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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    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.:&gt

    Check out: http://solarcooking.org for some neat solar ideas. I like http://solarcooking.org/funnel.htm

    Regards
    Dennis

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Post

    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:
    http://bee-quick.com/reprints/sunny.pdf

    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.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Post

    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.................
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Kiel WI, USA
    Posts
    2,368

    Post

    <<In Germany a typical solar melter is used it is mounted on a pole and rotates 360 deg.>>

    Do they track the sun automatically?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Hirschbach, Bavaria, Germany
    Posts
    643

    Post

    Unfortunatly not
    Procrastination is the assassination of inspiration.
    www.customwoodkitsinternational.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

    Post

    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.

    Triangle Bees

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,213

    Post

    The chickens will gladly eat brood of any age. Chickens will eat practically anything.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    770

    Post

    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

    Triangle Bees

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,213

    Post

    They will eat it wax and all.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Alpine, TX
    Posts
    104

    Post

    Hi Ya'll,
    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.
    Thanks,
    AJ
    I smile like this because I have no idea what I\'m doing :-)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Alpine, TX
    Posts
    104

    Post

    Dennis,
    Did you ever try the funnel solar cooker idea?
    I smile like this because I have no idea what I\'m doing :-)

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