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jmgi
02-08-2014, 10:05 AM
If you cut the small cell sheet out of the Mann Lake pf 100's, is it the proper size to pop into a wood frame with top and bottom grooves?

Joseph Clemens
02-08-2014, 10:47 AM
No, the inner, foundation piece of the PF100, after they're cut out, is a little too thick. I've remedied that by running the edges of some over the table saw blade, where the blade was just high enough to trim some of the cell wall bases off, on each side, but not too much, or what's left will be too thin and not stiff enough to hold the foundation in the frames.

They may also need their length and width adjusted a little, so they fit inside the frame, but don't forget to leave enough top and bottom, so they still extend into the top and bottom grooves.

I've used my band saw to cut the foundations from their frames. This leaves more to work with after the foundations are cut from the frames.

crofter
02-08-2014, 11:26 AM
Pretty much what Joseph says. I found the length was OK for standard wood frames when cut as close as possible to the plastic frame. Band saw is much smoother than table saw. If I had to do them on a table saw I would buy a fine toothed plywood saw and very definitely cut a piece of plywood that fits inside the plastic frame so it supports the foundation. Don't cut with the waste between the saw and the fence as the plastic kerf and saw blade makes for a very grabby possibility. If it is down near freezing temp the plastic will shatter. That is not merely being nanny; I had pieces go flying before I regrouped!

jmgi
02-08-2014, 11:36 AM
Thanks for the replies. I did find a picture on an older beesource post where the person just cut the top bar off, but didn't cut the bottom flange off, and just let it rest on the bottom bar. I guess that would work ok, one less cut to have to do. I have both a table saw and a big band saw, but the band saw has a coarse blade in it currently, and it would be a big job to change it out. I would probably just buy as fine a tooth table saw blade as I could get and use that instead. And of course use the plywood underneath to support it.

Barry
02-08-2014, 12:11 PM
You may find problems with too fine of a blade tooth. The heat will start melting the plastic.

crofter
02-08-2014, 12:13 PM
jmji, that would simplify it the way Barry did by leaving the bottom on. You would just have to thin the one edge of the foundation to go in the top bar groove.

Barry
02-08-2014, 12:18 PM
Or widen the groove in the top bar before assembling.

jmgi
02-08-2014, 12:19 PM
Thanks for all the good suggestions.

crofter
02-08-2014, 12:19 PM
Barry, you may be right about that; my concern was the grabbyness of the 24 tooth blade I was using.

Barry
02-08-2014, 12:21 PM
I think I used a 60 tooth 10" blade, carbide.

crofter
02-08-2014, 12:34 PM
That would be the ticket!

jmgi
02-08-2014, 12:43 PM
You know, I just can't understand why somebody isn't selling the small cell plastic sheets by now, like the rite cell, it sure seems to me that there would be a market out there for them.

Barry
02-08-2014, 12:47 PM
If someone else started manufacturing just the foundation, you'd see ML offering it in a heart beat! Until then, they have no motivation to change.

Adrian Quiney WI
02-08-2014, 12:50 PM
That is when we would see a large sell of small cell.

Solomon Parker
02-08-2014, 03:20 PM
I'm gonna send them an email. Would anyone like to join in?

http://www.mannlakeltd.com/contact-us/

jmgi
02-08-2014, 04:44 PM
Count me in.

Solomon Parker
02-10-2014, 03:37 PM
I got a reply:

Hi Solomon,

Sorry, but we don’t have current plans for a 4.9 mm plastic foundation sheet.

Ed Waggoner



I replied and asked what sort of numbers would change his mind.

Barry
02-10-2014, 03:39 PM
They would if everyone who buys the 4.9 frames stops buying them and sends them a note that when they sell it in sheets the buying will resume. They make more money selling the frames right now.

Fusion_power
02-10-2014, 04:37 PM
Just send them a picture of someone manufacturing sheets and offering them for sale for a third what ML is asking for the frames. Nothing on earth makes a company change their business like competition.

jmgi
02-10-2014, 05:43 PM
I got a reply: Sorry, but we don’t have current plans for a 4.9 mm plastic foundation sheet.

Ed Waggoner

I think that was a pretty poor answer coming from them, they could have at least explained their reasoning a little bit more. I am sure this question has come up a hundred times, maybe they are just tired of responding to it.

chris bright
02-10-2014, 09:05 PM
I am trying to determine the frame spacing of the PF 100 frames, will somebody out there kindly let me know? Cheers Chris

Solomon Parker
02-11-2014, 07:27 AM
I took the liberty of investigating how much it would cost to have these custom injection molded. For the first 100, I was quoted somewhere between $21,000 and $27,000.

Solomon Parker
02-11-2014, 07:28 AM
I am trying to determine the frame spacing of the PF 100 frames, will somebody out there kindly let me know?

