Howdy, th3_ jungle_inv3ntor comes up with all sorts of odd things - a door through the side of the house, bread fruit sap to remove bot fly larvae from skin, a motorized kite winder, eating hearts of trees, and straws with LEDs in them..... what more?
Traps. They catch by surprise. They have been used since ancient times, and they still can be very effective today, essentially hunting around the clock. Well, I wanted one. A big one. A strong one. A trap that can contain anything that can fit in it that is found in the jungle.And that is what this trap is.
It is a box trap. So, it catches animals without hurting them. Its design is similar to a small wooden one that I had built way back that was very successful - until it rotted. Since the rain forest doesn't treat wood very well, I decided to try my hand at welding and weld together a long lasting trap. It is very simple in design, and is nothing fancy.
Well, when you live in the jungle you never know what lurks around. I live in a small town in the Amazon jungle, and although it is rather developed in some ways, it is still in the jungle. Our neighbor two houses away had a chicken caught by a small ocelot (I assume)in the middle of the day. It is rare for cats to be on the hunt in the day, but is even more rare to actually see them. They saw it twice. Anyway, the truth is you never knows what lurks about. But, I want to find out. :) Thus the trap came into existence - with large cats in mind. :)
I am not responsible in any way to any bad feeling an animal has toward you after being caught in this trap. :) I am not responsible if you are caught in this trap. :) No, seriously, welding can be rather dangerous, so be careful. Be sure to wear the proper safety equipment. Be careful in making this trap and using it. Animals can be very mean when caught in a trap so be careful. I am not responsible in any way.
Step 1: Trap Parts
I have always wanted to weld, but never had the chance until recently. My dad bought a small, cheap welder that gives me something else to create things with. Can't say I am good at it though....
Anyway, what you will need is the following:
A welder - I used a arc or stick welder, as some may call it.
- and of coarse, welding rods
A sheet of heavy duty mesh - 4x8 feet.
Rebar - I used both 1/2 inch and 3/8 inch.
A piece of angle iron
Two springed door hinges
A self closing door latch
A little wood
A small piece of pvc pipe, and
A little rope
You will also need:
Welding safety gear - helmet, gloves, etc.
Common tools - hammer, pliers, etc.
So let's get started.
Step 2: Bending and Cutting It Into Shape...
I wanted this cage to be strong. Regular chicken mesh wasn't the kind of strong that I wanted. What I used was a four by eight foot sheet of mesh made up of two inch squares. The wire is pretty thick and is definitely strong - I found that out when I was trying to bend it.
Since, I needed to get all the pieces of mesh for the cage out of that one piece, I decided to leave the width and just divide the length up into five equal sections. I wanted it as big as I could get it. I cut off one of the pieces to be used as the back of the cage and also the door. The steel is tougher that I though - I found that out while hack sawing the piece off.
So, now I had a piece of mesh divided up into four equal sections. The first bend was easy. The rest proved a little more tricky. I think it is best to bend the two ends in first, bend the middle, and then bend it all out into a box shape.
Since bending it proved rather tricky for me, I didn't come out with anything close to a perfect square, but I decided it would work. Traps don't have to be pretty...
Step 3: Cutting the Door and the Back..
The fifth piece of mesh that I had cut off, I cut two pieces out of it. I left the width the way it was and just cut one into a square and the other in a rectangle.
The door closes at a angle so it needs to be longer than the back is.
Step 4: Initial Welding....
About the welder...
This is the part I was waiting to do - weld. It proved a little harder than I thought. Although I have wanted to weld for a long time, I have never had the chance to. My dad recently bought a small welder off of Amazon. It is not a real powerful welder, and it is a hard welder to learn on - or to use altogether :), but I have grown to like it. My dad did a good bit of welding in his younger days, but even he has a difficult time with this little welder. After using it a while I started getting the hang of it and was able to use it a little better. The quality of my welds testifies to my inexperience.
Most likely you are a much more experienced welder than I am and this trap will be a piece of cake. It is definitely simple.
The seam where the two ends of the mesh meet needs to be welded together. I also bended some of the wires over each other to give it extra strength.
I also welded the back of the cage on at this time. That proved a little difficult as my cage was not very square. I helped myself out a bit by pulling the two corners together a little. Anyway, I got that back welded on strongly.
Step 5: Cutting and Welding the Front Support..
I wanted something to give the front a little more strength and square it up a bit.
I cut pieces of 1/2 inch re-bar to weld together into a square that would fit perfectly in the front. I then welded them together carefully to make sure they formed a square. Then I welded that into the end of the cage.
I had a old piece of angle iron that I welded to the bottom front of the trap to give it extra strength and also provide something for the door to rest on.
