Not Meant to Bee...?

HiveHaven: 3D Printed Beehives Innovative but too Expensive

3D Printed Beehives

Fabulous bees need fabulous, sustainable 3D Printed Beehives. HiveHaven was making great strides, but now they’ve put the project on hold. What happened?

Printing a Bee Hive
Printing a Bee Hive

HiveHaven started a crowdfunding campaign last summer to save some bees and make valuable honey. They got pretty far, but didn’t manage to meet their goal. Now, they’re looking for other options.

Based in the Sunshine Coast in Australia, the team had a pretty incredible idea: 3D printed beehives, called “Bee Boxes.” The boxes would prevent issues that normally plague bee colonies: pests, diseases, and overheating.

Moreover, it’s sustainable. For bee keepers (both hobbyists and professionals), a well designed beehive that’s environmentally friendly could be a great development.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been all milk and honey for HiveHaven. While the material used to print the hives was of great quality and was a perfect fit for the project, it has proved too expensive to print.

This setback has another sting: the team is convinced that printed hives maintain better temperature stability. Their bee-of-choice, the stingless native bee, is especially susceptible to heat.

How Expensive are 3D Printed Beehives?

The production of one 3D Printed Bee Box currently runs about $900. A regular timber box could be as low as $100. The result is that the project is completely on hold.

According to HiveHaven cofounder Anne Ross, with “3D printed technology you can create an impervious surface that spoil based diseases can’t penetrate.”

Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it viable business plan. “The challenge of 3D printing is the expense factor, and the time to print each box.” For now, HiveHaven is looking in other directions.

3D Printed Beehives from HiveHaven
3D Printed Beehives from HiveHaven, plus one made of wood (center)

Their current efforts are still focused on HDP (high density polyethylene). A relatively abundant recycled material that, though it can’t quite measure up to the printing process, is much cheaper. Between the fight to save bees and keep the world healthy and harvesting rare honey, HiveHaven is likely to find new investors and interest as they continue.

It’s a great pity that a brilliant use of printing is kept back from protecting the bee population in Australia (and offering them swanky new homes). It is, nonetheless, wonderful to see all kinds of people incorporating printing into their projects and businesses.

HiveHaven is still into Bee Boxes for the long haul, and hopefully the next 3d printed Beehives will be a home run. Go here to learn more about HiveHaven and their previous campaign.

(Via: ABC)