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Author Topic: My Rinky Dink Styrofoam Solar Wax Melter (Patent Pending) ;)  (Read 8910 times)
Intheswamp
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« on: July 01, 2012, 05:37:03 PM »

I had a little wax that came from the three supers that I extracted.  It was rather grungy looking (wish I had taken a picture of it.  It went through my mentors capping tank and then through his wax/honey separator.  I searched the internet and found some really nice wax melters but I wanted something quick and cheap.  grin

The tools and equipment that I used:

1.   A weak mind.
2.   Styrofoam cooler big enough to put my containers in with some wiggle room.
3.   Pack of (3) Glad family microwaveable containers.  I only used two.
4.   Wooden skewers or cord (nylon or cotton, I don't think it will matter).
5.   Black paint
6.   Oven roasting turkey bag.
7.   Aluminum foil.
8.   Duck tape.
9.   Nail
10.  Vise-Grip pliers to hold nail.
11.  Propane torch to heat nail.
12.  Paper Towels
13.  Wire clothes hanger.
14.  Cookie tin...or something else metal and that can raise the wax containers up 2-3 inches.
15.  Flat metal to put around the sides...I used a couple of old license plates.

It's really simple.  I bought a $6 cooler at the dollar store.  

I used a sharp knife to cut the center out of the top.  I used the lip that runs around the inside surface of the lid and seals the lid to the cooler as my guide.  This resulted in the center cut out piece and a "window frame".

I then slipped the styrofoam "window frame" into an turkey roasting bag and sealed it with the twist tie.  Be careful here as the styrofoam frame is weak and fragile.  The center portion that was cut out was then covered with aluminum foil...this would end up being the reflector.  These two piece were then set to the side for the time being.

Next was the cooler itself.  The inside was lined with aluminum foil.  A piece of foil was first laid in the bottom of the cooler, pressing it in for a good fit.  I then ran the foil along the sides of the cooler, pressing it into a corner before continuing on around to insure a good fit.  The top edge of the foil was folded over the cooler top edge and taped it down.  This was actually a solid piece of foil ran around the inside and taped it down at one spot.

I used the duck tape to make a "hinge" for the window to tilt on.

The coat hanger was used as a prop for the reflector.  This is a trial and error type of thing.  The cooler isn't that substantial and piercing the cooler with the coat hanger didn't seem attractive.  I ended up bending some "U" spots into the hanger.   The "U" could be pressed down on the top edge of the reflector and the other end of the hanger wire could be attached to something solid to hold it in place.  In my application I was sitting the melter in a lawn chair so I used the back of the chair for the solid support.

I took the cookie tin and the tags and painted them flat black.  Being in the bottom of the cooler I wanted them absorbing all the radiant energy they could.  Up higher I wanted the energy to bounce around hitting the wax.  It all adds up to a big meltdown. Wink  If this was a permanent, more substantial solar wax melter I would line the bottom with regular bricks painted black...this would make a good heat sink to help out when clouds moved in front of the sun for a few minutes.  But, being this is a light duty melter I'll let the thin metal suffice. Smiley

The propane torch was used to heat a nail (held by the vise-grips).  The hot nail was used to make holes in the bottom of one of the plastic Glad containers.  Be sure and keep the holes in the bottoms and don't stray up the sides.  Put LOTS of them in the bottom.  A paper towel "filter" is placed in the bottom of this modified container.

The filtered wax container only needs four holes made in it.  You can do this with a sharp nail by twisting it back and forth...mine came out fine doing it like this (actually cleaner than the hot nail).  The nail holes need to be just under the edge of the lip of the container...not hidden under the lip, but immediately below the lip.  There needs to be two holes on two opposing sides, these are to slide the skewers into.  

When I first rigged the filtered wax container I put two holes in each side and laced a nylon cord through in a "tic-tac-toe" design...that worked great to hold the container with the holes and wax in it but the cord had to be unlaced to remove the cooled wax...thus I changed to the skewers.  After thinking about it I'm going to try the skewers on a trial run and see if I have a problem with wax running out the holes they fit through.  If there's a problem with leaking there I'm going to change to only two strands of nylon cord.

Anyhow, so much for my confusing dialogue...here's some pictures. Wink

Ed

Overall shot of the solar wax melter with some comb wax in it.  If you look closely you can see the coat-hanger I'm using to prop the reflector up with.  I've also got the rear of the melter propped up a touch...


This one shows the bottom (filtered wax container) placed inside the cooler.  The skewers are installed...


A shot of the top (wax to be melted) container installed.  This is some residue in the top container from melting some honeycomb.  I'll save the trash and paper towel to use to light my smoker.  It really amazes me how clean the paper towel filter will get the wax!


