diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory
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  1. #1
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    Default diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    diy modified.jpg

    top = 1/4" lexan cut to 16.25" x 20"

    upper box = old 10 frame medium hive body retired due to corner rot painted flat black

    lower box = old 10 frame deep hive body retired due to corner rot painted flat black

    (two 10 frame mediums will work just as good)

    used an old piece of plywood cut to hive body outer dimensions and nailed on the bottom of the lower box

    inside and sitting on the floor is an $11.00 tupperware type 'gasket box' from the dollar store having these dimensions:

    18.5" x 14.88" square by 11.13" deep

    it just so happens that this size gasket box slides comfortably down into the inner dimension of a 10 frame hive body leaving minimal clearance almost like it was engineered precisely to do so.

    resting nicely on top of the gasket box is a metal queen excluder robbed out of its wood frame and it also is a perfect fit into the inner dimensions of a 10 frame hive body.

    the process is simple, clean, and energy efficient. the result is perfectly clean wax that can then be melted for a myriad of purposes but is already perfectly clean.

    the process is put about 3 - 4" of water in the bottom of the gasket box.

    place the excluder on top of the box.

    place a single layer of household paper towels over the excluder.

    place your cappings (or old comb or whatever beeswax you have) on top of the paper towel.


    this particular prototype ends up holding about 18 medium frames (2 ten frame medium running 9 frames per super) worth of cappings wax.

    it's a slow process and depends on how sunny it is but a couple of days or so per batch is what the first batches took. the water acts as a cold sink and it takes a fair amount of the morning sun to bring the water up to temp and that's when the wax melting begins in earnest.

    the melted wax seeps through the paper towel and drips down into the water below. you end up with nice looking clean pieces of wax. if you retrieve the clean wax while it is still warm you can squish it into any shape that works for you.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    Square...
    I wonder how much faster it would work filling the bottom with hot tap water?
    Not that it really matters if the sun is doing all the work.
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  4. #3
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    it would save some time but not enough to make it worth doing it every day.

    the one drawback to lexan is that it is an almost 100% ultraviolet blocker.

    this means that a small part of the light energy is not allowed through.

    non treated glass would be better for heat, but not as functional due to fragility.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    before melting:

    diy premelt.jpg

    after 5 hours in mostly sunny conditions:

    diy starting to melt.jpg

  6. #5
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    attempting a better image for melting wax:

    diy modified melting.jpg

  7. #6
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    Squarepeg,

    I get the basic idea, but a few more pictures of the inside of your setup would help.

    What is the brand of the gastket box?

    Thanks for sharing this.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    this is the gasket box:

    http://www.sterilite.com/SelectProdu...ry=0&section=0

    after 24 hours the first batch was almost completely melted, and i added some more:

    diy next day.jpg

  9. #8
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    for a slight upgrade you can make the wax melter portable:


    diy portable.jpg

  10. #9
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    Squarepeg,

    I used to work at a golf course. I think the cars were EZ-Go. I don't recall Sterilite making a golf cart. :-)

    Seriously, thanks for the pictures. That helps a lot.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory


  12. #11
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    Forgive any lack of visual acuity or perception on my part, but of the pics you show, I seem to see a lot of wax and propolis on top of the paper towel and very little in the sterilite box. Am I missing something important? Your post is very timely for me, as I have both extra boxes and some small amount of wax to melt. Possibly more with honey harvest upcoming. And is it truly detrimental to get a pane of glass in place of the lexan? The lexan may block UV, but it most likely absorbs it. It may still transfer some of that heat into the inside of the melter.

    Michael
    "I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself

  13. #12
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    it's hard to see in the photos.

    those are big globs of wax floating in the water.

    yes, you will lose a tiny bit of wax that stays saturated in the paper towel but very little.

    i'm trying to see how many 'batches' i can run through without changing the paper towel.

    perhaps some other material would work better for that, old panty hose?

    the brown is not propolis but rather cocoons from what used to be brood comb.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    i started to get a pane of glass and have it framed in wood.

    the quarter inch lexan was less expensive and structural all by itself.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    the other thing confusing about the photo michael is that i just put some more cappings on what was already melted.

    here's what i got from the first batch (cappings from 2 supers):


    diy first batch.jpg


    it's about a softball sized piece weighing about a pound.

    super clean and it hasn't been 'boiled'.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    Might work for the one or two hive beekeeper. I have too do a few five gallon buckets of cappings a week for a few months.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    Quote Originally Posted by odfrank View Post
    Might work for the one or two hive beekeeper. I have too do a few five gallon buckets of cappings a week for a few months.
    overkill for one or two hives. underkill for your volume.

    the space available above the excluder for unmelted cappings is .75 square feet using a deep and a medium as shown with my prototype.

    using 2 deeps instead would increase that space to 1.2 square feet.

    going forward, i am going to spread the paper towel all the way across the excluder, and 'press' the cappings into firm 'bricks' that take up most of that space.

    i should have mentioned that the honey on these cappings was allowed to drain for 24 hours and then they were washed with water and allowed to dry.

    we have had mostly sunny skies and we are near the summer solstice. my first two small batches of 2 supers worth of cappings each took 2.5 days to melt.

    i've got about 25 lbs. of cappings saved from last year and will be getting a few supers worth of new cappings per week over the next few months.

    just the one wax melter will more than meet my needs with the 20 hives. a second one could easily be added if needed.

    i've got a buyer for all the wax i can deliver at $10 lb. That should be an easy $500 for this year plus the wax goes to a good home where it is very much appreciated.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    a better look at the melting aftermath:


    diy melting aftermath.jpg


    'brick' of cappings for round 2:


    diy brick for round 2.jpg

  19. #18
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    Squarepeg
    What is the buyer doing with the wax?
    Cheers
    gww
    zone 5b

  20. #19
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    Quote Originally Posted by gww View Post
    What is the buyer doing with the wax?
    making and getting a good price for decorative candles. she's also made cosmetics of some kind but i'm not exactly sure what.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: diy solar cappings melter for under $50 and better than factory

    Thanks for answering my question.
    gww
    zone 5b

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