How you go about building BeeMates will depend on your shop, tools and production volume. Obviously, minimizing tool set ups and adopting mass-production techniques will save you time invested in producing each unit. Since each manufacturer will be operating under your own unique set of circumstances I can only offer my general advice and ideas on adopting efficient production techniques.
Acceptable changes to the BeeMate construction plans
Drilling and assembling are two actions that are time consuming when it comes to producing multiple units. I feel there are a couple of ways that production time can be reduced while maintaining a good qualtity product.
1. Glue and Nail Frame Rests to Frame Rails
In my BeeMate plans, the 1 1/2 x 48″ frame rests are attached to the 2 1/2″ x 48″ frame rails using eight – 1 1/2″ #8 screws in countersunk holes. I feel that the frame rests can be attached as securely using waterproof wood glue on the top edge of the frame rail and air nailing with 1 3/4″ or 2″ finishing nails in the same locations. You should test the relative strength of the glue/nail attachment to avoid product failure under repeated reasonable loads. Keep in mind that the BeeMate will be used on uneven ground so there will be a degree of twisting stress on the assembled frames.
I feel the Leg Stops should be attached with glue and screws since these have considerable stress on them under load.
2. Design Manufacturing Process for Customer Assembly
Gearing your production process towards having the customer assemble the unit allows you to make the most efficient use of time and shop space. This means most of the manufacturing process is cutting, drilling and sanding the parts.
Following this approach, the assembly aspect involves:
a). Attaching the frame rests to the frame rails (glue/nails)
b). Attaching Leg Stops with two 1 1/4″ screws.
(Note: You may want to cut or sand the point off the angled end of the leg stops to ensure that there’s sufficient clearance for the leg to rotate when unfolding them – Photo on right).
All components will need countersunk holes pre-drilled with pilot holes drilled in the mating parts to avoid splitting.
When selling fully assembled units, you can use the same process as any customer would. See packaging and shipping page for additional information.
When I built the BeeMate I had a table saw and a hand drill. I built the jigs shown in the pictures below to assist in marking components for cutting and drilling. If you use a table saw, mitre saw and a drill press, you can replicate most of the same functions using bench or fence stops, drilling guides and other methods that suit your needs.
The jigs were made of 3/4″ plywood backers and 3/4″ x 3/4″ edge strips. I drove 3/4″ screws through from the back so that they projected about 1/8″ to 3/16″ proud of the face of the jig. I just pressed each component down onto the screw points to mark all the locations for drilling holes. I include the jigs here simply because they exist. (click on the thumbnails to view a larger image)
The first picture shows half the jig that I used to mark the 48″ long frame components and is annotated to show how the screws match the holes in the actual components. If you have any questions about them or have ideas you wish to share with other licensed BeeMate builders please feel free to email me.