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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 7:06 pm 
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Discerning Duck
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G`Day Friends,

Ok I need a few answers here please

I want to make a incubator out of this.
I bought a pie warmer and I have stripped all the electrical in it and I will seal the back of it so you can only open it from the front

1. Would the stainless steel be too hot to use as in, will it heat too much and cook the eggs?
2. Does the incubator need ventilation and how much ventilation does it need?
3. Having the fan installed in the top of the pie warmer, blowing downwards onto the eggs or should the fan be installed on the top side blowing horizontally?
4. The water container on the bottom of the pie warmer, what size is needed?
5. If heat raises upwards, then should I have the light bulbs on the bottom of the pie warmer or should the two 60watt bulbs be on the top of the pie warmer?
6. The frame which the eggs are on, what is the best material to use WOOD, METAL or PLASTIC ?

I thank you all in advance for your help

Cheers,
Kowan

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:00 pm 
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Golden Robin
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kowan wrote:
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G`Day Friends,

Ok I need a few answers here please

I want to make a incubator out of this.
I bought a pie warmer and I have stripped all the electrical in it and I will seal the back of it so you can only open it from the front

1. Would the stainless steel be too hot to use as in, will it heat too much and cook the eggs?
2. Does the incubator need ventilation and how much ventilation does it need?
3. Having the fan installed in the top of the pie warmer, blowing downwards onto the eggs or should the fan be installed on the top side blowing horizontally?
4. The water container on the bottom of the pie warmer, what size is needed?
5. If heat raises upwards, then should I have the light bulbs on the bottom of the pie warmer or should the two 60watt bulbs be on the top of the pie warmer?
6. The frame which the eggs are on, what is the best material to use WOOD, METAL or PLASTIC ?

I thank you all in advance for your help

Cheers,
Kowan


Gee mate - your asking for a book to be written here. See how i go in a few paragraphs. There is no reason why you can have a good incubator there. The glass is a terrible insulator and you hope that a good fan would distribute the temperature evenly.

Now to hatch chickens eggs (I know nothing about ducks, geese, emus, parrots, lizrds or terradactyl eggs) you need four things.

1. A core temperature of 37.7 (plus or minus that temperture but that is the ideal)
2. An exchange of air - they respire CO2 as they develop and require fresh air in return.
3. A level of humidity
4. The eggs to be turned on a regular basis

Building an incubator from scratch is a no mans land and you have so many things to establish by trial and error. Mostly that means multiple batches of eggs that may end up as failures. I dont have a recipe to make a fool proof incubator.

I think the structure (metal etc) should be fine. Heat loss is probably more of a worry than heat retention that could cook eggs.

I would mount the fan on the top initially and see how it goes. Your thermostat is a bigger worry than where the fan goes. You need a good finely adjustable thermostat.

Light bulbs are common source of heat but they have a bad habit of blowing when they are being constantly switched.

Humidity - the only way you will know how much is enough is by trial and error and you need to do that by a humidity sensor and by weighing eggs and as well observing the air space development.

Egg trays - well in ones I have made they have been a wooden frame and wish aviary wire mesh folded to give rows to hold eggs.

See how you go and then come back to us as you find problems.

Mike

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 8:44 pm 
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Discerning Duck
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Thanks Mike,

Should the air vent be down the bottom seeing that the fan is up the top?
Having the air vent down the bottom would cause the top part to store humidity there.

I really should put it all together then post photos of it so you can see what I am doing bit by bit and I can be advised to change as it is being built.

Now the size of the fan? I have a 100mm is that too big?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 9:35 pm 
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Golden Cockatoo
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do a google search, i am sorry i don't have it bookmarked, but i came across a site which showed how to convert a piewarmer to an incubator

but

it did use some of teh old electrics from memory


however, it has been done, i was searching under homemade incubators or some such similar title.

hope that helps some

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:35 pm 
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Golden Robin
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Kowan
I can't give you step by step instructions as I dont know what should go where.

I can help diagnose when things arn't working but I am not a design engineer.

