3D printed beekeeping tools
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Rochester, NY, USA
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    Default 3D printed beekeeping tools

    Hey all,

    In preparation for getting into the hobby I've been whipping up some of the necessary tools. I have a 3D printer at home, so I design some of my own helpful little tools and wanted to share the first of them - my queen bee catcher.

    Using a common clothespin spring (in the US anyways), you can 3D print a simple little queen catcher.



    The files are on Thingiverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:705560



    Let me know what you all think - you are the experienced beekeepers after all! Are there any other common tools or parts that you think could benefit from having a freely share-able, remix-able design out there? I'm happy to try to whip something up! I've been working on a frame feeder design already, but it's too big for my printer to do in one piece, so making a way to combine the parts is challenging. Another thing I want to try to make is a frame handle.
    -Squirrel 2x8 Frame Langs USDA Zone 6a

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
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    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    I also found someone else's design out on Thingiverse for a box side frame holder.
    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:408146

    -Squirrel 2x8 Frame Langs USDA Zone 6a

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    141

    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    Neat! We just were looking at a new CNC machine for our plant that integrates CNC, laser and 3D printing functions for prototype work. There aren't likely to be many that have 3D printers (someday they probably will be as common as the paper printers are nowadays), but it is amazing how far the technology has come in the last few years in terms of making parts that are durable (for example your queen catcher...there is a fair amount of pressure needed to open and close it on those handles and it appears that the printed model handles it fine). Those frame holders interesting too. Looks like they could easily fit in a pocket.

    Rich
    Capital Bee Supply
    Madison, WI
    www.capitalbeesupply.com
    Manufacturers and Purveyors of Fine Beekeeping Equipment

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Verde Valley, Arizona,United States
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    477

    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    I would buy a couple of those. All the other ones break easily.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Panama City, Florida, USA
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    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan P View Post
    I would buy a couple of those. All the other ones break easily.
    Now you can print the flow frames.........

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    Jefferson Co, TX
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    1,601

    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    Ok, you set the hook in me probably without even trying.

    What is the cost to print that queen catcher?
    Started 9/13, building slowly, not trying the no treatment anymore

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Pahrump, NV
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    771

    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    I'm old. I can't even wrap my mind around the concept of a 3D printer. I guess I'm going to have to spend some time learning about this.
    Last edited by Barry Digman; 03-02-2015 at 11:08 PM.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Corvallis, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    42

    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    Check out Home Depot, they have them now.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
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    37

    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    @MarshMasterPat: Not including the spring cost since I had it laying around, the catcher cost about 36 cents. (each side weighs about an ounce, and I've calculated a cost of about 18 cents per ounce printed, which includes the electricity to run the machine and the actual plastic feedstock costs). That doesn't factor in some concept of splitting up the actual printer cost, which was originally about $700, but I've had it for years at this point.

    @Dan P: I was never looking to get into the queen catcher printing business, and I feel like shipping costs would exceed the part cost! If anyone would really like to get one though just send me a message.

    @jbeshearse: If my printer was a bit bigger I'd certainly have a go at making a flow frame equivalent. I already had just such an idea rattling around in my head already!

    My 3D printer is a RepRap that I assembled myself. It works by laying down layer after layer of melted plastic via a hot nozzle. If you think about what you would do to make say a drinking glass using a hot glue gun, that's what my printer does - just with micron precision and a 0.4mm diameter nozzle. You can check it out in action at this link: https://plus.google.com/photos/+Evan...LjI3af3ia7JqgE

    It is interesting to see 3D printers becoming a bit more common out there. I first saw the 20 thousand dollar Stratisys machines at my college, but then hopped into the RepRap community at a pretty early stage. Now, as mentioned, you can find 3D printers in big box stores. Actually using a 3D printer isn't quite as streamlined though - most need a lot of tinkering to get to work properly and keep working.
    -Squirrel 2x8 Frame Langs USDA Zone 6a

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
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    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    how long does it take to print one?

  12. #11
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    Feb 2014
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    Clinton, Iowa
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    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    I haven't used the queen catchers that I bought, but they have a gap at the bottom so that you don't pinch the queen. So a gap when they are closed.

    3D printing is very neat, going to make a lot of differences someday.

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Rochester, NY, USA
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    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    A complete queen catcher takes about an hour to print.

    Last night I also designed a frame holder, but I haven't had a chance to actually print it out yet and see how well it works. The dimensions seem like they would do the job. It again uses clothespin springs. Once it works I'll put it up on Thingiverse and post a photo.



    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:707045


    Regarding the queen catcher potentially pinching... good point. I'll add a little block to leave say a 3mm gap between the two halves of the clamshell when "closed". That should keep her in while not squishing her, right?
    Last edited by SquirrellyOne; 03-03-2015 at 02:02 PM. Reason: Added Thingiverse link.
    -Squirrel 2x8 Frame Langs USDA Zone 6a

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Rome, GA
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    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    Nice Thread!
    I'm headed down to our Campus 3D Printer now..
    Let's Eat Grandmaw ........... Let's Eat, Grandmaw.......Grammar Saves Lives

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL (DUVAL County) USA
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    72

    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    I would also support the design to have a gap where the pinchers close at the bottom. That last pinch with that catcher you have there could very easily squish a queen's abdomen. That wouldn't be good.

  16. #15
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    Dec 2014
    Location
    Joliet, il
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    1,875

    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    Print a hive and bees to go with it. I bet they wont swarm

  17. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Grayson, KY
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    346

    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    Have you considered printing a mold for foundation. I know it would have to be printed in pieces and then assembled. I had access to one here but could never come up with free cad software that would output the proper file type.

  18. #17
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    Feb 2015
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    Rochester, NY, USA
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    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    Not a bad idea. There is a design on Thingiverse for 3D printed foundation itself, but I assume it'll have all the same issues as plastic foundation I've read about. Using the printer to create a mold for wax foundation is an intriguing idea though. I'll mess around with it sometime - it should just be a matter of modeling one hex and patterning it a bunch. Pour melty wax over the whole thing and squish between two plates, then trim off the stuff that's squeezed out.

    I revised my queen catcher to help prevent queen squishing:
    Capture_preview_featured.jpg
    -Squirrel 2x8 Frame Langs USDA Zone 6a

  19. #18
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    Jun 2013
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    Jefferson Co, TX
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    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    So if someone has a 3D printer and a design downloaded from Thingiverse, they could print up one of those item?

    Is that correct?

    If so, WOW. If not, still the ideas are neat as heck.
    Started 9/13, building slowly, not trying the no treatment anymore

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, USA
    Posts
    53

    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    Nice designs!

    Can you use BPA-free plastic? If plastic printed tools are going to be directly used with honey (as in a version of the flow frames, a frame part, etc.) it might be worth looking into.

    I just wish there were 3D printers for metal or wood.

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    10,857

    Default Re: 3D printed beekeeping tools

    >> I just wish there were 3D printers for metal or wood.

    Well, consider that the devices referenced above are additive devices. If you simply use a subtractive CAD printer, you can use metal or wood as the medium. You can even make your own ....


    Photo linked from and more at this link:
    http://www.instructables.com/id/How-...od-CNC-Router/
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

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