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Author Topic: My Home Built Honey Extractor  (Read 7143 times)
MagicValley
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« on: September 02, 2012, 11:28:20 AM »

After reading a lot of posts about other members' home-built honey extractors, I decided to build one myself.  Thank you to everyone for their great ideas that I incorporated into my build.

I've been working on this project off and on, a few hours at a time for the last 3 weeks or so.  Today, its about 80% finished.


THE APEX APPARATUS MARK I HONEY EXTRACTOR

I started with a white, food-grade poly 55 gallon barrel.  It originally held a dilute solution of hydrochloric acid that is used to clean dairy milking equipment.  After a thorough rinsing, the hydrochloric acid smell was completely gone, and the barrel is absolutely clean on the inside.

I cut out the top and kept the stiff rim attached to the barrel.  I used the router to trim up the saw-cut so it is smooth.  I cut off the bottom as well.  I will attach a plastic funnel to the open bottom; so the honey will run down to the center, and out into a 5-gal bucket.

I found the motor in my shed, it was in a box of ceiling fan parts from long ago.  There were 2 of the motors in the box.  The motor is sealed, no windings are exposed.


SEALED MOTOR AND BRACKET ON PLYWOOD FOR BASKET

The bottom and top of the frame basket are made from plywood.  The two squares are screwed together until the circle is cut and the many holes drilled, so the two pieces will line up.  Slots were cut with the router to hold the ends of the honey frames' top bars.

The motor support bracket is made from 1-inch PVC plumbing pipe and fittings.


FLIP SIDE OF MOTOR AND BRACKET

After separating the two plywood circles, I cut the top circle into the outer ring, and the inner clamp circle.  A 3/8th fiberglass rod was cut into 1-inch pieces to make the pegs to hold the inner ends of the frames. The basket will hold 4 deep frames, or 8 super frames.


WHITE PEGS HOLD THE INNER PART OF THE FRAMES


CLAMP CIRCLE DETAIL

The clamp circle holds down the inner part of the frames and keeps the basket steady.

I made beeswax furniture polish from 1-ounce of wax to 1/2 cup of olive oil.  I melted the wax in a small canning jar, in a water bath on the stove. I heated the oil in the microwave to 160F and stirred it into the melted wax.  When it cooled, it made a fine cream paste.  I polished all the wood parts after sanding off the rough spots.


SCRAP PLYWOOD USED TO TEST THE BEESWAX POLISH

The assembled basket, motor and bracket were installed into the barrel.  The motor is under the basket.  I had to cut the bracket and use two pipe unions to get it to fit into the holes in the side of the barrel.  I used heat-shrink tubing on the ends of the bracket, next to the drum, where the honey would contact the PVC pipe.


BRACKET, MOTOR, AND BASKET IN DRUM, BOTTOM VIEW

I used 3/8th threaded rod to hold the top and bottom of the basket together.  Heat-shrink tubing was used to cover the exposed thread, to keep the honey off the galvanized metal rods.


BASKET AND CLAMP CIRCLE, TOP VIEW

Aluminum flat stock was used to make the basket brackets, to hold the outer ring securely to the axle. The wing-nut on the axle applieS pressure down onto the clamp circle, to hold the frames securely.


BASKET BRACKETS

The bracket to hold the axle securely to the rim of the barrel, and to center it is made from deep uni-strut.  I'll get the bearing and uni-strut parts to complete this bracket on Tuesday.


AXLE BRACKET ON TOP OF DRUM

The extractor is nearly complete at this point.  I need to make and install the legs, and the funnel to direct the honey into the bucket.  The axle bracket needs a few more parts.  The Control box with the switch and rheostat for the motor need to be installed.

I looked into the hive last Tuesday.  The super was about 1/2 full then.  About the time the extractor is completed, there will be honey-filled frames to test how well it works




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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 02:42:59 PM »

Video the super being extracted for us.  Looks good and the price was right.   I like your wood polish also.   Use a variable speed fan switch to start spinning slow at first, then increase speed.   
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hardwood
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 08:36:39 PM »

Sure is a purdy thang...hope it works well for you!

