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Newbie and embedding wire in natural foundation

1443 Views 31 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  moussy
Ok. I got my first piece of wired foundation secured in my wedge/bottom groove medium frame, but then tried to set it on fire while embedding it. The first try blew the circuit breaker on my Betterbee device. The second attempt was too long because the wire in the middle doesn’t get warm enough. Try just little taps to the wires at the end of the frame?
I am using an embedding board and am pressing lightly on the middle of the foundation as I make contact with the two ends.
Can I try a solder iron to each side instead?

Also, I think it was Crofter who mentioned he uses a pair of channel locks to put the nails into the top wedge to secure the foundation. This worked like magic and no misfires with my hammer into the comb. Thank you!
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Just hand pressing of the comb sheet is a crude way to do it. Probably work with a very mild application of current so you have more feel and observation of the progress. You need to make yourself an embedding wand that has multiple pressure fingers. I will see if I can dig up some of my pics and will post them. It is much more effective if you can bed approx to middle of sheet and not leave any holes. Holes are an invitation to drone brood!
 

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The current on time should be about 3 or 4 seconds. You may have to put some resistance in the circuit to slow it down. I have an old battery charger that on the 2 amp range is about right. Are the kinks in your crimp wiring oriented properly?
 

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I embed against a flat surface on my frame jig. The individual fingers press the wire in. Since the factory embedded crimp wire sometimes protrudes it will hold the transverse wires up. The crosswires should be embedded about middle of the wax; sometimes protruding thru the back..
The pressure fingers are cut from metal roofing. It has enough spring for a pressure finger. The electrical contacts touch just inside the frame sidebars.

edit. I see the current short circuited through the first and second vertical wires at the top of your second picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The current on time should be about 3 or 4 seconds. You may have to put some resistance in the circuit to slow it down. I have an old battery charger that on the 2 amp range is about right. Are the kinks in your crimp wiring oriented properly?
I’m actually not sure about the direction of the crimps in the wiring. I wired the frames keeping it an open circuit per the instructions on the bettercomb sheet. It said I would short the breaker if I just used one nail to wire the frame in a complete loop. I do have a battery charger in the garage but I’m not sure how old it is, maybe 10 years? I could try it but I read the newer ones may not work. I stepped away from the whole thing. I do need a better place to do this job. I tried it in my walk-in closet so I could heat up the small space easily with a little space heater. I’m going to return to an unfinished woodshop so this less worries about burning my house down! ****, things were going so well up until this point. I did run an embedding wheel over it, but by then my closet was colder and the wheel did very little for me except stick the wax to my embedding board. I will keep a piece of wax paper under it next time.
I’ll also need to study your embedding device.
 

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Yes you do need a warm place to work or you shatter the wax foundation. Nicely wired wax foundation is a thing of beauty but it is a bit of a challenge getting the act all together. Pretty time consuming unless you are well set up and organized. Plastic foundation has pretty well taken over.
Below is a pic of something else that has great eye appeal but few people do it anymore. Caning!
 

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So my first set up is always destined to fail after hitting the first few verticals wires?
If you are sending current from one end of your crosswiring to the other end of it, yes that is susceptible to taking short cuts through the verticals. It would be ok with unwired plain wax foundation. Again the problem of applying even pressure throughout the whole area of the frame. The foundation will trampoline with the pressure, complicating the situation. The pressure bar with flexible fingers pushing on a single span of wire, with the foundation backed up by a flat surface below, is the way to go.

If I had only a few to do or wanted to embed in a non standard width frame etc., I would resort to the method I used for the zig zag wires on that Dadant depth frame pictured. Two pencil sized probes + and - , one in each hand that can contact and press on the wires at 6 or 8" intervals and observe the wire sag into the wax; foot control switch. the pressure bar has a finger contact switch as seen in the pic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm embarrassed that I didn't give a thought to the wire already embedded in the foundation. The contraption I bought is primarily designed for the Bettercomb and stated could be used for natural foundation. There is another one available by Dadant that looks similar to Crofter's embedding device but it's sold at a premium. I have 100 frames eseembeld and 50 of those are wired so far. I may take my Bettercomb wires and solder on pencil probes. Oddly enough I've acquired the skills for simple soldering ( I had to rewire a few vintage sewing machine motors) but that information didn't spill over to this misadventure.

My better comb device -
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Dadaist embedder:

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The embedder shown has fixed pressure contacts and too far apart; no flex for irregularity induced by factory vertical wires. A battery has far too high a potential current output. I would put some resistance in circuit like one or more 1157 tail light bulbs.(not LED ones). Experiment with an 18" length of wire between two nails, not one of your built frames. ;)
 

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OK, put that device on the shelf.

Go get 4? 1157 bulbs ( and sockets) like Crofter says. Wire all of the red pigtail wires together, all the blacks together, Get a strip if wood like a top bar, but longer. Saw two grooves down it to fit stiff copper wire -try 12 ga?. Cut off pieces of wire, start about 2", strip one end, flatten, and create a fishtail. Connect alternately to the wires embedded in the wood by soldering. about 2" apart, with the ends forming an arc with the tallest in the middle;

Wire from the positive of the battery to the lights, to one of the wires in the "top bar wood", Run another wire from the other wire in the "top bar wood" to the negative.

Start on one wire at one end, contacting the fish tails to the wire. After the right amount of time (adjust with number of 1157 bulbs), rock the "top bar wood" to bring down the next fish tail. Repeat as needed.

I hope you can figure that all out.

Crazy Roland
 

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I think I could make something workable from those instructions; I like the idea that it would incrementally embed individual sections of the cross wire as you rocked it across the frame. Using a number of bulbs additivley from one to 4 or more should be able to tune the heat and speed you have to travel across the frame. I :love: it!
 

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Thank you crofter.

Yes, you develop a rhythm. The downside is that the pressure is released when the current flow ends. Putting the fish tails closer helps, but it takes more time.

That was the gadget that we used in the 60's. until I built an overly complicated device that holds the wires independent of passing current thru all 4 wires at once.

Crazy Roland



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Yes, keeping flexible pressure on till after the wax has cooled around the wire can be an issue. With some lots of foundation, the embedded vertical wires leave a bit of hills and valleys surface.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Updated: even though I'd rather not admit to this debacle, I always like to hear a conclusion to a problem and maybe it will save someone else. And I truly appreciate everyone's 2 cents.

I tried simply using an old battery charger at 2 amp output and the clips to touch along individual wires but the first spark sent me scampering. I'm afraid electricity is above my pay grade. I am using a spur embedder with my craft heat gun running right over the top of it. I got a little overzealous with one and the wax thinned too much so there are some bare spots. Hoping I can just pop that in a honey super? I also stepped on a wax foundation in my frustration the last time I tried this. I took the wax off and am saving all the shavings in a little vintage double boiler. I promised my husband some beeswax pinecones for fire starters.
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