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: (15) | 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

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