MJT Cell Punch

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Apiarisnt 

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Swift Nick 

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I have just ordered materials to make up a cell punch as per Dave Cushman’s instructions, but I am going to try using 9mm brass tube, cut on one end with a plumbers pipe cutter, this turns the pipe ends under, reducing the diameter, creating a similar effect to using a shell casing. If that doesn’t work out I am going to loctite or solder a short length of 8mm pipe inside to reduce the diameter. As far as I can make out, the diameter reduction is so that the punched wax doesn’t fall out when the tube is held in the Terry clips.
I am also going to try grafting this year, to see which works and which is the best for me.
 

piggy 

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bbwear sell a cell punch kit
 

Antipodes 

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I have just ordered materials to make up a cell punch as per Dave Cushman’s instructions, but I am going to try using 9mm brass tube, cut on one end with a plumbers pipe cutter, this turns the pipe ends under, reducing the diameter, creating a similar effect to using a shell casing. If that doesn’t work out I am going to loctite or solder a short length of 8mm pipe inside to reduce the diameter. As far as I can make out, the diameter reduction is so that the punched wax doesn’t fall out when the tube is held in the Terry clips.
I am also going to try grafting this year, to see which works and which is the best for me.
Pipe cutter is a good idea....
 

elainemary 

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Has anyone tried the MJT Cell Punch? Thorne sell them but I’d like to hear some of your experience before I buy it. Thanks in advance
https://www.thorne.co.uk/image/data/Documents/MJT%20Cell%20Punch%20-%20article.pdf
Yes I’ve tried it. Know the people who make them, based in Beverley. Saw a demo a couple of seasons ago & bought one. Works well. Main thing is to put an older sterilised comb in the hive 4 days before you want to harvest the v young larva. Cell punching works best on old comb, new soft comb is hard to handle in comparison I’ve found.
 

understanding_bees 

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I have just ordered materials to make up a cell punch as per Dave Cushman’s instructions, but I am going to try using 9mm brass tube, cut on one end with a plumbers pipe cutter, this turns the pipe ends under, reducing the diameter, creating a similar effect to using a shell casing. If that doesn’t work out I am going to loctite or solder a short length of 8mm pipe inside to reduce the diameter. As far as I can make out, the diameter reduction is so that the punched wax doesn’t fall out when the tube is held in the Terry clips.
I am also going to try grafting this year, to see which works and which is the best for me.
Nick, I think your idea of using a pipe cutter, which reduces the diameter of the pipe at the position of the cut, is a very practical one. I have made cell cutting punches from very thin walled stainless steel tube, and had cut this to the required length with a 1mm thick cut-off wheel in an angle-grinder.

Finding the best tubing to use, or even determining what type of material is best, may not be as easy as you would like. Stainless steel tubing can be sharpened to produce a keen cutting edge, but may not be easily found. Copper tubing on the other hand is much more easily located, but much softer. With copper tube it would be easy to make a cutting edge, and even if a sharp cutting edge was achieved it would be easily damaged because copper is so soft. Brass, on the other hand, is harder than copper, and if it can be cut and burred effectively with a pipe cutter could be a good choice. The cutting edge which could be produced on a brass tube would be more robust than on a copper tube, but not as durable as on stainless steel.

I was fortunate that I had some stainless steel tubing, of about 9mm diameter, which has proved ideal. In its "previous life" it had formed the horizontal rails of a light-weight (and not very robust) clothes airing rack that was of Chinese manufacture. Perhaps we should all be on the lookout for light-weight stainless-steel clothes airing racks, which we can repurpose!

While talking about the cell cutting punches which I have made, I would like to refer to Nick's comment, "As far as I can make out, the diameter reduction is so that the punched wax doesn’t fall out". This observation is correct. I did not have the use of a pipe cutter, and I do not know whether such a cutter could be successfully used on such thin walled stainless steel tube as I had. When a candidate cell is identified for queen raising, and cut from the comb, it must be gently pushed through the tube so that the harvested larva is accessible to the nurse bees. I was successful in burring over the non-cutting end of the cell cutting punches, and have found that harvested cells do not fall out after they have been pushed through the tube.

Various methods could be used to hold the cell cutting punches onto the cell-raising bar. I have fabricated a wooden bar which is about 35mm square, and which is made of two strips of wood (about 35mm x 17mm) which are screwed together. After fastening the two pieces of wood together, I drilled 10 holes for cell punches. these holes are slightly smaller than the diameter of the punches, and are drilled most of the way through the bar. The screws can then be adjusted to hold the two pieces of wood so that the cell punches can easily be pushed into the bar, or removed from it. Correct adjustment of the screws is very easy, and when correctly adjusted there is no risk of the cell punches falling out of the bar.
 

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Swift Nick 

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Nick, I think your idea of using a pipe cutter, which reduces the diameter of the pipe at the position of the cut, is a very practical one. I have made cell cutting punches from very thin walled stainless steel tube, and had cut this to the required length with a 1mm thick cut-off wheel in an angle-grinder.

Finding the best tubing to use, or even determining what type of material is best, may not be as easy as you would like. Stainless steel tubing can be sharpened to produce a keen cutting edge, but may not be easily found. Copper tubing on the other hand is much more easily located, but much softer. With copper tube it would be easy to make a cutting edge, and even if a sharp cutting edge was achieved it would be easily damaged because copper is so soft. Brass, on the other hand, is harder than copper, and if it can be cut and burred effectively with a pipe cutter could be a good choice. The cutting edge which could be produced on a brass tube would be more robust than on a copper tube, but not as durable as on stainless steel.

