For the most part, being a beekeeper doesn't involved a lot of complicated or expensive equipment. The wood hive parts can be built from scratch, and put together piecemeal (i.e. not a large up front expense). One exception to this is the extractor. It's a simple concept, but extractors cost hundreds of dollars, and even more depending on if you want a motorized one. Extractors hold their value, and used ones are hard to find.
I am lucky that near me is Maxant Industries, a company that makes honey extraction equipment (check out their website to see all that they make). They are running a sale on a 9-frame hand crank extractor at a very good price. So after work last week I drove up to Ayer, MA (1/2 hour from where I work), and happened to get Jacob, the Vice President of Maxant, to give me a nickel tour of their factory.
It was very interesting - they actually fabricate all of their equipment there in the factory. They form the stainless steel into the hive bodies, and weld up the extractor cages. It was a very good tour.
So I came out with a new extractor (and extractor stand)! I am excited to have one of my very own, as I can now do those little adjustments that I need to do. There is also a condition where the hive can get "honey bound" which means that you can have too much honey in the lower part of the hive. The way to deal with it is to spin out some frames, and give the bees back the honey later. I can now do this.
I haven't opened the extractor up yet, so I don't have any pictures. But when I do, I'll put up some photos.