DIY Extractor: How We Made Ours

There's no doubt about it, there are lots of home made extractors out there.

While researching this topic I found YouTube videos of people using old washing machine drums, steel burn barrels, plastic drums with bicycle tires for the inner cage and a whole lot of other interesting techniques.

Over the winter my dad set about to make our own 8 frame electric extractor. Our extractor is custom built to our specifications, so I won't provide a lot of dimensional details, rather, just the basics to get you thinking in the general direction.

Our Barrel
We found a source for brand new food grade plastic barrels, and bartered for it. Bartered? Yup! A distributor was willing to trade us a new, empty barrel for a jar of honey.

The Basket
With a barrel in hand, we could measure and devise a way to make an inner basket to hold the frames to be spun. Using scrap stainless steel and a welder, he devised a basket almost identical to those sold in the commercial extractors.

It featured pivoting bearings, legs to keep the basket 4-6 inches off the bottom of the barrel (it can extract up to 10 gallons before needing to drain), and a bracket system to hold the motor and controls.

Below is a picture of the bottom of the basket up close. You can see the flanges of stainless steel bent into a shape that holds the frames.

Below is a picture of the side of the extractor basket close up, and shows the flanges of stainless steel bent into shape to hold the frames and keep them inside the basket while they're spinning.

Here is a picture of the top of the extractor basket, from a bird's eye view.

The basket sits on top of the stand, and the whole unit fits down inside the extractor barrel. Once inside the barrel, the motor and coupling is fitting into place and we're ready to go!

Because the extractor barrel is made from plastic and not steel, it's very light-weight and easy to maneuver and store.

My only real contribution was drilling the hole in the bottom and adding my 1 1/2 inch honey gate. I was nervous as heck drilling a hole in the barrel to add the gate. After all, I was staring at a brand new extractor, and I was inching a hole saw right towards it.

The honey gate went in smoothly, and it was ready for use.

P.S. - I'll post a few more details about the motor and control.

The Motor
The motor and speed control are the same Baldor products that ship with some commercial built extractors. We were able to acquire the items (without cost) because they were being discarded. It could have been for any reason including quality control, but for our purposes, we found nothing wrong with them and they seem to be working great.

Here are the motor specs:

Torque: 350
Max Speed: 2500 rpm
Max Voltage: 100 Vdc
Current Continous: 7 A
Current Peak: 25 A
Voltage Constant: 40 V/Krpm

I've seen others use ceiling fan motors, and those just don't have the torque needed to spin at the slow speeds when the extractor is first started and the majority of honey is spun out of the frames.

We've discovered spinning at a slow to medium speed for 5-10 minutes will remove 80-90% of the honey in the frames. Spinning at a medium to fast or fast speed for the last several minutes will sling the remaining honey out.

If you have other questions, comments or ideas, leave them in the comments below! If you've made your own, drop us a link to your extractor, we'd love to see it!

Comments For This Post: (25) | Post Your Comments! Hide The Comment Form
Holly says...
Date:   May 16, 2012, 1:02 pm

That is pretty cool!  Bravo on the design and making it yourself!  Can you write a little more about the motor?  Thanks for sharing!

Tim says...
Date:   May 18, 2012, 11:04 pm

Impressive set up.

Anonymous says...
Date:   May 22, 2012, 11:22 am


This is what makes your BLOG so great!  Your teaching us that using the old knoggin can  solve most problems and maybe save  some money.    I'd like to borrow your dad for a few days myself ! 

Chris says...
Date:   August 8, 2012, 1:08 pm

Excellent work!
Did your motor come from a treadmill?

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   August 12, 2012, 12:28 pm

I've updated the post above to include a few more details about the motor, and where we "acquired it". It's in storage at my dad's house currently, but if you'd like specs on torque, amp rating, etc., let me know and I'll get them posted too.

Earl says...
Date:   October 12, 2012, 9:40 pm

Came across your blog and found it great. Was wondering if you could post the motor specs as I could not find them. I am looking to build my own and really like your design. Keep up the good work.   

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   October 15, 2012, 7:43 am

Here are the motor specs we used:

Torque: 350
Max Speed: 2500 rpm
Max Voltage: 100 Vdc
Current Continous: 7 A
Current Peak: 25 A
Voltage Constant: 40 V/Krpm

We've never had to turn the motor up more than 40% power. We love it.

