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Homemade boot dryer?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Any suggestions for homemade boot dryers? I just made some quick ones with some computer fans and chunks of 4" PVC pipe (made little rings of pipe, stuck fans in them, stuck one in the top of each boot). They seem to work; I just fear that they won't totally dry them out. I'm considering making something involving a plywood box, and a few chunks of PVC pipe sticking out of the top; maybe enough for 2 or 3 pairs of boots. Probably 3. I'm either considering using an old squirrel cage blower from a wood stove, or a few computer fans for it. I feel if I used the computer fans, it would be much quieter, but don't know if they could provide enough airflow. I can't recall how much airflow a computer fan offers; want to say it is about 20 CFM each, but that is probably wrong.

Anyway, anybody built one?
post #2 of 27
Search on PVC in gear forum:

and yes, they provide enough airflow, the trick is getting the airflow into the toe of the boot.
post #3 of 27
post #4 of 27
Why not just pull the liners..............?
post #5 of 27
seriously, build them out of PVC on a box, put the fan in the box base--- so the boot hangs cuff down and toe box at the highest point, set them somewhere near a mild heat source and they will dry overnight no problems. Best to take the liners out of the boot. More stable that way, and you can dry the shell with a towel quite handily.

Just remember to remove any heat damageable foot beds.

No direct heat is needed if you keep the toe box as the highest point---moisture will naturally flow out and the airflow will promote even slow drying.

I built one for my son---in the construction trades whose work boots would dry overnight and they were generally wetter than a ski boot would get.
post #6 of 27

also in the truck...

I drilled decent sized holes into my truck's heating cowl and ran hoses that could be sealed off with caps when not in use. I ran the hoses down to the passenger side floor-space. They tucked away nicely behind the carpet when not in use. I then heated my boots on the way to the hill. My design was flawed as my sealer sucked, but given the creativity, one could do a really nice job. That truck died, but I will definetely do it again and wish I had done it when I was in college, sleeping in parking lots.

in RE to the box at home;
you'll get much more airflow if you place a fan at the base of each pipe, aiming directly up the pipe. Or use a Y joint and use one fan for two pipes. Putting a fan on the box housing, then inserting the pipes at 90 degree angles to the fan's tragectory will be ok, but the design could be improved upon, imho.

I now use a portable-boot dryer and pull my liners.
post #7 of 27
Thread Starter 
Box with PVC pipes (4) is being made. Built the box, cut the pipes (cut the ends off angles, to direct air [actually, one broke when I was drilling holes in it, and just cut them all off angled after I broke 3 out of 4 ]). I've got to find a holesaw somewhere around here that will cut a hole of the same size as the PVC pipe. I'm surprised that 2 computer fans, one in each boot, each inside a ring of PVC pipe has dryed out my soaking wet boots in about 3 hours. They are almost dry; they might just be dry by now. They should dry my dad's boots in no time; his aren't even half as wet as mine were.

Both my dad and I have skied the same amount of time since pulling out our liners and drying them, but mine are much more wet inside?
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Also, if I didn't mention it, I'm going to use 4 fans. One for each boot. I have a load of fans around that I've pulled from computers I've torn apart for useful parts. I must have 10 or 15. They're great when a small, quiet fan is needed. I used a couple on a homemade used veggie oil burner for heating, 2 on a propane ice fishing house stove to replace a power hogging squirrel cage fan, etc.

post #9 of 27
your boots are more wet than your father's because yours leak. (assuming you're not wearing huge socks)

Many, if not most, boots leak at the shell's overlap above your toes. Advice on keeping them dry coming...
post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 
I can sort of understand how it leaks, but not really. My dad's are Aplina's, mine are Aplina's. His are nicer, too. I do wear ski socks, but not really huge ones or anything. Thanks.
post #11 of 27

computer fan box

I've built 2 of these 'computer fan" boxes.Both worked fine& were
light weight for traveling. They are a bit noisy so I usually put them
in the motel bathroom and close the door.

