The Bee Bunka Mould Set
Concrete is a cheap, durable and easy to use material. Typically concrete is made from a mixture of cement, sand, stone and water. These materials are widely-available, found almost anywhere on the planet - in fact concrete is the 2nd most consumed substance on Earth after water. The cement (a product of limestone) reacts chemically with the water, forming a hard binding matrix that fuses the aggregates together into a material similar to stone. When initially mixed with water the mixture forms a slurry that is easy to pour and form into shapes using moulds or forming tools.
In recent years lightweight-concrete has become a common and sought-after building material, that is allowing the benefits of concrete to be applied in various products and fields. Lightweight-concrete is typically made using expanded clay, shale or slate as an aggregate to replace some or all of the aggregates. Perlite, vermiculite and polystyrene are typical examples of expanded lightweight-aggregates, although certain types of boiler-ash, slag and charcoal from furnaces can be used to achieve similar results. Depensing on the mix-design (percentage of aggregates, cement and water added) the weight of the concrete can be substantially reduced. Perlite and vermiculite are good insulators and have extremely high burn thresholds, which when added to concrete can create insulation and protection from extreme temperatures. Using these aggregates reduces the concrete's strength, although by carefully designing the mixture and adding sufficient reinforcement a relatively high strength can be maintained.
Enter the Bee Bunka Mould Set, simple tools to make your own lightweight-concrete Langstroth style beehives. As-easy-as baking a cake; prepare the moulds, mix the materials, pour the concrete, let it cure and remove the parts.
With these low-tech moulding tolls you can make everlasting beehives offgrid, anywhere, cheaply and quickly.
When we started developing a concrete beehive production system we tested a variety of different moulding techniques, mixes, materials and processes. We also had beekeepers, engineers, farmers and builders weigh in on the concepts at various stages. What we eventually discovered was that in order to make a beehive out of lightweight concrete, we needed to keep things simple. Although the design of the Bee Bunka may appear straightforward at a glance, what lies beneath is a careful balancing act. Put simply, the design ensures that the various requirements of the material, the bees, the beekeeper and the manufacturer (person using the moulds) are met.
The Bee Bunka Mould Set consists of a brood chamber, super chamber and lid mould. The moulds are made from high-impact and chemically resistant thermo-formed plastic. The material and design is the result of over 3 years of testing, refinement and iteration. The plastic comes away from the concrete perfectly every time, with some help from the specially engineered shape of each of the parts. The thermo-formed plastic makes the moulds affordable without compromising on quality and strength - I will replace any moulds (used correctly) that do not produce at least 100 parts. The moulds are all one-part tray-moulds (with inserts) which means that they work in a similar way to moulds for ice-cubes, cakes or sand-castles.
The moulds can be purchased directly from Beegin, and you are then free to make beehives at your leisure and do with them what you wish. You can sell the beehives, run experments with them and simply use them to expand your apiaries. If you are only planning to make a few beehives, we suggest trying to find someone nearby that already has a set of moulds who can sell hives to you or rent the moulds out. Otherwise the complete set of moulds (1 lid, 1 brood, 1 super) will allow you to make your hives. If you are planning to make one or two hives a week for a long time we suggest buying a set with 2 supers to speed up your super production. If you are in a hurry, and want to produce a hive everyday, three mould sets will be ideal. Finally if you are planning a serious production of the beehives five-ten moulds sets will keep someone busy full time.
We take orders via email or phone call. That way we can assist with finding affordable shipping rates based on your location. We work with a trusted local courrier and an international forwarding agent to get our moulds to clients safely, quickly and affordably. So choose a set of moulds and let us know where you'd like them delivered to, and we will provide you with a quotation right away.
How long does concrete last?
Concrete can last for thousands of years. The oldest known man-made concrete dates back to around 500 BCE.
How strong is lightweight-concrete vs. regular concrete?
Average concrete strength is about 3000psi (lbs/square inch). Some concrete can reach strengths over 20,000 psi. The mixture we advise is about 2000psi.
How long does a mould last?
The plastic we use for the moulds is chemically resistant and our manufacturing process ensures easy demoulding. The moulds will last at least 100 castings (make 100 parts) if used correctly (handled with care & generous application of oil).
How long does concrete take to set/cure?
Concrete sets in 48 hours, at which point it is often hard enough to be demoulded. Concrete reaches 70% of its strength in the first 7 days, and is fully cured after 28 days. If kept wet and cool for the first 2-7 days the strength of the concrete can be greatly improved.
How much does it cost to make a concrete beehive?
About $35 or R400. Download our Instruction Manual (link above) for more details.
What is the difference between a Basic Set and Production Set?
The Basic Set of moulds allows you to make all the parts for a Bee Bunka - brood base, super and lid. However, a Bee Bunka brood chamber is made by placing a super on top of the brood base. So the initial will make a brood chamber and a lid, then you will need to cast a super again later. The Production set comes with 2 super moulds, so that everytime you cast, you make a Bee Bunka with a complete brood chamber and one super. The difference is speed of production.