If you want to get the benefits of dried fruit without spending a lot of money at the grocery store, you might want to build your own fruit dryer. A fruit dryer is easy to build if you have the right tools and you use the right materials.
Here is a list of the tools you will need in order to build it easily:
- A drill
- A jig saw (or a manual saw)
- A hammer
- A measuring tape
Here are the materials you will need for this:
- Nails and screws (different sizes, depending on the materials you can find—you don’t need many)
- Wooden beams for the structure – 1.5’’ x 1.5’’ would work fine (20 feet)
- Thicker wooden beams – 0.5’’ x 0.5’’ (25 feet)
Wooden planks (4 pieces):
- Plexiglass (3’ x 3’)
- Two metal corners
- Four hinges
- A black material (3’ x 3’)
- Metal wire (3’ x 3’)
This dryer will be 2’ 7.5” x 2’ 7.5” x 2’ 3”. If you want to make it either larger or smaller, just adjust the sizes and use the same proportions. Now let’s go step by step through the process of building a fruit dryer.
#1. Building the structure
For this step, you will need the following:
- 2 wooden beams at 2’1”
- 2 wooden beams at 1’8”
- All 4 wooden planks
Don’t worry about the thickness of the beams; just use what you can easily find. The shorter beams will be used as the front legs, while the longer beams will be used as the back legs. We are using different sizes in order to get a nice slope so the sunshine has a better chance of permeation.
We also need two different wooden planks, one for the back and one for the front.
Now, using your drill, you will nail them together. We will nail together the larger wooden plank with the longer feet and the smaller wooden plank with the smaller feet. Make sure you leave some free space at the top; this will be useful later. We left two inches at the top of both pieces, which you can see in the picture below.
Now that we have nailed together both the front of the dryer and the back of the dryer, let’s nail together the sides. For this, we will use these wooden planks:
These are the sides of the dryer, and we have to nail them on the front and on the back of the dryer we built earlier. The result must be something similar to what you can see in the picture below.
#2. Building the bottom and the drying place
For this step of the building process, we will need the following:
- 4 wooden beams that fit inside like in the picture below (check the size yourself)
- Thicker wooden beams for the structure of the bottom and the drying place (check the size yourself to be sure there is no error)
In the next step, you’ll have to nail the four wooden beams in the bottom part of the box. The beams will be placed inside the dryer, between its legs. These beams will have the job of holding the bottom of the dryer. Because the inside size might differ depending on the thickness of the materials you use, please verify the size yourself.
This is what you should have by now:
Now that we’ve done this, the next step is to build the bottom of the dryer. For this, we will need some thick wooden beams, some nails, and a dark material that we will be using because it absorbs the sunshine, causing the dryer to get warmer and the fruit to dry faster. The bottom of the dryer will lie on two of the wooden beams that we added before. You can decide whether it’s the sides or the bottom and the front, but we recommend you double check the size before building it to make sure you are building it at the right size for your dryer.
Basically, you need to build a rectangle with a beam in the middle so you can then cover it with the material. The structure should look like this:
Now stick or nail the material to the structure. We nailed it here, but if you have some glue, you can also glue it. This is what you should get:
Now we can put it inside and continue building the drying area.
The drying area is very similar to building the bottom of the dryer, but the difference is that this one is a little larger, and instead of the dark material, we will use a metal wire. Make sure it is clean because all the fruit will lay on it. Before building the drying area, let’s attach two metal corners on the back legs, at the exact height of the front legs. This way, the drying area will have four support points and no incline.
Now that you have the support points, make sure you double check the size of the actual box because the drying area has to fit in perfectly.
Now build your drying area and add the metal wire to it like shown in the pictures below.
Now that you’ve done this, you already have a functional fruit dryer. However, to get the best results, you will have to add a piece of Plexiglass on top. In order to do this, you will need one or two pieces of Plexiglass, depending on the number of openings you want your dryer to have. Here, we used two Plexiglass pieces because we wanted to get two smaller openings. To attach them, you will have to use one or two hinges for every piece of glass you intend to use, but if you intend to open in frequently, it would be best to use two. Use a drill to drill the plexiglass, and then, after you affix the hinges on the glass, nail them on the wooden plank at the back.
If the plexiglass is not the right size, you can cut it either with the jig saw or using a traditional glass cutting method (see here), but be careful because it might crack.
After doing this, your fruit dryer is ready to be used. This is what it should look like:
You can organise your fruits like this:
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