Print Of The Month - May 🐝

This month, there has been a lot of buzz about the office.

The weather has been starting to get better and Sam has been spending some time setting up his new allotment. Last week was also host to World Bee Day, so I thought it would be a great idea to kill two birds with one stone and make a bee hotel for Sam’s allotment to help attract pollinators to the area and generally help the nearby bugs and plants.

The purpose of World Bee Day is to raise awareness of the importance of the role that bees and other pollinators play for the ecosystem and the threats they face.

Bees are incredibly important to plants and flowers, and some species of bees are endangered and have lost a lot of their natural habitat, so any help you can give them with projects like this can go a long way. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations is urging everyone to take action to help save the popular pollinators.

I had a look on a few file sharing sites and came across a number of excellent 3D printable options for bee hotels that have recently been made by the community.

After doing a bit of research, I found that some of the designs were using printed bug hole sections, which although is nice and easy print, is not always good for the bugs as plastic holes can accumulate mold over time and if the holes are not well ventilated can cause harm to some of the insects that we are trying to protect.

So with this in mind, the one I used was the ‘Modern Bee Hotel’ by Zimo on printables that you can find via the link below.

I liked the look of this one as it had nice sectioned off bays that I could fill with appropriate materials for the bees to hide in like sticks and twigs, and it gave me some freedom to do some nice multi-color prints for the hexagonal pattern on the front and back of the hotel on the bambu labs machines.

For this print, as it needs to go outside for long periods of time, I used Copymaster PET-G bottle green, and yellow because it's water resistant, a bit stronger and has better UV resistance than PLA. For the printer I used a Bambu labs A1 with an AMS lite. I used the green as it's a good natural color that should not look too out of place on the allotment and the yellow is a nice bright color similar to the kinds of flowers that bees like which should help attract bees and other pollinators to the hotel.

I used the standard 0.4mm nozzle that the A1 comes with at a layer height of 0.2mm, 2 layer walls and 20% infill. I used honeycomb infill, to stay with the bee theme in the hopes that you would be able to see the hexagonal pattern through the semi transparent bottle green PET-G.

The roof I printed in yellow, and I printed the body in the bottle green. For the front and back panels, I left the frame green and filled in the hexagonal sections using the fill tool in bambu studio to give the hexagons a yellow pattern in the recessed areas.

After the print was finished, it was just a case of filling it up with lots of things for the bees to hide in and using some M6 screws to fix it all together.

You can see the copymaster PET-G on the website via the link below. It's on sale at the moment for £13 for a 1kg spool, so be sure to snap some up while stocks last!

All that was left to do now was figure out a good place to put it.

Looking on the friends of earth website, they recommend placing it in a dry, sunny area facing south or south east. Ideally, it needs to be securely fixed to a wall or post a meter or more off the ground.

You can see some more detailed information on how to care for your new bee friends on their website via the link below.

Sam took some pictures for us with the bee hotel in place on his allotment so you can see it in action below.

I think it looks BEEutiful don't you?

Leave a comment if you have tried a project like this in your garden, we would love to hear from you!

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