View Full Version : electric embedder

03-23-2005, 05:39 AM
Does anyone have a drawing and specs on building an electric wire embedder? I couldn't find one in the archive search.

03-23-2005, 07:10 AM



03-23-2005, 09:13 AM
I use an old 12 volt power supply made for electronics. I think a battery charger would do as well. A cold spur embedder is handy for touching up. You just need to touch the wires for a second and you're done.


03-23-2005, 10:54 AM
Hmm, I wonder if my old cell phone charger would work.

The plans I've seen say to use a doorbell transformer, but I have found one that goes to 12 volts. Usually they are 10, 14, or 16 volts if I remember correctly.

There is a set of pictures on this site showing how to wire and embed foundation. It uses part of an iron!


Dave W
03-23-2005, 02:04 PM
Greetings . . .

My "embedding" board is simply a pc of 3/4" plywood cut about 1/8" SMALLER than the INSIDE (top bar-to-bottom bar and side-to-side) of frame.

I attach a sheet of foundation in top bar w/ wedge, then place frame on top of "embedding" board w/ wires on TOP side of foundation.

After burning up TWO door-bell transformers, I tried some "other ideas" ("necessity; the-mother-of-all-invention"). The best way I have found, is to use a hand-held, hair dryer (MUST be old, NOT your wifes favorite!) to soften the wax, then press wires into foundation w/ a screwdriver. smile.gif

Not very "high-tech" but it works! (Screwdriver works better than spur embedder. "Wheel" slips off wire and punches holes in soft foundation.)

Please keep us informed of your "best ideas", too.

03-23-2005, 08:43 PM
I found an old Nintendo transformer in the barn. I cut the plug off and jumped the wires across a piece of tinned frame wire and it got hot right now! This has a 9 volt AC(not dc)1.3 or 1.8(I can't read it too well) amp output. I'm thinking I should use a DC output. I might try a resistor or rheostat to see if I can reduce the output a little.

Terry Gr
03-23-2005, 09:11 PM
We used to use a 12 volt battery or a 12 volt car battry charger. 1 wire hooked to the posative and 1 to the negative. the other end we had the wires poked through a stick ( 3/4 by 3/4 and just shorter than a side bar) the distance between the 2 wires was such that the bare ends of the wires would touch the 2 ends where the wire in the new frame was fastened to the side bar.

We insert the wax into the slot of the top bar then lift the bottom bar a little so none of the wires were touching the wax foundation. we then heated the wire with the 12 volt battry, not to much or the wires will get red hot and snap. After the wires are heated we would lower the top bar and imbed the wires into the wax foundation..

This was also done on a flat foam pillow about 2 inches thick and also we use wax with steel wires pre imbedded to add strength to the wax frame and to prevent pushing the wires through the wax

We gave up on wax foundation and exclusivly use plasic now because of the labour involved with wax foundation. Also wax frames tend to explode in Automatic honey extractors, expecially if the honey is a little cold or starts to crystalize in the frame.

Az Jim
03-24-2005, 12:08 PM
I used some books thay were the 1/2 the height of the frame (paperbacks worked well). I placed a sheet of foundation on the books, laid the frame on top and used a battery charger to touch the wire on each end. The weight of the frame embedded the wires in the wax. I ruined a few before I found out the proper technique and height but it works fine now. The wire has to be a single strand so you do the entire frame at one go. I tried two single wires but that took too much time and doubled the chance of ruining the foundation.
Az Jim

03-25-2005, 11:22 PM
Years ago my dad made one (I still have it) from a transformer from an electic train set. I am not sure transformer is the correct term, but the control for speed of the train.

It has a dial to vary the voltage (speed). It works quite well. He wired it to three prongs attached to a piece of wood (1"x3"). When you touch the wire with the three prongs and push very lightly the wire easily sinks into the wax.

03-26-2005, 08:17 PM
I found another lower amperage transformer, so I'll try it out as soon as I can get enough time to assemble some frames. I've been using plastic wax-coated foundation up to this point, so this is sorta new to me. I also just bought a bunch of permacomb and will be buying some of the new deep plastic fully-drawn frames when they are available. I'm going to test a full plastic hive against a full natural wax hive against a plastic foundation hive, just for fun...then maybe I'll build a couple of top-bar hives to see how Mother Nature likes to do it.

Jim Fischer
03-26-2005, 10:10 PM
Wow, why would anyone still be embedding their
own wires when wax foundation with pre-embedded
wires is so cheap?

As far as transformer selection goes, you
need to pay attention to the maximum current
that it can produce on a "continuous" basis -
the exact voltage is not all that critical.

