How to Make a Freeze Dryer

How to build a cheap-ish freeze dryer. It can make astronaut ice cream, instant coffee, mre’s and all sorts of freeze dried foods.

The freeze drying process turns the water in frozen foods into a gas without it ever being a liquid. This sublimation phase shift maintains the foods structure. While that’s cool and all, Freeze dryers are’t the most useful things unless you do a lot of camping or long trip without a fridge stuff.

You could easily make it for around $200 starting from nothing

I bought the materials at
and various local stores
dry ice can be purchased at most grocery stores
I found the water bubblier at my local dump

There are many different sorts of design options, this is just a more basic one without much automation.

Various warnings:
Dry ice will give you frost bite if you hold it too long. If your glass bowl is too thin it can shatter/implode and shoot glass all over the place. Change your vacuum pump oil if/when it gets cloudy. Use oil when you drill holes in metal. Isoropanol alcohol is flammable. Don’t be stupid.

Music: KOAN – Starlite
The still images aren’t mine.
Thanks to Ben Krasnow for the insparation

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20 Responses to How to Make a Freeze Dryer

  1. Kelly Craig

    For those who might find it interesting, the Aztecs used to freeze dry food for storage. They did this by carting their prepared crops up into the mountains, where it was freezing and the air pressure was lower.

  2. Perma ville

    dude, thank you for writing a script for a DIY video

  3. Andrew Jacobs

    Excellent video. I appreciate the tempo and editing that you have done. Also a great build. I just spent 4 minutes and 24 seconds to find out I do NOT want to freeze dry my own food.

  4. Kandela Brown

    You sound like an ass.

  5. Let's feel Excellent

    Why so fast???? Make another one where you speak clearly and I will watch it. That is if you can really teach this.

  6. Thomas Gibson

    Where do you get these materials? Home Depot and hardware stores? Any good internet sites?

  7. Susan Lea

    MRE- meal ready to eat. MREs don't need water, they are packed in their liquids, hence the name MRE. They are fully cooked and can be eaten cold. You don't freeze dry an MRE. It's no longer an MRE.

  8. Ethnos Unlimited

    Easy peasy lemon squeezy, Maybe slow down speedie Gonzalez

  9. omnomnivorous

    Well, I'm convinced: 1. it's the most effective method, for sure. 2. it's way too much fuss for a little bowl of accomplishment.

  10. omnomnivorous

    Congrats! I gotta say, you do get straight to the point. In a world of muting audio and skipping forward, I've just had the refreshing pleasure of skipping back to listen more closely.

  11. Brett McLain

    You talk too fast. I followed must of what you said but had to listen intently. And yes, English is my primary language.

  12. troy south

    I think I would rather buy from Amazon for $100.

  13. Joe Gancher

    3:26 a hacked what ???

  14. Creative wood worker

    I wish I could talk that fast. I wouldn’t! You go dude

  15. Pier Paolo Baldi

    Hi, I don't really understand why the pump must be on for all the time.I red some explanations, and they explain that when the food looses the water, the water vapor rise the pressure aNd the pressure is the key for the process. I don't understand really good. When the food loose the water, we have in the first chamber water vapor and a rised pressure, but the water vapor goes in the second chamber where it become ice, so that we have not anymore gasses but solid and the pressure come back to the first stage.I think that maybe without the vacuum pump always on, the process needs perhaps more time, but it must work. Or not? Do I think wrongly? The pressure rises because there is not anymore vacuum because the water vapor, when it becomes ice, the vacuum is back and with it the pressure.

  16. Aric Wildeboer

    What is the water bubbler? is it the cooling system on a public drinking fountain (I know those are called bubblers in other parts) . Also, are you cooling the actual food or just the vapor trap?

  17. You F'coffee

    Yeah spend $8000 on engineering equipment to build a crappy freeze dryer instead of buying a quality freeze dryer for $2000

  18. Truthification Chronicles

    And this would be why I'm going to stick with my Thrive Life food. Let them do the hard work. Lol

  19. Luka

    KOAN sound is amazing!

  20. E. Africanus

    Also, you can use acetone in place of iso propyl alcohol, its a bit colder, but transfers heat much more quickly as well making it far superior to ipa.

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