The details of this Solar Wax Melter first appeared in the February 2014 Newsletter in an article by a member John Hyslop.
I have been using a solar wax melter for about 30 years and apart from a few minor modifications and repairs it is still giving good service. The concept is simple, just a wooden box with a glass lid. Inside the box is a sloping metal tray, above that a 20mm steel mesh onto which I lay a sheet of fly mesh, (plastic or metal). The cappings are placed over the tray.
The fly mesh captures most of the unwanted rubbish and the melted honey/wax mix flows down the tray into the separator. This is based on the old fashioned grease trap idea. It is made from an old small baking tray which I have divided into three compartments by soldering in two baffle plates. The right hand plate (wax side) is sealed (soldered) along the sides and bottom. The left had plate (honey side)is sealed at the sides only and has a 5mm gap underneath and is 5mm higher than the wax plate. The melted cappings flow into the middle section where the honey sinks to the bottom, the wax to the top and any impurities lie in between. The wax flows over the right hand baffle into the RH chamber then out a spout into a container. The honey flows under the left hand divider and into another container.
I use ice cream or yoghurt containers. I can usually get the wax out of the container when solid but otherwise I just destroy the container. I reuse the fly mesh a few times by scraping the muck off with a spatula when hot.
It is not necessary to clean out the separator for each use, but if using it the next day, it must be completely melted and liquid before adding more cappings, otherwise the newly melted cappings will flow over the unmelted wax in the separator into the wrong container. Some impurities build up and stay in the middle section so after a few uses I empty it all when hot and clean it out.
It will easily handle about 30 frames of cappings in one go. On these last few very hot days – over 35 degrees C – it has been working very well reaching 100˚C inside, and I have been melting down older irregular or impure wax blocks for reprocessing.
The wax melter is mounted on a metal frame which can be rotated to follow the sun but will soon have to be moved to avoid the shade.
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