In the past, the overall cheapest/laziest frame option for my purposes has been the Walter T. Kelley F-style foundationless frames. I was about to buy 1000 more to assemble this winter, but that product--along with some of their other frames--has been removed from their website, with no explanation. I'm guessing that as a result of their recent acquisition by Mannlake, they're streamlining by phasing out all styles of Kelley frames, and just selling the Mannlake frames through both websites.
A week ago, I sent an inquiry to Kelley to see if: 1) These frames are going away forever, 2) if I could do a last-time buy, 3) if I could buy their frame cutting machine(s) or find out who else they're selling them to. It doesn't look like I'm going to get a response.
Are there any alternative suppliers of foundationless frames that are price-competitive with what the remaining "big" suppliers are selling for bulk, unassembled frames? All I can find are some that are so expensive that I could just buy pre-assembled frames with foundation for the same cost, or just take the time to convert wedge top to foundationless. Also, the top-bar design of all of these products look like what you get when you convert a wedge-top frame to foundationless; I've found that this leads to more cross comb than the sloped triangular spline that the Kelley F-style frames had.
I assume I'm not the only person who liked these frames. Maybe we can pressure a supplier to make these, or maybe someone on here can purchase and/or build the machinery to mass produce this one specialty item for cheap.