Scott
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Joe D
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« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2012, 12:02:23 AM »

Yeap, it looks purdy dang good.  Might have to try some of that polish too.



Joe
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kc2927
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2012, 11:07:49 AM »

Your design looks great. I hope that the fan motor will have enough torque to turn the weight. I am hoping to design my own as well but am not quite as skilled at wookworking. Did you create your own design or found in online?
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MagicValley
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2012, 07:49:49 AM »

Your design looks great. I hope that the fan motor will have enough torque to turn the weight. I am hoping to design my own as well but am not quite as skilled at wookworking. Did you create your own design or found in online?

I'm also a bit concerned about the motor torque being strong enough.  It has a capacitor to help the motor start spinning, but until the extractor is all together and loaded, there is no way to know.  However, hand-spinning the basket to help it start is always an option.

I looked at several designs on this forum and made the changes that made sense to me.  I was an electrician for 20 years, so I'm good with tools and on-the-fly engineering.  A lot of the design details came into focus as I scrounged the parts from whatever was on hand, or could be found for a low price.  There was no exact pre-plan.  So far, the total out of pocket cost is a bit under $200.

I made the axle bracket this week and got a top bearing that is way over-kill,  I could not find a light-duty bearing.  I need to turn a small threaded adapter on a metal lathe to make it all fit together.  My buddy with the machine shop says I can use his lathe on Monday.

The last part to make is the funnel for the open bottom of the barrel.  It will direct the honey from the wall of the barrel into a 5-gal bucket.  I'm having trouble sourcing locally a thin sheet of polyethylene to make it from.  It will be installed with heavy-duty snaps, so it is removable, in case I need to repair or replace the motor.
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MagicValley
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2012, 09:41:39 AM »

Well, I thought this project would be completed by today, and do the first extraction test this evening.  But the last ten days or so got me too busy on other things, and tomorrow I'm going on vacation until the 24th.

I know the super is full on the hive, so last night I put an empty super on top to give the colony some room to keep stashing away the sweet stuff.

I ordered some HDPE sheet to make the funnel for the bottom of the barrel.  It is only 1/32" thick.  It is the stuff used to make those flexible cutting boards/sheets.  It cost more than I wanted to pay, $20 plus $20 for shipping, but it will do the job well, and I could not find any alternative locally.  If I were to do it again, I would not have cut out both ends of the barrel.  I would have designed it all a bit differently.

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« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2012, 10:00:06 AM »

I just wanted to say I really hope you video this I would love to see how it works, we found a Grit magazine that had plans in it for a honey extractor but it isn't as nice as the pieces made in yours.  I can't wait to try the homemad furniture polish.  I love recipes and hope you don't mind but I will share yours with my local bee club at our next meeting.  I will also bring them samples to try.  Thanks and keep up the hard work.
Regina in Tennessee grin
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MagicValley
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2012, 11:46:01 AM »

I just wanted to say I really hope you video this I would love to see how it works, we found a Grit magazine that had plans in it for a honey extractor but it isn't as nice as the pieces made in yours.  I can't wait to try the homemad furniture polish.  I love recipes and hope you don't mind but I will share yours with my local bee club at our next meeting.  I will also bring them samples to try.  Thanks and keep up the hard work.
Regina in Tennessee grin

I found the polish recipe in a Google search, so feel free to pass it on to your friends.
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Lazy W
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2012, 11:42:00 PM »

Looks like it should work just fine. Great job.
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BlueBee
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« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2012, 12:21:01 AM »

Some nice work there Magic.  Kind of reminds me of AceBirds homemade extractor with the ceiling fan.
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MagicValley
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2012, 01:44:22 PM »

I finished the extractor this morning.  I washed it out to clean up the construction dust and while its drying in the sun I'll post the final assembly photos here.  Later today I will take the full super off the hive and give the extractor its first test run.  I should be able to get video of that and will post it this evening.

