A DEVELOP3D reader designs his own beehive

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Before I buzz off for the year, I wanted to share a beehive design that one of our DEVELOP3D readers has been working on.

Like myself Gary Hammond, PLM technical consultant at Majenta, is a brand new beekeeper having only started this year. But unlike me, who opted for a bright green plastic Beehaus, Hammond went down the more traditional route and purchased two 14×12 national hives. However, he soon realised that although this size of beehive is great for bigger colonies, it wasn’t suitable for the small swarm he had.

“Not long after, DEVELOP3D launched the Design Buzz competition which got me thinking and after a few ideas about smokers and hive tools, my thoughts came back to the hive itself,” says Hammond.

“As I gained more experience and read up on top bar hives, this appeared to be the way forward. I read in an issue of BBKA news about contaminated wax foundation that typically we buy for our hives and they gave plans on a frame that allowed the bees to make their own foundation.”
So, with his laptop in hand along with NX8.5, Hammond set about designing his own top bar hive that is compatible with the existing 14×12 frames as well as the new ones.

“The design of the hive will allow me to have up to three colonies living in it at any one time. Merging colonies and queen rearing will be easier than with my national hives,” he explains.


Hammond will build his hive out of plywood as it’s easy to cut using a hand saw and a router. But he is aware that the design may change when he actually starts cutting the plywood, but hopefully not too much.

“I’m hoping to find some time over the Christmas break to look at running thermal and flow analysis on the hive to see how the ventilation system will work in different ambient temperature conditions… once again using NX. The results of which may change the plans for future hives.”

Hammond will be recording the build and regularly tweeting about his progress. You can follow him here.

Bee Happy this Christmas Everyone and a Very Happy New Year.

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