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home built solar food dryer

Rocket Scientist
Posts: 4304
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi All; I desined and built my solar food dryer several years ago and it has worked flawlessly since.Thought I would share it . Remember ,the size, height,angle and the materials used to make this are all optinal you can make one any size shape or angle that suits your location. Imagine a south facing sloped metal roof low to the ground , 8 feet wide and only 2 feet long . now set 4, 2x2 trays built with food safe screening on the roof, a small clips on the bottom side keeps them in place. Build an 8x2' frame , cover one side with any avalable sheet metal, painted black on both sides . Now cover the other side with a clear glass, or a greenhouse panel. Set frame with metal on bottom over top of food trays and atach with long tee hinges to bottom roof frame. The top panel now higes off the bottom and the food trays are free to lift in and out. This works by the sun heating the black metal thru the glass wich then radiates its heat thru the drying trays and the sloping metal roofing underneith pulls the heat thru and sucks it up and away. This works awsome! herbs are dyed in about 4 hours , tomatos take a few days, everthing is in the dark so you get brite green herbs. No electricity required ! However the sun is required as to many rainy days and things will mold. One important thing when drying food is only use stainless steel or food safe plastic screening for your drying trays, DO NOT use window screening. I used plastic on mine and I found that I needed to put three runs of stainless tie wire across the bottom of the drying tray to keep the plastic from saggin down with heavy loads. As you can see from the pictures I used all scrap lumber and only bought the greenhouse plastic panel for apx. 20.00 and the food safe screening for about 25.00. My neibors used my desine and having more $ than me used all top grade lumber and stainless steel screen to make theirs (very nice looking ) and they are using it to make jerky ! Mine may look a little funky but it works just as well as a fancy one.

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