Tear The Roof Off Solar Dehydrator[edit | edit source]
This page will provide instructions on how to build a solar powered food dehydrator. If you would like to read more about our project, check out our appropedia page, Locally Delicious solar dehydrator for kids with adult supervision.
Instructions[edit | edit source]
For this project you will need the following tools:
- Saw (handsaw or power saw)
- Tin Snips or Grinder (to cut metal roofing)
- Drill (with drill bit and phillips head bit)
- Acrylic Cutter (specially made to cut acrylic)
Follow the following general steps:
- Cut 2' tall x 3' wide plywood base.
- Cut two 36" long lengths of 2"x4".
- Cut two 21" long lengths of 2"x4".
- Attach the 2"x4" frame (so that the 21" long segments rest on the inside of the 36" long segments) by predrilling holes and then securing with wood screws.
- Attach the plywood base to the 2"x4" frame with wood screws. (no need to pre-drill)
- Cut a piece of corrugated metal roofing so that it fits on the inside of the 2"x4" frame, this should be 21" tall x 33" wide. (make sure orientation of corrugated metal is such that the channels run up and down the dehydrator)
- Attach the corrugated roofing by securing self tapping sheet metal screws through the channels of the dehydrator and into the plywood.
- Cut two 21" long lengths of 1"x1/2" wood. (1"x1" may be used)
- Cut two 30" long lengths of 1"x1/2" wood.
- Attach the 1"x1/2" frame (so that the 30" long lengths rest on the inside of the 21" long segments, creating a 21" tall x 32" wide frame) by predrilling and then securing with wood screws.
- Cut a sheet of nylon mesh which will adequately cover the 1"x1/2" frame.
- Attach nylon mesh to frame using wood screws with washers (for best results start at one corner and stretch material as you attach the rest with screws)
- Cut a 24" tall x 36" wide sheet of clear acrylic using your acrylic cutter. (Acrylic can also be found in pre-cut 24"x36" sheets depending on where you purchase, this option is much easier if you can find it)
- Attach L brackets to the top of the frame as to hold the acrylic cover in place, while allowing it to still slide out of one side. (we suggest attaching two L brackets on the bottom side of the frame and one on each side, therefore allowing the acrylic to slide off via the top) (refer to picture)
- Drill 1" vent holes in the bottom of the dehydrator while making sure holes line up with the troughs of the corrugated metal roofing. (The quantity of vent holes may vary depending on your environment, if you plan on using this dehydrator in an area which gets very hot, then we suggest adding more vent holes. While if you plan on using this in a colder climate you can add less vent holes, however we suggest no less than three)
- Drill 1" vent holes in the top of the dehydrator along the same troughs as the holes in the bottom of the dehydrator. (Again the quantity may vary)
- Place sliced fruit in dehydrator and adjust angle of inclination so that dehydrator receives maximum sun.