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Author Topic: Homemade foundation ?  (Read 4917 times)
Maryland Beekeeper
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« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2013, 04:30:36 PM »

Robo,
The surface is not flat. More correct to say, "With this method the surface is under the control of the beekeeper."
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« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2013, 08:12:38 PM »

Tell me why they use foundation.

I'm not a bee whisperer,  so can't tell you why.

I can speculate it is because the foundation has the impressions that fool the bees into believing it is the start of comb.  Bees do not see a flat sheet as the core of comb.  When bees build natural comb, there it no flat core.   Do you think if it was a easy as proving a flat sheet of wax that people would be spending $1000+ on foundation mills?
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BlueBee
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« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2013, 01:37:38 AM »

I have had the buggers build some (not a lot) of comb ON the vertical sides of some of my all foam nucs when they ran out of space on combs and I’ve had them completely ignore the PF frames that didn’t have enough wax.   So in my mind, it’s a crap shoot, but I will bet on you Drew. 

My jumbo hives have frames that are 14.5” deep.  I just use 1 and half plastic pierco foundations to build them.  It provides mechanical support and keeps the big combs flat.  If the big combs start getting wonky on you, then you have a REAL mess.  The other reason I use plastic foundation in my jumbo brood frames is because I want as many workers in those frames as possible.  I give the bees room above the brood to raise drones and do my drone/mite culling.  If the bees mix drones and workers on one giant frame, it would be difficult to do drone/mite culling (if you want to do that). 
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Finski
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« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2013, 04:46:14 AM »

Tell me why they use foundation.

Because a beekeepers put foundations in there. There is 150 years experience that it is a fine job. Bees do not need them, but beekeepers do.
Bees need only a dark cavity where to build their nest

No one use foundations  for  fun. It is quite a job to make wire holes into frame pieces, wire them and set expencive foundations.

Many think that they are better humans when they do not use foundations and they use natural combs.  Nothing new in that. So they all did 150 years ago.  A beekeeper is not at least better human if the bees do his all work.  

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Matthew said 6:26-30

 Look at the birds in the sky! They don’t plant or harvest. They don’t even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth more than birds?

At least Matthew did not know much about biology like about bees or squirrels but many keeps him as a wise guy.
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« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 04:56:37 AM by Finski » Logged

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« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2013, 08:07:45 AM »

Do you think if it was a easy as proving a flat sheet of wax that people would be spending $1000+ on foundation mills?

No, but in all things beekeeping once a solution is found and accepted there is no looking forward for other solutions.  Keep in mind that the beekeeping industry is focused on serving the needs of commercial beekeepers not the back yard beekeeper.
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« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2013, 08:17:44 AM »

No, but in all things beekeeping once a solution is found and accepted there is no looking forward for other solutions.
I don't disagree, but going from foundation with impressions to flat wax is going backwards.   The logical progression would have been flat sheet (did not work) and then advance forward to impressions.

Quote
  Keep in mind that the beekeeping industry is focused on serving the needs of commercial beekeepers not the back yard beekeeper.

I wasn't referring to the industry,  but to the independent "natural" foundation producers like Fat Beeman,  Dee Lusby and others.   It is a lot of work to produce foundation by hand and a lot of expense to invest in a mill.  If it was as simple as dipping a wet board into melted wax,  a lot more people would be making their own foundation, myself included.
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« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2013, 08:41:12 AM »

If it was as simple as dipping a wet board into melted wax,  a lot more people would be making their own foundation, myself included.
This is still old technology...
I am still thinking of using a non woven material that is soaked in wax like the window screen then build up the hex pattern with a printing method or punch out the centers and let the bees fill in between.
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« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2013, 08:54:59 AM »

What are my goals and what do i want to happen?

I want to bee self sufficient and don´t want to buy things.

Let the bees build by them selves with starter strips, if you want them to make a lot of cells for worker bees start them out with a young new 1st year queen, older queens will make more drone cells.

Use frames with wire to help stabilize the frames.

I want to have lots of worker bees and help them work quickly and rationally, give them frames of foundation that promote worker cells.

mvh edward  tongue
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Maryland Beekeeper
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« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2013, 09:30:29 AM »

That the impressions are key is logical to me, I figured my method was way... to easy. How are impressions made w/other methods ? I assume there is a roller I could buy to press honeycomb design in wax ? Also saw foundation machine on other site that looks as if it could be approximated with honeycomb mold and foam insulation, making sheets like waffles ? In any case, I'll try a bunch of things and report results.



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« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2013, 11:19:30 AM »

That the impressions are key
Correct  grin
Quote
How are impressions made w/other methods ? I assume there is a roller I could buy to press honeycomb design in wax ? Also saw foundation machine on other site that looks as if it could be approximated with honeycomb mold and foam insulation, making sheets like waffles ? In any case, I'll try a bunch of things and report results.

Yes, there are basically two methods.