I make the first one about 25 years ago! Cheap! about $3.00
I cut a 4 inch dia hole in a cardboard Lipton Soup box, cut 4 2 inch
holes in the square sides, screwed a 4in roton fan (115V model-free) over
the hole and taped the lid shut. I stuck 4 VW heater hozes (aluminum & cardboard) into the side holes. It did 2 pairs of boots or boots and gloves
As flimsy as it was it was in use for 10 yers till it fell apart.

The second one about 5 years ago was a bit more professional!
I took a 2 in section of 3 in dia PVC pipe and cut 4 1 in dia holes
around the circle. Filed on the holes till pieces of 1 in plastic air duct
hoses 18 inch long would friction fit in the holes. I put a 2 1/2 inch
computer fan (also 115V) at on end and a tin cover the other end of
the pipe. I used tie wraps between the fan and the tin to hold it together.
The air duct hose (with no slit down the side) was hard to find so I ordered
a roll of it from MSC Industrial. This one still in use, cost $10.00 -another
free fan.

I realize low voltage fans are safer but the "wall wart" transformer
will be heavy -I was trying to keep weight at an absolute minimum
thus I used plug-in 115v AC fans. One possibility is a 12v DC fan
plugged into the car cigarette lighter.

Either would air dry ski boots in 4 to 8 hours. No heat needed.

post #12 of 27
wet inside the liner or outside?

between shell and liner = leaks
wet inside liner and not so much twixt liner and shell--- sweat

you might sweat a whole lot more than he does.
post #13 of 27
I use a portable woodworking dust collector and PVC. It moves a lot of air and can dry 6 or 7 pairs of boots at a time. A must for a large family
post #14 of 27
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Search on PVC in gear forum:

and yes, they provide enough airflow, the trick is getting the airflow into the toe of the boot.
Yes, this HAS been covered extensively. Every time it comes up, I say the same thing. I lean a box fan over my baseboard heater (which cycles on/off by thermostat) and let it blow air into my liners (take them out of the shells). My liners have 175 days use since 12/04, and no odor. They are nicely dried every morning. It works for my gloves too, I just turn them inside out except for the fingers (which I leave as open as possible).

There you go, problem solved, no construction necessary. If you have forced air heating in your home, it is even easier.
post #15 of 27
Another very simple method is buying one of those pumps you use to circulate air in a fish tank. add some of the plastic tubing and you have a small compact for home and travel. You really don't need heat, just need air to circulate. I was told that heat could lead to shorting the life of the liner. You can also ad extra hose to use in gloves. I had a box dryer but it was big a bulky worked great but the small pump also works great.
post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Fish tank air pump seems like a pretty good idea. I'm trying to get my boots dry before tomorrow. I know I have a 1.5" holesaw around to cut the holes for the pieces of PVC, but just can't find it. It was too cold last night to go look out in the shed.
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
And, I'm going to use 4 fans for it. If I'm only drying one pair of boots, I can put gloves on the other 2 pieces of PVC. Maybe I'll use LED fans to make it look cool.
post #18 of 27
I've been planning a home-made boot dryer for ages, and this thread inspired another internet search where I found my missing piece.

With this:

I can insert it into one end of a 4" PVC pipe, cap the other end. Add nipples at the top of the 4" pipe with hoses to go into the toe of the boots. Voila!

I should finally have some time next week to pick up supplies and get 'er done!

Hope this adds to the collective knowledge and ideas for such a project.

post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
Box is done. 3 fans (didn't want to dig for another one), 2 pairs drying right now. I don't know if I'll ski tomorrow; it is cold right now. If it isn't windy, probably, but if it is, wind chills will be like -25 F, and that isn't fun skiing in that weather.
post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by hamradio View Post
I can sort of understand how it leaks, but not really. My dad's are Aplina's, mine are Aplina's. His are nicer, too. I do wear ski socks, but not really huge ones or anything. Thanks.
I mean Nordica boots. I feal so dumb. I was tired. The first 2 pairs of skis I skied on were Alpinas when I was younger.
post #21 of 27
Just buy an off the shelf blow dryer from Walmart or K-Mart. Cheap, all the hot air you need to dry the boot.
post #22 of 27
I feel I have an engineering inclination (read: I think I'm an engineer, just void of any expensive documentation) and have thought about building my own boot dryer a few years ago. However, I don't claim to be an electrician and just like many who may or may not own up to it, tried one version or another of the fork in the elec. outlet as a kid - yeoww. (Or touching a plugged-in frayed elec. cord might count as well.)

