostats? Any suggestions?

I don't have an answer for you, but I should would like too. I tried building one last year and with the heat at the top and the fan at the top, I had too much temperature variation from top to bottom. I'll be watching this thread to see if someone has the answer.
I just built a hatcher with almost those dimensions. Mine is made from a wine cooler that I bought off Craigslist for $15. You cannot believe how it holds temp and humidity and I LOVE the double glass door. I used two high powered computer fans (minimum of 0.6 amps each) and had a heat source at the top in front of the fan. However, I was unable to stabilize the temp throughout the hatcher so I added another heat source to the bottom. Perfect temp stability!! One of the fans is at the back and blows forward over the bulb and the water container and the second fan is at the top front. It picks up the warm moist air and blows it downward. Here is a pic.

I've had the best hatches I've had in years in this baby the last 8 weeks!!

Edited to add that both of my bulbs (heat sources) are on the same thermostat. I also put a pic of the thermostat. Fantastic!!


Last edited:
Give it a false back an have the fan blow air from the top down threw the false back space an out at the bottom. Then put the thermostat an heater onside the false back space.

That way you are circulating air top to bottom an not just front to back.
I build mine using plexiglas sides which I drilled full of holes to distribute the warm air evenly.

The heat strip is in the top back,

with the fan mounted behind the heater. Air is forced down the sides of the cabinet thru slits in the top shelf,
The air returns to the fan thru the bottom which has a equal number and size holes as the two side panels, and up the back wall.

I sized the slits in the top shelf to evenly match the cubic inch displacement of all the holes in the side panels, with the total cubic inch displacement of both side panels being equal to the total hole displacement in the bottom panel. It took a little math to work it all out, but I have the same amopunt of warm air blowing thru at the top of the incubator as I do at the middle and bottom.

I have found this method will evenly distribute the warm air to all sections of the egg tray area of the cabinet, so no hot or cold spots.
Last edited:
I use a plastic bottel I bought at wally world and some flexible clear plastic tubeing to supply water to my humidity tray.


I did have to tap the valve in the water bottle to accept a 1/8inch pipe coupleing so I could attach the tubing.
The lid on the water tray I also cut a 4inch square hole to regulate humidity for incubating. I simply remove the lid to raise the humidity levels for lock down.

Water level is maintained with this float valve I bought at US Plastics.

This next pic (if you can make it out),is just to show where the air returns thru the bottom and up the back wall to the fan. The little white wire thingy you might see in the pic is just a humidity sensor.
Three Cedars Silkies, do you have any problem with radiant heat causing the bottom eggs to be hotter than those that are farther away from your bottom heat source? Design looks alot like what I a going after.

Muddstopper, I have thought about going with a false back or false sides to circulate the hot air and to keep the radiant heat off of the eggs. How do you have your heat source wired? I bought one like yours but when I wired it up, it got way too hot and stretched out of shape. What did I do wrong?

Thanks everybody!!!
No. I keep a trusted thermometer in each of the hatching trays and they are within 0.2 points of each other. This thing holds temp and humidity so well that the light bulbs are only on for about 15 seconds, then off for about 3-4 minutes.

I did cut out the bottom of the hatching trays and put 1/4 in. hardware cloth in them so the air could circulate freely between them.
We have a tall cabinet, old Pepsi fridge, and used the fan that was in it. The heating element is at the top with the fan in the middle. It pulls the heat in and disperses it out to the sides and down. Keeps temp perfectly.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom