My wax dipping tank setup
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Allen County, Indiana, USA
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    138

    Default My wax dipping tank setup

    Here are some pics of my wax dipping setup.







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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Humnoke,Ar
    Posts
    37

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Very professional looking tank,nice to see craftsmanship still around.You should get many years of use from this piece of equipment! If you dont mind saying just a ballpark figure,what did this piece of equipment cost? Ian what size operation do you run?

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Allen County, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    138

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Had a local custom metal shop make it for me, was around $2,700 for just the tank, its made of stainless steel. My operation is still small, will be at 50 hives by the end of summer. My goal is to do bees commercially full time in 6-7 years with 1,000 hives.
    Last edited by Ian G; 03-26-2015 at 03:54 PM.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,569

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    'tis a thing of beauty. Have you considered becoming a professional dipper in the winter? If you could work out a profitable rate it might help you fund your journey to 1000 hives.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Williamsburg, va
    Posts
    87

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    How do you regulate the temperature? Do you have a simple valve installed? Also, curious to see your setup for doing actual dip if you don't mind sharing that too. >>Don
    3 years / 13 hives / Zone 7A www.backfortybees.com

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
    Posts
    2,324

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Nice!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
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    Allen County, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Quiney WI View Post
    'tis a thing of beauty. Have you considered becoming a professional dipper in the winter? If you could work out a profitable rate it might help you fund your journey to 1000 hives.
    For the spring dip that I did last weekend, (3/21) I put an ad on Craigslist and with our local beekeeping club, made a few hundred. I've also put an ad in craigslist for complete wax dipped hives. I didn't really expect to sell much there, maybe 1 or 2, but so far I've sold 10. If I keep this up the tank will probably pay for itself in a few years.
    Last edited by Ian G; 03-27-2015 at 08:57 AM.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Allen County, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Davacoles View Post
    How do you regulate the temperature? Do you have a simple valve installed? Also, curious to see your setup for doing actual dip if you don't mind sharing that too. >>Don
    For regulating the temperature I don't have anything fancy. I've just got a digital meat thermometer, I keep the probe in the wax and then I just manually adjust the regulator up or down depending on the temp. I don't have any other photos of the dipping process, but basically I keep the wax temp between 260-270. On my tank I then stack 3 mediums on half of the tank, and then place either 2 mediums vertically in between the stack of 3, or will place lids/bottoms boards. Then I lock in the anti-float bars to keep it all submerged. After 12 minutes I pull them out, set them on a pallet to cool, and then start over again. After they've cooled for about 10 minutes then I just stack them on top of each other. I wear a welding apron to protect myself and clothes from the hot wax and I use thick leather welding gloves to pull the boxes out. Below is a picture of the adjustable regulator that I use.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Tulcea, Romania
    Posts
    108

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    What size is the tank and how much parafin is needed to fill it ? You use just parafin or you add something else ? .

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Allen County, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Cristian View Post
    What size is the tank and how much parafin is needed to fill it ? You use just parafin or you add something else ? .
    Took about 580lbs of wax to fill it to the level I wanted. Wax mixture is 50% paraffin 140, 50% microcrystalline 180. The microcrystalline has a higher melt point and acts as a hardener to keep the wax from melting out on a hot sunny day. Gum rosin could also be used instead of the microcrystalline, which I believe is what Michael Bush and others use, however I couldn't find a source for it at the time so I went with the microcrystalline instead. I would have loved to use beeswax instead of the paraffin 140 but it was too expensive and I don't have much of my own yet. I plan to add beeswax as I get more cappings over the next few years.

    Inside tank dimension are 36" x 24" by 34" depth, and it sits 8" above the ground on a steel base, so total overall height it 42". It has a 3 inch spillway to catch any foam that may escape and we just hang a metal bucket off the peg in the picture above. I'm definitely glad we included this as it got used. It has a heat shield that sits out about 2 inches from the inner tank. We stand on a pallet while dipping so that we can get reach in and out of it easier. With this tank I can do 10 mediums at a time or 6 deeps. The interior of the tank is made entirely of stainless steel. The bottom plate is 1/4inch and the sides are 11 gauge. We then have a 16 gauge galvanized heat shield around the whole thing so that we don't burn ourselves and a 16 gauge lid that we place on it when we're done to keep dust and debris out of it. 10 mediums displace about 4-6 inches of wax in this tank. I keep the wax depth around 20-22 inches to allow for displacement and foaming. At 260-270 I was getting 6-8 inches of foam.

