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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We're in the dawn of a new era. CNC-designed Top-Bar Hives for the masses. (And Warres, too, if you're into that kind of thing.)

I'm not involved directly, and I barely know enough to follow the conversation, but several people I know are excited about this development.

  • "Open Source" - means the plans are freely available and improved by a loose group of people who get involved, often via the internet.
  • "Crowd funding" - raising money by appealing (via the internet, of course) for support for a worthy cause
  • "Computer Numerical Control" - the design plans are fed from a computer into a machine that cuts the wood into pieces that can be fit together to make a hive.
So here's a blurb from their facebook publicity:

Download a Beehive.
We’ve designed two beehives you can download for free and cut using a CNC routing machine in about an hour. All you need is the files, a sheet of plywood and a CNC routing machine. Download our free beehive files at:

And from their webpage:

The Open Source Beehives project is a collaborative response to the threat faced by bee populations in industrialised nations around the world. The project proposes to design hives that can support bee colonies in a sustainable way, to monitor and track the health and behaviour of a colony as it develops. Each hive contains an open source sensory kit, The Smart Citizen Kit (SCK), which can transmit to an open data platform:

These sensor enhanced hive designs are open and freely available online, the data collected from each hive is published together with geolocations allowing for a further comparison and analysis of the hives.​

The general idea is to make the plans freely available to anyone who has access to CNC machines, and to sell the crowd-funded "Smart Citizen Kit (SCK)" to whoever wants to add that device.

The first problem I can see is that they want to cut the entire hive from one 4'x8' sheet of plywood, which results in a hive that's about 2 feet long. 14 bars. The whole thing has started up so quickly, and they're talking about 100s of new beekeepers, so pretty soon a lot of people are going to realize the hive is rather small.

But once that's resolved (when they develop plans that use more than one sheet of plywood) then we're looking at a new wave of 21st-century beekeepers. The open data platform adds a new twist, with some of that conversation spilling over into other forums.

Oh, and P.S., the Open Source Beehive people have already raised $60,000 by crowd funding, according to someone more involved than me. Who says you can't make money in beekeeping?
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