This article is in progress, as I'm making the cut tomorrow and thus only have design pictures. Expect it to be updated with much more information and illustration soon.
Beehives are pretty expensive. The cheapest to be found on ebay or amazon are in the $250, while most good-quality hives retail for twice as much. This instructable provides the opportunity to make one yourself a high quality hive in an hour, for a pittance. If you're a member at the Techshop, all you need to purchase for this entire project is a 4x8 sheet of the wood you want to use and a $10 router bit. No screws, no nails.
Time to cut: 1 hour
Time to assemble: 5 minutes
Cost: $60 or $152 if you need to take the Shopbot class.
The Shopbot Alpha is the only machine necessary for this project, as the whole thing is cut from a sheet of wood. The class is $92, but once you take it you can use any shopbot machine at any Techshop, and every shop so far has at least one.
-One 4 x 8 x .75 sheet of the wood of your choice. Do some research to find out what's good for the bees, and what will stand up to weather. Birch plywood is around $45, and looks good.
-One router bit with a .5" shank, an end mill or a straight bit both work, optimally use one that is capable of plunging.
Step 1: Draw Up Your Design or Use Ours
Here's the design we came up with for a top-bar hive. It is assembled with press fit joints and is very solid with no requirement for nails, screws or other fasteners. If you'd rather design it your own way, just remember that your dimensions should be tight and that the shape of a top-bar hive is very precise.