    My propane burner I made myself using a 0-20PSI adjustable regulator, 3/4 black pipe, and a gas/air mixer, HPGX-1, from http://www.tejassmokers.com I just drilled 5/32 inch holes every half inch down the length of the 3 pipes. I used 20# propane grill tanks. I had to keep swapping tanks every 30-60 minutes because they would start to freeze up, then gas pressure would drop, and BTU output would go down. I completely emptied 2 tanks and 3 others have a little less than half left. I rotated through 4 tanks at a time so as 1 froze up, I would swap it out. With 4 tanks, by the time I got to the first one again it had warmed back up to where the pressure was good.

    Took 6 hours to heat up all the wax from a solid block to 270F. I turned the burner on at 8am and we started dipping at 2pm. Stopped at 6:30pm, turned the burner off. By the next morning there was only a 1inch skin on top and it took just under 2hrs to heat it back up to 270. Next time I plan to heat it up Friday night after work so that we can get started earlier in the day on Saturday.

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Suffolk, VA
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    4,211

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Man, you're not fooling around. That's a serious tank. Looks great.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Marshall county, AL
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    3,404

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Yep, that stainless is some cheap stuff. LOL I have a metal fab shop in our truck and trailer repair shop, so I am somewhat qualified to say that whoever built that tank did a fine job from what I can tell from the pictures.

    Watch for smoke coming off the galvanized. You may be okay with the 2" gap but fumes from galvanized metal are nothing to take for granted.
    The more I learn about bees, the less I know.

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    3,591

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Bee View Post
    Watch for smoke coming off the galvanized. You may be okay with the 2" gap but fumes from galvanized metal are nothing to take for granted.
    Welders fever.
    NUTRA-BEE feed supplements

  15. #14
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hampstead, NC USA
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    1,208

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Wow! Wow! Wow!
    And I have people tell me that I get into things full bore or not at all
    I'm not being critical mind you-the tank is #1 IMO as is the rest of the setup.
    Can I ask what that amount of wax cost and maybe the supplier?
    Why Stainless? I can weld mild steel etc but I don't have the machine to do stainless. I was going to make a tank out of steel sheet material but just a vat, not a professional job like yours.
    Also wondering about your boxes? Did you build them? I started out doing my own but found that buying was money well spent???
    How much wax do the boxes "consume"?
    Thanks
    "Challenger" as in the Mopar muscle car. Not a personality description .
    Keeping bees to raise money for chordoma.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Sonoma County, Ca, USA
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    457

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Wow, that's beautiful! Heh, but I'm always a sucker for anything stainless, especially if it's got burners under it.

    Congrats on your new equipment! That'll be very handy.

  17. #16
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Gainesboro, Tennessee
    Posts
    1,419

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    That is pretty darn slick.
    Splitting a first year hive successfully https://youtu.be/ZfRTreQ-S9c

  18. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Allen County, Indiana, USA
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    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Quote Originally Posted by challenger View Post
    Wow! Wow! Wow!
    And I have people tell me that I get into things full bore or not at all
    I'm not being critical mind you-the tank is #1 IMO as is the rest of the setup.
    Can I ask what that amount of wax cost and maybe the supplier?
    I got 350lbs of paraffin 140 and 330lbs of microcrystalline from candlewic.com for just under $1,350 which included freight shipping of $240. I put about 575lbs in the tank the first time and kept out about 100lbs for refilling when i was done. I plan to add my cleaned wax cappings over time.

    Why Stainless? I can weld mild steel etc but I don't have the machine to do stainless. I was going to make a tank out of steel sheet material but just a vat, not a professional job like yours.
    I was concerned that regular steel might start to rust over the long term, discoloring the wax and adding iron flakes to it over time. I knew i wouldnt be disappointed with SS so i just bit the bullet.

    Also wondering about your boxes? Did you build them? I started out doing my own but found that buying was money well spent???
    Yep built them myself from 1x8x10ft boards. Cutting the boards down didnt take too long. I cut them to length on a radial arm saw and my friend ripped them to width on the table saw, then as i dado cut the frame rest and rabbet joint he started assembly. 300 boards took us about 10hrs to cut down. The longest part for us is assembling the boxes and i don't know if buying precut ones would save us that much time or not. For now, making them ourselves is still more cost effective even when considering the time involved. To cut and asemble 475 medium boxes the 2 of us spent about 5 Sunday afternoons about 6 hours each time. If i were by myself then I would definitely be buying them precut but with 2 of us it goes pretty quick. I enjoy the woodworking aspect and find working in the barn in the fall with a heater running and a radio on is pretty relaxing.

