solar dehydrator tray material?

Discussion in 'Preserving the Harvest' started by wildolive, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. wildolive

    wildolive Well-Known Member

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    Northeast Ohio
    I'm wondering if anyone has a food-safe, economical option for material to use for trays in a solar food dehydrator.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Lucy

    Lucy Well-Known Member

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    If you don't mind that they are not real heavy duty you can buy nylon window screen and use that.
     

  3. wildolive

    wildolive Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Lucy. I wasn't sure that the nylon would be safe; I didn't want to use the aluminum screen either. I thought about stainless steel mesh, but it's rather expensive. I've even wondered about using the trays for an Excalibur type dehydrator.
     
  4. Just Cliff

    Just Cliff Well-Known Member

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    This is good material to use. Just make sure you take it out of the dehydrator when not in use. I've heard of some solar dehydrators getting up in temperature over the 200 deg. mark when not attended. You can get different size mesh for doing different size wares too. Like larger for apples and smaller for onions or finely chopped herbs. It is a great deal cheaper and the same material Excalibur and othe manufacturers use. I got a bunch to make more dryer sheets for my Excaliburs and also for my greenhouse trays. They type described below is what you may be looking for. It is $3.97 a foot and is 43 1/2 inches wide. You should be able to get a couple sheets per foot. Far cheaper then buying thm from a dehydrator company.
    Hope this helps.


    http://www.mcmaster.com/#plastic-mesh-screens/=dd0yiw


    Material Type
    Plastic

    Plastic Type
    Polypropylene

    Form
    Molded Mesh

    Shape
    Sheets

    General Opening Size
    Coarse

    Square/Rectangle Size
    .1" x .16"

    Joint Thickness
    .035"

    Strand Size Thickness
    .035"

    Strand Size Width
    .038"

    Sheet Width
    43-1/2"

    Sheet Length
    Cut-to-Length

    Maximum Continuous Length
    300 Linear Feet

    Color
    White

    Maximum Temperature
    200° F

    Specifications Met
    FDA Compliant
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
  5. Chixarecute

    Chixarecute Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Cliff - this is such a great resource! I wanted to buy insert screens a few years ago for an old Nature's Way unit - the Excal price was over $10 EACH. That's a hefty amount towards a replacement unit, which is what I am sure they had in mind. Thanks for posting!
     
  6. wildolive

    wildolive Well-Known Member

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    Cliff,

    Thank you SO MUCH for this information! This is EXACTLY the material I was hoping to find! This was the final (I think) puzzle piece for my solar dehydrator plans.

    Just as an additional contribution for those who may be interested: After seeing some of the solar food dehydrator options, I've decided on the "down-draft" design. But with any of the solar options there seems to be some concern about the possibility of not removing enough of the moisture before getting a cloudy day (or 2) and having mold form. In an effort to prevent this, my intention is to incorporate a rocket mass stove with ductwork running through a dirt triangle below the solar collector "ramp". My hope is that with an air space between the top of the dirt and the bottom of the ramp I can open a vent in the bottom of the ramp and allow the radiant heat (from the dirt) to continue the job if the solar heat is interrupted.

    Any thoughtful comments on this idea would be appreciated. -- I haven't built it yet. :)
     
  7. furnaceoven

    furnaceoven New Member

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    A solar dehydrator is a great tool to place on your off the grid farm or garden. When you harvest a bumper crop this tool will give you a good option for long term storage. It is simple to build and very useful.

    Thanks.