Mike

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:36 am 
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Kowan, following jacquie's info, and Yahoo I found this:

http://www.utm.edu/departments/cece/idea/incurh.JPEG

2nd example down on http://www.utm.edu/departments/cece/idea/incu.shtml - but I didn't have time to check whether or not there are detailed instructions on the conversion... Good Luck!



:D


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:49 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Why did you buy a pie warmer and then chuck everything out? You bought is for the shell, with glass front, yeh? A glass front is a good idea (curiosity ruins more eggs than anything else I reckon), but as they say, not a good insulator. Stainless steel is easy to clean so not a bad idea.

It shouldnt matter where the lights,fan or water are in particular, as the fan will move the air around.

Vents can be anywhere too. I put mine on the top and bottom so warm air rose out the top, dragging fresh cool air in the bottom. But i got a feeling tha thing isnt going to seal particularly well anyway.

The most important thing is the thermostat. How accurate is the one in the pie warmer (assuming you are still using it)?

I reckon you could make an incubator in a cardboard box if you had a good thermostat, lights and a fan.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 2:17 am 
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Superior Bird
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Have a real close look at the structure, I think you will find it already has sufficiebt places for the air to move in and out. If not anywhere in the steel casing I think there is a gap between the two sliding doors. Anyone else old enough to remember when phome pressure cookers were all the rage. :lol: :lol:

I agree with rwood. It would all depend on the thermostat. I would try to get the thermostat right in the middle where the eggs are to be.

I rememeber caladenia mentioning a pie warmer a long time ago and I think it's a great idea.

The existing racks would be great for eggs, to hatch just get some plastic baskets.

Don't expect to use all the racks for eggs, or all of each rack. You will get some cooler areas near walls etc.

I would expect you would need more surface area of water to keep humidity normal than other incubators. With a whole rack kept available for this it should be OK. Just add as many containers as you need.

I would have been tempted to use the existing heating elements at least you know the heating power is there, you would have just needed a better way to control it. And they would sit out of the way. With the right thermostat you mave have been looking at 5 minutes work.

Go for it!


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:10 am 
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Gallant Game
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I have tried to make one from a pie warmer but never got it finish.
What I did find was the steel shelves are no good as they heat up too much. Replace them with plastic or wood.
I could not get the temp consistant.
I was using the original element.
I did not use a fan but I think that was all it needed to work and keep the temp even.
They already have enough ventilation as they are not sealed at the bottom
With my experiments it was going to work and be easy to do, I only gave up as I was given a foam job ready to go.
If you use it and it do'nt work just find out why and try again.
Remember that eggs are not chickens untill they hatch so your only going to waste some eggs.
jim

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:51 am 
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Superior Bird
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I can't see the steel shelves being any hotter than plastic or wood. They will just feel warmer to touch because metal is a good conductor. When you touch something warm, your finger cools the area immmediately around where you touch. With a good conductor heat flows into this area much quicker so it warms your finger quicker.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:55 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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I agree Denis, there is no way metal can heat up above ambient temperature. In fact its probably good for maintaining constant temp.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:56 am 
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Golden Robin
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Yes - I agree with Denis

The metal shelves cannot get any hotter than the thermostat controlled temperature. They can't continue to gain heat.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:09 pm 
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Gallant Game
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Please take picture of your work in progress and at different stages!!

I would really love to see how it turns out!

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:38 pm 
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Superior Bird
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I actually didn't say it was impossible that the shelves could get hotter than the ambient temperature, only that I couldn't see it being much of a factor here, especially with a fan operating.
Think Solar water heaters etc.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:50 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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rwood wrote:
I agree Denis, there is no way metal can heat up above ambient temperature. In fact its probably good for maintaining constant temp.


Let me rephrase,

There is no way metal can heat up above ambient temperature (INSIDE THE INCUBATOR, WITHOUT EXTERNAL ENERGY i.e the suns rays or electrical current), above ambient temperature.

Solar systems heat up above ambient temperature because the sun is inputing energy to the system.

Kowan, regardless of my distracting meanderings on universal laws of physics, give it a go, it should work, and if it doesnt, we will help you fix it. :D :D

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