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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:06 am 
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Superior Bird
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Over the years we've had many asking about how to make autoturners for their incubators.
The members on this site have had more success in building their own incubators than anywhere else on the planet and by a huge margin. :thumbs:

Unfortunately with autoturners we haven't been so successful, perhaps as few as a half dozen or so. Not that surprising as they can be fairly tricky, even trying to copy what's in your favourite commercial incubator can be frustrating. After all if you are making your own you don't have the option the commercial guys have of just spending a lot of money and resources and having the customer pick up the tab.

In this post I will show you how you can make an auto turner that will tilt the eggs. These auto turners don't require any special skills to make and I can make them in about 20 mins.

The multiquips are a very popular incubator but there is a lot of them out there that are manual turn and will stay manual turn because of the $600 it costs to upgrade to autoturn.

I actually use the egg trays from multiquip for my autoturners, about $8 each from Bellsouth.

My autoturns look a little different so for a start I will help you get your head around the fact that they aren't that different, the egg doesn't know the difference, it just sits in the same old egg tray just like as if it was in an E1 or E2. The difference is how I tilt the egg tray.

We'll start with an egg tray with some eggs in it. The eggs are marked so you can see which side is tilting downhill and which side is uphill in every camera shot.
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Ok, as you can see above the black side of the eggs is downhill. We know it can't stay like that forever. To tilt the eggs the other way we have to get that bottom edge of the egg tray up higher than it's opposite edge. Have a quick think of how you can do that .....

... so what did you come up with. Most of us would have thought something like this
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The reason most of us would think so alike is because a lot of us have seen the same trays in a multiquip and we have all at some stage been on a see saw.

Now for something different. Here is a picture of the same tray and eggs, sitting at the same angle as the first picture. The only difference is it now rests on the foam wall behind it.
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I will repeat the same question again, word for word.
Ok, as you can see above the black side of the eggs is downhill. We know it can't stay like that forever. To tilt the eggs the other way we have to get that bottom edge of the egg tray up higher than it's opposite edge. Have a quick think of how you can do that .....

I bet a lot of you actually did come up with a different way of doing it. Something along the lines of this.
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until you end up with this.
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That is pretty much how I do it and why I call it a tilted turntable. I will finished the how to build it in coming days or weeks, it is pretty simple. Most of the photo's are already in my gallery and probably you could work it out for yourself.

If you are planning on building or even using an autoturn you should learn about and understand what is actually physically happening in the egg and why it is we need to turn.

As many of you already have a clear picture of what is going on, here's a few things to think about.
Did you notice that in the second method of turning, unlike the the multiquip method, the long axis of the eggs was never vertical, even for a moment.
In fact, the long axis of every egg stays at 45 degs always. So it kind of begs the question, is it a tilt method or am I rolling the eggs around that long axis?
Think about where the embryo is and what it does and how it will move through the egg.
Is it better do you think to turn the tray say 180 degs every hour or would it be better to spin it say 60 degs every 20 mins, or 30 degs every 10 mins.

The big question is, why 45 degs? Is it some magic angle? The answer of course is NO.
45 degs is about the angle where the eggs will start falling out of the tray thats all.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:10 am 
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Superior Bird
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 8:17 am 
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Superior Bird
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Usually I use some sort of BBQ rotissere motor. They all use a 8mm square shaft. The shaft comes with a kit in three or four pieces that screw together. The thread that screws the pieces together comes in two different sizes depending on make/model of motor. Strangely my hardware shop has a tee nut to fit each size.
That large washer is usually called a mudguard washer.
I just use the tee nut beause it is quick and easy, wouldn't be too hard to think up something that siuts you. If you use a tee nut it can unscrew itself. I spot weld the nut to the shaft after tightening, though I forgot one recently and it unscrewed on the poor guy. :oops:

The dimensions are for the chook egg trays from multiquip (via Bellsouth). The 36 and 42 egg trays each have their posts 27.0 cm apart across the diagonal. Or if you like they are arranged in a 19.0 square.
The bantam trays are different, posts are a rectangle 135mm x 265mm.

