Monday, August 22, 2011

Uncapping Tank Design

Here is the uncapping tank I designed and built this year. I designed one last year that had a few flaws- mainly that I had a difficult time removing the caps from the tank without dropping them down into the honey. Hopefully this years design will correct that problem.

I am no engineer nor did I try for great precision when I built this thing. I just kind of eyeballed the cuts- It's not the prettiest, but I think it will work.

First I have a photo of what the final product looks like.

I started with 2 identical plastic bins that nest one inside the other.

I took one of the bins and drilled holes down in the corners on the sides, cut a notch in the top and cut the bottom completely out.

I then shaped a piece of hardware cloth to the length and width of the floor of the bin. I formed loops and wired it all in place so two wooden dowels could slip in the ends.

The hardware cloth fits inside the plastic bin and dowels slip through the holes in the corners of the bin, through the hardware cloth loops, and out the holes on the other side. The dowels need to be long enough to extend a couple of inches beyond the sides of the bin.

I cut notches down in the sides of the top corners of the second bin as seen in the photo above.
The dowels extending out from the first bin fit down into the notches of the second bin.
Finally, a small piece of wood fits across the notches cut into the top of the first (top) bin. I used a 1X2.

The strip across the top is used as a rest for the frame you are uncapping. As the caps fall from the frame they land on top of the hardware cloth in the bottom of the top bin. The honey then drains through the harware cloth and into the bottom bin. When all the honey has drained, the top bin can be lifted off and the honey can be poured out of the bottom bin and through a filter.

I intended to install a honey gate in the bottom bin to make it easier to transfer the honey to other containers but I never got around to ordering one. If this design works out I will install one for next year.


Sara said...

Hi there,

I am in the midst of building an uncapping tank, and I came across your design. I am eager to incorporate what you came up with! I have one question - how did you cut the bottom out? Did you use a utility knife?

Thanks very much!


Robertson Family said...

A utility knife is exactly what I used! Good luck- I hope it works out well for you.


DM said...


I notice you posted this a year ago - did the tank work as well as you'd hoped? I'm thinking of using your design. Anything you would do differently in retrospect?


Robertson Family said...

DM- It does work pretty well. I chose a larger sized plastic bin so that there would be plenty of room for the caps to spread out making it easier for the honey to drip out. But the honey spreads out in the bottom making it harder to scrape it all out. I would like to devise some kind of way to put in a metal sheet to funnel the honey down to one end into a smaller container that sits inside the main piece. haven't figured out how to do that yet. If you have an idea pass it on to me. Also I might use a plastic bin made from a heavier gauge of plastic. The caps/honey are so heavy that it tends to buckle the sides of the container a little.

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