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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Honolulu, HI
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    8

    Default Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    So I'm taking the plunge head first into hot wax dipping! I've read many a post about the subject and I believe it's a sound proven process. I'm construction my tank right now and BOY has it gotten big! I didn't want to do a piece at a time and spend my whole weekend standing over a hot vat in the summer heat. My vat will be capable of dipping 28 deeps, and 8 tops, bottom boards or stands in an hour. That's if I'm dipping them for 15 minutes. A hard working day and I'll be able to knock out around 196 deeps! (If you do the math you'll see I took an hour for lunch lol I wanna enjoy this!)

    I've heard the concerns about safety and they're all warranted. I believe most people who undertake this endeavor underestimate the amount of money, thought, and time a project like this will entail. For example it took me two months of searching before I found a gum rosin supplier who would sale small quantities. The other problem was finding one that didn't charge me more for shipping and handling than the product itself. I've consulted a gas pipeline engineer who steered me in the right direction so I'll keep my skin and property looking the same for years to come. I went a little further than most and automated my system for temp control, auto ignition, and automatic gas shutoff valves. The parts are on order and headed my way. I should be cooking in a month. If anyone is interested in discussing it please reply. I'm not really interested in discussing if the practice or process is safe of healthy for the bees, it's too late for me to turn back now lol Let's move forward and discuss how you can go about building a safe set up for yourself and bee organization!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Finger Lakes, NY
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    That sounds huge! Can you post some pictures?

    Also, what material did you use for the tank itself and what are you using for the burner?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    It is big for the regular bee keeper like myself. I was planing on selling it or charging fellow keepers to dip their equipment. It was expensive to purchase all the materials. When I get more of the tank constructed I'd be happy to post some photos of it.

    The tank is 48x24x24 made out of 10ga carbon steel. You could use stainless steel, but its rather expensive and doesn't hold onto heat as well as thicker steel. I've welded the seams inside and out as well as welded angle iron over the seams. I don't want any leaks or problems when I'm at temp with over a 100 gallons of wax.

    For the burner I'm using three 10 inch Banjo burners. Their size will evenly distribute the heat under the tank. The burners will be connected to safety valves to shut off if the flame goes out. The burners and the tank are separate pieces, so I can use the burners to cook with when I'm not dipping equipment. I've welded lifting point on the tank so I can lift it and place it in the garage when it's not in use. This set will be completely mobile. HEAVY, but completely mobile.

    Have you considered building your own tank?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,797

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    I was considering a big tank to do them for others. My plan was to build a double walled tank and use pressurized steam to get it up to the 250 F I want without any burners near the "fuel". That's an awful lot of fuel if it got lit and with no flame near it and steam at only 250 F it is no where near flash point and with no flame even a boil over would never have any possibility of igniting.

    This would be about 265 PSI.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Creston,Ohio,USA
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    Not sure how you can dip 28 in an hour in a 48 x 24 @ 15 minutes each unless they are not standard size. My tank is 36 x 22 and I dip 2 @ a time. You will need to have something on top of the wood because it will float. I usually set a medium on a deep or a medium on a medium and a heavy angle iron on top of that. (My tank is 16 deep) It can be a little tricky to get all the wood loaded in while its floating around the boiling cauldron! My tank takes 150 lbs of wax and 50 lbs of rosin to get it deep enough to dip a deep and with 3 burners @ 15k btu's each it will take 2 hours to get the mix up to 250 F so you will need to turn your burners on a while before you actually start.

    Hartz

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    Hey how's it going Micheal? I've checked out your site several times for ideas! I LOVE the burned stencil of your name on the boxes! I'm working on that next, a way to personalize peoples boxes, dip, and paint them.

    Ok, back to the questions...The steam is a great idea Micheal but aren't you concerned about a blow out with the steam? We thought of it for a second for the savings in fuel but scrapped it after we decided it was too specialized. It isn't a DIY project. We decided on fiberglass board insulation and auto temp/burner controls to save fuel.

    You'll need to consulate a professional and have all the appropriate gauges to control all that pressure. I get the willies when my wife uses the pressurized steam bath for canning lol Another concern we had was the proximity of the water to the hot water to the hot wax. I could imagine a crack in the boiler and water some how finding it's way into the wax..that wouldn't be good at 250 degrees. Another was the applicable safety codes that would apply in a neighborhood to have a pressurized steam device. The burners we use are no different from a gas grill or a turkey fryer. Thats how we're getting by them here.

    As far as boil overs are concerned I designed a sort of boil over drain. We're still trying to iron that one out but the concept is that one of the boil over flanges will have a port cut out of it. That way we can drain the excess off without spontaneous combustion. Also the boil over flanges flare out at a 45 degree from the tank so any boil over wax will not slide down the tank into the fire.The wax will dip onto sandbags we'll place around the bottom. SAFETY, SAFETY, SAFETY!

    Those are just a few of the concerns we had and I'd love to hear how you overcome them cause I know if I had my heart set on steam I would!

