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Author Topic: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)  (Read 1499 times)

Offline ZombieDave

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Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« on: December 05, 2016, 06:43:25 PM »
Hello all, this is my first post to this forum. I am a bee keeper of 3 years now, and have been learning a lot and refining the way i do things.

I am writing this post because I have had a problem with wax moths and having to clean out hives for reuse. Doing this by hand is a real pain, so I have done some research into a better method, and I think I have come up with something  that suits me a little better than what i have found so far. I have take some inspiration from youtube for some designs using steam, but I have not seen a post HERE yet for a general "hive melter/sterilizer".

My design differs from others I have seen in that it uses a hot air gun rather than piping in steam. And it is a little smaller. For my setup I have taken a heat gun for wire-shrink-wrap, but a hair drier would work just as well. my design is a little smaller than the one in the link, but it has the advantage of being able to run inside on the bench top while i do other things.

With my design, I can melt 1 or 2 hive bodies at a time, and can bring a box temperature to above 220F in about 20 minutes. The comb all melts and the wax runs down the sloped floor and out the drain hole. I have insulated the bottom with spray foam to help keep the heat in. Plastic foundation will melt and be destroyed, but usually stays behind and do not contaminate the wax. I do however end up with plenty of grubs mixed in with the wax, so I boil the wax afterwards to help clean it up a bit.

The other possible advantage of a heat gun over steam is that you do not expose the wood to high levels of damaging moisture, which might in the long run add a few years of life to equipment.

Apologies I did not think to take any pictures until i had the melter mostly assembled. I also did not take any of it in use, I will add more pictures the next time i need to clean out some hives.






« Last Edit: December 07, 2016, 01:27:53 PM by ZombieDave »

Online little john

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2016, 06:50:59 AM »
Welcome to the forum, Z-Dave.

There's an anti-spam precaution here which prevents photographs from being displayed by newcomers - hence the blank sections of your post (in my browser anyway - Firefox).

For anyone who wants to see these photographs - a workaround is to click on 'Quote' as if you were going to reply using that format, when the links to 10x 'imgur.com' pics will be displayed.  Simply copy and paste each link in turn into your browser to see them.

Dave - an excellent idea - thanks for posting.  I can immediately see that existing solar melters could easily be modified to incorporate a heat gun, should it ever become necessary to recover wax or clean frames 'out of season'.

Many thanks for posting about this technique - it's a good one.
LJ
 
« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 07:35:40 AM by little john »
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2016, 12:37:23 PM »
Welcome to the Beemaster Z-Dave.
Looks like a good idea, I like it.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2016, 12:38:15 PM »
By the way, your photos are showing up on Mozilla Firefox.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline divemaster1963

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2016, 01:12:20 PM »
it's showing up on my standard brouser also. i have windows 10.

john

Online little john

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2016, 01:41:29 PM »
Ok - a re-write ...
There's supposed to be a restriction on posting photographs ... etc, etc.  Looks like the OP has found a way around that. :smile:

Pics still ain't visible on ancient (coal-fired, steam-driven) computers running Windows-Firefox or Linux-SeaMonkey, but it looks like more up-to-date versions are ok.

LJ  :oops:

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Online Dallasbeek

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2016, 02:54:08 PM »
My ancient version of Safari shows them.

Welcome to the forum, ZDave.  Thanks for sharing.
"Liberty lives in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no laws, no court can save it." - Judge Learned Hand, 1944

Offline ZombieDave

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2016, 01:08:27 PM »
Thanks all, Glad you like it. I will try and post more pictures soon(ish).

I was having trouble getting the site to accept my pictures as attachments, so i just posted them on imgur. hence, they might not be visible in certain countries.

i'll try and see if i can fix this (maybe repost the pics)

Online little john

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2016, 02:02:07 PM »
Z-Dave - dunno what you did - but I can see them now ... even on my antiquated kit.  Thanks.

I really like this idea of using dry heat.  Up until now I've been using steam, and it's such a messy and long-winded procedure.  My plan now is to mount a heat gun inside a solar melter, so that the circulating air is re-heated as it keeps passing through the gun.
Clearly there'll be a need to control the air temperature when dong this, else there'll be a melt-down of the gun as well as the wax !  But it should shorten the process time considerably.

This is a great idea Z-Dave - wish I'd thought of it ...
LJ
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Offline divemaster1963

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2016, 06:50:20 PM »
 hey little john

your right. putting the heat gun inside solar melter will melt the gun. I have regestered temps as high as 225 degrees in mine. but have been thinking may be a 12 volt computer fan from old  one. you can place it under the flat pans and use a mini solar charger. the 12 volt fans are in the power supply for the computer. they only use 1/10 of a amp to run. . I have 12 of them inside my solar wood drier. they run off one 15 watt solar panel. have been doing that for 2 years and have had no problems.

john

Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2016, 08:24:18 PM »
If you put the heat Gun on the outside with the nozzle through the side it will not over heat.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Online little john

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2016, 09:45:40 AM »
hey little john

your right. putting the heat gun inside solar melter will melt the gun. I

Hi John - I was being a tad flippant re: the meltdown.   The heat guns I have are fitted with over-heat cut-outs to prevent that happening ... but I still wouldn't rely on them.  I'll be using a burst-fire controller (similar to a souped-up dimmer switch) and an electronic thermostat to regulate the heat.  More complex than simply poking a heat-gun in the side, sure, but a lot more energy efficient.