The transformer on my embedder has worked since
the 1930s, when it was built or purchased by
the beekeeper that sold it to me. The secondary
(the low side) of the transformer is 12.6 Volts
DC at 1.2 amps.

Doing ohms law in my head, I would guess that
anything between 1 and 2 amps at anything between
12 and 18 volts would be fine for this use.
(Volts = Amps * Resistance)

The wire used on foundation tends to be no more
than a few ohms at most, so you are, in essence,
putting a "dead short" across the transformer
when you complete the circuit. The wire heats
up very quickly, but less-than beefy transformers
with maximum outputs of less than 1 amp (this
would include just about all modern consumer
electronics chargers and DC adapters) will be
over-stressed, and die quickly. Many of them
have "protection" built in that will shut down
the output if too much current is drawn.

Doorbell transformers are not designed for
constant operation, and while a really old
one might be as overdesigned and sturdy as
you need, we now live in an era when engineers
are expected to shave every penny of cost
they can from a design, so doorbell transformers
you buy today might well "burn up" if one
simply had a short in the doorbell push-button
that rang the doorbell constantly for a day.

Train transformer/speed controls are a very good
choice, as they have a variable voltage, and are
always labeled with accurate voltage/current
specs on the case. HO-gauge and O-gauge controls
would be great. N-gauge, less so, as they would
tend to provide less current, and many had/have
fairly sensitive thermal overload cutout points
to protect the tiny motors in the tiny N-gauge
engines. Ditto for Z-gauge, but it is very
rare stuff - even smaller than N-gauge trains.)

But never use anything that says "Lionel" for
an embedder. Lionel stuff sells for enough
money that you can sell the controller, and
probably buy an extractor with the profits. smile.gif

03-26-2005, 10:57 PM
I haven't embedded by own wires for years. Dad gave the transformer, 1/3 box of wax sheets, a jig that would hold either a medium or deep frame and a bunch of wire when I started to keep bees. Pulling the wire was most of the work.

The transformer says "Output 30 Watts" on it. I used it on the "Fast" setting. This ran a fairly large size train on an oval track. It just disappeared one day and later I found him using it in our shop.

03-27-2005, 05:15 PM
Jim, remember when you were a hobbyist and looked for things to do that kept you busy with what we love? My last link to those days is those confounded basswood comb honey boxes! I still do 10 hives of basswood box comb honey each year. I still have my embedeer although I'm relatively sure I'll never use it again. it reminds me of a simpler time. Keep the art of the craft alive my friends, it's all good! :cool:

03-27-2005, 06:18 PM
I'm using the pre-wired and also want to run some horizontal wires to help keep the foundation intact. I also got some unwired in a package deal and need to either swap it or use it. I'd rather use it and really want to know how to do it. Any new foundation I'm using will be the pre-wired, but I like the idea of reinforcing it a little. It may be overkill, but what the heck.....

03-30-2005, 05:35 AM
This is off topic.
55 years ago when I was 14 there was a 1923 model T Ford on ouur fam, just rusting away. I couldn't afford a battery (6 volt at the time)but used a train transformer to buzz the coils (4, in the ignition circuit) so I could crank it. Once running it was switched over to magneto. Then I'd fill up the tank with kerosene and saw wood with it. How's that for a bit of history!

03-30-2005, 06:39 AM
>> Wow, why would anyone still be embedding their own wires when wax foundation with pre-embedded wires is so cheap?

Maybe for the same reason that some of us still use Morse code in amateur radio.

Jim Fischer
03-30-2005, 07:34 PM
> Jim, remember when you were a hobbyist and looked
> for things to do that kept you busy with what we
> love?

Nope, but I remember getting off airplanes,
rushing home, working 18 hours straight in the
beeyard, taking a shower, and then catching
another airplane lots of times. The trick is
to do your sleeping on the airplanes. smile.gif

> Maybe for the same reason that some of us still
> use Morse code in amateur radio.

-- --- .-. ... . ..--.. -. --- --- -. . ..- ... . ... - .... .- - .- -. -.-. .. . -. - ... - ..- ..-. ..-. .- -. -.-- -- --- .-. . -.. --- - .... . -.-- ..--.. .. - .... --- ..- --. .... - . ...- . .-. -.-- --- -. . .... .- -.. --. --- -. . .-. - - -.-- .-.-.- -... . ... - .-. . --. .- .-. -.. ... --... ...-- ...

Lew Best
03-30-2005, 08:51 PM
Is pre-wire-embedded small cell foundation available anywhere?