This is a shot with the two different containers out where you can see them.  Remember to put an inch or so of water in the lower container so the molten wax will float on it when it drips...
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 09:29:31 PM by Intheswamp » Logged

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American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev
Intheswamp
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2012, 05:50:44 PM »

A shot of the bottom of the strainer basket showing the holes (took a while to punch those holes!)...


Looking through the turkey bag window at some wax warming up...


Looking through the window a little later at the now molten wax...that's hot stuff!!!!


Here's a shot of my cappings wax after rendering it...top and bottom...



A shot of some comb wax that I melted that came out of some wax moth damaged wax...top and bottom pictures.  The gunk in the filter in the earlier pictures came out of this wax.  I culled out the really nasty comb but this was some dirty stuff...



This was an interesting little project that really showed that cleaning up beeswax will turn something that looks really dirty into something that is really nice.  I will probably run this wax through another paper towel just to get it really clean (why, I don't know, I just want to.  grin ).

A couple more bits of info...  Be sure to put an inch or so of water in the lower container...the wax will drip into this and float.  Let the wax cool down *slowly*.  Basically let the sun set and leave the wax over night to cool down.  Cooling wax down rapidly will make it crack.  The first melt I did with the cappings wax I took the container out and set it on a counter inside of an air-conditioned room and it cracked.  The second batch of the comb wax I simply left it in the melter to cool down and it did not crack.  After the wax cools the bottom will feel slick from honey residue and whatever else is there...take it outside and rinse it off with a water hose...I don't like the idea of washing it in the sink as I don't think a wax build-up would be good for the plumbing! shocked

Anyhow, that's my little Rinky Dink Styrofoam Solar Wax Melter, patent pending...yeah, right! Wink
Ed
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 09:27:51 PM by Intheswamp » Logged

www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev
rbinhood
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2012, 07:39:36 PM »

Very well done Ed.
Just goes to show it doesn't take a lot of expensive hardware to get the job done!

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AllenF
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« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2012, 07:56:45 PM »

All good ideas, and with this heat wave we have been having, it does not take much to melt wax.   I lucked up a few weeks ago when my wife found a very small crock pot at a yard sale for $3.   I was brand new looking until I started throwing the wax in there.   Gives me something to do while spinning honey.   
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2012, 09:36:25 PM »

rbinhood, nope it didn't take a lot to build the melter.  I'm sure one could be done for $0 if some time for scavenging was spent.  I've got one of those small dorm-sized refrigerator I was considering turning into an egg incubator at one point...it may have just found a new purpose. Wink

Allen, it's amazing how the wax and propolis will attach itself to....anything!!!  Do you do your filtering with the crock pot, too, or do you use it primarily to melt the wax down and then strain/filter a different way?  Using a crock pot for when the sun ain't shining or for the handiness of it is appealing.  Seeing other folks filtered wax I've seen propolis, pollen(?), and other gunk on the bottoms of what first appeared to be nice looking wax on the top.  I was expecting to see the gunk on the bottom but it wasn't there (which I'm thankful for)....Huh

Ed
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 12:11:47 AM »

now thats cool
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Lone
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 08:07:03 AM »

Ed, does the gunk on the paper towel stop the good wax from seeping through it?

Lone
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2012, 09:14:40 AM »

Lone, I kinda wondered the same thing when I started actually melting my first wax..."what happens if the filter gets stopped up?".  Never happened.  The wax will "level out" as it starts melting, but once it gets to the clear, watery stage *everything* is close to scalding temperature and the actual wax passes on through the gunk. 

Be sure you have enough paper towel turned up around the basket's edges so that when the wax gets to the leveled stage that it doesn't spill over the edge of the towel.  When I opened the melter up after the first melt of my cappings was over I saw all the gunk plastered to the paper towel...I was expecting to have some wax that was somewhat clean and with gunk on the bottom but what I saw amazed me...a light yellow creamy textured wax with little to no trash in it.  It is really hard to find a speck in it.  The second melting of comb wax turned out a bit darker but still just as clean. 

I am considering laying a coffee filter in the center of the basket (it won't cover the entire bottom, but most of it) and then laying a paper towel on top of it.  The area passing through the double layered filter area should be super-filtered and the edges where the coffee filter doesn't cover will be a "relief valve" in case the area with the double filter gets clogged up.  There again, I might just try it with a double layer of paper towel...the towel certainly worked well for the initial filtering!

The gunk ends up impregnated with wax, as does the paper towel.  From what I am told the waxed paper towel makes very good fire starters with some folks using pieces of them to light their smokers.

Just a word of caution here.  Lots of folks don't realize how hot things can get in a solar oven/wax-melter.  I've cooked roast and potatoes in a cardboard solar oven...DANGER...what is inside the oven/melter *will* get VERY HOT!!!!

