At the 2018 Oregon Country Fair a customer stopped by to say his feeder was attracting bees. Initially I didn’t believe him. In all our years feeding the hummingbirds, we’d never seen any honey bees getting through the feeding ports. I was confident my design kept the bees out.
Later that summer during the heat of August however, I did indeed witness yellow jackets and wasps muscling their way into the chamber to feed. I realized my customer was right, but also that he must have been confusing the honey bees with yellow jackets, wasps, and other yellow stingy things. Humbled, I remedied the situation by making the hole a lot smaller – not very aesthetic but the objective was met.
Then I 3D printed some flowers with a small hole and epoxied them onto the cowling. That also worked: the birds could feed and the insects could not.
I then consulted a machinist. Would it be possible to make an attractive metal flower that, when attached to the cowling, would take up some of the hole’s diameter and shrink it the opening just enough to keep the insects out? The process we created goes like this: stack a dozen or so sheets of metal within a cutting template and laser cut flat flower shapes;
Press a cup shape and extrude the corolla in an arbor press;
Use the same arbor press with different tooling to attach/press the metal flower onto the cowling and paint them.
So there it is; the beta version. My concerns at this point, which I hope to get your feedback on:
- Will the flowers keep the insects out?
- Will the flower stay attached after years of use?
- Will the color stay fast after years of use?
- Do you like the flowers? Are they worth the effort?