I put together an extractor inspired by ideas I had seen on the Beesource forums.  The speed control for the treadmill makes the speed adjustment anywhere from "barely turning" to "frightening."  I made the reel by first constructing a couple of 6-spoked wheels from poplar.  The rings are 5/16" Steel brake line, soldered together with a copper insert (lead free solder, if you please.)  The shaft is made of a piece of 1/2" water pipe, which just so happens to let a 5/8" bolt fit inside of it tightly (I'm not interested in explaining why, it just does, at least with the stock in my part of the world.  Suffice it to say it is somewhat like why a 2X4 isn't 2 inches by four inches in size, it's 1-3/4" by 3-1/2")  The one I had let me "thread" a 5/8" bolt into it for bearing shafts for the bottom, and for the top I drove a 5/8" bolt with the head cut off into the end of the pipe, drilled a cross hole for a roll pin to secure it and provide the threads for the pulley.  A couple of flange fittings provide positive attachment to the wheels (by the way, I did have to re-thread the bottom flange so that the taper of the NPC pipe thread was the proper orientation, but I had the tap laying around and it made the flange fit perfectly.) Of course, all of this is covered by several coats of "camcoate" food grade epoxy.

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We're using a food grade barrel here (that originally held pickled jalapenos, gave it a 3 week soak in soda water to get rid of the jalapeno smell!)  Next I made a mount for a crossbar by welding two tabs on the barrel's ring, and cut most of the plastic lid center out.  I then made a bottom cross bar with a sealed bearing in the center, about 2/3rds the way down in the barrel to fit the reel size.

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Set the reel inside the bottom bearing....

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Place the top bearing in place on the shaft, and install the top crossbar with treadmill motor.

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The top pulley was a problem, until I hit upon the following solution.  I knew I could source a belt with the same grooves for about any length I needed (and I had mounted the motor with the same tension adjustable bracket that was on the treadmill.  The treadmill belt was only about 6" or so in diameter.  So I turned it inside-out so the grooves were on the outside (I knew this would be the correct groove pitch for sure!,) cut a disc of 3/4" plywood that would fit tightly inside the belt (actually stretched over the plywood disc somewhat.)  I then added a top and bottom shoulder with 2 more discs of 1/4" plywood that had a slightly larger diameter.  I welded a 5/8" nut to a large diameter 5/8" washer, and bolted it to the pulley by drilling and tapping for 6-32 screws to mount through the washer to the pulley. I cut all the discs using a jig on my band saw with a 1/4" center hole.  This leaves a perfectly centered alignment hole to drill for the 5/8" shaft, so that you can bolt it all together on a 5/8" threaded bolt to align everything perfectly.

Put the top pulley in place by threading it on the shaft and securing it with a jam nut.  Install the control box by bolting it to the crossbar, and plugging in the motor wiring.  All the controls were hacked from the treadmill.  It will not start unless it is plugged in with the speed control to "off."  If it is even the slightest bit turned on, plugging it in will not allow the motor to start.  This is a nice feature, and it's a standard one with the treadmill controller, along with the "soft" start feature that avoids the jerking the reel slower and faster.

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Anyway, it works quite well, and I look forward to using for many seasons to come!

My son Alfred won a purple ribbon at the Kansas State Fair last year for his speech on "How to get started beekeeping" and I finally got around to editing a version of it that he gave for the Church Youth group that has intelligible audio.  He'd just turned 12 when he gave it at the fair.

Hope you enjoy it; we're really proud of him!

I've been experimenting with various types of foundationless frames.  I've used the Popsicle stick in the groove, Kelley F-type foundationless frames, and a couple of my own design.  All work, but I've had the best luck with the bees building straight, even comb with the following design (sorry, this is a used frame that I took cut-comb honey from, I didn't take any pictures before I used 'em):

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The top bar is cut @ a 45 degree angle, and one of the scraps from those cuts is used as a triangular bottom bar.  My first frames didn't use the triangle bottom bar, but after trying it out, I find that the bees attach the comb to the bottom much more quickly and regularly than frames with a flat bottom bar.

I have standardized my hives to be top entrance only, with a screened bottom board that is closed by a piece of 1/2" coroplast.  I designed my vaporizer to slide in in place of the bottom board.  This way I can go out in the morning before the ladies are flying, turn the top cover/entrance over which seals the hive closed.  I then pull out the coroplast bottom board to prevent overheating.  I can now get setup to vaporize the hive.

I had a friend mill and aluminum block for a vaporizing chamber, and drilled and tapped it to fit 2 autolite 1104 glow plugs.

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I used the thermostat from a household iron to ground the coil of a relay, and wired the glow plugs through the relay output.  I then used a push-button switch and a feedback loop on the relay, so that it stays on once the push-button initiates it, and only goes off when the ground to the coil is lost by the Thermostat opening.  The relay coil only draws about 150 mA, so it probably wouldn't be necessary, but I wired a diode in flyback configuration across the coil of the relay, which will prevent any spark at the contact points of the thermostat from the reverse voltage spike induced by the collapse of the relay field coil. A light to show when the unit is heating completes the wiring.

I mounted the switch, light, relay, diode, and associated wiring in a wooden control box I mounted on one end of the slide in board.  The wiring to the heated unit conveniently runs in the channels of the cloroplast, making for a neat package.

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The heated aluminum block is mounted to a piece of 16 gauge aluminum sheet stock (I used an aluminum restaurant pan from a big box store and cut out what I needed.)  I then used heat resistant silicone to "glue" the aluminum sheet to the slide in board.  You want to lay the board top down on a flat surface, and then put a thick silicone bead around the outside edge of where the aluminum plate will be.  You then just lay the aluminum plate/ heater unit top down, so that the silicone sets with the top of the heating unit absolutely flush with the top of the slide in board.  Let it dry overnight so the silicone sets, before wiring everything up.

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A 25ft., 10 gauge extension cord lets me reach all the hives in my apiary from the battery in my golf cart / bee wagon.

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Future enhancements include a foam "seal" at the back in front of the control box to more completely seal the hive, and another button style thermswitch and a green light to indicate when the unit has cooled to 200 degrees F or so and it's safe to add the next load of Oxalic acid.  Using this system, you could treat the hives fairly efficiently, and it would save power not having to completely heat up the aluminum block again.  Any, let me know what you think!

Here's a video of me testing the prototype.