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Author Topic: Fibreglass hives  (Read 3275 times)

Offline Greg Aberdeen

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Fibreglass hives
« on: January 29, 2013, 08:26:22 AM »
Hello all,

I am a composite technician living in Cape Town, South Africa. I have been approached to manufacture composite, or fibreglass hives. Easy enough to do and yet I have run into a question that has me confused. When doing a search for fibreglass hives, there are none to be found on the net. There are plastic hives available. Is there a reason for this?

I have spoken to local keepers and they say no. The beauty of this, if it does not affect the bees, is a box lifespan of 15 years plus.

Your help would be appreciated greatly.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 10:29:03 AM »
I think the main reason is that it's just a box for bees, and plastic is cheaper to manufacture than fiberglass.
Michael Bush
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Offline sawdstmakr

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 12:56:37 PM »
Another reason is that plastic is a lot lighter. when you are dealing with a 100 pound super, every ounce reduced helps.
Jim
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Offline little john

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 02:24:32 PM »
Glass is slightly more thermally conductive than plain plastic, but not a lot. I can only suggest the reason is that the cost of fabrication is higher, and that the speed of fabrication is slower - certainly a lot slower than the injection-moulding used with (say) the Beehaus.

I've often thought that the lifts (outer skins of a twin-wall box) of the British WBC hive would benefit from being made from grp, with the inner made from wood. Inner warmth, with the outside 100% weather-proof - best of both worlds.

BTW, I have grp boats which are over 50 years old, I'd have thought that grp hives should last at least that long.

LJ

Offline Greg Aberdeen

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2013, 12:58:26 AM »
Thank you guys. The costing is not an issue. The design is based on the Beehaus and the beauty of being a fibreglass manufacturer in South Africa is price. Beehaus goes for 500 pounds ex transport and our design for around 100 pounds. Not pushing to sell products on this site. As for the timeline on grp, it will far exceed 15 years, but to be safe, we chose 15.

I am pleased that grp will not be an issue for the bees.

Offline bailey

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 01:54:57 AM »
You might find a hive tool separating a fiberglass box is going to make crunching sounds.
Bailey
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Offline dave1958

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2013, 09:23:48 PM »
Fiberglass has a 20% shrinkange rate. WIth some of the injection processes, heat and pressure it can get down to 5%. When it has to be pried apart with proplois and a hive tool it will shatter. So, while it can be lighter, even thicker its still brittle. I have spent a lifetime processing denture acrylic so I do know a bit about it. I daily repair where people drop their dentures to a floor- cracks, and radiadiating fractures. I use methyl form, the ethyl form is used in ladies fingernails you smell in the malls.

A softer resin might not have those issues , or if you didnt have to take it apart. Processing the warping out would be my issue especially in stacking. Just my $.02

Offline Greg Aberdeen

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2013, 02:08:52 AM »
Thank you for all the great input. I have chosen a design. Along with the fact that they will be made from fire retadent resin and plastisizer added to allow for slight flexibility, I have also taken weeks of research into account. I have designed a locking system that should not see the bees closing up gaps with proplois. The system I have allocated for this project runs at a 1 to 2% shrink rate and the gaskets will compensate for this amount of shrinkage.



Offline Moots

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2013, 12:58:52 PM »
Thank you for all the great input. I have chosen a design. Along with the fact that they will be made from fire retadent resin and plastisizer added to allow for slight flexibility, I have also taken weeks of research into account. I have designed a locking system that should not see the bees closing up gaps with proplois. The system I have allocated for this project runs at a 1 to 2% shrink rate and the gaskets will compensate for this amount of shrinkage.

Greg,
If you don't mind, keep us posted on the progress of this project...Sounds interesting, some pictures when available would be cool!  :)
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Offline Greg Aberdeen

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 01:00:55 AM »
Hi Moots, Will do so.

Offline RHBee

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2013, 03:48:15 AM »
Hey Greg the interlocking feature sounds great. Looking forward to seeing the finished product. Maybe.you could design in specific points for using the hive tool and reinforce them with aluminum or something else. Good luck.
Later,
Ray

Offline dave1958

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2013, 07:21:26 PM »
Question about the gasket. Processed to the body or attached like seals on a cars trunk?

Offline Greg Aberdeen

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2013, 01:26:36 AM »
Hi Guys,

After a bit of trial and error, my fibreglass hive is done. We made 10 and they went to various areas for testing. I am happy to say that they all did well through the winter. I made it to Langstroth specs and lined it with polystyrene. I left a small gap between the fibreglass wall and the polystyrene, so as to allow for good hive ventilation. Only negative I received was the angled roof. Due to its design the hives cannot be stacked. I am almost finished with the flat pack, a hive that is assembled in minutes and has a flat roof. I you appreciate your comments.

Thanks
Greg

« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 08:36:08 AM by Robo »

Offline jjtrdx

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2013, 07:36:31 AM »
Hi All
Just a little about myself. I am South African same as Greg. I am part-time Sheep farmer and not a Honey farmer but do have 2 hives for own consumption. I ordered my first hive from Greg today and hope to get more in the future. My area gets very hot during summer but not very cold during winter although it is rainy season. I will let you know how soon I get a swarm and i hope the bees will be happy as I am.

Offline bbbthingmaker

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2013, 09:06:48 AM »
I like wood. It is a renewable resource. I can build my own wooden equipment. I have worked with fiberglass (building small boats) and don't like it, very messy and somewhat dangerous.  A well built and painted box should last at least 15 years.

Offline Bee-Mover

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Re: Fibreglass hives
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2013, 07:41:51 AM »
That thing looks great!

I think the concern about the hive tool damaging the tops is a good point, could you add some sort of metal strip to it to make is less susceptible to damage?  I'm thinking of something like the frame dividers you can buy now.  They may distribute the pressure a bit and make them last longer.

Just a thought