    Best of luck to you and please keep me inform about your progress.
    Last edited by THEBMAN; 05-04-2011 at 10:21 AM. Reason: Add additional infomation

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    Perhaps I wasn't clear about the dimensions of my tank? I'll try again because sometimes I move a little too fast and I'm not exact or thorough. So I'll try again. My tank is 48 inches long, 24 inches wide, 24 inches tall, and has 6 inch boil over flanges canted at 45 degrees to the tank. I'm only filling the tank to around the 20-21 inch mark for safety and displacement will take care of the rest. Maybe I should explain that...the weight of the boxes in the tank pushes the wax out of the way, therefore increasing the height of the wax. ALL my equipment is standard 10 frame Langstrom hives.

    HARTZ mentioned the dimensions of his tank were 36x22x16, using three 15K BTU burners. I had also listed the dimensions of my set up but left out some details I guess. My burners are 10 in High Pressure Hurricane burners listed at 100,000 BTU, but rated at 215,000 BTU commercially if properly set up...I'll give up one guess which way I set them up LOL. That means that just one of my burners, properly set up, is producing 2 to 5 times the heat of your set up. I'm making an assumption (sorry for that) you’re your burners are low pressure and thats why its taking him 2 hours to get up to temp. My burners have a increased gas flow because of the presure. Low pressure burners use 0-0.5 psi (pounds per square inch) and high pressure use any where from 0-60psi. Big difference in gas flow and heat production. To save on fuel because mine uses a lot of it, I'm able to turn my burners off individually and they're temp controlled. I won't burn them at this rate to prevent scorching the wax, but at once the wax is liquefied BURN BABY BURN! I'd suggest, if I can, to insulate your tank with fiberglass board and protect your burners from outside drafts. By using the latent heat in the steel and having insulated it, I'm saving ALOT of fuel.

    As far as controlling the deeps as they float in the wax, the tank will be compartmentalized with tops for each section. Since it was suggested that I couldn’t dip 7 deeps for a 28 per hour cycle here’s the configuration. 2 deeps horizontal with 1 vertical inside of them, beside them another 2 deeps horizontally with 1 vertical inside them, and 1 vertical deep beside them. That comes out to 7 in any math class all day. I guess I was wrong in one aspect though, I won’t be able to do the 2 bottom boards as stated above…I’ll be able to do 4!!

    So in comparison my tank:

    13.333 Cubic Feet
    99.73 Gallons of wax
    *698.11-832.25 lbs At 7-8.345 lbs per gallon.
    300,000-645,000 BTUs

    *Let me explain. Some estimate wax at 7lbs per gallon and the weight of water is 8.345lbs per gallon. Since we're using gum Rosin, microcrystalline wax, and Paraffin wax, our numbers are somewhere in that range. Wax at temperature is ligher because of heat expansion, and I could find all the fact about gum rosin so we’re going with this range for weight. Hope that’s ok with everybody?

    HARTZs tank:

    7.33 Cubic Feet
    54.83 gallons
    383.81-457.56 lbs assuming your tank is filled to the 16 inch mark.
    45,000 BTUs

    So I’m able to dip 7 deeps and 4 bottoms because my set up is twice as big as yours. It sounds as if you wasted some space in your tank construction. If your tank were 36 inches deep, 22 inches wide and 17 inches long you’d be able to dip 3 deep and still have some room for boil over. I don’t know what your tank is mabe of but I’m sure a welder could open one end and seal the other and you’d increse your operaton by a 50%!!! That’s worth looking in to.

    Hopefully I've explained everything ?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Lakeland, FL
    Posts
    89

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    That is an impressive and well-planned setup. I used a 55-gallon drum, electric heaters, and fiberglass batting insulation. Had a couple boil overs that the fire extinguishers saved me from. I love the safety features and automation you included. I take it you're an engineer? Don't underestimate the boil-over volume, especially if it's foamy...the drain for the boil-over flanges is a great idea...something that leads the wax away from the tank. Hmm, all that's missing is the fire sprinklers and CO2 system? haha
    Are you planning to dip unassembled equipment or only assembled boxes? I dipped all my pieces before assembly. I'm sure it saved me several days' worth of time by getting more wood inside the tank per dip.
    Don't forget to include the additional time it will require to add in more wax/rosin and get it melted and up to temperature between every few dips.
    I also agree that high pressure steam is very dangerous....one welding flaw or defect, a crack, and you have a pressurized steam bomb. I inspect steam piping systems on ships as part of my job and it's no joke. At the same time, the double-walled vessel is a nice way to keep things safe. I'd probably consider using a different fluid, maybe oil, as the heat transfer medium to avoid the steam and pressure issues.
    Dad knows more than one commercial beekeeper who have burnt down their honey houses while wax dipping. safety first!
    ACB

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    LOL See now you have me thinking how can I convince the wife to allow me to spend MORE money on a CO2 system lol!