    How much wax do the boxes "consume"?
    Thanks
    I'm not completely sure, I'll have to measure better next time, but i think around 3-4oz per medium

  19. #18
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Hampstead, NC USA
    Posts
    1,208

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Very fine looking setup for sure.
    I can't agree on the economics of spending that kind of coin for dipping wooden ware but if you are happy that's all that matters. Spending $4k+ on dipping equipment yet "saving money" by building hives from shelf board leaves me baffled but hey, that's just me.
    Maybe I'm envious?

  20. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Grand Gorge,N.Y. USA
    Posts
    27

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian G View Post
    Took about 580lbs of wax to fill it to the level I wanted. Wax mixture is 50% paraffin 140, 50% microcrystalline 180. The microcrystalline has a higher melt point and acts as a hardener to keep the wax from melting out on a hot sunny day. Gum rosin could also be used instead of the microcrystalline, which I believe is what Michael Bush and others use, however I couldn't find a source for it at the time so I went with the microcrystalline instead. I would have loved to use beeswax instead of the paraffin 140 but it was too expensive and I don't have much of my own yet. I plan to add beeswax as I get more cappings over the next few years.

    Inside tank dimension are 36" x 24" by 34" depth, and it sits 8" above the ground on a steel base, so total overall height it 42". It has a 3 inch spillway to catch any foam that may escape and we just hang a metal bucket off the peg in the picture above. I'm definitely glad we included this as it got used. It has a heat shield that sits out about 2 inches from the inner tank. We stand on a pallet while dipping so that we can get reach in and out of it easier. With this tank I can do 10 mediums at a time or 6 deeps. The interior of the tank is made entirely of stainless steel. The bottom plate is 1/4inch and the sides are 11 gauge. We then have a 16 gauge galvanized heat shield around the whole thing so that we don't burn ourselves and a 16 gauge lid that we place on it when we're done to keep dust and debris out of it. 10 mediums displace about 4-6 inches of wax in this tank. I keep the wax depth around 20-22 inches to allow for displacement and foaming. At 260-270 I was getting 6-8 inches of foam.

    My propane burner I made myself using a 0-20PSI adjustable regulator, 3/4 black pipe, and a gas/air mixer, HPGX-1, from http://www.tejassmokers.com I just drilled 5/32 inch holes every half inch down the length of the 3 pipes. I used 20# propane grill tanks. I had to keep swapping tanks every 30-60 minutes because they would start to freeze up, then gas pressure would drop, and BTU output would go down. I completely emptied 2 tanks and 3 others have a little less than half left. I rotated through 4 tanks at a time so as 1 froze up, I would swap it out. With 4 tanks, by the time I got to the first one again it had warmed back up to where the pressure was good.
    Took 6 hours to heat up all the wax from a solid block to 270F. I turned the burner on at 8am and we started dipping at 2pm. Stopped at 6:30pm, turned the burner off. By the next morning there was only a 1inch skin on top and it took just under 2hrs to heat it back up to 270. Next time I plan to heat it up Friday night after work so that we can get started earlier in the day on Saturday.
    Very nice. You could try to tie all 4 tanks together with pigtails and T blocks. This will increase your vapor space and keep the tanks from refrigerating .With a set up that nice I would try to incorporate a millivolt gas valve , a pilot assembly with a thermopile, and a thermostat from a deep fat fryer. (that would control your temp. automatically, not to mention add a safety system to your burner set up. )
    Last edited by rg58612455; 02-11-2016 at 06:32 PM. Reason: typo

  21. #20
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Buchanan, VA, USA
    Posts
    21

    Default Re: My wax dipping tank setup

    Heat is required to turn liquid propane in to gas inside of the tank. The colder the tank the slower the conversion happens. I have tried years ago to find the math on this but was unable to.

    It's better to run a high pressure regulator on the tank. The more you use the system with out one the more the propane will pull the oils out of the hose and they will end up in the burner. It can also be looked at as a safety issue, but that's another day.

    A larger tank or dropping the tank into a large drum of water should solve the freeze up issue.

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