I'll put this project next on the list, as I'm rather busy building boxes right now - will post pics in due course.
'best, LJ
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Offline divemaster1963

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2016, 02:09:14 PM »
hey lj.
check out the high end heatguns that stores use to shrinkwrap plastic around boxes. I knowthat those are made of total metal. and have the over heat protector switch. they high priced but are strong. I like the idea of thermostat.the only ones that i know that are rated high temp are ones from stoves. you may find a junk one from a repair shop. . cant wait to see pics of the build. my solar meltter finally worn out and I need to build a new one. i got a couple of old steam solar panels that I have had for 6 years. I'm going to see what I can design to run piping in the new box with fans so I can do scrap wax and boxes at same time. in double pain glass tower box.  have plenty of time to draw it up. . I'm out of work till at least jan 17 th if not longer.


John

Offline gww

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2016, 05:36:22 PM »
I took out my heat gun for a couple of seconds to fix a toy and it worked for a second and then the fan quit.  I have a space heater that the fan also quit on it.  One time I had the electric go out on a wood stove and it kept gaining heat with no fan dispersal and it almost caught my house on fire.  I would say having some kind of heat scource that did not rely on a fan to disperse the heat would be a better sulotion.
Just my two cents
gww

Offline ZombieDave

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2016, 11:12:59 AM »
Z-Dave - dunno what you did - but I can see them now ... even on my antiquated kit.  Thanks.

I really like this idea of using dry heat.  Up until now I've been using steam, and it's such a messy and long-winded procedure.  My plan now is to mount a heat gun inside a solar melter, so that the circulating air is re-heated as it keeps passing through the gun.
Clearly there'll be a need to control the air temperature when dong this, else there'll be a melt-down of the gun as well as the wax !  But it should shorten the process time considerably.

This is a great idea Z-Dave - wish I'd thought of it ...
LJ

I strap the heat gun to the outside, (no melting fo the gun). Also I keep the drain hole plugged until it's all melted, and then i uncork it; careful! the wax will come out fast! Also I use a meat thermometer in the top to track temperature, and a timer so i dont forget about it. The heat gun is not powerfull enought to do more than 1 or 2 deeps at a time, although if you leave it long enough you could possibly start a fire.

I'll try and post pictures of it in action some time. probably not until spring, since i've already cleaned out all my boxes for this winter.

Online little john

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2016, 07:22:40 AM »
Hi guys - bit of an update on my own build.  I've been shifting boxes over the last two days and have finally unearthed the solar melter I started to build last year, but abandonded as soon as 'summer' (all 2 days of it) passed ...   
So - after much faffing about I've finally started work on a 'hot-air' melter.  :smile:

Here's a shot of the box I'll be using, together with some 'el cheapo' hot air guns  - one of which I'll be butchering, as all I need is a functional fan and heater element. 




I plan on running the fan continuously, and varying the output of the heater element as needed.  As you can see - the guns look a little 'lost' inside such a big box - perhaps you can now understand why I want the gun inside the box, rather than outside ?

When finished, the box will be fitted with it's own wheels, as it's already too large and heavy to carry without straining the back.  So - insulation next, and then the metal 'trough'.
LJ
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Offline paus

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2016, 01:38:50 PM »
sorry if I am to late to be of help on this matter.  I built a dehydrator using an electric stove element with an adjustable thermostat. The element is in the bottom of an all metal refrigerator  with a small blower blowing outside air over the element with a difusser so the heated air is uniformly made to rise to the top. There is  an adjustable vent cut in the top of "frig" with a stack.  This could easily be made to use as a wax melter . Of course it isn't "green" because it uses all electric power but it works very well.

Offline Jeff L.

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2017, 09:46:33 AM »
I understand why you don't want to use steam but don't you want at least a little moisture? If you get the wood extremely dry that is almost as bad.
Maybe just a pan of water in the bottom to keep a little humidity in the boxes?

Online little john

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Re: Hive Melter / Sterilizer (bench-top)
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2017, 12:37:16 PM »
Sure, in most Solar Melters I've seen there IS a pan of water inside the box into which the melted wax runs.  I'm not sure whether Hot Air will cause problems though, as it melts wax so very quickly.

One attraction for me of this hot air method is that it can be used indoors during winter, at a time when you really wouldn't want to have pints of water turned into steam to then run down the workshop walls ...
FWIW, I've abandoned the 'big box' melter, and will leave that as a Solar Melter for summer use. I'm currently putting the finishing touches to a much more compact Hot Air unit for winter use - I'll post some pictures when it's finished.
LJ
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