Here is a detail photo of the ceiling fan motor and the brackets I made to attach the spin basket.  Getting the center of the basket spot-on the center of the motor was the goal.  A powered test spin after it was all put together shows it has hardly any off-balance wobble, until it is spinning quite fast.


MOTOR DETAIL

My friend with the machine lathe turned down a 3/8th threaded rod coupling to 1/2-inch diameter, so it would fit into the axle bearing.  


AXLE CONNECTOR AND BEARING

It threads onto the axle and fits into the bearing with set screws.


AXLE BEARING DETAIL

The axle bracket is recessed into the barrel and is attached to the edge with lag screws.


AXLE BRACKET


AXLE BRACKET ATTACHMENT DETAIL

The legs are attached to the motor bracket, where it passes through the side of the barrel.  I made 4 metal brackets from covers for an electrical junction box.  The top of each leg has a stainless bolt to secure it to the barrel.


LEG BRACKET DETAIL

The control box is weatherproof, to keep the electric parts dry during washing.  It has a short power cord because I'll always use an extension cord to power it outside.  The powered test spin has it turning counter-clockwise as viewed from the top.


CONTROL BOX

Here is the finished extractor with a yardstick to help gauge the actual size.  The funnel on the bottom is made from HDPE plastic sheet, 1/32nd thick.  It is very flexible and tough.


WITH YARDSTICK FOR SCALE

Here is the Apex Apparatus Mark I Honey Extractor ready to use, with the collection bucket in place.


APEX APPARATUS MARK I HONEY EXTRACTOR

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« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2012, 12:07:41 AM »

Great photos.  Can’t wait to see it run.
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Lazy W
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« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2012, 10:12:20 AM »

Looks like it should work. But there is no substitute for just trying it out. Keep us informed. Thanks for sharing.
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MagicValley
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« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2012, 01:38:02 PM »

Ok,  I put 8 super frames into the new extractor this morning and got video.  

Yesterday evening the bees were pretty annoyed and it just didn't seem like a good idea to steal the honey.  This morning, they were clustered up in the deeps and only a couple dozen bees had not gone through the trap between the lower super and the deeps.

Here are the uncapped frames loaded into the extractor.  I used a scratcher to open up the comb.


UNCAPPED FRAMES


Here is the video of the extractor in action:

http://youtu.be/JFfno5LmjBk



After the extractor was stopped, we took a few photos.  Here is the honey dripping into the funnel from the barrel wall, on its way down to the bucket.


HONEY DRIPPING

Here is the funnel with honey slowly running into the bucket.

HONEY FUNNEL


« Last Edit: September 30, 2012, 02:19:04 PM by MagicValley » Logged

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Lazy W
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« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2012, 10:27:04 PM »

Looks to me like you have done it. Congratulations.  th_thumbsupup
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« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2012, 10:36:40 PM »

Congratulations MagicValley!  

I think you've out engineered Acebird….and that is saying something!!!

Nice job.

BTW, you video gives an excellent visual of signal aliasing!  Remember, your signal sample rate must be at least 2x the highest signal frequency to avoid aliasing  Wink

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MagicValley
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« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2012, 03:33:13 PM »

Thanks for the term, "signal aliasing", I didn't know what it was called.   The video of the extractor shows that artifact of the camera imaging very well.  At one point in the video, the basket RPM is in phase with the camera frame rate and the aluminum top brackets appear to stop turning.

I inspected the empty honeycomb frames this morning and it seems to have extracted around 90% of the honey.  I missed some spots with the scratcher so there were a few uncapped cells.

After running it, I took the extractor in the back of the pickup to the nearby car wash booth.  The hot, soapy, high pressure sprayer and the high pressure rinse cleaned it up perfectly, for about $2.00 in quarters.
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« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2012, 11:17:54 PM »

Right on MV!! Nothing like having something you built work out just right!!! Congrats and I hope you have lots of full supers to extract next year!!
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« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2012, 11:14:14 PM »

Congrats.....
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