This is my attempt at a DIY boot dryer that I saw in Popular Mechanics. One of the many projects that I've wanted to do and with 3 boys needed to do. I think I spent a total of $25 buying the items that I didn't have on hand but the cost wouldn't be much more if you had to buy everything.
I've attached the original instructions that I saw on Popular Mechanics and based on the items that were available I made some adjustments.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
Dremel rotary tool
1/2 inch plywood
1" deck screws
2" PVC pipe (48 inches)
(6)PVC pipe smooth couplings
(6)PVC pipe caps
(2) light switches
Double light switch box
40w light bulb
(2) extension cords
I had the plywood, deck screws, and light bulb already on hand. I picked up the PVC pipe, couplings, and caps from a local building supply store(~$15). I picked up the computer fan from Radio Shack (~$5) and got the light switches, switch box, lamp holder, and extension cords from the local Habitat for Humanity Restore($2).
Step 2: Cutting the Pieces
Start by boring paths for the pipes to run through the box top. I choose to make my box larger since I've got 3 boys, potentially 3 pairs of boots to dry at one time. Drill six 2 inch holes in a 16 x 16–inch sheet of plywood. Paint it. Cut four 16 x 6–inch side walls, leaving two edges short to account for the plywood thickness. Measure the fan; saw a circular hole in one side for the fan. Cut a hole in a different side for the light-switch box.
Cut a 6-inch length of PVC for every boot you plan to dry. Drill several ¾- and ½-inch airflow penetrations in each 6-inch pipe. Slip a smooth coupling over the pipe, leaving 1 inch exposed. Cap the opposite end and slide the open ends into holes in the box top. When drying less than 3 pairs of boots, cut a pair of small, non-perforated PVC pieces that can be capped when not in use.
Step 3: Assembling the Box Sides
Use the 1-inch screws to fasten the plywood sides into a square, but leave the top open. Seal the inner side joints with caulk.
Step 4: Mounting and Wiring
Mount the fan, light switches and lamp holder to the box sides. I cut the receptacle ends off the extension cords to use as my power cords. Wire the fan to one light switch. I didn't have to use a transformer since I was able to find an 120v AC fan. Wire the lamp holder and power cord to the other light switch. Add a bulb. Test the connections.
Thankfully, my father-in-law is a retired electrical engineer. So he was able to "sanity check" that my wiring was correct and wasn't going to "electrocute" myself.
Step 5: Completion
Fasten the box top with the 1 inch deck screws or you can leave it loose.
Wet boots on the pipes dry adequately in hours. An overnight stay yields blissful, total desiccation. I have also dried gloves as well.
Step 6: Things I Would Have Changed or Final Touches
I will need to find/create a cage to go over the outside of the fan to keep out little fingers.
I'm still tweeking the wiring and bulb selection so I haven't fastened the top to the box sides. I was in a hurry to finish the build so I didn't spend much time looking for the 1 & 1/2 inch PVC pipe and went with the 2 inch which was available. I may try to find some PVC reducers in order to use 1 & 1/2 in pipe to dry my smallest boy's mittens.
I may also paint the sides of the box and let the boys add artistic touches.
This took me about 6 hours, about 3 hours too long, since I wasn't able to have completely uninterrupted building time. Overall, it might not be the prettiest but it gets the job done. The build was fun to do and I enjoyed the problem solving and getting dirty.