The 36 egg tray spins in a circle needing at least 40cm. I use 41cm because that is 45cm minus two 19mm wall thicknesses. I use 45cm wide panels, almost exclusively.
With 41cm of room to spin in the 42 egg tray doesn't quite make it so I just cut off 2 corners and it becomes a 40 egg tray.

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The MDF panel shown here is not what I usually use, it is just what was handy when I grabbed a camera. A square of 24cm x 24cm is a big enough square to comfortably fit your four screws in. I usually use 9mm plywood panel as it is stiffer than MDF but stiffness is only important when it is sitting raised up on the swivel bearing. i only use a swivel bearing when I am making ot hold two or more trays stcked on top of the other. I made a few out of a 3mm plasic panel stuff I had.
Look around your shed before you rush off and buy anything.

If it is only one tray then there are much easier ways to reduce friction between the turntable and the shelf it sits on. I have self adhesive plastic thingos under mine. In your hardware they have a big section on things you can stick under bits of furniture to stop them sliding or make it easier for them to slide. One trick a customer put me onto is to use a couple of old cds.

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As you can see I don't trim the shaft at all at first. I poke it out and sit the motor close to it to work out where to cut it it. Make the hole in the shelf the shaft pokes through at least 16mm. 19 or 25 mm is probably better.
Once shaft is cut, center the shaft in the hole, even pack some stuff between the shaft and hole edges to keep it centered. Then just whack the motor over the shaft and a few screws to hold it. If you look closely inside the battery compartment I have drilled some hole ready for this.


Last edited by Denis on Sat Nov 27, 2010 10:35 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:07 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Thanks for sharing your ideas denis. :thumbs:


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:17 pm 
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Golden Swan
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That is a very clever idea, Denis!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 6:18 pm 
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I can see that an enormous amount of thought and work has gone into this and it will be interesting to see what develops and is added to the thread. I will put it in the A-Z sticky so that other people can find it easily in the future.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:36 pm 
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Superior Bird
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Here you go, some of the auto turners I've made using this method.
They've been in my BYP gallery all the time, you can probably get the dates close to when they were made from the gallery page they are posted on.

It is interesting someone would notice that in the actual incubators I don't use 45 degs. It is true I don't and you should have noticed that I did point out 45 degs isn't some ideal angle.

As far as I am aware, the bigger the angle the better. For instance if you started tilting your Multiquip only 20 degs back and forth instead of the current 40-45 degs you would probably expect a reduced hatch rate. There is plenty of studies done by people in commercial circles to confirm this.
Wanting to build an autoturn I looked at the multiquip and thought if I can tilt the eggs 45 degs back and forth I would have a win. Then I realised there was a much simpler, easier way to do it than the way Multiquip do it.
So the intention was to build one and of course have it at 45 degs. But about this time I came across the old Cypher incubator for $90 on ebay. So I did up and the result is the best looking incubator this forum has seen :P and it has been in the lounge for past 5 years or so. It holds it own as an attractive and interesting piece of furniture.
So this incubator became the first to actually get up and running with what I call the autotilt turntable. As it turned out, when I fitted the shelf it was probably at about 20 degs and nowhere near 45 degs. Also I just turned it about 120-150 degs every 20 mins or so. As you do, I just thought give it a try at that and see how it goes. I think I had about 3 wyandottes laying so I just started loading every eggs into it every day.
I hadn't actually thought about the eggs actually rotating around their long axis so I was kind of expecting to get a lot mid term deaths compared to my previous manual turn incubators. But that didn't happen. The eggs just kept on hatching. I ended up with about 120 chicks, and about 6 infertile ones before I ran out of room.
So I never did bother to change the angle of that incubator, why would I?. But I do still believe more angle would be better.
That got me thinking, why or how did/do I get away with much less angle. I think it is to do with how the embryo 'travels' inside the egg.
We all know you have to move the embryo every so often because it will stick and die.
We also know we need to move the embryo to "fresh pastures" i.e different parts of the egg for nutritional reasons. You leave the embryo in the same position for too long and it will deplete the "resources" in that region.
Think about the multiquip. For 21 days the embryo moves straight from position 1 one side of the egg to position 2 on the other side of the egg. It keeps getting sent to these same two areas to feed. What about the nutrients in the other areas of the egg. The way I do it the embyo lands in a different area each time. Like the way a chook does it in a more random fashion. If you are one of those people who mark the eggs with X on side and a 0 on the other and manually turn them 180 degs each time, are you sure you are doing the right thing?

