View Full Version : Solar Wax Melter For the 21st Century
03-29-2005, 07:14 PM
I've used a solar wax melter to melt scraps of beeswax. It was a typical design and was heavy, hard to move, complicated with several doors, latches, etc. And the large glass surface was very vulnerable to damage while being stored during the winter.
While looking at some recent innovations in solar cookers, I've wondered if some of the same concepts could be applied to a solar wax melter. Such a design should be cheap to build. It could have a longer operational season. It could be compact enough and light enough when folded to be easily moved/stored.
What do you think? Any neat design ideas?
I got an idea for one shaped like a top bar hive. It would set on the ground on one of the sloped sides. A reflecting lid would concentrate additional energy inside the cavity. HDPC film, the kind used in oven cooking bags would be used instead of glass. Hummm....my first top bar hive is setting idle.:>)
Check out: http://solarcooking.org for some neat solar ideas. I like http://solarcooking.org/funnel.htm
03-29-2005, 07:42 PM
I've built and bought a number of parabolic arrays
for use as radio telescope dishes, and covering
even a 3-meter satellite TV dish (the bigger older
ones) with reflective mylar creates the sort of
thing that can start brush fires in seconds,
and will be viewed by the local authorities as
a artillery-grade weapon. At the focus, I could
melt aluminum cans by simply tossing them through
the focal point.
A parabolic would do a fine job of melting comb,
but it would have to be "detuned" to make sure
that it would not get too hot. It would also
have to "track the sun", which is a real pain
for something as simple as melting comb.
The easy thing to do is use a traditional
"box style", but mount it on a polar mount,
face it "solar south" (where the sun reaches
its highest point in the sky), and tilt it
with the seasons to be at 90 degrees to the
sun's elevation angle above the horizon.
But lightweight materials are always a good
idea. There are several plastics that stand
up well to UV, and there are all sorts of
Styrofoam sheets used in construction that
could make a fine shell for the box.
A stainless-steel or fiberglass sink would
also do a fine job.
For details on the "solar orientation" of
a wax melter, you can read this scan of
a Bee Culture article I wrote several years ago:
As it is a mere pdf of a scan, the quality is
none too good, but it will have to do until
I twist enough arms to get pdfs of the master
artwork from the artist that lays out the
magazine. While the article talks about
pointing hives, the same techniques work
just as well for pointing anything that
takes advantage of the sun's warmth and light.
In Germany a typical solar melter is used it is mounted on a pole and rotates 360 deg. In the winter we just cover it. Kinda like a BBQ grill. But the idea of an old TBH converted interests me. So many projects so little time......and of course theres the WIFE to contend with... I feel that headache comming back.................
03-31-2005, 08:12 AM
<<In Germany a typical solar melter is used it is mounted on a pole and rotates 360 deg.>>
Do they track the sun automatically?
04-07-2005, 01:22 PM
A little off topic, but how does one clean drone comb fragments before putting into the melter? I get a lot of torn up drone/burr comb from between the hive body and permacomb supers. I've tried putting it on a board near an ant nest - they work on it but it takes too long and the ants can't uncap. Maybe a couple of chickens? Would they eat the comb?
Btw, I built the solar melter from beesource plans and it works pretty good.
04-07-2005, 01:30 PM
The chickens will gladly eat brood of any age. Chickens will eat practically anything.
04-08-2005, 07:53 AM
Will the chickens eat the wax too or just the brood? I was hoping a few birds would come along and take care of the problem, but so far none seem interested. The ants are making slow progress. Thanx
04-08-2005, 09:19 AM
They will eat it wax and all.
04-19-2005, 02:21 PM
If you have wax bits mixed w/ honey is there a way to clean it/ filter it so that you end w/ just the wax. I can heat it, let the wax rise to the top and filter it for honey... but there is always some residue mixed in w/ the wax as well.
05-08-2005, 01:56 PM
Did you ever try the funnel solar cooker idea?