Frame spacing is the same as conventional frames. I have pictures: http://parkerfarms.biz/beespace.html#Plastic_Frames_and_the_Mann_Lake_PF-1xx

Joseph Clemens
02-11-2014, 08:06 AM
Using an aftermarket fence, I purchased from Peachtree (http://www.ptreeusa.com/edge_clamps.htm), item 559. I use it with the 90 degree alignment adapter, item 569. It works on both my $99 band saw and my $99 table saw, and I can either use it with or without the vertical extension, and it also can be used with the clamping lever on front or back side of either tool I use it on, that way I don't actually need to change the orientation of the vertical extension, I can simply flip it around 180 degrees to use it, either with the vertical extension or the opposite side, without the extension.

Yes, I have cut out PF frame foundation centers. I've done it on my band saw, so I could do it quickly, more safely, and retain more of the foundation area for use.

PF, molded plastic frame/foundations from Mann Lake, LTD. have 1-3/8" wide End Bars, like most commercial frames.

I had read of others trimming down the End Bars on their PF frames, to achieve 1-1/4" End Bar width for narrower frame spacing. So, just yesterday, using a 40 carbide toothed, 10" blade, and the fence, with vertical extension, I trimmed a stack of new PF frames. I first trimmed them to 1-5/16", by trimming off a sixteenth from one edge, then reversing them and trimming off another sixteenth from the opposite edge. Final result, PF frames with End Bars, 1-1/4" wide. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this worked. The final product had End Bars that were a bit rough, but smoother than I had expected.

Solomon Parker
02-11-2014, 08:15 AM
I initially used a table saw to trim my endbars, but later found that a jointer was far more precise. The smoothness is better and it's much faster. Still evaluating the benefits in the hive.

jmgi
02-11-2014, 08:17 AM
I took the liberty of investigating how much it would cost to have these custom injection molded. For the first 100, I was quoted somewhere between $21,000 and $27,000.

Yes, but after that it would be pennies to produce in material costs I would think.

jmgi
02-11-2014, 08:21 AM
Joseph, thanks for the info, I think I will try to cut out the plastic sheets on my band saw also, I think I may have to find a finer tooth blade for it though.

Solomon Parker
02-11-2014, 08:29 AM
I got another reply from Mann Lake:

Solomon,

The tooling cost is what makes this prohibitive. We have looked at making 4.9 mm sheets, but donít see enough extra sales to warrant. Additional sales would have to exceed 50,000 yearly pieces.

Ed

chris bright
02-11-2014, 09:11 AM
Thank you very much for sharing your expertise. I think I can take it from here.

jmgi
02-11-2014, 09:42 AM
Solomon, that's a better reply you got this time. So, 50,000 sheets is 5000 boxes worth, or 2500 double brood boxes worth. That does seem like quite a lot, but I really have no idea of the demand out there for small cell sheets. I had thought it would be pretty good, I mean, I would buy up a couple thousand sheets myself!:rolleyes:

Solomon Parker
02-11-2014, 09:50 AM
I wonder how many I'd need. I guess assuming I went with all mediums and wanted 25 hives, max of 9 boxes per hive, that would make 2250 and selling a couple dozen nucs a year.

Until then, the PF-120s don't annoy me enough to have a real desire to cut them.

Let's face it friends, the beekeeping industry is not beating down our door to provide us with our "specialized" products.

jmgi
02-11-2014, 10:05 AM
Solomon, well the plastic frames annoy me plenty, I have never purchased any myself but I have received some in nucs that I bought in the last few years. I just don't like feel of them, they seem uncomfortable on the fingers, especially if they are full of honey. And mostly I hate the burr comb the bees build between them and between boxes that have plastic frames. The bees do build beautiful comb on them though and the queens lay them up great in my experience.

Solomon Parker
02-11-2014, 10:09 AM
I agree with you. They don't have the same rigidity or perceived structural integrity that the wooden frames do. They're more flexible and more fragile on the normal prying places. And the burr comb is a problem. But we have to face the fact that Mann Lake is the only one who makes them and they have no impetus to do anything different. They have no competitors and not big enough sales to invest in new or updated molds.

jmgi
02-11-2014, 10:12 AM
Yeah, that's why I still plan to buy the pf's and cut out the sheets for now.

toekneepea
02-11-2014, 10:15 AM
Yeah, that's why I still plan to buy the pf's and cut out the sheets for now.

Just bought 90, so it'll be me and the band-saw at the school shop for a spell.

Tony P.

Solomon Parker
02-11-2014, 10:21 AM
Last spring I bought 210, best volume price until you get into the pallet sizes. I sold 50 and have 77 in boxes ready to go onto hives this spring. I think next year I'll need to buy another batch as I continue to move into mediums.