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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just finished processing honey using the 9 frame extractor I bought 3 years ago. Since my honey crop has grown the extractor has become a rate limiting step in the process - clearly more capacity will be needed sooner or later.

It seems to me though that it might be better to have 2 small ones than one big one so that one can be running while you empty and fill the other.

Is there something about this that I am missing?
 

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It seems to me though that it might be better to have 2 small ones than one big one so that one can be running while you empty and fill the other. Is there something about this that I am missing?
While the ONE I have is running (extracting), I'm removing the cappings of the frames I'll place in the extractor as soon as the current ones are finished. I've a 20 frame Maxant and can keep up with it.......
 

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Downsides:
-2 smaller units equals more floor space. Start comparing dimensions of the smaller units to the larger units, without much increase in diameter you get a big jump in frame capacity.
-twice as much honey to deal with (extracting into pails, sump/clarifier/pump/filter... don't get distracted for too long!)
-twice as much to clean.

Upside
-redundancy; if one extractor quits you aren't stopped for the day. Extracting can continue till you have time to fix the broken unit

If you can uncap, unload, and load an extractor in less time than it takes to extract one unit worth of honey, then two units could make sense. The biggest issue is optimizing the process so you don't end up spilling honey all over the floor when a pail overflows... have a sump that both extractors drain into. And be sure you have storage capacity for the honey you're extracting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
2 units would take up more floor space, but when parked against the wall they wouldn't stick out into the room as much as a big one.

Extra cleaning would only be the second extractor, and I would guess that small ones are easier to clean than big ones. I lay mine over for it to drain dry - could you do that with say a 20 frame unit? I don't even know.

Also, I have heard that small extractors have better resell than bigger ones. ??

This year I put together 2 new bottling buckets out of 7 gallon home brew fermenters, and then bottled as we went - which actually saves a lot of work compared to transferring from pail to pail. So storage capacity just means not running out of jars and bottles.

Between uncapping (cold knife) loading, unloading, and bottling. A fair amt of time was still wasted waiting on the extractor. Waiting for honey to run through the strainers was a limit too.
 

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I considered it at one time. I could probably keep the extractors running more as I could fill one while the other was running, but it's not too far into the process that I need to take a break and sit down anyway now and then. One advantage is if one breaks you still have the other one...
 

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I run a pair of 6 frame radials for the reason you stated. Also my honey house is long and narrow, the the smaller ones take up more floor space together, but don't stick out into the room. I use a maxant uncapping plane and can uncap more than I need for a single load, so any down time I get from uncapping is used for moving honey thru strainers and into retail containers. I like the 2 unit idea, it works for me. It might be a little bit more time consuming, but its what works best with the operation I have right now.
 

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I'm running a 12-frame dadant, and although I do wait around for it, the tall pole in my process is uncapping. I guess they are all dependent, so if you improve one area another will become the bottleneck. I suggest that you go out an buy a silver queen uncapper, a 28 frame extractor, and a capping spinner. You'll no longer have that $20K in your pocket, but just think of all the spare time you'll have... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all the same AstroBee, but I just finished my larges harvest so far - 291 quarts. It will be a while before I see letting go of 20 K for extraction equipment. I'm a bootstrapper by nature anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It's a Maxant, and I am happy with it. It is a well made piece of equipment, but it is also the only one I have ever used so I'm not sure how much my endorsement is really worth.

I can make some observations about the design though...

In order to put 9 frames in it 6 are in radial position, and 3 are in tangential position and have to be flipped. It is actually pretty handy to have the tangential option if you have any frames that might be fragile (such as foundationless - which I do have) because they are very well supported and can be fully extracted quickly and at very low speed.

The six radial slots are really not 6 independant slots but rather 3 radial positions which each have two frames paired together side by side with very little space between them. The thing about that is that it takes a lot longer to fully extract the inner sides of those frames because they are so close together. So if you want to get most of the honey out (which of course you do) you will often end up shuffling the frames to get that done which kind of defeats the advantage of a radial extractor.

The compact flexible design allows the barrel to be a fairly small diameter which is both good and bad - good because it takes up less space and I am sure that it helps to control the cost, but it also makes it so that you have to be pretty careful loading and unloading because there just isn't a lot of room to maneuver in there.

Like I said I do like this extractor - I am not badmouthing it, just being honest. Anyway, all that being said if I do get a second small extractor I would seriously consider getting the exact same Maxant 9 frame again.

It looks like the closest comparable machines with at least 6 frames of "true" radial capacity would be in the $12-1300 price range. So the Maxant for about $800 (with legs) is a pretty good value.
 

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Thanks for being up front, I know maxant makes good quality equipment with good quality parts and they will last a lifetime but it seems to me they should redesign the 3100 basket like a typical radial extractor which have separate spokes for each frame . The frames are to close together for good extraction and if I have to take the time to switch frames around its not saving me time like a radial extractor should . .Maybe they could design a radial basket without the tangential design and it could replace the current one if the owner desired and also make it available either way when you purchase it .Not trying to start a war just my two cents .
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks. I agree with you laketrout - if a true radial only basket was an optional accessory for $100 - $150 i would be likely to get one. Especially if it would hold another frame or two.
 

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One nice thing about a bigger extractor is being able to extract deep and medium frames radially in the same load. I had the 6 Frame Dadant last year and upgraded to the 20frame Dadant this year. I could extract deep frames tangentially with my little Dadant but, it was a pain having to flip the frames around. Now I can mix and match deep or medium frames in the same load. I find now I don't mind running some deep supers just to get the frames drawn out because it's so much easier to extract the deep frames with the bigger extractor.
 

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A second (spare) extractor saved my day today. Pulled honey and in the first round extracting the main extractor broke down. Could not repair it. Pulled out the second extractor and extracted the whole lot. Slow but better than nothing.
 

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In an ideal world, the uncapping process should take slightly less than run time for the same number of frames, so that as stated previously, while one extractor is running, the other is emptied and refilled. With a 20 minute run time, I(my son and I) hope to be able to unload, uncap 90 frames, and load the extractor. Theory and practice often deviate, and we will find out soon.the maiden voyage for the unapper is this week.

Crazy Roladn
 
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