If you were to ask me what the optimum angle would be I'd say 90 degs, meaning the long axis of the egg is horizontal, exactly like it is when the egg is rolling. But the eggs will definitely fall out. Spin it at an angle of about 150 degs every half hour or so and the embryo will visit all parts of the egg.

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Last edited by Denis on Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:41 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:23 am 
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Superior Bird
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The antique one is MINE, you lot have to settle for something ugly.
Of the ones in this list, one went to a lady near Canberra, one was given to my nephews, and the others went via auction to god knows where.

The red one at the top the list holds and turns 3 multiquip trays. It has automatic humidity as well. It was the one I sold to a guy and he liked it so much he ordered and bought 2 more. A mate of his bought one too and is pleased enough to tell me he will buy another next season but is going to sell his remaining E1 first. He actually suprised me by reporting he had simply extended the height of the walls of his and now it runs four trays no probs.
Another mate of theirs bought a smaller version that holds two trays. I might dig up photo's of that one on the weekend because it is so quick and easy to make. It is of a design I have finally settled on, for now anyway.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:58 am 
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Hi Denis
Thanks for sharing this. I was just wondering what you thought of those round incubators that seem to rotate a round tray on the flat with eggs just lying on their side? I guess the eggs just roll.
I only ask because wondering about converting what I made with yours and others help last year to tilt seems a little complicated... The water trays would be a problem.. I think...


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:54 am 
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Superior Bird
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silkiemania wrote:
Hi Denis
Thanks for sharing this. I was just wondering what you thought of those round incubators that seem to rotate a round tray on the flat with eggs just lying on their side? I guess the eggs just roll.
I only ask because wondering about converting what I made with yours and others help last year to tilt seems a little complicated... The water trays would be a problem.. I think...


Stick some eggs straight onto the plate in your microwave. Turn it on for 10 secs and watch what happens to the eggs.
Then tilt the microwave very slightly by putting something about 1 cm thick under one of it's legs. Turn it on for 10 secs and watch what happens to the eggs.

Provided your eggs didn't roll off the plate I think it is worth investigating. Perhaps something along the lines of spin the plate 90 degs every 20 minutes. Sure, it would be pretty random how much each egg turned each time. But as long as you do it often enough I think they will all get moved enough and as I said earlier in the post I think random is pretty good.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:38 am 
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Hello Dennis

I love the look of the blue incubator in the middle. What do you use as your heat source?

I take it that you are using a microwave turner for it?

How many rotations would this one do? I am looking for something to incubate modern game eggs and I am of the opinion that they will need to be turned every hour.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:49 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Hi denis,

what are the dimensions of those (36 egg?) plastic trays?.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:53 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Like Geoff I'm keen to have an auto turn every hour for my modern eggs, I understand the turntable idea but need more info on the timer itself.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:43 pm 
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Showy Hen
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Haan wrote:
Hi denis,

what are the dimensions of those (36 egg?) plastic trays?.


ditto on that question.. they look like just what im after. 8 dollars from bellsouth, from the IM bators.. but the dimensions are important..


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2010 9:45 pm 
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Superior Bird
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I'll back track to previous post and start filling in some details.

On the timer question? I build my own. With the temperature controllers or humidity controllers I have a spare 240V output I can program to switch on and off at will. Same circuit as for both above I can do it so that you can vary the period off say between 10 and 120 mins and on period say between 1 and 30 secs. However by the time I have etched the boards, soldered in the components, programmed the chip and fitted in a box with power lead and socket .... it gets expensive.
I'm sure there are cheap products on the market. What we are looking for is a timer, called a cyclic timer or perhaps an interval timer. We'll find something.


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