Just a couple of years ago, I stayed at a Lodge in Teton Village. One of the first things I had noticed was a boot dryer in the closet. I used it everday I was there. It was wonderful. It was a Chinook 2pr. dryer. It was much nicer than what I would've come up with. Aluminum body, auto timer so you don't have to mind it and flexible hoses to reach the soggiest part of the boot - the toes.

Went home and ended up buying one online because it couldn't be located at ski shops that I frequent. Think it was around mid-$100 including shipping. I did find smaller, portable dryers but they had heat that you couldn't switch off.

If you don't go out and just forego the prototype hassles and buy one like I did, here are just a few features that are important to include IMO:

- Auto shut-off timer - in case your are not a good electrician OR fireman.
- Flexible hoses to reach the toebox so moist air is forced to leave the liners.
- Use room temp air flow. Heat is nice for the AM but too much = cooked liners. Learned this from researching previously here or elsewhere.

When there is room, I take my dryer with me by car or disassemble it and fit it into my luggage by plane. They are almost mandatory for spring skiing - especially if you enjoy skimming A-Basin's Lake Reveal and don't make it. Well even if you do, the boots don't stay that dry anyway.
post #23 of 27
I are a Elect Engr. Built 2 and planning a 3rd fan drier
none cost over $10.00
post #24 of 27
I'll second the aquarium pump recommendation, hamradio. Compared to most of these options, it is simpler, cheaper, quieter, more compact, and very effective. I've owned several fancy commercial boot dryers, and I prefer my trusty aquarium pump to all of them!

Best regards,
post #25 of 27
Originally Posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado View Post
I'll second the aquarium pump recommendation, hamradio. Compared to most of these options, it is simpler, cheaper, quieter, more compact, and very effective. I've owned several fancy commercial boot dryers, and I prefer my trusty aquarium pump to all of them!
Interesting. . . I didn't think those things moved much air at all. . . Wonder if they are rated in CFM like fans? If not, what size pump if needed to effectively do the job?
post #26 of 27
Originally Posted by skier_j View Post
between shell and liner = leaks
Or condensation....
post #27 of 27
Hi Slip--they don't move a ton of air, but they really don't need to. They do keep the air moving, and they keep pumping dry air into the boots to replace the moist air. I've never seen a test, but wouldn't be surprised if an aquarium pump would put out as much air to one pair of boots as those big commercial drying systems often seen in locker rooms, that gently pump room-temperature air into many pairs of boots at once. Left on overnight, I've never had a problem, no matter how wet the boots were the night before.

I have found that the larger size pumps work best--the ones that have two separate air outlets. The smallest pumps will require a "T" fitting to divert air to the two separate air tubes you'll need.

I should mention that I do live in Colorado, where the air is generally very dry, and that my boots don't usually get very wet either. With very wet boots, and in a more humid environment, it is possible that a little heat might be helpful. I prefer to do without heat if I can, to protect my liners that have a fair amount of leather. If you had to, you could put the pump near a heater, so that the air it pumps into the boots is a little warmer.

I should also say that I have not needed any sort of boot dryer at all for the last several years, since I've been using the Nordica Dobermann plug boots, because I always store the liners outside the shells. Plug liners can be a hassle, because you put them on separately, lace them up and tie them, before jamming them into the shells, then reverse the process when taking them off. The upside is that they're out of the shells anyway, so everything dries easily.

Best regards,
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