1) take a sheet of wax and run it through a mill that pressed the cell pattern into the wax.   This requires much less wax as it produces a thinner foundation and it tends to be more consistent.  It is also the most costly as mills typically run over $1000.
2) Molds tend to be less exact and require 2x or more wax to make.   I have tried making molds out of concrete,  water putty, and silicone caulking.   Creating a mold can be challenging as it needs to hinge and if you look at natural comb (or foundation) you will notice that cells are offset from side to side.   I tried creating them with both 4.9 wax foundation and 4.9 plastic foundation.   It is difficult to get all the air bubbles out and wax foundation can easily be marred and/or damaged which is then reproduced on every sheet.   Also pouring liquid wax into the mold and squeezing the excess out is messy and can be difficult if wax temperature is too low.  Also getting the foundation to release both in making the mold and in manufacturing sheets can be challenging.   I have seen new silicone molds available for sale that look nice, but even with a good mold, you still have all the issues when pouring/squeezing/releasing.

Ultimately it became apparent to me that foundationless, although it has it's own issues,  is much easier if you want to get away from commercial foundation and is more natural for the bees.   Most of my experimenting was done when I was trying to regress to small cell.   Since then I have been able to go chemical free with large bees and have gone back to commercial foundation for it's ease
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Maryland Beekeeper
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« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2013, 11:48:26 AM »

Fantastic ! Much oblige. I am the type, that will have to have a mill and my next stop is E-bay Smiley and, already trying to figure, how/how long to carve a couple rolling pins ? Smiley
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Finski
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« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2013, 01:49:10 PM »

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http://www.google.fi/search?hl=fi&q=rolling+foundations&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.1357700187,d.bGE&biw=1366&bih=643&wrapid=tlif135784347905810&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=HgzvUKuuHZL04QT7r4D4BQ#um=1&hl=fi&tbo=d&tbm=isch&sa=1&q=foundation+mill&oq=foundation+mill&gs_l=img.3...10692.14126.0.14553.15.11.0.4.4.0.221.1388.3j7j1.11.0...0.0...1c.1.1o9f188GGnE&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=d0e5f8e357b6b756&biw=1366&bih=643

Production Process of Beeswax foundation embossing
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Maryland Beekeeper
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« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2013, 02:45:00 PM »

Now how to make one ? Smiley Heard about plastic rollers available, didn't find. Ideas on getting impression on rollers ? C&C machine steel/aluminum ones ? wrap 12" rollers w/ plastic foundation ? do they have flexible type ?
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« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2013, 02:55:34 PM »

.
If you look from google, you may find much ideas and answers

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« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2013, 03:01:34 PM »

wrap 12" rollers w/ plastic foundation ? do they have flexible type ?

Won't work,  you need a "negative" of the foundation
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« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2013, 03:20:01 PM »

Now how to make one ? Smiley Heard about plastic rollers available, didn't find. Ideas on getting impression on rollers ? C&C machine steel/aluminum ones ? wrap 12" rollers w/ plastic foundation ? do they have flexible type ?

Two options you can try:
Use two sheet of plastic foundation with the thin sheet of wax in the middle then just run the sandwich between to flat surfaced rolls like a ringer washing machine.  If you have access to a CNC mill and can cut the impressions in two plates I know that will work.  You will have to register the two metal plates so the high and the low points mesh together.  This might be the hardest thing to do with the plastic foundation.  CNC Milling of aluminum plates should be far cheaper than the roll form.  The average bee keeper could make the nip roller machine.
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« Reply #36 on: January 10, 2013, 03:37:40 PM »

Use two sheet of plastic foundation with the thin sheet of wax in the middle then just run the sandwich between to flat surfaced rolls like a ringer washing machine. 

This won't work,  you will end up with bumps instead of cells

Quote
If you have access to a CNC mill and can cut the impressions in two plates I know that will work. 

No, you need to cut the cell walls into the plates.   Your mold needs to be the opposite of the foundation ie.  high spots for cell bottoms and cut outs for the start of the cell walls
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« Reply #37 on: January 10, 2013, 03:57:18 PM »

Use two sheet of plastic foundation with the thin sheet of wax in the middle then just run the sandwich between to flat surfaced rolls like a ringer washing machine. 

This won't work,  you will end up with bumps instead of cells


Yes, you are correct.  I forgot about the cell walls.  The cell walls might make it tough to separate the aluminum plates with the walls going up into them but they could be machined.  Maybe a progressive die would work where you are embossing just a row or two at a time.

Finski, what do you think the orientals are using on the rolls as a release agent?  Soap and water?
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Maryland Beekeeper
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« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2013, 04:00:49 PM »

Wonder if:
-plain screen might work
-lots of small holes in dipped screen
-dipped 1/2" hardware cloth
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edward
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« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2013, 04:48:22 PM »

what do you think the orientals are using on the rolls as a release agent?  Soap and water?

The Swedish wax foundation makers buy there solutions from Germany, don't know whats in it though

mvh edward  tongue
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