48 Qt Cooler Grow Chamber

by Redmonk

Nan's NookArchives : Grow Chambers : Projects

Here's some shots of my set-up . I use a 48 qt. cooler for the grow chamber and another one for the incubator . I wanted to use something that would produce the sacrament in my cool , musty , "less-than-sterile" basement . The cooler's insulating properties make it a breeze to keep in the 76 degree range , even after the cover has been open for a bit. The smaller size makes it really easy to humidify too . It's also nice to have a hinged lid . I use a 100w fish tank heater in a tall tupperware spaghetti holder for heat . The tall container runs all the way from the bottom to the top of the chamber . Of course glass would be a better radiator of heat , but this works fine for now . The open-topped container also helps keep humidity up . There are also two funnel tips running through the front-top of the cover for misting through . Plugged with mini rubber stoppers when not in use .
I have 3 inches of perlite in the bottom ( like Hippie says -"more perlite equals more humidity") . On top of that sits some "egg crate" material to set the mushrooms on . This stuff is used as a covering material for fluorescent lighting . A drip shield is required for this tight of a set-up . I use those little clear mirror holders for mini handles and also to hold the shield in place . An arc is cut in the egg crate and the drip shield so the fish tank heater container can pass through to reach the bottom .
This grow chamber has to be opened very little . I've had no contams so far !

The top has a veiwing and light port hole (portal ?) . The hole was easy to cut with a 6 inch hole saw .A jig saw would also work . The frame around it is a cheap wooden clock frame with a glass face from Wal-Mart . It's glued on and screwed on from underneath . All screws , washers, etc. are stainless steel . After cutting the hole , some hollow cavities in the cover had to be filled ( I wanted the whole system to be easy to clean and sterilize ). I used a two-part epoxy wood filler .
A 4 inch in-line duct fan (on the left) is used to bring in fresh air . An empty cottage cheese container (lined with duct tape) makes a nice tight cover . The hole was cut with a 4 inch hole saw . Fit's as tight as a drum . I originally had some filter material rubber-banded over the intake of the fan , but it became damp from the humid air coming from the inside. I tried a light-weight damper on the inside of the fan , but between the filter on one end and the damper on the other , the motor was to wimpy to open it . So here's what I did : I attached the filter to a wooden hoop with a rubber band , Then attached a little handle to it . When I exchange the air , I just hold this over the intake . I use 3M "Micro Particle and Airborne Allergen Reduction Hammock Filter" material, two layers thick . Found it at Home Depot . The right side of the chamber has a 1 and a quarter inch threaded nipple ( held in place with lock nuts ) for the exhaust . It's plugged with a rubber stopper . I also have a switch for the fan laying near this area . So with my left hand , I pop off the cover and hold up the filter.....and with my right hand, I pull out the plug and turn on the fan . The whole porcedure takes about 10 seconds.


There is also a view window cut into the back of the chamber . On the inside , there is a rubber gasket on which a piece of plexiglass is screwed . On the outside , I screwed flat iron around the edge , and covered it with flexible magnetic sheeting ( check at your local sign shop for a scrap piece ) .


On the inside of the cover , I attached a shortened length of rope lighting for easy veiwing . The light I use to trigger growth is outside the chamber , attached to the inside-top of the cabinet (small low wattage grow light).



The chamber will hold 10 cakes sitting in their covers , but I found it to be a little cramped , so I built a second grow chamber , the economy model . Same thing , but with a piece of quarter-inch glass for the cover , and no back veiwing window .


Here is the grow chamber and the incubator in the cabinet . The back of the cabinet has a hinged door to access the back veiw window .

The incubator has the top of the fish tank heater coming through the outside of the cover . I removed the hinges from the cover . An indoor/outdoor thermometer is employed for both units. If light is needed to produce invitro pinning , I lay a 22w circular compact fluorescent around the heater container . Then I use a riser under the container to lift it up a few inches . The light travels down through the container and water and into the incubator quite nicely and provides a soft light for the babies !

Certainly this all could have been done easier (and probably cheaper) . Maybe I should rename it "The Man-Who-Has-Too-Much-Time-On-His-Hands" grow chamber . Hope you like it . Comments ? Suggestions ? --Thanx all--

Forgot to mention one thing : Once every couple of months or so , when mushrooms are out of the chamber , I spray the motor with silicon or WD 40 to protect it from all the humidity . Otherwise it will eventually seize up . That's all !

Shroom Glossary