How to Make a Homemade Incubator

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An incubator is useful for hatching eggs and can be used in certain science projects. Though you might think they're elaborate machines, incubators don't require any fancy wiring or assembly and are inexpensive to make. In fact, you can build your own incubator in about an hour. You can even set up an incubator that lets you control the temperature from the outside. This way you'll never have to open the incubator while it's in use.

How to Make a Homemade Incubator
(Robinson Cartagena Lopez - RoCarLo/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Large Glass Fish Tank
  • Thick, Clear Piece of Plastic
  • Duct Tape
  • Small Table Lamp
  • 75-Watt Bulb
  • Thermometer
  • Clear Plastic Thermometer Case
  • Dimmer Switch
Step 1

Turn a large, empty, glass fish tank on its side with the opening facing you.

Robinson Cartagena Lopez - RoCarLo/Demand Media
Step 2

Measure the opening of the aquarium and cut a clear piece of thick plastic slightly larger than the opening.

Robinson Cartagena Lopez - RoCarLo/Demand Media
Step 3

Attach the plastic to the top of the aquarium opening with duct tape and make sure the plastic hangs past the bottom of the opening. Use a piece of tape on the bottom to secure it. To open the makeshift plastic door, detach the bottom piece of tape and lift the plastic up.

Robinson Cartagena Lopez - RoCarLo/Demand Media
Step 4

Place a small lamp with a 75-watt lightbulb in the back corner of the aquarium. Run the cord along the side of the tank and out past the edge of the plastic door. Make sure the aquarium is located close to a power outlet to plug in the lamp.

Robinson Cartagena Lopez - RoCarLo/Demand Media
Step 5

Place a thermometer inside a clear plastic case in the back of the aquarium. Make sure you can see the thermometer without opening the door.

Robinson Cartagena Lopez - RoCarLo/Demand Media
Step 6

Attach a dimmer switch made for lamps, often called a point of use dimmer switch, to your lamp so you can adjust the amount of light in the incubator to control the temperature. Experiment until you find the right amount of light to keep the temperature at the desired level for your incubator. The dimmer switch means you won't have to open the incubator or change the light bulb to a different wattage when you need to create more or less heat.

Robinson Cartagena Lopez - RoCarLo/Demand Media

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