Yesterday I robbed a super from one of my hives in order to test out the honey extractor I made.
I have pictures and some information about building it, and I will post that is soon as I can.
The extractor worked better than I thought. My last one screwed up like an accordion when I tried it. This one stood up to five heavy frames being spun at one time.
What I learned was that when I did fewer than4 frames, the frames tipped over and sent the cage out of balance. I had to load empty frames back into the basket in order the spin them.
I bought a variable speed drill so that I would not have to spin the frames at very high speeds. I learned that I could get the frames up to a good speed (about 400 RPM) and it took about 45 seconds to completely dry out one side of a frame. This is very quick.
I will go back and create some kind of system to hold the frames in place when I spin. I expect that this will limit me to 4 frames. The extractor can hold up to 6 medium frames with just a slight overlap. It can easily hold 5 medium frames or 4 deep frames. I will set it up to do just the 4 frames in case I need to spin the deeps from a dead hive.
I was afraid that the light weight construction would warp when I spun the heavy frames (and they were heavy – most frames were 100% capped honey!). The basket took a beating, even when the frames moved about and it started to buck. At one point I put my knee on the top to hold it steady and while I spun a bucking bronco.
On the negative side, the bees found my spinner and the box I used for uncapping and I could not keep them out. I filtered out dozens of dead bees when I poured out the honey. Last night, the uncapping box was full of bees, too gorged to fly.
When I do this again, I need to find a way to keep the bees away from the works.