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As I was teaching my ceramics class, I started thinking about how/if it would be possible to use an electric pottery wheel in a way that I could extract honey. I have 13 wheels that spin both directions, so the idea of it working is pretty exciting to me. Anyone ever hear about this or actually do it? Or anything based around the same kind of idea? I wouldn't want to disassemble the wheel(much??), just utilize it for the potential it has with a bit of ingenuity. Thanks, juzzer
 

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What a great idea, juzzerbee! I've never done it, but I'm sure some clever person here can help you. I wonder if you can just somehow clamp a canister (that holds frames) onto the wheel without taking the wheel apart? If you get one built, be sure to post photos.
 

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Very interesting idea. I've been a potter all my adult life, but that didn't occur to me. I recently bought a used wheel for a hundred bucks. It's got a strong variable speed motor with plenty of torque. Should be possible to work something out that's pretty quick and cheap to build. I think I'll give it a shot later this summer.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The most simple way I have thought of yet is to just make a 1 frame extractor. Since I have 14 wheels, I think 14 frames at once is better than my 4 frame hand cranker.....maybe! Variable speeds and go both directions. Here is where I am at now.

Use PVC tubing that is as close to the size(a bit larger diameter) to hold one super frame and then thread that to another section on PVC tubing below it as a honey holding area. In between the 2 sections of tubing would be a screen/slotted base inside that the frame would set on during extraction and allow the honey through to the holding area until ready to pour out. The entire tube is (somehow), threaded/clamped to a flat base that is clamped onto the wheel head. For ceramics people here, it would look like a 3 foot tall cylinder centered on the wheel.

My question is this..... if the frame stands on end and spins over the center of the wheel, will the honey "fling" out of the cells or will it just stay in since it is not off set from center? Thanks, juzzer
 

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> if the frame stands on end and spins over the center of the wheel, will the honey "fling" out of the cells or will it just stay in since it is not off set from center?


There are inexpensive extractor 'kits' that use this design. For instance:

http://www.honeyspinner.com/

I have not used one like that. But, the portion of the comb that is closest to the axle will get less extraction than the comb that is at the outside edges of the frame. Your honey yield will be lower than with an extractor with a more conventional design.

There are plans for building extractors available from Beesource, if you want to go a slightly different direction. This link is for the smaller extractor:
http://www.beesource.com/build-it-yourself/4-frame-honey-extractor-2/
 

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Rader, the interesting element of a design based on a potter's wheel would be the fact that no bearings or central shaft would be needed, because the whole bucket would turn. All you'd really need would be some sort of structure to hold the frames, and a way to securely fasten the bucket to the wheelhead.

What material would be safe to build the structure from? My first thought would be some kind of hardwood, but I wouldn't want to impart any taste to the honey. Stainless is difficult for an amateur to work with. Any suggestions?
 

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Ray, I am aware of the benefit of avoiding the central shaft/axle. But what Juzzerbee seemed to be asking, "frame stands on end and spins over the center of the wheel" implies that the center of the vertical frame is aligned with the rotational axis of the potters wheel. That is not how conventional extractors are designed.

The pottery wheel extractor would need to have frames equally balanced AROUND the rotational axis of the the wheel, not OVER it, to function similarly to conventional extractors. A radial design, with frames oriented like the spokes on a wooden wheel, is the best design.

I think it could work fine, if the design keeps the entire frame to the one side of the rotational axis (and the another frame on the opposite side balancing that.)
 

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Right. I assumed you'd adequately explained why a central axis for the frame would be inefficient. I was thinking about some sort of structure to hold frames tangentially at the inner wall of the bucket. If the combs were cut off level with the frames, maybe all you'd need was a disk to press the frames against the bucket. Buckets generally have a slight taper, so if the disk was sized to trap the frame against the bucket before it slid down far enough to reach the narrowed part of the end bar...

I just like the mental exercise, and I do have a wheel. In order to come up with a really clever design, you'd have to know very little about how a real extractor works, because it would be a very different principle, with a lot fewer moving parts..

So anyway, what material?
 

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I don't think ordinary 5 gallon buckets are big enough for this design. The ones I measured are 11.25" at the inside top, so two standard medium frames (6 5/16"+-) will not fit 'opposite' each other.

I see nothing wrong with using wood as a material. One of the Beesource extractor plans is a USDA design using wood. No matter what we do, the extracted honey will be in contact with the wood frames anyway.

(and re-reading your earlier post I see I may have jumped to the wrong conclusion about your meaning. :lookout:)
 

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I wonder if one of those big must buckets you get at the winemaking store would work? I don't think the 5 gallon buckets are deep enough, either.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think I am getting closer, but I am still creating questions to solve before I get the tape measure out. At this time I am focused on trying to make a larger "drum" that will hold 4-6 frames. The single frame extractor isn't out all together though either. Here is my question. Picture looking down in the drum(extractor) from the top and seeing the frames standing on end, sort of like a clock with the top bars closest to the wall of the drum. How far "out from center" do you think I would need to have the frames in order to get all of the honey out of the cells(centrifugal force).As mentioned above, spinning closer to the center axis, I would imagine, would not "fling" the honey out as completely. Basically, I am trying to get an idea of what diameter drum I would need if I was to place 4-6 medium frames.Thanks, juzzer
 

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My 21 frame radial drum is 24" in diameter. If you are only going to extract medium frames in a radial style, I would expect that you could use a 18 inch drum or so. For example, Dadant's smallest radial extractor (6 medium frames) has an 18" drum:
http://www.dadant.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=360

A 30 gallon plastic barrel is approximately that diameter. Note many commonly available plastic drums are 55 gallon.
 
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