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Author Topic: Solar Wax Melter  (Read 9976 times)
gaucho10
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« on: November 01, 2008, 10:04:15 AM »

I have built a wooden solar wax melter and decided to test it out yesterday.  I have been reading all the posts on this subject and noticed some questions as to wether this type of a wax melter would work in low temperatures.

I am located in Massachusetts and yesterday the air temperature in the shade was 57 deg. F.  I placed my almost completed wax melted on my driveway facing south.  The melter has NOT been painted black as of yet.  It is constructed of 7/8" pine, is 19"W X 30" L X 5" D.  From the outside it is actually 11" D but the inside dimensions are less due to 1/2" of insulation.

The temperature directly on the pavement of the driveway was 64 deg. F when I started with the setup.  A thermometer placed inside showed the temperature start to climb after approximately 15 minutes after placing the glass panel on top.  By the time the temperature got up to 95 deg. F I noticed honey starting to flow into the container.  Within 1/2 hour the temperature got up to 115 deg. and all the wax melted within an hour from start to finish.

I am sure that if the wax melter was painted black it would reach wax melting temperatures in cooler outside temps.

Hope this info helps.  I might try experimenting again in the middle of the winter on a sunny day after I finish painting the melter black.






« Last Edit: November 03, 2008, 05:36:32 PM by buzzbee » Logged

My favorite comedy program used to be Glenn Beck--The only thing is that after I heard the same joke over and over again it became BOOOORING.....

People who have inspired me throughout my life---Pee-wee Herman, Adolph Hitler, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck.
Notice I did not say they were people who I admire !!!
tandemrx
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2008, 10:58:31 AM »

can I ask what plans you used to construct yours?
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gaucho10
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2008, 06:45:39 PM »

No plans as far as I remember.  I have built this same wax melter approximately 19 years ago from some type of plan  (possibly from one of the bee mags).  I did see something similar to my design on this forum (just got to do some searching).  Size/dimmentions do not really matter as long as you use your imagination...has to have some what of a tilt.  Has to be sealed so as not to allow air or bees to move in or out.  Has to have a catching/collection container and be easily removable.  And has to be able to hold the heat.  I am not allowed to post pics otherwise I would.  If you really want MY construction dimmentions just email me and I will send them to you.  I can even send pics.
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My favorite comedy program used to be Glenn Beck--The only thing is that after I heard the same joke over and over again it became BOOOORING.....

People who have inspired me throughout my life---Pee-wee Herman, Adolph Hitler, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck.
Notice I did not say they were people who I admire !!!
bud1
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2008, 07:31:58 PM »

send yo pictures to a moderator and they will post them for you
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gaucho10
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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2008, 06:56:02 AM »

thanks bud 1, I will try it.
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My favorite comedy program used to be Glenn Beck--The only thing is that after I heard the same joke over and over again it became BOOOORING.....

People who have inspired me throughout my life---Pee-wee Herman, Adolph Hitler, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck.
Notice I did not say they were people who I admire !!!
Cindi
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« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2008, 09:51:39 AM »

Gaucho10.  Cool.  Now isn't that interesting, your little tale.  I wonder if the solar wax melter would work indoors in the winter, using a heat lamp of some sort?  By the time I get around to melting wax, we are long into wintertime, dark and cool days.  Have a most wonderful and awesome day, Cindi
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danno
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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2008, 03:32:27 PM »

Did you use single or double pane glass?
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gaucho10
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« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2008, 07:51:32 PM »

I used a single pane glass but I do have two of the same size window panes and I will make a double pane just for fun.  I will still try to use a one pane when I try it after I finish painting the melter.  This is just for a test.  I will then do a frame to take on two glass panes...or is it pains?
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My favorite comedy program used to be Glenn Beck--The only thing is that after I heard the same joke over and over again it became BOOOORING.....

People who have inspired me throughout my life---Pee-wee Herman, Adolph Hitler, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck.
Notice I did not say they were people who I admire !!!
gaucho10
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« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2008, 07:58:04 PM »

tandemrx,

Just incase you did not get my info email on construction here it is:

The dimensions are as follows:  37" long X 21" wide X 4" deep in the wax container section and 6" deep in the pan collection section.  The actual sides are 11" long with a 15 deg. cut to allow for a 15 deg. pitch when the rear leg is set.  The leg can also be shifted to act as a carrying handle.  If you notice, on the side there is a set of pins (one on each side) that I push into position when I want to switch from a standing mode to a carrying mode.  I have not done so yet but as you can see I have a pair of wheels which I will attach to the bottom section so that I do not have to actually lift the wax melter (it weights about 50 lb.).   By the way...the dimensions are not that important as long as you build both side identical.  There is no set of rules as to size.  I did what I did because I already had a pan that fit right into the wax melter.  So I actually built the melter around the pan.  You definitely do not want to put a pitch more than 15 degrees because the wax and honey will slide right into the collection pan before it actually melts completely.  If you got to build your own wax pan then you will have to get into bending metal.  I used aluminum because I had it.  You can use a sheet of just about anything as long as it is pliable.  Home Depot sells aluminum but it is by the roll.  You can probably find someone who will sell you some by the foot.  Try a hardware store.  The pan that I made is approximately 3" high X 17" wide X 18" long and on the lower side (where the wax/honey is going to empty into the collection pan) is funneled into a 4" wide mouth.
 
 
 
 
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My favorite comedy program used to be Glenn Beck--The only thing is that after I heard the same joke over and over again it became BOOOORING.....