All the iron might be a overkill, but I wanted it strong!
Step 6: Cutting and Welding the Door...
The door, like the rest of the cage, is rather solid though it is very simple. I welded together four pieces of 1/4 inch rebar to form a rectangle to reenforce the piece of mesh that I had previously cut out. I didn't weld the rebar all the way to the top so that I would have a place to weld the hinges to it. And that is the next part..
The hinges I used were some we had lying around. They are made for doors and have a very strong spring in them. I had to bend back a tab a little to allow it to move around completely. I carefully welded the hinges to the top of the door as shown in the pictures. I made sure that the hinges were springing downwards.
Once all that is done you should have a pretty strong trap door.
Step 7: Attaching the Door...
I made a door in the last step, but it doesn't do much good if it isn't on the trap. I wanted the door to be able to be taken off or adjusted so I decided not to weld it directly onto the cage.
I cut two pieces of 1x2 wood about the width of the trap. I drilled three holes through both of them, aligning them so that I can put a bolt and nut through them.
I then screwed the door's hinges to one of the pieces of wood, making sure to center it up right.
The piece of wood with the door screwed to it I put in the inside of the trap and bolted the other one to it through the mesh.
I put the whole door set back a little in the cage so that it wouldn't be sticking out of the front so much.
Step 8: Adding the Door Locking Mechanism..
To lock the door when the door falls down, I used a little locking latch. I cut the mesh away from the middle of the bottom of the door so that the rebar could be part of the latching mechanism. I welded the latch directly to the piece of angle iron I had put at the bottom of the cage. I set it just at the right angle by putting a piece of rebar behind it.
Once I had everything set and welded the latching mechanism works great!
Step 9: Triggering the Trap..
I now had a strong metal cage. I now needed to figure out how to trigger the door to close on a unaware animal. I could do it with a arduino and ping sensor, but I wanted something a little more traditional.
I originally tried to make the trap to be triggered by an animal stepping on something. That is how most medium size commercial box traps are triggered. It didn't turn out as well as I had hoped so I moved on to another idea.
My dad grew up catching rabbits in a type of trap that has a very similar triggering mechanism as this trap has. My original trap had something similar to this as well.
I welded a piece of rebar to the middle bolt of the piece of wood that holds the door on. I then welded a "u" to the top to give a place for a piece of wood to rest in.
I then cut a small piece of wood about the length of the trap. I drilled holes on both ends and put ropes through them.
The one rope I tied to a piece of pvc pipe that I had cut a little longer than the trap is high.
The other rope I tied to a hook.
The pvc pipe I notched at the bottom and the top so that it could hook onto the wire mesh. I originally just notched the top, but wanted it more sensitive so I notched the bottom.
Step 10: Painting Time...
I sprayed some paint on to give it a camouflage look and hopefully to protect it from all the rain the rainforest will dump on it.
I gave it a basic sort of camouflage look, but the choice is yours on how to paint it. I don't recommend bright pink paint though. :)
Step 11: Testing the Trap and the Basic Concept...
It was now time to test my trap to see how it worked.
To set it, simply lay the piece of wood with the rope attached across the v that you should have at the top of the trap. Hook the small hook on to the door of the cage to hold it open, and hook the pipe either on the top of the cage or the bottom, depending on which place you made the notch. The sensitivity can be adjusted by moving the pipe around to adjust how much is actually hooked on the wire.
The basic concept is to put bait behind the pipe that is sticking down so that a animal will knock it getting to the food and trigger the door to drop. It can be set extremely sensitive.
Step 12: Setting the Trap...
To set the trap for animals, some thought must go into it. Depending on what kind of animal you want to catch, the bait will have to be different. It is best to camouflage the trap the best you can with leaves and such. Also think about where the animals most likely will be and set the trap in a place where you think the animal visits frequently.
Step 13: Finished!
Well, there you have it. A box trap that is strong enough for a wild cat yet sensitive enough for a chicken. Yes, I said chicken.
My first grand catch after all this work was a chicken. I set it in our back yard for an Agouti that comes around, but caught a chicken instead. Not what I had in mind.
The second catch was a little more exciting , but now is a nuisance. It was a Salapenta (local name) or a Northern Black Tegu. I released it, but it must have told its friends. Some of the lizards are large enough to trigger the trap, but then are small enough to escape through the mesh. This causes the trap to be found closed but with nothing in it which is annoying.
All and all the trap is a success. It can be extremely sensitive yet it is strong. The best part is the fact that it is metal and won't rot like my wooden one.
Well I will probably keep you posted if I catch anything amazing. I hope you enjoyed this.
Comment, vote, and build!
Until I appear again,