Instructables

Boot dryer - xc or downhill skiing - hiking - etc

Tired of these boots that never seem to dry after a day on the trails? With a small fan and a few pieces of wood, here’s how I fixed that.
 
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Step 1: How it works

That’s how the assembled dryer looks like. Think of an upside down cabinet drawer combined with a pipe organ. You will need a small fan, a few lengths of pipe (ABS and PVC pipes are easy to cut and drill), some masonite or other similar thin stock and a few pieces of plywood, MDF or particleboard. The end pieces slide in and out to open or close vents as needed. The forced air will quickly dry your boots so they will comfortable when you hit the trails again the next morning.

Step 2: The fan

I started out with this fan but soon found out that it wasn’t up to the task, so I later upgraded to a cabinet fan.

Step 3: The box

Here are the required pieces of wood. Bottom panel is not shown but is the same size as the top piece. The long sides have a groove: this is to allow thin pieces of masonite to slide in and out to open/close vent holes as required. The width of the shorter sides matches that groove. The hole drilled in one of the longer sides is for the fan air intake.

Since my dryer was for xc-ski boots, holes only had to 5 inches from each others, center-to-center. Downhill or Snowboard boots are bigger, so for those you will have to make that measurement a bit bigger.

Step 4: Almost done!

On this view of the partially assembled box, you can see the groove where the masonite piece will slide.

Step 5: The pipes

My ABS pipes had a 1-13/16” outside diameter and I only had a 1-7/8” drill bit… I trimmed some plastic off one end of the pipes by running them on the table saw with the blade low enough to barely touch them. At the other end, I drilled a couple of holes on the pipes walls.
B_F_T2 years ago
Great plans, I made a similar unit with a few changes and it works great. I used a circulator fan for a hot stove mounted on the end (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_525637_525637), left out the slide, and instead got pipe caps. I drilled the pipe through (straight through twice at 90 degrees, close enough to the end of the pipe that the bottom of the pipe cap would cover it. I then sanded the pipes so that the cap would slide easily to cover the drill holes but also stay in place when opened. I through a few cedar bags inside and it moves the air well and leaves a nice scent. Made it for 12 boots, staggering the holes and works like a champ.
allindsay3 years ago
Great plans. I have one suggestion, what about putting caps on the ends of the pipes. Then drilling a bunch of holes in the caps and an inch or two down the shaft of the pipe. I have good luck with this on my two pipe dryer. I am currently building a dryer for my wetsuit boots, which has to use a fan instead of a hair dryer, which is how I got to your project.
CEOON4 years ago
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS THE PURPOSE OF THE SLIDES? I MEAN COULDN'T YOU JUST KEEP THEM OUT AND NOT EVEN PUT THEM IN THE PORJECT? ARE IS THERE A REASON FOR THEM. I'M JUST  LITTLE CONFUSED ON WHAT THEY'RE THERE FOR. AND I MADE A BOOT DRYER TWO YEARS AGO OR SO AND I USED A BATHROOM CEILING FAN. IT WORKED PRETTY GOOD, YOURS LOOKS A LITTLE MORE BEEFY AND PROBABLY WORKS BETTER
Dachsmith CEOON4 years ago
In my opinion; the slides are to block air flow from the tubes which are not being used.  If left open, all of the air would flow out of them rather than up through the boots to be dried.
MadScott7 years ago
Strategic placement of the fan intake (or a little dryer vent tubing) can provide hot air into the system from home heating systems.
good idea, but be careful with heat on newer ski boots. Quite a few models have thermo molded liners that I have seen get screwed up by placement too close to a heat source. From personal experience I know that just circulating the air in a pair of boots dries them perfectly overnight (that's how every commercial boot drier I've used worked), putting feet into toasty boots is always a plus though.
free.heeler7 years ago
Nice design. I'm thinking of making it, but flipping the unit upside down, mounting it on the wall and adding flexible pipes so the boots can sit upright under it (preventing snow on the outside of the boot from dripping onto the box, this would also give me a little shelf for gloves, etc.).
jakv57 years ago
Great info, gave a blog link to it on my ski site Unofficialsquaw.com.
trebuchet037 years ago
nice... I should build one for the summer (rainy season) months down here :P Perhaps making tubes out of cedar would be a nice little add on. My leather boat shoes don't smell so nice when they get wet.
JiMCi (author)  trebuchet037 years ago
To get the smell of cedar, you could use that wood species to build the box. Smell was the main reason why I bothered building this thing. Boots that dry too slowly do develop bad odors. Speeding up drying time reduces the "smell factor"!
SmartAZ7 years ago
Stuff your boots and sox with newspaper and they will dry overnight. No machinery needed.
JiMCi (author)  SmartAZ7 years ago
You are (almost) right. But newspaper will not leave your boots 100% dry, unless you repeat the operation a few times. In the winter time, you want your boots to be completely dry! P.S. The newspaper thing was mentioned in step 6...
SmartAZ SmartAZ7 years ago
I guess it's late. I meant GLOVES, not sox. Sorry about that.
mobilhomme7 years ago
Brilliant! Now, I just need to convert it to 12V, add a heating element, and install it in the trunk of my car for warm boots when I arrive at the ski base.
I'm not sure how you would make the tubes out of cedar easily. Of course it could be done with a lathe but that's out or reach for most. Instead, make the box a bit deeper and put a couple of inches of cedar wood chips (animal bedding) in the bottom. Make a frame to lay on top of the chips with hardware fabric or wire mesh to contain the chips. If you wanted more cedar scent you could suspend the frame of chips near the top so the air is routed through the chips. You'd need to use a finer mesh, possibly fabric and may need to increase the fan size. Just a thought.
Drill :) The "Tubes" don't have to be circular-- a square peg (with a hole for airflow) could fit easily inside a shoe :P
Culito7 years ago
Cool. FYI, a good source of free powerful squirrel cage fans are junk microwaves. They resemble the one shown here, but can really move some air.
Dr. No7 years ago
very cool