Still Air Box
How to Make One
WHAT IS A STILL AIR BOX
A still air box is an enclosed area to do semi sterile culture work in. it in basic has a window so you can see into and two holes in the front to put your hands in through. You may have observed something similar on a television program or in person called a Glove Box, used for working with cultures or some sort of dangerous material.
It has been found that with mushroom work, that a still air box works better than a glove box for a few reasons. One being that the rubber gloves are cumbersome and clumsy and cause contamination through accidental cross contamination. Another reason is that the gloves can create a vacuum and actually force outside air into the box during movement.
The first still air box I ever made, I bought a brand new 10 gallon fish aquarium from Wal-Mart, laid it on its side and duct taped cling film over the opening, slit two holes for my hands to go in. This had limited movement inside but it worked quite well for the spore inoculation of agar I was doing. If I remember right a majority of my jars grew with no contamination.
The boxes many are using now days as a still air box made from clear plastic totes. They place the lid upside down on the work surface, put all the things they are working with on top of the upside down lid, plt the upside down tote onto the lid over the stuff they are working with and work through two holes that they cut/melted into the front of the tote.
To put the holes for your hands to go in you either A) Cut them with a really sharp knife or B) Use a coffee can and get the lid red hot with a torch or stove and push it through the plastic front. I personally recommend using B. First off this plastic is not easy to cut, it tends to crack instead of cutting and the knife is highly likely to slip and possibly severely injure who ever is using it. I have successfully cut round holes in a tote with a sharp knife before, once.
Using the red hot can rim is definitely an easier way to do it but, it also has its hazards. One being that you are possibly going to burn yourself or something or someone else. It is best if you can do this in a well ventilated area, like outside. When melting the plastic it is likely going to produce a lot of smoke. I'm sure this burning plastic smoke is not good for you to breath in, not to mention family, friends or pets.
There is one more option, Harbor Freight sells a small unit for sand blasting, for a little over $100.00. These units are probably the best still air boxes I have ever seen. The only thing you need to do is remove the gloves. There is usually a coupon for these for a discount in the coupon paper or online.