Introduction: 3d Printing a Formicarium
I while ago I stumbled upon a YouTube channel called ant's Canada and I was fascinated by it. I went and bought one of their nest that they made. I was surprised to see how big it was and my ants were very small. I placed them in the nest and they loved it but they started to pile up their garbage inside due to the amount of space they had. I couldn't clean it out ether because I only had one nest. This is were this project comes into play. I designed and redesigned this to fit the needs of the ants that will be living in it. In this instructable I will be showing you how to put it together and show how it works and if the ants will live in it.
1. Stl files for 3d printing
2. filament or resin(don't use a dark color or it will be hard to observe your ants)
3. clear plastic of some kind(might be able to use a pop bottle)
4. glue(I used gorilla clear and I'm not sure how well other glues will preform with gluing the plastic down)
Step 1: Printing the Files
There are a few parts that need to be printed before the assembly. You will need to print out two of the squares and one moister chamber and then the main living area. The main living area might be tricky to print because of the hole size. If the holes get covered up or are to big then you will need to modify the hole size of the stl. You probably can use tinker cad for this or other software of your choice. You can use any layer height that you want but I use .2 mm for mine.
Step 2: Assembling
Now you have your two squares you'll need to get a thin piece of plastic that is bigger then the size of the nest. If you are trying to use a pop bottle you can skip this step but you have to somehow flatten out the plastic. Now that you have your thin piece of plastic, glue one side of a square and then place the thin plastic top of that square. Then glue one side of the other square and place the glued side on the thin plastic. You'll have to be careful with this step as you don't want to brake the plastic or smudge it with any glue or it will become difficult to clean. Now you can clamp it down with some small clamps or chip clips. once it is fully dried you will cut off the excess plastic and if your squares aren't perfectly aligned you can light sand them with a belt sander to get them perfect.
Step 3: Assembling #2
Now that the squares are done grab the main living area and glue the rim of it. Place the squares into rim of the main living area and clamp it down and let it dry of few hours. Now inspect it and make sure their is no space were any ants can get out. At this point if you did get glue on the plastic use a Q-tip with water or other cleaning product and try to get the glue off the best you can with out damaging the thin piece of plastic. Now this part is only if your plastic that you used can contract when heated. You can use a hair dryer and place it on high and go over the plastic until it tightens up. Don't heat it up to much as you don't want to melt the plastic.
Step 4: Finishing Up
The only thing left to do is the lid. Take the large square and place glue in the slot that should be in the middle of the part. Once that is done take the smaller square and place it in the slot and press it in (it might be a tight fit). And that's all it takes to assemble this nest completely.
Step 5: Testing
I placed my ant colony into one of these nest about a month ago and they seem to love it just as much as their old home. I recently had to add a another one of these to their set up. and they moved in to it without hesitation. If you want to heat their nest beware that you probably will want to use a plug or something to allow fresh air in so it doesn't fog up the nest to bad. I recommend these plugs from the Ant-Canada store they should fit perfectly into the holes of the formicarium.
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