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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Solar wax melter project

    With lots of brood comb in the freezer and the future need for melting wax (combined from being banished from the kitchen), I decided to embark on a wax melter project. I looked at some plans and got some ideas and decided to just go wing it in the wood shop. Since my dad had some nice thick glass, I made the glass frame first and then formed the rest of the measurements around that.

    So far I'm pretty pleased with it. More pictures to come.

    file-36.jpg
    Try it. What could happen?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Murray KY, USA
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: Solar wax melter project

    Looks fine to me. I've got plans to build a downdraft solar dehydrator next season, so I'm simply going to use it to melt wax as well.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: Solar wax melter project

    Looks very well made. Insulation, including double paned glass/plastic, is really important because the heat must come in faster than it goes out. Also it is important to be able to tilt it to face directly at the sun and still have a flat bottom inside to sit stuff on.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Solar wax melter project

    It's about 95% done. I just need to put a chain on it to keep the door from over-opening and do something about a screen. I'm torn between building a removable strainer on the chute itself or putting a shelf below the chute to slide a framed screen in and out with (just thought of that and I really like that idea). I also considered putting a paint strainer on the collection bucket...but don't care much for that idea.

    Is hardware cloth sufficient?

    file-39.jpg

    file-38.jpg

    file-37.jpg
    Try it. What could happen?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Buderim, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    178

    Default Re: Solar wax melter project

    I read recently that the most efficient angle to tilt it in Australia is 26 degrees.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,110

    Default Re: Solar wax melter project

    I use a piece of wire window screen as the strainer on mine - be aware that it gets clogged with propolis (or some hard black substance I think is propolis) which is hard to remove after it bakes on so you need to plan on how to clean it or easily replace it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: Solar wax melter project

    A good rule of thumb when angling a solar collector is to make the angle about the same as one's latitude.

    So someone living up north in Somerset near PNG would want an angle of about 11 degrees, but in Melbourne closer to 38 would be about right.

    There's lot a distance betwixt the two latitude wise, but the average comes quite close to 22 degrees....but there's about as much distance btw those two between Vancoucer, Canada and Tiajuana, Mexico.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Manning, SC
    Posts
    2,230

    Default Re: Solar wax melter project

    Put it on wheels.....easier to turn into the sun......
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Solar wax melter project

    Put it on wheels.....easier to turn into the sun......
    I thought of that. There's a small trailer around here tucked in the back of a barn. I'm gonna see if that would work and maybe mount it on that.
    Try it. What could happen?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Cookeville, TN, USA
    Posts
    4,110

    Default Re: Solar wax melter project

    Don't worry too much about what is Most efficient for one of these if you live in a warm sunny place. Mine is most certainly not maximized for solar efficiency, but on a sunny summer day you better not touch any metal inside of it or you will get burned - it might actually get hotter than would be ideal, but it does the job. I haven't tried it, but I'm pretty sure I could cook a pot of beans in it.

    If you just put a piece of glass on top of a cooler or an old chest freezer you will have a totally effective solar wax melter/bean cooker. But if it's plastic it might melt.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Taylor County, Georgia, USA
    Posts
    713

    Default Re: Solar wax melter project

    I had a few concerns about efficiency. But like David says, I really don't think it's gonna be a problem. It's middle GA, it gets bad hot here. It's about 88 today in the shade (very mild for this time of year, and reasonably comfortable). I'm inside eating a mater sammich right now, but when I left it it was at 115 degrees and rising. We shall see.

    file-41.jpg
    Try it. What could happen?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Cupertino, CA, USA
    Posts
    280

    Default Re: Solar wax melter project

    Efficiency is not a problem for mine until late in the year after the final honey harvest. Then it helps to be able to tilt it directly at the sun and have good insulation. We are about 37 degrees north. In summer, the honey layer beneath the wax from cappings is pretty well caramelized and dark colored.

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