New member here!!
Has anyone considered the idea of a "See-thru" hive? More than just an observation hive, but a fully working hive!! Made of plastic or glass supers? I just think the idea is a fun one and maybe a major pain! Any comments? (AND BE NICE!!) ;)
I often build them with a wall of plexiglass. You have to be able to cover the glass or you'll have a solar wax melter. If you use starter strips it's very educational. If you use full sheets of foundation all you get to see is the first sheet unless you put the glass on the ends instead of the side. Then you get to see some bees but most are blocked by the end bars. Barry had made plexiglass inner covers and I think these could work well. You get to see the bees on top.
Here is a view into my top bar hive with a plexiglass wall: http://incolor.inetnebr.com/bush/ima...sOnTopBars.jpg
Here is a view of the box: http://www.beesource.com/eob/althive/bush/bush3.htm
I made some plexi-glass inner covers that are working out real well. The bees' natural humidity control keeps the plexi-glass from fogging and I can see right down between the frames. That was handy for checking progress when the bees were drawing out comb or capping honey.
I took some pictures of the bees through the plexi-glass and the pictures turned out fairly clear (digital camera). On my computer I could enlarge the pictures enough to see if the bees were carrying mites (they werent). But that gives you an idea of the clarity.
Another benefit is that the covers stay rigid and I can feed 4 quart jars full of sugar syrup without a bit of cover droop.
I just like to lift the top cover sometimes and watch the bees doing their thing without bugging them. It's fun!!
The plexi-glass was about $20 for a sheet that made two covers. I cut the plexi-glass to size using my table saw and used a scroll saw to cut the center hole. The plexi-glass sheet went into a pine frame (just like a typical inner cover frame).
Try your local surplus yards, you should be able to get a full 4x8 sheet for that much.
Very neat idea. What thickness plexiglass did you use? Also, any special blade on the table saw?
If you can and if they'll do it, bring the dimensions to the place where you get the plexi and have them cut it for you. Plexi-glass has an aweful tendency to not cut the way you expected until you get used to cutting it. If they won't do it, find a glass supplier and get the plexi from them.
I agree the best is to have the hardware store cut it. But if you want to cut it, buy the plywood blades with LOTS of teeth and then put it in the saw backwards. It will be much less likely to break the plexiglass.
I have cut plexiglass with a 60 tooth carbide tipped blade. If you go really slow, it almost melts the edges as you cut it. It will break if you are not careful. I have cut it with a saber saw with a metal cutting blade too. Its a little slower, and cuts are not as straight, but it works. I like the table saw better though, because plexiglass needs to be supported, and that is harder to do with the saber saw.
I just found this forum today, but built a see thru inner cover this past weekend! I cut the frame first, then went to the store to purchase the clear mtrl. I was disapointed to find I had cut the dado for the mtrl too big. I had cut it 1/4". I could have used 1/4" plexi (almost 30$) or 1/8" Lexan (much better material, under 10$). I just left the material floating in the dado. Gravity will keep it down, and the bees will probably seal it down as well.
I'm planning to install it tonight, I put on a coat of pain this am.
I used the cutting tool provided (free to use) at Home depot, and used my router w/ a 1/4" bit to cut the center slot. The router was mounted in a table, so I moved the lexan by hand, the melted bits of lexan were an irritation to the arms, and I Used a respriator in case the fumes aren't good for me.