High Volume Food Dehydrator Racks

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Introduction: High Volume Food Dehydrator Racks

About: I just occasionally make stuff, and if it's different enough, I'll make an Instructable to inspire others.

If you have a lot of herbs, fruits and vegetables, you've probably thought of drying or dehydrating them. You could go out and buy a purpose built dehydrator, but the problem is that it does only one thing, and it does that one thing poorly. Why? dehydrators use a heating element to speed along the process because they don't contain a fan that sufficient for drying foods.

Some people recommend just using an oven. However, that bakes the food, not dehydrating it gently.

No, what we need is airflow - and a lot of it. You've probably already got something up for the task and that's a box fan. Now this Instructable will show you how you can neatly and efficiently turn that in a massive food dehydrator!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

For this you'll need:
Non-metallic door screen
1" x 2" wood boards

The tools and supplies I used was:
Tape measure
Mitre saw
Hand stapler and 10 mm staples
Air powered stapler (could use nails or screws)
Hammer
Scissors
Wood Glue

Step 2: Cutting the Frame

Measure the length of your fan and cut the wood boards appropriately. Since the fan is square, you'll need four pieces with a 45 degree cut on each end for each frame you want to build.

Step 3: Glueing and Assembling

Apply a small amount of wood glue to each corner and clamp the corner together. Use your air stapler or other fasteners to securely fasten the corners together.

Repeat for all four corners remember to ensure your frame is flat and not skewed.

Step 4: Applying the Screen

Lay the screen across the frame and staple ever two inches along the frame. Cut off any excess.

You're done! Stack the frames and start drying!

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    16 Discussions

    0
    lovemeiris
    lovemeiris

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I really like this :). How long does it take to dry the food?

    0
    avocadostains
    avocadostains

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Of course it varies depending on what your trying to dry, but I did tomatoes sliced about half as thin as normal sandwich tomato slices and it took 3 days. They got dry (well not cracker crisp but like a raisin you know) but they went bad as they were drying. I'd say if your going to do tomatoes either make the slices ultra thin or add in some heat and or an additional fan. I'm thinking a space heater in a bathroom or shed would help out a lot. You could go crazy if you want and add in a dehumidifier. I am wondering if you just pureed food and set the fan on top of a tray blowing downwards if you could make vegetable/fruit fruit rollups.

    0
    wazzup105
    wazzup105

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Do keep the red and yellow chili's separated after you've dried and crunched them up. I couldn't tell the difference anymore so I put them together in a pepper-grinder... Now as long as you know what you've just done it's not a big deal, just use less... but because I didn't know that first meal was quite unpleasant :) (then it sank in what must have happened)

    0
    JettaKnight
    JettaKnight

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Cayenne get sent through a food processor then put inot a shaker jar. Thai Dragon and Szechuan get put whole into a paper bag.

    The yellow one is the picture? I don't remember what those are.

    0
    wazzup105
    wazzup105

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    The yellow ones look like Madame Jeanette.

    0
    acicigoi
    acicigoi

    6 years ago

    would this work for beef jerky???

    0
    JettaKnight
    JettaKnight

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yup! I have made several batches using this setup. The best part is the house smells like delicious meat for 24 hours!

    However, the screen isn't the best material since it lets the marinade drip all over the fan. I would recommend furnace air filters (the cheap paper kind), at least one for the bottom.

    0
    batonas
    batonas

    6 years ago on Introduction

    did the same thing just used metal angles and screws for the frame and fiberglass net, and I've made a box with a propeler for faster drying.

    0
    neo71665
    neo71665

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I would suggest uncoated metal screen over plastic screen which will fume chemicals or fiberglass screen which can leave glass fibers and fume chemicals in the food.

    0
    xsinisax
    xsinisax

    6 years ago

    How long it take for dehydrating for example, apples??? And how much energy this ventilator using?

    0
    rolltidehank
    rolltidehank

    6 years ago

    Is there a heating element?

    0
    JettaKnight
    JettaKnight

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Nope. Strictly drying with air - we want to dry the food, not cook it.

    If you'd indoors with modest humidity this produces the best results, but not the fastest.

    0
    Costarus
    Costarus

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Good idea. I made the Dehydrator from the old refrigerator. Added fan and air heating

    Screenshot_47.jpg
    0
    Lancelotlink
    Lancelotlink

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice! I remember Alton Brown did this with cellulose based home air filters that you just bungee cord attach to a box fan and let 'r rip. But I love this. They're reusable. Also, if you use the PVC boards for the sides, then the equipment could be sterilized.

    0
    lime3D
    lime3D

    6 years ago

    Excellent. I use the same technique to dry glued or painted objects.