DIY Honey Extractor Out of Plastic Buckets

James Noble, a small-scale beekeeper, made a DIY honey extractor for cheap to help harvest honey on a few honey hive frames each year.

| March/April 2016

Spending hundreds of dollars on a honey extractor for his few hives didn’t make sense to James Noble, so he built his own. It needed to be big enough to hold two standard hive frames loaded with honey (about 6 pounds each). Using a plastic pail and an electric drill to power the spinner, he’s able to extract honey without damaging the delicate comb.

“I’m a hobby beekeeper with just three hives. I only need an extractor for a day or two each year,” says Noble.

To make the extractor, Noble needed a chamber, a spinner with a central rod with mounts for the frames, and a way to seat the spinner in the chamber. For the chamber, he selected a food-grade 7-gallon pail. It’s slightly taller than a 5-gallon pail with a similar diameter. He bought a 1-1⁄2-inch honey gate, available through beekeeping retailers for $10 to $12, and installed it over a hole cut near the bottom of the pail.

The spinner was made with a 36-inch-long, 3⁄8-inch stainless steel threaded rod and frame holding boards cut from heavy-duty, white plastic cutting board stock.

“I used 3⁄4-inch-thick stock to give the centrifuge some heft, which is helpful so the frames do not completely dominate the weight,” says Noble.

The top board is a 5-by-8-inch rectangle. The bottom board is an 8-inch hexagon. Both boards were center drilled for the rod. Two 1⁄2-inch square holes were cut out of each plate (opposite each other, not across from each other) to accept the tips of frame top bars. The holes are positioned 1-1⁄4 inches from the edges of the board.

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