Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Here's a quick pic-based wrapup of how we built a warmbox to keep kefir and sprouted brown rice warm during the winter.

Step 1:

Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
We started with a steel rack so we didn't have to build a box. First, we removed the upper shelf and inverted it so we didn't have to work around the internal bolts when making our measurements. Next, we cut the upper and lower sheets of rigid foam insulation.

Step 2:

Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Inserted the back first, then the sides.

Step 3:

Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Figure out what wires you need and where you want them, and route them before you attach the sides and back panels! If you don't, it's not the end of the world.

The base is just a sheet of plywood inside a heavy garbage bag.

Step 4:

Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
We were going to do something fancy with the temperature sensor but this worked just fine instead. I recommend having the sensor in direct sight of the heat source--otherwise it will be getting indirect heat while your warmed objects are getting direct heat.

Step 5:

Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Behind the lips of the top and bottom shelves we inserted a length of wood. The one on the bottom shelf holds two L-hooks where the cover sits, as well as four webbing straps.

The top one just has four velcro squares stapled on for the straps to attach to.

Step 6:

Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
The cover is a length of the rigid insulation covered with corrugated plastic.

Step 7:

Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
We got some soft foam windblock material at the 100 yen store.

Step 8:

Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
The foam insert allows the 2nd chamber to maintain a lower temperature via passive heat. That small gap allows it to stay at 18 degrees or so with the main chamber set to 27 degrees, with an ambient temperature of 8-15 degrees.

Step 9:

Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
Building a warmbox for fermenting on the cheap
That's it! The temperature controller is an STC-1000, which is inexpensive and can be sourced easily online.
 
 

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