Introduction: Triple Welded Beehive Stand
A well designed bee hive stand not only looks good, but adds a whole new level of organization to this fascinating hobby. For some reason, hive stands are not standardized. That being said, a careful search online, in various books and articles, and some input from a beekeeping mentor with over 60 years experience turned up several common features. Very few welded examples were found. This design measures 60" wide, 20" deep, 12" tall and includes the following:
Durable. All welded steel construction. Primed and painted, it should last decades. Practically forever in dry climates. Testing in the middle with a 400lb load showed little to no deflection. Don't know how to weld? Here's your excuse to learn! ...with all straight cuts, this is a great first project.
Multiple Hives. Accepts three 8-frame or two 10-frame hives with a nuc box between. Face them to the front, back or sides.
Elevated at least 12". The optional wood hive base with landing board adds another 2". The bees probably don't need it, but it makes observatìon pleasant. Ants, mice and vermin have a harder time getting in. If using screened bottom boards ventilation is better and parasites can't crawl back in. The added height is easier on the back.
Frame Storage. All openings are 18"x18" so standard length Langstroth frames can be stored either direction during hive inspection.
Work Surfaces. Boards can be placed where needed, steel bars can be inserted into open tube ends for even more space.
Stable. The cross bars accept tie down straps. The base channels are 30" wide with 1-1/8" holes in each end for staking down. Use two crossed 1/2" rebar stakes at each corner if conditions require it....to remove, twist out with vice grips.
Portable. The prototype weighs less than 40lbs. Steel rods inserted into the open tube ends can be used as carry handles to lift loaded and strapped stand (with enough helpers and within reason) to a new location. Or use a forklift/tractor.
-1"x1"x.065" square tubing: 2 pcs 60", 4 pcs 20", 6 pcs 18", 4 pcs 10".
-2"x1"x1/8" channel: 2 pcs 30".
-1/2" rebar: Cut as needed 18"-24" for stakes, work surface extensions, handles.
-2"x6" nominal redwood boards: 6 pcs 27". Use between base channels and ground and as work surfaces.
-Tape measure, try square. Soap stone, pencil or scribe.
-Layout table, or a clear section of concrete floor.
-Chop saw, band saw, sawzall or even a hack saw.
-Drill Motor, 3/8" drill bit, 1-1/8" Hole Saw, Center Punch.
-Cee Clamps, Bar Clamps, Vice Grips.
-Propane Torch for weld pre-heats if your welder is low powered.
-Wire Feed Welder, with .030" diameter E71T-11 flux core (easiest for beginners) or E70S-6 gas shielded wire (stronger).
-Arc Welder with 3/32" diameter E6013 for AC current (easier), E7018 for DC current (stronger, but difficult for beginners).
-Angle grinder, or at least a file to deburr cut ends. Grinding welds flush is optional but looks cleaner.
-Primer and paint. Oil based for metal. Phosphoric acid metal prep from home center is cheap insurance.
Step 1: Assembly
Study the photos until you understand how each component assembles into the whole. Note the weld locations and lengths. Even marginal welds are stronger than most people think. Over welding can cause distortion issues difficult to correct. Sometimes less is more.
The 20" cross bars and the 18" longitudinals are best assembled first into a ladder like assembly 20"x58". Straighten any distortion before the next step. The bottom welds of this assembly should not be ground flush. These welds are in tension and need the added reinforcement. The cross bar ends remain open and flush to the outside.
The 60" longitudinals are clamped on top of the completed ladder like assembly and welded down each side with 1" long welds about every 6 inches. Grind down or omit any cross bar welds preventing a close fit. A final positive camber of 1/8" to 1/4" is a nice touch... don't worry if it doesn't happen, it won't affect the strength.
Add the 10" legs at each corner.
Weld the just completed assembly to the 30" base channels all around. If you are using a low power welder, pre-heating the channel at the weld zone 300-400 degrees will improve penetration.
Use a hole saw to add a 1-1/8" hole 1" from each end of the base channels for hold down stakes.
Drill 3/8" weep holes in the bottom center of the 18" longitudinals and in the base channels exactly under the 10" legs to minimize condensation corrosion inside the tubes.
Step 2: Details
The attached photos illustrate the following:
-Open tube ends at crossbars.
-Crossed stakes at base channel ends.
-Weep holes at crossbars and legs.
-Tie down straps.
-Frame storage between crossbars.
-Rods inserted into any two open tubes for extra work space.
-Weld spacing at longitudinals.
Step 3: Completion!
Here are a few photos of the completed project with a couple of 8-frame garden hives. This instructable appears to fill a void.... Many designs are available, but hardly any in steel. If you've never welded before, take a class or find a mentor and give it a try!
Disclaimer: This project and and some of the tools and techniques are my own adaptations and should be viewed as experimental. Build and use at your own risk.
Per the instructables copyright notice, feel free to use this information non-commercially as long as this instructable is credited as the source.
Enjoy! -Bruce Francis