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Bayside Park Farm solar dehydrator

584 bytes added, 04:03, 11 May 2014
Lessons Learned
Overall, we were extremely happy with the results of the dehydrator: the humid climate was a large concern for us, so we concentrated first on raising the internal operating temperature of the dehydrator, then focused on airflow that would provide adequate moisture transport out of the drying chamber. Since the dehydrator will primarily be used for drying herbs, we believe our design will work well to dry moderate quantities of tobacco, leeks, basil, and most other leafy greens. As the moisture content of the material being dried increases, we expect the dehydrator to take longer, but still to be able to accomplish the task of drying small quantities of high-moisture foods such as tomatoes, as well as small quantities of moderate-moisture foods, such as thin-sliced bananas, apples, and berries.
===Lessons Learned===
Things we learned here====Construction====When cutting the lumber materials, avoid cutting through knots and other weak points in the lumber to avoid cracking and splitting.Plan ahead where each screw will go to avoid competition with space for other screws that will be placed in the futureAvoid putting in any hardware where easily removable/ disposable hardware can go instead (wood tacks vs. construction staples). This allows easy replacement of components, for example the screening is held in place with a couple dozen wood tacks and replacing the screening would require the removal and replacement of each wood tack. 
===Next Steps===
We recommend that the exterior of the dehydrator be sealed, then treated with deck or siding stain in order to protect the wood from external moisture and preserve its structural integrity. Due to our limited budget, the dehydrator had to be constructed from pine; an excellent indoor wood, but due to its limited resistance to insects and decay, it does not perform well outdoors.
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