Here we are!!
After a long journey through series of tutorials, tests, fails, new tests, we completed the first satisfying version of our own Make-It-Yourself incubator.
Antoine was in charge of making the electronics. He detailed everything through his documentation page --incubator v0.2.
I could then focus myself on the second step, make the cabinet.
There are several known ways to build an incubation cabinet: you can use a decommissioned refrigerator, a speed rack with a vinyl cover, styrofoam coolers, or wooden boxes. The two basic criteria for a good container are insulation and water resistance.
When we were working with the prototypes, we were using a styrofoam cooler box that I picked up (for free) in a fish shop. It was working well but we wanted to take this opportunity to make something ourselves, with the size we want and the shape we like, and have our tailored incubator as it is the main advantage of doing things yourself.
For this version, we choose to make a box out of plywood (15mm) for the following reasons:
- we could have access to the CNC milling machine of Fablab Barcelona to manufacture it
- we could then design it from scratch
- by using a parametric software
- and easily distribute the files with few instructions
We came with a simple and playful design which assembles by itself with T-bones joints (no glue, no screws), except for the front door which uses 3D printed hinges and a 3D printed lock.
I just sprayed varnish on the inside of the cabinet to make it easier to clean. So far, the cabinet is working like that but we observed that it took it more time to warm up till 30°C than with the styrofoam cooler. Which is normal because the cabinet's volume is larger, but we want to optimise it by insulating it from the inside. One of the idea would be to grow a thin layer of mycelium on its inner sides :-P, but we first gonna try with some ready to use natural insulation such as hemp or so.
In the meantime, we continue to use it to make tempeh!
As a release but also to celebrate, we organised a tempeh workshop with some friends. We cooked different kinds of beans in advance and let everyone create their own tempeh, from the mix to the shape. We incubated them for about 30 hours and had lunch together two days later for tempeh tasting.