3D Printing is Still a Goal for Creators of Recycled Plastic Bee Boxes

Share this Article

xlogo.png.pagespeed.ic.7XLXoTo0G6For some reason, bees come up a lot in 3D printing. If you think about it, bees are kind of like tiny living 3D printers – in fact, some strange ideas about genetically modifying bees to act as actual 3D printers have already been presented. But we’ve also seen several cases of people using 3D printing to help bees, which, sadly, need a lot of help right now. Recently, New Zealand researchers developed a technique of 3D printing honeycombs to help bees with their workload, and now some Australian beekeepers are going a step further with their plan to 3D print entire beehives.

beeHiveHaven is a Sunshine Coast startup that builds bee boxes for honeybees and stingless bees, a harmless relative of the honeybee that is equally crucial to pollination and therefore global food supply. They’re also equally threatened – perhaps even more so, as the native Australian stingless bee cannot regulate its temperature the way honeybees can. According to Ann Ross, co-founder of HiveHaven, stingless bees start dying off when temperatures get to about 40 degrees Celsius.

“Compare the stingless native bee to a honeybee, which collects water on a hot day and fans the hive — as a sort of evaporative cooler — the stingless native bee doesn’t have the ability to do that, and are very susceptible to heat,” Ross said.

Ann Ross of HiveHaven (Photo: Brett Wortman)

Ann Ross of HiveHaven [Photo: Brett Wortman]

To combat this threat, Ross and others at HiveHaven are trying to build 3D printed beehives that can regulate their own temperature – and do a lot more. Without human interference, nature has a pretty good system for keeping itself healthy, balanced and regulated. Unfortunately, humans have interfered quite a bit with nature, causing everything to get out of whack. Climate change, pesticides, habitat alteration and more have made the global bee population very vulnerable. Thankfully, there are humans like Ann Ross and her husband and co-founder Jeff, who are using some of our most advanced technologies to bring back some of the balance we have upset.

hivehavenTraditionally, beekeepers have used boxes made from old growth hoop pine, but the material has become unsustainable, so the Rosses developed a method of building bee boxes from HDPE, which is derived from recycled plastic bottles. The plastic boxes are durable and provide protection from diseases and pests. They require little maintenance, are easily washed and sanitized, and HiveHaven even offers built-in GPS and Radio Frequency Identification technology.

HiveHaven manufactures two varieties of the boxes to address the different needs of honeybees and stingless bees. Currently, Jeff Ross is milling them by hand, but the process takes a lot of time, so the Rosses are hoping to begin 3D printing the boxes so that they can mass-produce them. According to Ann Ross, 3D printed material also offers more effective insulation and protection from spore-based disease.

honeycombsUnfortunately, 3D printing a bee box costs around $900, whereas a traditional pine box costs about $100. Last year, HiveHaven ran an Indiegogo campaign to try to raise enough money to start 3D printing, but the campaign fell short of its funding goals. The Rosses weren’t discouraged; the money they did raise gave a big boost to their company, but for now they have put 3D printing on hold. It’s still a goal for the future, though, and the company has been successful in spreading their bee boxes around Queensland. The boxes are in place at several trial locations along the Sunshine Coast, and the Queensland Beekeepers Association has been successfully using them for over a year.

Right now, HiveHaven is seeking corporate sponsorship to help further their research. They can be contacted at hello@hivehaven.com.au, or you can reach them on Facebook. You can see their original crowdfunding pitch below. Tell us what you think of this concept in the HiveHaven 3D Printed Bee Boxes forum on 3DPB.com.

[Images: HiveHaven, via Facebook]

 

Facebook Comments

Share this Article


Related Articles

Australian Man Receives 3D Printed Titanium Replacement for Sternum

Let Kids Design With Toybox’s 3D Printer



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

How 3D Printing is Helping Wildlife Conservation

In recent years, a number of animals have gone extinct. Making matters worse, an increasing number are on the verge of extinction or their survival is threatened. There are a...

3D Printing News Briefs: April 3, 2019

To kick off this week’s first edition of 3D Printing News Briefs, we’ve got a fun project to share with you, before moving on to events, business, education, and software....

Volvo’s Conservation Project: 3D Printed Tiles for a Living Seawall at Sydney Harbour

Oysters, seaweed, fish, algae and many more organisms have a new home at North Sydney Harbour. At one of the world’s largest Living Seawalls in Bradfield Park, an ocean conservation...

Titomic Licenses Two CSIRO Patents for 3D Printing Titanium Piping, Signs Acquisition Agreement with FTT

Renowned for its metal Kinetic Fusion (TKF) technology, Australian 3D printing company Titomic recently signed an MoU with China’s largest manufacturer and global exporter of titanium powder in order to secure a high quality...


Training


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!