How to build a Still-Air-Box (The Easy Way)

A still-air box, also known as a glove box, is an essential tool for many home mushroom cultivators. It provides a sterile environment to perform tasks like inoculating substrate jars, making spore syringes, or working with cultures on agar plates. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to build a still-air box:

Materials Needed:

1. A large clear plastic storage bin/tote (50 - 100 liters), preferably with a flat lid.
2. A pair of thick rubber gloves, such as dishwashing gloves.
3. A marker.
4. A cutting tool, like a utility knife or a jigsaw.
5. Waterproof adhesive, such as silicone caulk.
6. Optional: Self-adhesive weather stripping.

Steps to Build a Still-Air Box:

1. Glove Holes: Determine where you want to place your gloves on the lid of the bin. These holes will be where you reach into the box, so they should be spaced comfortably apart for your hand size and body position. They should also be positioned such that you can easily reach all corners of the bin. Once you've decided on placement, trace around your hand or the bottom end of the gloves with the marker to mark the spots for the holes. Cut these holes out with your cutting tool. The holes should be large enough for your hands to pass through when wearing the gloves.

2. Attaching the Gloves: Now, take the gloves and make a hole at the end of each, just large enough to fit over the holes you cut in the bin's lid. Fit the gloves into the holes from the inside, so that the open end of each glove is sticking out of the top of the lid. Once fitted, seal around the edges with your waterproof adhesive. Ensure the seal is airtight to maintain sterility inside the box. Let the adhesive dry fully.

3. Creating a Seal: If your bin's lid does not seal tightly with the bin, you might want to add self-adhesive weather stripping around the edge of the bin to improve the seal.

4. Sanitizing the Box: Once your still-air box is assembled, it's important to sanitize it before use. You can wipe it down with a 10% bleach solution or isopropyl alcohol, then let it air dry. When you're ready to work, you can sanitize the box again, put your items in, close the lid, then put your hands into the gloves to work.

A few tips for using your still-air box:

- Always work slowly and deliberately inside the box to minimize air movement, which could carry contaminants.
- Always clean the box and anything you're putting inside it with a sterilizing agent (like isopropyl alcohol or bleach) before you start working.
- Avoid speaking directly over the box during work as your breath can introduce contaminants.
- For added security, you can use a flame sterilizer inside the box to sterilize your tools.

The still-air box isn't perfect and doesn't replace a professional-grade laminar flow hood, but it can significantly reduce the chances of contamination in many mushroom cultivation tasks.
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.