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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Columbus, MS, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Aluminum in Homemade Honey Extractor?

    I am new to the forum, but have been keeping bees for several years. My Dad has taught me what his dad taught him and so on. We have been using a 2 frame tangential extractor for several years. I now want to build a radial extractor. I have the food grade barrel that i want to use so i know the dimensions. My question for the moment is, can you use aluminum as the supports for the frames? I know i can make it strong enough, but this is more in the line of is it acceptable to use aluminum as a component of the extractor. Is it safe for aluminum to contact honey, are there reasons not to use aluminum rods and extrusions? These seem pretty light weight, I can weld them etc.

    Just a question and i appreciate your comments, warnings, advice etc, in advance.

    Tim

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Palm Bay, FL, USA
    Posts
    2,297

    Default Re: Aluminum in Homemade Honey Extractor?

    Don't know how safe it is but I can tell you for sure that the acids in honey will eat bare aluminum or galvanized metal; the galvanized metal leaches out zinc which is bad medicine. If you can weld aluminum you can weld stainless.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    631

    Default Re: Aluminum in Homemade Honey Extractor?

    Quote Originally Posted by fish_stix View Post
    Don't know how safe it is but I can tell you for sure that the acids in honey will eat bare aluminum or galvanized metal; the galvanized metal leaches out zinc which is bad medicine. If you can weld aluminum you can weld stainless.
    You are not wrong about the welding, Lol! I have been doing some contemplating of building one too. I know there are some food items you should not leave laying around in aluminum cookware but usually not a problem if washed out after use. Agree on the galvanized bad business especially since some of the offshore stuff can have a high percentage of lead and cadmium that should not be there. I possibly have a line on one that needs the screen replaced and stainless is a lot harder to find in the sticks but better for peace of mind. The same issues are legend with home made hootch.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Kirkland, WA, USA
    Posts
    1,020

    Default Re: Aluminum in Homemade Honey Extractor?

    Stainless steel bike wheels work pretty well for frame supports.
    http://www.voiceofthehive.com - Tales of Beekeeping and Honeybees

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,612

    Default Re: Aluminum in Homemade Honey Extractor?

    I would highly recommend 304L SS. In most food situations, Hard coated Aluminum is allowed for incidental contact, not immersion. When you price Hard Coat(a kind of anodizing) , you may find 304L SS cheaper, because it is priced by the square surface. Do it once and do it right.

    Crazy ROland

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Columbus, MS, USA
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Aluminum in Homemade Honey Extractor?

    Thanks for the replies. I have been looking for a source for the SS i will need. There are some on line suppliers, and i will also check with some machine shops in my area. I see that the 304L is recommended, is there a type of SS that i should stay away from?

    Thanks,
    Tim

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Algoma dr. Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    631

    Default Re: Aluminum in Homemade Honey Extractor?

    If you are going to weld joints some of the extrusions and its alloys are considered un-weldable. I have done some the weld zone goes granular and fail immediately and others crack after a few years. Lots of the alloys are very weldable so if you are going to a lot of trouble fabricating it is well to know for sure the weld characteristics. Any fasteners should be aluminum or stainless not brite plated carbon steel.

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