Extracting honey from honeycombs often requires an expensive machine. The other option is to take the honeycomb whole, which results in fewer future honey harvests because of effort spent rebuilding the comb. However, you can make a manually powered honey extractor from spare parts. This design is perfect to use in remote locations and to avoid purchasing an expensive honey extractor.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Two bicycle rims that fit the circumference of the drum
- 50 to 60-gallon metal or plastic drum, clean and sanitised for food use
- 2 x 3-foot wooden block as long as diameter of drum
- 1 half-inch-wide threaded rod as long as height of drum
- Four 2-foot-long half-inch-wide threaded rods
- 4 half-inch-wide stainless-steel nuts
- Sixteen quarter-inch-wide stainless-steel nuts
- Six coach screws
- Bolt tool
- Two identical half-inch radial bearings
- Food-grade epoxy paint
- 5 X 5 square of wood
- 1 meter of fencing wire
- Tape measure
- Gardening shears or flathead screwdriver
Measure the diameter of the drum chosen to contain the honey extractor. Obtain bicycle rims with the same diameter. Thoroughly clean the drum to remove any residue that might affect the taste of the honey.
Remove the tires from the bicycle rims with a flathead screwdriver or garden shears. You can also have this done at a bicycle shop.
Clean the bicycle rims until all grease and dirt has been removed. Remember that the bicycle rims will make contact with the honey, so cleanliness is essential.
Using a permanent marker, mark four spots equally spaced on both bicycle rims to indicate where the 2-foot quarter-inch threaded rods will be inserted.
Drill quarter-inch holes into the marked spots on the bicycle rims. Insert the four 2-foot quarter-inch threaded rods into the drilled holes. Make sure they are all evenly spaced; otherwise, the honey extractor will not spin correctly.
Screw the quarter-inch stainless steel nuts onto the bicycle rims to hold the quarter-inch threaded rods in place. You'll need four nuts for each steel rod, meaning that you'll need two bolts, one below the rim and one above the rim, to hold the steel rod in place. Use the bolt tool to screw on the bolts.
Insert the half-inch threaded rod that's as long as the drum through the centre of the both bicycle rims.
Clean the half-inch radial bearings until no grease remains. You'll know they're clean when you hear a clicking sound. Re-lubricate the bearings with honey.Attach fencing wire to the bottom bicycle spokes to support the frames containing the honey and honeycomb during spinning.
Screw the 5 x 5 square of wood into the bottom centre of the drum by using the drill and six coach screws. Screw the coach screws into the outside of the wooden block. Remember that the centre half-inch threaded rod will rest on this wood block, so place the block precisely.
Place one bearing on the 5 x 5 wooden block. Attach two half-inch nuts as done previously with the four quarter-inch threaded rods that connect the bicycle rims and spokes, except with a bearing now present.
Insert the 2 x 3 wood block near the top of the bucket. The half-inch threaded rod in the centre will go through this wood block, extending out the top of the bucket. Attach the 2 x 3 wooden block using the remaining two half-inch nuts. The nuts should be placed and tightened on the central threaded rod.
The honey extractor is now ready to use. Insert the frames containing the honeycombs and honey between the spokes of the bicycle wheel rim. Slowly spin the wheel by hand and use a drill for the remainder of the extraction process.
Tips and warnings
- Do not spin the honey extractor too quickly--this can burst the honeycombs.
- Drilling a hole into the bottom of the drum will make honey collection easier.
- Keep clear of the honey extractor when it is spinning. It could cause injury or death if any part of the body is caught.
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