I was fortunate that I had some stainless steel tubing, of about 9mm diameter, which has proved ideal. In its "previous life" it had formed the horizontal rails of a light-weight (and not very robust) clothes airing rack that was of Chinese manufacture. Perhaps we should all be on the lookout for light-weight stainless-steel clothes airing racks, which we can repurpose!

While talking about the cell cutting punches which I have made, I would like to refer to Nick's comment, "As far as I can make out, the diameter reduction is so that the punched wax doesn’t fall out". This observation is correct. I did not have the use of a pipe cutter, and I do not know whether such a cutter could be successfully used on such thin walled stainless steel tube as I had. When a candidate cell is identified for queen raising, and cut from the comb, it must be gently pushed through the tube so that the harvested larva is accessible to the nurse bees. I was successful in burring over the non-cutting end of the cell cutting punches, and have found that harvested cells do not fall out after they have been pushed through the tube.

Various methods could be used to hold the cell cutting punches onto the cell-raising bar. I have fabricated a wooden bar which is about 35mm square, and which is made of two strips of wood (about 35mm x 17mm) which are screwed together. After fastening the two pieces of wood together, I drilled 10 holes for cell punches. these holes are slightly smaller than the diameter of the punches, and are drilled most of the way through the bar. The screws can then be adjusted to hold the two pieces of wood so that the cell punches can easily be pushed into the bar, or removed from it. Correct adjustment of the screws is very easy, and when correctly adjusted there is no risk of the cell punches falling out of the bar.
I really like the idea of the split wooden cell holder. I have bought some terry clips, as per the design on Dave Cushman’s site, but the split cell holder is much neater, I think I will follow that design.
Also a comment on Norfolk Honey’s You Tube video on cell punching, where Stuart Spinks unfortunately doesn’t get any cells accepted suggested, the jolt you get pushing the tubes into the terry clips may have damaged or dislodged the larvae, this is speculation, but the split block illuminates this factor.
Thanks for the helpful information and images Understanding Bees.
 

Swift Nick 

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Does anyone know why the cell punch system shown on Dave Cushman’s site (and also BB Wear) has a wooden dowel plunger for every cell holder. My understanding is the plunger is to push the punched wax comb through the cell holder to the correct position, it doesn’t play any part in suspending the cells, that is done by the terry clips (or the neat new split holder idea), so if your cell holders are a consistent length then one wooden plunger should be enough.
Maybe I have missed something? But if not, making 1 or 2 instead of 20 would save a bit of time.
 

betterbee 

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Does anyone know why the cell punch system shown on Dave Cushman’s site (and also BB Wear) has a wooden dowel plunger for every cell holder. My understanding is the plunger is to push the punched wax comb through the cell holder to the correct position, it doesn’t play any part in suspending the cells, that is done by the terry clips (or the neat new split holder idea), so if your cell holders are a consistent length then one wooden plunger should be enough.
Maybe I have missed something? But if not, making 1 or 2 instead of 20 would save a bit of time.
i have found cutting the end off a yellow nicot cup holder drilling it out with 10 mm bit pushing up on tube and gluing in place with hot glue gun means you can put on cell protector ,i use modified bullets as cell punches lovely idea of split bar
 

Swift Nick 

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i have found cutting the end off a yellow nicot cup holder drilling it out with 10 mm bit pushing up on tube and gluing in place with hot glue gun means you can put on cell protector ,i use modified bullets as cell punches lovely idea of split bar
Collectively we are going to end up with a good design here, I was wondering about how to use cell protectors/hair roller cages.
 

Newbeeneil 

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Does anyone know why the cell punch system shown on Dave Cushman’s site (and also BB Wear) has a wooden dowel plunger for every cell holder. My understanding is the plunger is to push the punched wax comb through the cell holder to the correct position, it doesn’t play any part in suspending the cells, that is done by the terry clips (or the neat new split holder idea), so if your cell holders are a consistent length then one wooden plunger should be enough.
Maybe I have missed something? But if not, making 1 or 2 instead of 20 would save a bit of time.
I only have 2 for my ten punches. I could see no reason for every one to have a plunger and unlike Pargyle, don't have the turning ability. 😊
 

Swift Nick 

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Thanks, 2 sounds a good shout, that will save some time.
 

Ian123 

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The plungers are to push the cell back down the tube. Each tube has 1 because at the base of the plunger was also the method of attaching to the bar if that makes sense. Ian
 

Swift Nick 

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The plungers are to push the cell back down the tube. Each tube has 1 because at the base of the plunger was also the method of attaching to the bar if that makes sense. Ian
Yes that makes sense Ian, I am clamping on the tube, so will only need a couple of plungers, one to use & one to lose.
 

Ian123 

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Yes that makes sense Ian, I am clamping on the tube, so will only need a couple of plungers, one to use & one to lose.
The plungers at least in the old versions had a big round base. You could fix a screw in the cell bar and wind them on and off.
 

Apiarisnt 

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I have just bought 50 spent 7.62mm cases from these chaps: 50 x 7.62 Nato Spent Cases (DR14) (UL/1) * and 10mm clips from fleabay: TOOL CLIPS NYLON COATED STEEL TERRY SPRING CLIP OPEN / CLOSED TYPE PLASTIC CLIPS | eBay. Prompt delivery in both instances. Am aiming to make up a cell punch frame at the weekend.

Does anyone have experience of using Ben Harden method with punched cells?
7.62.jpgpunch frame.jpg

Just made them up, put some syrup on them and popped them into the top box of a Ben Harden set up for the bees to clean up
 

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