Christin says...
Date:   April 9, 2013, 4:22 pm

where did you get the motor and how much was it

Ashley says...
Date:   April 13, 2013, 2:19 pm

I love the idea of using recycled parts and bartering and I also have a dad that's handy with the welder...  But I have medium frames.  Do you think a 55 gallon drum would be big enough to run medium frames radially like you have them or would they have to be tangential? 



Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   April 14, 2013, 9:35 pm

Good question Ashley!
The extractor will hold up to 8 shallow or medium frames. Alternatively it can hold 4 deep frames at a time. Shallow, Medium or Deep, they all spin radially. The reduced capacity for deeps is because the frames are bigger and they get in the way of each other, so we leave an empty space and just use every other spot for deeps.

Anonymous says...
Date:   November 24, 2014, 7:35 pm

Great Job can you tell me where you got the bearings

Anonymous says...
Date:   November 24, 2014, 7:35 pm

Great Job can you tell me where you got the bearings

John says...
Date:   January 22, 2015, 8:29 am

I have not located a source for the stainless steel components. Could you direct me to your source?

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   January 23, 2015, 3:43 pm

I was able to get the stainless steel as scrap from my father's work. A quick CraigsList/Ebay search for scrap stainless might help locate some materials? I know it's pretty expensive stuff to buy new, so we went used/scrap.

Edith says...
Date:   March 13, 2015, 2:25 am

Hi. I am from Kenya and we are starting a plant where by all our farmers can bring their honey and be extracted for packing. Can you please send us a manual on how to make an extractor. ? Thank you

Leon says...
Date:   July 18, 2015, 12:08 pm

What is the diameter of your barrel and where would be a good place to start looking for one?

Leon says...
Date:   July 28, 2015, 11:19 am

Still looking for a barrel. Any suggestions as to who would handle them? Thanks

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   July 29, 2015, 11:47 pm

Hi Leon,

My extractor is in storage, so I can't measure it at the moment. However, it's a standard size 55 gallon drum. I see lots of them for sale on CraigsList in my area, you can also Google Search "Food Grade Barrels" and find several companies that sell them also. Let me know if you build an extractor, I'd be happy to share pictures for others to see additional designs! Chris

Phillip says...
Date:   May 25, 2016, 9:35 am

Do you think I could fit 12 medium frames?  Also any special clean up?  I'm thinking throw in some laundry soap and a load of jeans.  Thank you for taking the time and effort to share.

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   May 25, 2016, 10:01 am

Hi Phillip,

Our extractor is an 8 frame size and can fit deep, medium or shallow frames. I'm sure you could add additional frame holders closer together to get a few more in at once if you wanted to.

I'm quite happy with the 8 frame size myself, any more than 8 in a DIY extractor and it becomes harder to balance the frames so the extractor doesn't try to "walk" across the floor like an un-balanced washing machine. Might need a heavier tank to keep it held still if it becomes out of balance.

For cleanup, we hook a garden hose up to the hot water tank directly to get water as hot as we can (honey rinses off easier with hot water than it does with cold water) and use kitchen dish soap to wash and rinse the extractor before going back into storage.

Although, you may be onto something, "honey washed jeans" could be a new fashion.

Anonymous says...
Date:   June 19, 2016, 11:10 am

Where did you get the motor? 

Paul McGowan says...
Date:   May 23, 2017, 3:45 am

Hi Chris,

Can you please email me the instructions on how to build this 8 frame extractor with dimensions? My email address is


I love your blog.


Kind regards,

Paul McGowan 

Justin Ruf says...
Date:   June 27, 2017, 3:53 pm

I am really impressed with your extractor and design of it.  I was wondering where you got your stainless from and also like Paul mentioned, I would really like to have the dimensions and plans of your extractor.  If nothing else I would like the specs for the basket and the and the clips you made to hold the frames in there for extraction.  My email is

Thank you for posting this and I look forward to hearing from you

Rance Bennett says...
Date:   January 31, 2019, 10:30 am

Is there a detailed plan for building this if so how much and can you send it to my email address Thanks

Chris (Show Me The Honey) says...
Date:   February 3, 2019, 7:33 pm

Hi - i don't have detailed plans at this time, although in the spring when we pull the extractor from storage, I'll draw up some plans and make them available.

Post your Comments!

Your Name: (Leave Blank for Anonymous)

(Feel free to link back to your site within your message!)

You should see a captcha above.
If you don't, your network or browser is likely blocking it.
Your comments will not appear until they're approved.