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  1. #1
    Registered User ShawarmaPoutine's Avatar
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    DIY incubator from scratch

    My younger sister in grade 6 has a science fair coming up on April 13th (yay procrastination). Being the big brother, best friend forever (my little pony reference) it became my job to help her come up with an idea for a project. She insisted that she wants to create something she can play with or use after the competition is over. After jostling through different ideas that didn’t even qualify for that category.. eureka!!! Why not build an incubator that we will use for our own ball python eggs cometh breeding time next year.

    She wants to build it from scratch so picnic coolers or broken fridges aren’t an option. We watched this video and she really liked it and wanted to do something similar.

    Some of the questions I still have:

    1) is the purpose of water bottles on the heat tape simply for better heat diffusion?

    2) We will be going for a shorter but wider build, how necessary is a small pc fan? (Is there any reason to use a fan other than breaking up uneven heat concentrations (forgot the scientific word)?

    3) from your experience, having built a DIY incubator or not, what would you do differently? What did you wish you knew? What do you think most incubators lack?

    We’ll be starting the build later today or early tomorrow and I will update this thread with pictures and steps as we go

  2. #2
    Registered User Lord Sorril's Avatar
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    Re: DIY incubator from scratch

    That sounds like a really cool project!

    1) Yes, the water bottles diffuse the heat, but, they also store it. By storing the heat and using a good thermostat you can mitigate temperature swings in the incubator when you open/close it for air exchange/harvest.
    2) The PC fan is good for air circulation so you reach a homogeneous air temperature in the incubator. If you have eggs stacked in levels then ideally you want the air temperature to be even and the hot air not just collecting at the top (water bottles help). If you are running close to the edge of the egg limits at 89-90F then the temperature difference could be lethal (especially in the later phases of development). I'm setting the temp this year at 86 degrees on the bottom and I'm going to see if I can get away with not using the fans in my incubators at all (too many cords - too many incubators). I've incubated between 83-90F without issue-just a variance in the amount of time required to hatch.
    3) I built a custom incubator using rigid styrofoam insulation from Home Depot-and sealed it with silicone. It worked fine, but, I could smell 'burning plastic' every time I opened it. Probably should not have put the heating pad directly on the sytrofoam... I also used on/off thermostats for a long time prior to the rise of the internet-I refuse to use anything but pulse proportional now because temperature swings cost lives...

    Oh, and be wary that some thermostat brands throw off some heat. If you have your thermostat sitting on top/beside your incubator you might generate a 'hot spot'-learning this cost me a clutch of Het Axanthic Fireflies last year...
    *.* TNTC

  3. #3
    Registered User ShawarmaPoutine's Avatar
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    Re: DIY incubator from scratch

    Some preliminary scribbles:



  4. #4
    Registered User Lord Sorril's Avatar
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    Re: DIY incubator from scratch

    Cool design!

    I'm not sure how much heat you would lose through the acrylic windows. I guess you could always cover it with insulation and remove it as needed.

    Something also to consider is how easily it can be moved/transported/broken down when not in use.
    *.* TNTC

  5. #5
    Registered User ShawarmaPoutine's Avatar
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    DIY incubator from scratch

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Sorril View Post
    Cool design!

    I'm not sure how much heat you would lose through the acrylic windows. I guess you could always cover it with insulation and remove it as needed.

    Something also to consider is how easily it can be moved/transported/broken down when not in use.
    I hear you.... this is actually the work of my friend (electrical engineer and smartest guy I know) and I. When I got home, my sister had some objections regarding what we conjured up. I definitely want her to have the final say over any decision as long as her position is scientifically sound and don’t compromise the incubation process. We’re mostly gonna go for a top view window and the whole incubator will be 1 or 2 levels max.

    Right now, my sister and I are researching how the different components work such as “how does heat tape create emit heat using mere electricity... etc!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited by ShawarmaPoutine; 04-07-2019 at 09:40 PM.

  6. #6
    Registered User Red357's Avatar
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    Re: DIY incubator from scratch

    Why can't my daughter get cool projects like these? LOL.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

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