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Embossed Rollers - Bee Keeping

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Mark Richards 213/03/2022 10:33:45
2 forum posts
1 photos

As a beekeeper who also enjoys scratch building, I'm trying my utmost to see if I can obtain two aluminium rollers with the embossed pattern to help me make roll my own wax foundation sheets for my bee frames.

I have borrowed a flat embosser that has this profile but the results arent very good at all.

To buy one is "silly" money hence my efforts to make my own. I can get the blank rollers myself it's just someone who could do the embossing that I'm looking for.

The rollers are approx 100mm diameter though this can be larger, and their length is 300mm.

I have photos of these rollers but for the life of me I can't post them on here!



JasonB14/03/2022 07:29:51
22750 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

How to post pictures here

Though having looked at them on the net I can understand why they cost a lot. I doubt anyone here without a 4th axis CNC would want to take on the job of making them and even then the run time would make it a very expensive job for a one off.

Clive Hartland14/03/2022 07:42:20
2820 forum posts
40 photos

Mark, good that you want to do your own wax foundation, but, you will need extensive equipment to make sheet wax and wire embedding paraphanalia. If you want to save money just use a strip of embossed wax along under the top bar they will draw comb as they wish. It is only because we like 'Order', that we supply flat embossed sheet for the bees.

I think that the rollors are not machined but cast, they may even be embossed. and then rolled to round drum confuguration. One possible is to make them from a resin cast, You have an embossed sheet so lay resin down and after make it into a rollor. Exactness is not absolutely nececessary as the bees are exact on size leave it to them.

JasonB14/03/2022 07:57:13
22750 forum posts
2653 photos
1 articles

I thought a change to the title may attract out bee keeping member, looks like it has acted as a honey potwink

Speedy Builder514/03/2022 08:19:45
2613 forum posts
212 photos

Seems like an ideal candidate for 3D printing ? For limited volumes it could work ??


bernard towers14/03/2022 09:02:46
618 forum posts
109 photos

Surely years ago these were spiral milled. I have done a couple of spiral milling jobs (internal m/cycle throttles) unfortunately setup time was about 95% of the job but interesting. Machinerys Handbook has some good info.

Andrew Johnston14/03/2022 09:27:36
6602 forum posts
701 photos

I agree with Clive, the rollers are mostly likely cast. Helical milling (not spiral) doesn't help in forming what look like sharp internal corners on the "teeth". I expect they could be done, to an extent, on a 4-axis CNC, but it wouldn't be economic, for me at least.


Samsaranda14/03/2022 10:33:51
1430 forum posts
5 photos

As Clive says the bees will build their own comb, in Top Bar beehives there is only a wooden bar with a groove milled in it and this is filled with melted beeswax, the bees will build their comb from the groove filled with beeswax, it’s surprising how quickly they can fill a hive with fresh comb. Unless you are keeping bees on an industrial scale then producing your own embossed foundation will be a very expensive exercise, I find that the commercially available embossed foundation is reasonably priced and so easy to use. Dave W

Mark Richards 214/03/2022 10:39:44
2 forum posts
1 photos

Many thanks for all your replies and for posting a photo of what I'm referring to!

The few I've managed to make from the press were way to thick but still managed to make a wire inset tool so that's not a problem.

I have thought about making them from resin.

The technical cutting of such a design is beyond me but will ask a firm that was mentioned to me that does embossing... but dreading the costs!

I always say when something is a heavy challenge that if they made the pyramids thousands of years ago with just man power, no computers and plant, then what I want is achievable!

Any other ideas would be welcome!

Stay safe.


Dave S14/03/2022 12:44:02
370 forum posts
90 photos

Looks a lot like the pattern on retro reflective things - like the reflectors on cycles.

Maybe some clues there for how to


AdrianR14/03/2022 14:05:26
583 forum posts
36 photos

I don't know much about 3d printing but there are several pages on google about 3d printing with beeswax.

Another thought I had was if you can get a foundation sheet and some silicon moulding rubber you could make a mould and then just cast one-sided sheets. Then just use two back to back.


Clive Hartland14/03/2022 14:11:12
2820 forum posts
40 photos

I am pretty sure they are done flat and then folded around a cylinder.

Many years ago when I was young and had 15 hives I wanted to make combs and hives and all that but the cost !

When I was 50 i made hives at a cost, it was a just a fad and I soon returned to buying in the flat. The cost of Cedar wood in the various thicknesses and the complicated set ups thwarted me in the end.

because people found out I had a saw bench and planer they were always wanting something made in my time and cost! Amazing how many planks of wood I shaved and cut.

Nick Welburn14/03/2022 14:25:05
128 forum posts

Surely there is a simple answer? is it a pineapple twist roller?

Edited By Nick Welburn on 14/03/2022 14:25:51

Max Tolerance14/03/2022 19:02:51
57 forum posts

As the name suggests these rollers are embossed. A single tool is made something like a knurling wheel only more robust. It is then forced under pressure into a softened roller. The embossed roller is then hardened or more frequently hard chrome plated. If a pair is required the first roller is made and hardened and used to emboss the second roller. Ensuring a perfect pattern match.

Grindstone Cowboy14/03/2022 19:17:33
858 forum posts
64 photos

Just a thought - if, as you say, you can get a flat embosser, could that (or maybe a par of them) not be used in conjunction with two rollers arranged as per the traditional mangle?


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