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A couple of budget DIY builds have had been tested in the real world this season, and turned out quite well. Maybe some mods, but definitely not 'back to the drawing board'. For those of you working on a small scale and looking for ideas here's some thoughts.

 

Solar wax melter.

The box is a network switch cabinet dumped by an office upgrade. It needed a (plywood) back fitted (with pop-rivets) and a couple of holes blanked off to make sure the box is utterly bee-proof. All the sides, top, and bottom were lined with some polystyrene sheet left over from appliance packing, and then a layer of foam backed foil out of the (yes, don't ask) dressing up box.

A thin sheet of stainless was big enough to give a parabolic mirror surface, packed behind with off-cuts of loft insulation. The wax gets chucked into a muslin cloth and suspended in the steel surface. Any wax from the curved surface drains to the centre and down into a plastic bucket beneath.

The air temperature inside, despite a slightly 'smoked' glass is greater than 77C, and melted the plastic housing of the thermometer (Damn). The capacity isn't great, but the wax drains quite quickly and is well filtered and clean. I may change the glass.

I spent some actual money on an old golf cart ($5 from the hospice shop) which makes a good enough job of tilting the box towards the sun, and makes it easy to move and aim in the right direction.

 

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Honey warming cabinet.

Very little of my honey is bottled at harvest, I store it in 20l buckets until needed. Inevitably some of this will crystalise and need to be liquified to bottle. Honey is difficult to warm without destroying it, it transfers heat very poorly, but a tried and true hobby way of doing it is to apply gentle heat insulated in something like an old fridge.

This is actually an old dishwasher, I didn't have a fridge. I stripped out everything and then reassembled it packing in as much insulation as I could. An existing vent provided a cable-way for a pendant light fitting, a thermometer cable, and power for a warming mat (normally used for brewing). A hole in the bottom of the cavity happens to fit a stainless bowl and provides a nice sump for cleaning. So it's cost me a household bowl, a pendant light fitting, and two bulbs.

By varying the bulb in the pendant (60w, (40w, 25w. or no bulb, just mat) I can maintain different temperatures depending on the external ambient (I need more insulation) and the 'load' of honey in the cavity. To 'melt' honey you need an air temperature between 40C and 50C, and I can liquify 20kgs in 24Hours, and keep the honey itself at around 43C. Bigger loads take longer, smaller loads are quicker. It's very important to heat slowly and avoid any local overheating. Doing this once keeps HMF increases and diastase levels under control and equivalent to honey stored longer but at a lower temperature. It is possible, using such a cabinet, to liquify comb honey that has crystalised without destroying the comb, but I haven't tried yet in this one.

 

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I love it. Do you understand how much trouble I would like to be in if I tired that in the house.

With honey extraction and Beek comes wax... I put the challenge out to significant other.. Waiting.. waiting...   so what’s a girl to do.. she puts her head together with another hobby

Ah yes but Im the mama tired? tried.... really @Trevor Gillbanks Spelling ??

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Thanks @Dave Black , I'm thinking of building a wax melter from a old stainless washtub that is lying in the yard at work and installing a rack inside so that I can pop frames & queen excluders inside. Bucket or some sort of catcher under the plughole to grab the wax.

So much easier now I know which direction I'm going to go in after reading your thread above

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I have problems using white polystyrene sheet made from compressed beads. In time, the material is shrunk by heat, particularly if it is contact with metal components. I am changing to the foil faced building foam ----- Celotex or Kingspan.

 

I no longer put frames into my melter. I think the heat shrunk the wood and I got wobbly joints. Baked on propolis is hard to shift.

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Get one of these, Set the temp to .1 of a degree and it turns the bulb on and off. Took me 10 minutes to wire up. Comes with a temp probe. Now more guessing on lightbulb wattages.

 

free shipping 220V Allpurpose Temperature Controller STC1000-in Temperature Instruments from Industry & Business on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group

Standard low voltage in NZ is 230VAC. This controller is made for countries which use 220VAC. If it failed and caused a fire then your insurance could be at risk. Just saying

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I put a couple of Kg of cappings in my honey warmer;);). OOPS forgot to dial the temp down!! especially as the outside ambient temp was about 18deg:whistle::whistle::P:p When I looked in the morning it was over 50deg:eek::eek::eek:. Very runny honey plus some melted wax HAHAHA.

Still at least I know I can crank it up if needed:sneaky::sneaky::sneaky::D:D:D

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I have ordered a couple of the 12 volt version of these timers, thinking they would be easier to use with a portable queen cell incubator, and can be used with a 230 volt plug pack as well. I found them on ebay with free shipping

 

 

All Purpose STC 1000 Digital Temperature Controller 12V with Sensor | eBay

The controller at the link is 12 volts AC. No good on a battery. A plug pack ought to be available.

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They should be able to take DC as well as AC because the electronics will run off dc volts, so probably they will just have a bridge rectifier on the input.

12VAC through bridge rectifier and filter will give you about 14.5VDC. 12VDC through the same circuit would give you about 10.5VDC. That said, the controller is regulated to 5VDC and minimum pick-up on the output relays is 9VDC so it could work. If you have any problem it will be unreliable relay switching.

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