But, to give you a short answer to your question....No, the gunk did not stop the good wax from passing through.

Ed
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev
Intheswamp
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2012, 09:26:59 AM »

Somewhere in part of my little essay I made the statement:  "I will probably run this wax through another paper towel just to get it really clean (why, I don't know, I just want to. grin )."

Well, come to find out there *is* a reason to fine filter the wax.  To get it as clean as possible.  Candles burn by capillary action where the flame draws molten wax/fuel up through the wick.  This creates a brightly burning, self-fueled flame while the wick slowly burns.  If there are too many impurities in the beeswax the impurities can actually block the capillary action making the candle burn badly, smoke, or go out.

So, before I start any candle making I'll be filtering again with maybe a thicker or finer filter material.

Ed
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev
nietssemaj
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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2012, 05:20:05 PM »

I'll warn you.. felt is not what you want Wink

I tired using felt with mine and now I have a nice large piece of wax impregnated felt.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2012, 08:16:21 PM »

niets, but think about what great fire-starters strips of that felt will make!  Wink

From what I've read from other folks' writings a worn t-shirt works pretty good.  I'm curious about trying maybe a multi-stage filter....maybe two or three filters stacked on top of one another...t-shirt material, then paper towels, then maybe a piece of sweat suit material.  I'll have to figure out which materials are the coarsest to put on top with the finest one on bottom.

I was down on the gulf coast the last few days and found a much larger styrofoam cooler...probably 3x as much room in it.  The walls are also thicker.  I put it in the storage shed for a later project...it should make a great wax melter!

Ed
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev
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« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2012, 10:04:28 AM »

I used a coffee filter.  Seemed to work well, and the candles burn just fine.

Great fun!
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Lone
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« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2012, 02:09:41 AM »

Righto.  I am about to start punching my holes.

 angry

Be back in a week or so.  Send me some food drops if you don't hear from me.

Lone
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2012, 08:29:13 AM »

We need gps coordinates for the food drops...  laugh

The heated nail will help things.  A heated bbq fork might triple your speed...I wouldn't use the fork for prize winning ribs afterwards, though.  grin

Best wishes,
Ed
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev
Lone
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« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2012, 08:35:10 AM »

Well, I'm now on an extended vacation.  I was getting bored with straight lines so I've started with the outline of a rose.

I've got a nail I am heating with a heat gun.

Lone
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2012, 08:40:32 AM »

Rather than the nail holes you might could cut a hole in the bottom of the Glad container and attach some plastic window screening to it.   I don't know if you'd want to use an adhesive that when heated might impart a smell to the wax.  Might want to put holes around the perimeter of the window and "stitch" the screen in.  I'm not sure how the window screen will hole up under the heat, either.  This would be covered well by the paper towels so you really wouldn't have to have a tight seal around the edges of the hole.

As for the holes in the bottom of the Glad container...using a bigger nail might be better.  I know that the bottom of the Glad container with holes directly in it isn't going to come loose or fall out or whatever, whereas another piece (a window screen) might have problems later.  If I make another one similar to this one I will go with bigger holes.

Something else to speed things up would be to have two pairs of vise-grips and nails.  Then while you're melting with one the other one can be heating.

Have fun,
Ed
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev
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« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2012, 08:06:35 PM »

DANGER...what is inside the oven/melter *will* get VERY HOT!!!!
Swamp are we sure this thing isn't going to explode?  grin 

BTW... I like the design and Yankee ingenuity.
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2012, 11:53:19 AM »

I can't promise anything, BlueBee.  Just don't hide your diet-coke in there!!!  shocked

BTW, you tryin' to start somethin'?!!!!!    That's *SOUTHERN INGENUITY*!!!!!!   grin

Ed
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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev
hardwood
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« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2012, 02:00:29 PM »

It can't be redneck engine-uity unless it involves duct tape grin

Scott
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"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language...And we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

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Intheswamp
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« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2012, 02:15:38 PM »

Don't worry Scott...the duct tape comes later when the melter is modded (v.2)...you know, when the reflector falls off, someone (me) puts their big foot through the side of it, etc.,.  laugh

Ed

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www.beeweather.com 
American blood spilled to protect the freedom and peace of people all over the world.  320,000 USA casualties in WWI, 1,076,000 USA casualties in WWII, 128,000 USA casualties in the Korean War, 211,000 casualties in the Vietnam "conflict", 57,000 USA casualties in "War on Terror".  Benghazi, Libya, 13 USA casualties. These figures don't include 70,000 MIA.  But, the leaders of one political party of the United States of America continue to make the statement..."What difference does it make?".

"We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev
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