Published: May 16, 2018
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By: Joseph Erdy, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Hashtags: #Cooking #cookingandbaking #CookingAtHome #Dehydration #dehydrator #Design #Diy #driedfruit #Electrical #Engineering #Food #food_processing #FoodAndBeverage #fruit #Fruits #Mechanical #MechanicalEngineering #Project #Solidworks
I designed and built a food dehydrator from scratch using a combination of common building materials and salvaged components. The housing design was created in SolidWorks and constructed using pine wood as the frame, surrounded by lightweight foam insulation. The heating element is comprised of four 100W incandescent lightbulbs. The filaments provide the heat to bring the dehydrator up to temperature. The temperature control mechanism is an electro-mechanical bi-metal switch with and adjustment dial. The bi-metal strip changes its shape across a range of temperatures, either making or breaking contact with a switch depending on the position of the dial. I salvaged this part out of a discarded room heater. After some calibration, the control keeps the heater at a steady 120 degrees F.
I built a set of removable mesh shelves from recycled window screens. They allow for good airflow and easy clean-up.
The design was overall very successful. It dried fruit quickly and effectively.