12 July 2012

Our very first design competition, with the challenge being for you to create or modify tools for the modern day apiarist (beekeeper!), open to all, with some amazing prizes.

Beekeeping seems to be undergoing a renaissance at the moment: ever since the announcement of the Colony Collapse Disorder a few years back, urban dwellers have either been planting bee friendly
flowers in their gardens or actually joining the beekeeping ranks themselves.

Location doesn’t seem to be a problem, with hives being kept in small gardens and on roof terraces overlooking the city below.

In order to be a beekeeper there are a number of essential tools, apart form the hive obviously, that need to be purchased. One well-known piece of equipment in the beekeeper’s toolkit is the smoker.

Available in various sizes in stainless steel or copper, the basic premise is that you place lit fuel (whether it be smoke cartridges, hessian sacking or twigs) inside the smoker and then use the bellow to puff the smoke out through the nozzle.

By directing the smoke towards the bees, it calms them down when the beekeeper comes to inspect the hive. The ‘modern day’ smoker was created in around 1875 and since then the design hasn’t changed much.

Is it time for a redesign? We think so.

The competition


Redesign a piece of existing beekeeping equipment (such as the smoker) or design a completely new tool to add to the beekeeper’s toolkit that is user friendly, sustainable, easy to manufacture and bee friendly


Create a sketch, 3D CAD model or rendering of your concept with a brief description of how it works


30 July 2012


Email your entries to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Judges include a panel of design professionals as well as experienced beekeepers


Not only will the winning design be made into a 3D physical prototype by the good people at IPF, but there are also a range of prizes up for grabs for the winner and two runners up, including having a stake in your very own beehive without actually getting your hands sticky through the British Beekeepers Association’s ‘Adopt a Beehive’ initiative.

Further prizes include a first prize of a NVIDIA Quadro 2000 graphics card by PNY, a Mid-range professional graphics solution with 1GB of GDDR5 memory for fast processing of complex models and scenes.
Meanwhile PNY have also offered a runner up prize of an NVIDIA Quadro 600, an entry-level professional graphics solution with 1GB of DDR3 memory.

The winning designs will be showcased here on and in the September issue of DEVELOP3D.

The British Beekeeping
3D Printing Specialists IPF:

Comments on this article:

Not sure from this page what you are. Do you provide software, hardware, or what?
Is a submission to be on any particular platform or will Sketchup be OK?

Posted by Neville on Sunday 03 2012 at 07:33 AM

Hi Neville,

SketchUp is great.

Look forward to receiving your entry.

Posted by Tanya Weaver on Friday 08 2012 at 03:31 PM

I am a beekeeper using j shaped tool.  Looking forward to seeing some new designs

Posted by gill hutson on Thursday 21 2012 at 10:05 AM

I paint my j hive tool with bright paint so when lost they can be hopefully found.  To keep it clean I wash with washing soda.  A small hole(that could double as nail remover, it it had pointed end) would be useful as it could be hung by it.

Posted by gill hutson on Thursday 21 2012 at 11:04 AM

Thanks Gill - Some great pointers!

Take note designers!

Posted by Stephen Holmes on Thursday 21 2012 at 11:18 AM

Just reading thogurh your website reply on how much money you can make.  You keep mentioning the it takes seven 15 minute days for each hive.  Does that mean you need to dedicate seven days out of the season to do the work, or are you meaning it take 15 minutes EVERY day per hive?  I’m just trying to get a feel for the time required.Thanks

Posted by Tarciana on Tuesday 04 2012 at 02:24 PM

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