People who have inspired me throughout my life---Pee-wee Herman, Adolph Hitler, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck.
Notice I did not say they were people who I admire !!!
danno
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« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2008, 07:56:53 AM »

Very nice!!! I started building one last weekend using a storm door window I found in my barn.  I used oak lumber because I have alot of it.  Its heavy so I really like your wheels and handle idea. 
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Paraplegic Racehorse
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« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2008, 12:43:43 PM »

You may also experiment with adding insulation on the OUTside. It seems a little more effective there than inside. Someone else can explain the heat-transfer math, but there's definitely a reason why new homes are being built with insulation outside the exterior wall sheathing...
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gaucho10
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« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2008, 07:08:40 PM »

Paraprligic Racehorse,

I have had the wax melter (the previous one that is) for 21 years and I never had a problem with melting bees wax.  I got rid of ALL my equipment in 2000 and NOW I decided to start up beekeeping again so I rebuilt the same design of wax melter I had before.  I understand your theory about insulation but I am doing this just to "melt some wax".  It had worked for me before and I am sure it will work for me now.  If I enclose the whole wax melter with insulation it will have the tendency to perhapps get dammaged (bump!).  My previous wax melter was not insulated at all...this is just an experiment for me.
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My favorite comedy program used to be Glenn Beck--The only thing is that after I heard the same joke over and over again it became BOOOORING.....

People who have inspired me throughout my life---Pee-wee Herman, Adolph Hitler, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck.
Notice I did not say they were people who I admire !!!
jsmob
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« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2008, 11:03:08 AM »

OK guy's.
I believe I understand how wax melter's work. But how do you separate the honey from the wax, or do you wash the wax before hand.
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gaucho10
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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2008, 06:42:12 PM »

OK jsmob---lets throw a handfull of wax, mixed with some honey and just for the hell of it lets throw a littlebit of bee cell shelling, a couple of bee's wings and some antenae. Lets assume that you are getting rid of some old black brood frame foundation.  If the foundation is really old and black you probably wont get much good wax.  And if you do, the final wax is going to be darker in color-not candle making quality!

After you throw the comb into the wax melter the honey residue will probably melt first and acumulate in your pan.  The wax will drip into the pan on top of the honey and as the wax cools off the wax will float on top of the honey.  Directly under the wax you will find most of the bad solid (wings, antenae, etc.)

When you remove your pan you will probably remove a square block of wax with lots of junk underneath.  You will have to scrape this crud off so you will be left with the good wax.  The honey in the pan---you can eat it or feed it back to the bees.  Some say that this honey might not be good for bees.  I have found that you don't need very high temps to actually get the wax melted.  Wax will melt under 120 deg. F.  Honey should still be good.  You can possibly use this honey to make mead???  If you leave the wax melter unatended then perhapps you could get the temperatures eay to hot and destroy the honey.
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My favorite comedy program used to be Glenn Beck--The only thing is that after I heard the same joke over and over again it became BOOOORING.....

People who have inspired me throughout my life---Pee-wee Herman, Adolph Hitler, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck.
Notice I did not say they were people who I admire !!!
jsmob
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« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2008, 09:36:29 AM »

Thank you.
 I just didn't think through it. Of cores the honey would melt first and the wax ride on top of it. I guess what through me is that I have seen guys tilt a catch basin in a melter and run cheese cloth, or such, across the bottom to filter out the casting and anything else. I just couldn't think through how you would separate the honey. Now I know.
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gaucho10
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« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2008, 09:14:10 PM »

OK folks...I have finally finished my solar wax melter.  I have painted it totally black (except for the glass) and I have added a couple of small (6") legs at the end so that the melter will stand up on its end for storage.  I have tested the temperature (rating) for this melter and noticed that when the outside temperature was 23 deg. F in the early morning (7 AM),as the sun started to break the horizon, the temperature inside the melter was 70 deg. F.  BTW-it was out all night in low (23 F) temps.  I went out for a coffee and when I returned one hour later the sun was shining right on it from the S.E. (at an angle.  The temperature was 120 deg. F.  That is as high as the thermometer would read.  My thermometer is not one of the best on the market but those were the results nevertheless.
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My favorite comedy program used to be Glenn Beck--The only thing is that after I heard the same joke over and over again it became BOOOORING.....

People who have inspired me throughout my life---Pee-wee Herman, Adolph Hitler, George W. Bush, Glenn Beck.
Notice I did not say they were people who I admire !!!
JordanM
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2008, 10:11:35 PM »

Thanks for posting this. I might have to build one now.
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JordanM
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2008, 11:06:14 AM »

Could you use plexiglass instead of glass for the top?

And is there anywhere that you filter the wax in the melter?
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2008, 03:48:14 AM »

Could you use plexiglass instead of glass for the top?

Plexiglass requires hotter days than glass and double pained glass works better yet.

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And is there anywhere that you filter the wax in the melter?

I made a filter to sits on top of the meatloaf pan the wax drains into.  I then use the waste to start my smoker.
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« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2009, 07:09:52 PM »

All the solar melters are nicley built and work as you stated.  Im new at this and I took the easy way out so far. 

I took an old cooler, painted the whole thing black. Take a glass bowl of water (about an inch) cover the bowl with a paper towel secured around the bowl so the paper will not touch the water. Place the wax on top of the paper and cover the cooler with Glass. When you return the pure wax is on top of the water. All the filtered junk is on the paper towel. You can use the old paper towel in your smoker.  It seems to work well. You can use a couple of bowls to fill up the bottom of the cooler. The nice thing about it is the cooler can be on a flat surface and the wax is pure.

Dennis
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