    You have a very valid point concerning the boil over consistency flowing fast enough through the flanges before it spills over. I've been thinking since you wrote your post that I might make a sort of gutter system under the flanges to catch the run off. If it built with a in it the wax would flow towards the drain and I would waste a drop. Now you have me rethinking my design..thats the kind of input I was looking for. Thanks

    Yeah the steam apparatus scares me a bit and I'm not that daring. I take calculated risk but things like reloading ammunition, mining, and steam I try to steer clear of. It only takes a small mistake or a momentary lapse of focus and you're a corpse. Getting injured is one thing but dead is dead!

    I'm hoping that with the automation I've include I won't have to wait for temperature adjustments. If I do they should they should be only minutes. I've purchased three love temp controls and they're running the burners. I'll have them set for a turn on at 240 degrees and a turn off at 250 degrees. With the amount of heat I'll be generating and the latent heat in the steel I should be ok. I'll let you know when I fire her up in a couple of months how it goes. I'm still waiting on my gum rosin to arrive in the country.

    I'm not apposed to dipping any kind of natural wood product, assembled or not. My tank will be big enough to handle the volume. Oh and since it is going to be so big and extremely heavy, I'm already at the drawing board to build myself a gantry crane. That way I can load and unload it without a hitch.

    A friend of mine told me I should line the tank with stainless steel and place a medium between the two walls. That wouldn't work for me because it there was a boil over the wax and oil would mix. I'm gonna stick with my design and wait for the next brave soul to step out on a limb...any takers?

    Do you leave your tank outside or is it mobile? I've ordered steel 1/2ton steel casters to roll this puppy on. I'm trying to think of ways to insulate the lid of the tank...any ideas? I was thinking of forming a sort of pocket in the lid and placing insulation in it? I don't want it to be too heavy in case of a fire. I want it to be light enough to place in on there in an emergency but heavy enough to provide insulation. That will say fuel when I light it up again in the morning.

    Take care all

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Anthony, New Mexico USA
    Posts
    414

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    TheBMan; you quoted MB on "burned stencil" -can you give me the link?
    I searched but could not find it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,797

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
    Posts
    8

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    Thanks Michael, I'm gonna have to pick up a set of those for myself. Hopefully that answers your question MichaBees? How often to you receive requests Michael to dip equipment?

  13. #13
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    I haven't tried to do any dipping for others, but was considering it in the future as a service.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Honolulu, HI
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    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    Thats the same thing I was thinking. I built the tank because I knew there was a need. I wanted mine dipped but I couldn't find anyone who would do it. Most stray away from it because of expense or they think its unsafe. I think I'll have enough interest in the service once I'm completed. I'm just looking forward to staining some other types of wood and seeing what I can build. I was thinking about bird houses or something!

    My next project might be trying to TIG weld my own spinner to extract wax and honey?!? Wish me luck.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Indian River, Florida
    Posts
    215

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    Steam at that temp would be about 21 PSIG or 37 PSI.

  16. #16
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    May 2011
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
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    8

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    I had this whole explanation typed out and my laptop computer ran out lol

    But PSI and PSIG aren't the same unit of measure. You have to convert them over to one another. The conversion for 21 PSIG is 35.6959494 PSI. So 35.6959494 PSI is 281.6 degrees and 37 PSI is 283.2. I know it's only 2 degrees but if you were dealing with larger numbers this could mean boom.

    Are you considering using steam to heat your wax? I'd love to hear about what plans and ideas you've come up with for construction.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,110

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    PSI pounds per square inch, what the gauge says + atmospheric pressure. So depending on where you live altitude wise atmospheric pressure might be different.

    PSIG pounds per square inch gauge, means what the gauge says.

    I knew 5 years of plumbing school would pay off someday.
    Dan

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    9,227

    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    So in comparison my tank:

    13.333 Cubic Feet
    99.73 Gallons of wax
    *698.11-832.25 lbs At 7-8.345 lbs per gallon.
    300,000-645,000 BTUs
    You didn't provide any details on your heat exchanger but 300,000-645,00 btus is a lot of burner. You need a lot of surface area in your tank to be able to absorb that amount of heat. If you don't provide the surface area the metal will turn cherry red and with the wax on the other side it could blow before you even have the cake melted.

    I am not in favor of steam either but it is just as dangerous if you don't understand heat transfer. I would start very slow with those burners if I were you.
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
    Posts
    3,166

    Lightbulb Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    Wow, hold on to the pony for a second. I built a double wall tank with a chimny, I just burn my unwanted scrap wood and do just fine. Last couple years we dipped 5-6000 boxes all with free scrap wood broken frames ect...

    P.S. Just getter done.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
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    Default Re: Calienti, hot wax dipping!

    I made a mistake on my PSI vs PSIG
    PSIG is what the gauge says, but I was thinking of PSIA or psi absolute. That's the one you have to add atmospheric pressure to PSIG to get absolute pressure.
    As far as I know there really isn't a difference between PSI, & PSIG
    Dan

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