DIY





Build a Low-Cost Solar Food Dehydrator

Learn how to build a low-cost solar food dehydrator. Here is an easy way to make a solar food dehydrator that you can recycle at the end of the season.

| August/September 2008

Discover how to build a low-cost solar food dehydrator using cardboard and plastic wrap.

Build a Low-Cost Solar Dehydrator

The end of summer is harvest time, and we frequently have no idea how to store the bounty. One way is to dry the fruits and vegetables. There are lots of electric and solar food dehydrators on the market, or you can build your own from free, recycled materials.

To build your sun-powered unit, choose a long, shallow cardboard box and cut a few holes in each of the narrow ends. Then paint the inside of the box black or line it with black plastic sheeting. Cover the box’s top with clear plastic, and the heat catcher portion is complete.

Now, take another cardboard box and make several holes in one side. Set it on a table or stand, and lean the solar box against it at the most effective angle to catch the sun’s rays. Then use some scrap cardboard and tape to form an air duct connecting the shallow “solar” unit to the side of the drying box (as shown in the diagram in the Image Gallery). Finally, lay a screen on top of the drying box and arrange the food to be dehydrated on that surface.



This is not a permanent food dryer, and it’s certainly not waterproof — but you wouldn’t leave your drying produce out in the rain or snow anyway.

Note: Run the dryer for a few days without any food, to drive off any fumes that might be released from the paint or plastic.

www.EasyWoodwork.org
5/27/2018 7:13:14 PM

I used the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha. Go to WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans :)


Tom Duchesneau_1
6/3/2009 9:26:13 PM

Bear and Pat have the right ideas. With glass covering the top of the drying box, the hot air is forced to travel the whole distance of the box. An elevated screen off the bottom will help the veggies dry evenly. Screened outlet holes opposite the inlet holes to keep the vermin out. Did anyone mention an old computer fan for air movement? That would be complicating things though, as then you need a power source and transformer (may be available from a junked 'puter). Tom


Doug Smith
6/3/2009 2:01:53 PM

One could also use an old fish tank with the bottom removed. put it on blacktop (if you have any) or on top of something black and a screen on top!! you get heat from the black bottom, and directly from the sun!!! so it is then truely sun dried!!!







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