Wax Dipping Setup
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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Wax Dipping Setup

    Hello everyone!

    I am interested in wax dipping and have looked at many youtube video and tried to do my research. I was going to get the help of a local fabricator to weld me up a stainless steel "pot" to cook my wax with a propane burner. but I had a few concerns.

    #1) seems as though everyone is very concerned about fire hazard with the open flame and melted wax (rightfully so)
    #2) the cost of custom fabricating a "pot" is really high
    #3) the hassle to deal with propane tanks (i hear a lot of them)

    So I was thinking of this setup and please anyone that has done this let me know if it would work.

    I was going to get a 55 gallon steel drum (not sure if it would HAVE to be stainless or not if its brand new clean inside). I was then going to get an electric drum heater that can heat up to 400 degrees found here: https://www.uline.com/Product/Detail...teel-200-400-F

    In my very limited knowledge of the process, it seems I can eliminate the open flame fire hazard. I can reduce my cost of finding a suitable vessel. If the drum were to deteriorate or rust on the inside i could simply get another one or upgrade to a stainless steel one. Seems like it would be much safer. And I could have the drum on casters so I dont need to find a way to move it around full of wax on to a burner and back off again. It also seems as if the heater would then also keep the wax at a more consistent temp and I wouldn't need to adjust the burner to avoid making the wax too hot.

    My concerns are if the heater could actually heat enough to melt the wax to the 225-250 degrees that seems to be the normal dipping temp range. Also would a normal steel drum suffice or should i just invest in stainless from the start if this idea isnt too hairbrained and might actually work?

    thanks so much.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,885

    Default Re: Wax Dipping Setup

    >#1) seems as though everyone is very concerned about fire hazard with the open flame and melted wax (rightfully so)

    You certainly need to be aware of the issue, but I've been doing it on an open flame for many years. I have an old gas stove and I have it away from any buildings so IF the wax were to catch fire it would only burn up my wax. It never has. But I've been careful to constantly watch it and use a thermometer to keep track of things.

    >#2) the cost of custom fabricating a "pot" is really high

    I bought one someone else had made and outgrown. I wish I had a bigger one. Mine is NOT stainless, though that would be nice.

    >#3) the hassle to deal with propane tanks (i hear a lot of them)

    I just use the typical 15 gallon bottle.

    The 55 gallon drum would need some way to keep water from ever getting in or it will freeze in the winter and blow out the drum. It will take more wax to fill the extra space. i don't know if that heater will get the wax 250 F or not, but maybe it will. I would say 250 is the minimum temperature for the wax, but it takes more than 250 F to melt the wax when you are gearing up.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  4. #3

    Default Re: Wax Dipping Setup

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    You certainly need to be aware of the issue, but I've been doing it on an open flame for many years. I have an old gas stove and I have it away from any buildings so IF the wax were to catch fire it would only burn up my wax. It never has. But I've been careful to constantly watch it and use a thermometer to keep track of things.
    How do you transport your vessel on and off the stove and how heavy is it with the solidified wax in it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I bought one someone else had made and outgrown. I wish I had a bigger one. Mine is NOT stainless, though that would be nice.
    From this comment makes me think conventional would do the trick, why would you like stainless? do you need to maintain or clean the vessel? Is it rusting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    I just use the typical 15 gallon bottle.
    Just one for the entire process? I am hearing it takes multiple bbq tanks just to get the wax melted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    The 55 gallon drum would need some way to keep water from ever getting in or it will freeze in the winter and blow out the drum. It will take more wax to fill the extra space. i don't know if that heater will get the wax 250 F or not, but maybe it will. I would say 250 is the minimum temperature for the wax, but it takes more than 250 F to melt the wax when you are gearing up.
    I wouldn't fill it up to the top, only whatever is needed to submerge the bodies. I too am concerned about the heater being strong enough, it says it can go up to 400 degrees so my fingers were crossed. If it had trouble I thought I could get two.

    thanks for your reply

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    53,885

    Default Re: Wax Dipping Setup

    >How do you transport your vessel on and off the stove and how heavy is it with the solidified wax in it?

    I don't ever remove it. I have a lid which I put on it with some bricks to hold it down.

    >From this comment makes me think conventional would do the trick, why would you like stainless? do you need to maintain or clean the vessel? Is it rusting?

    It would be nice if it didn't rust since some condensation always takes place when it's not in use. But mine is just steel a bit over 1/8" thick (not sure exactly) and it hasn't been an issue. It does discolor the wax, but I don't care since I'm just dipping boxes...

    >Just one for the entire process? I am hearing it takes multiple bbq tanks just to get the wax melted.

    I usually start early in the morning and it takes a couple of hours just to get the wax melted and some more time to get it up to temperature and then we usually keep going until everyone is too exhausted to continue (like midnight). That usually is one bottle, yes. Of course I have a spare because if I run out, I don't want to lose the heat.

    >I wouldn't fill it up to the top, only whatever is needed to submerge the bodies. I too am concerned about the heater being strong enough, it says it can go up to 400 degrees so my fingers were crossed. If it had trouble I thought I could get two.

    You need a good cover so water doesn't get into it. I was doing wax dipping of frames in a 55 gallon drum that had water under the wax to keep it from getting too hot and when it froze it blew out the bottom. I had that one setting on a wood fire in a trench.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

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