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I'm a welder working in a general fabrication business with access to several different types of metal. I want to build an uncapping vat on my own. Does anyone have plans for making one? I'm considering using stainless steel, but there are many different designations of stainless. Are all ok to use for food grade purposes? What about aluminum? Can I make an uncapping vat out of aluminum?
 

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I don't know about aluminum, but food grade stainless is referred to as 304 if I remember correctly. Are you talking about an uncapping tray/tank?
Sent you a pm Max.
 

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Look at several of the bee supply catalogs to get some good ideas, most of them even give a few dimensions.
 

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Most any 300 series stainless steel are good to use and are food-grade (302, 304, 316L). If you are going to form these (bending etc.) please note that they all work-harden very readily. Get your bends in on one quick motion because you likely aren't going to bend it back!
For welding, you will need 300 series MiG wire and tri-mix or your welds will rust readily. I believe you still just use Argon for TiG, but with matching alloy feed wire.

400 series stainless steels are so called "surgical stainless" is often used for scapels or cutlery (440C or 420C) are very common. The "C" is designating carbon for hardness.

Most do not work harden as fast as the 300 series alloys, most accept heat-treatment for hardness. Some of these will corrode, but typically only a bloom. These may still be usable for your tank.

437SS has great corrosion resistance, but it's hard as all get out (needs a plasma cutter to cut it... I broke more than one bi-metallic bandsaw blade trying!) I don't think it bends all that well either so you'd be welding all seams. Tri-mix is needed for MiG welding as well...

I wouldn't use Aluminum. Most Al alloys will oxidize in an acidic solution and the oxide layer is readily rubbed off. Rub your hand across most sheets of stock aluminum (a common grade like 6061 in particular) and it will come up blackened from the oxide layer. Some alloys are considered food-grade (used in pots and pans), but I am not sure which...
 

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well explained Paul:thumbsup:
 

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pturley great post. that's a good one.....

and a snip..
I wouldn't use Aluminum. Most Al alloys will oxidize in an acidic solution and the oxide layer is readily rubbed off. Rub your hand across most sheets of stock aluminum (a common grade like 6061 in particular) and it will come up blackened from the oxide layer. Some alloys are considered food-grade (used in pots and pans), but I am not sure which...

tecumseh:
I think the argument for not using aluminum was that the oxidation process while in contact with the honey would also darken the honey somewhat.
 

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I saw one homemade one using a large stainless kitchen sink for the inside portion. About 18 X 24 from memory. The outer portion which serves only to hold the heated water bath was fabricated aluminum sheet. Honey only comes in contact with the stainless inner. A 1500 watt hot water tank element provides the heat. More heat could have been used both to bring it up quicker and to keep the cappings from building up. The biggest trick is bringing the honey drain down through the water bath and keeping everything sealed.
 
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