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Dspdrew's Formicarium 09 Research and Design (Updated 10-29-2017)

formicarium out world ant nest how-to tutorial dspdrew

320 replies to this topic

#41 Offline dspdrew - Posted July 17 2015 - 7:49 AM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Actually yeah, I probably can. Good idea. I've always just used silicone tubing, but making my own grommet/coupling would eliminate the need for a plastic piece to fit the tubing on to.



#42 Offline Subverted - Posted July 17 2015 - 10:20 AM

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If want to consider using 16mm screw top tubes I have found that 1/2" 3/8" vinyl tubing fits perfectly in the opening. Its really handy.


Edited by Subverted, July 17 2015 - 8:33 PM.

My ants | My free feeder design | PM me if you need and 3d printing, cnc machining, or manufacturing done.

Make your own mold/fungus/bacteria resistant test tube water! Don't get ripped off! Read my simple guide: http://www.formicult...-simple-how-to/

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#43 Offline dspdrew - Posted July 24 2015 - 7:35 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

I have started 3D printing the inner chamber of these now.

 

Hydrostone (plaster/water): 42g/14g
Plug hole (for the silicone plugs I cast): 10mm"

Lid hole: 7/8"


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#44 Offline dspdrew - Posted July 28 2015 - 12:04 AM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

med_gallery_2_295_630705.jpg

 

B) B) B) B) B)


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#45 Offline dermy - Posted July 28 2015 - 12:12 AM

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Holy smokes! Someone's been busy!

 

B)



#46 Offline Trailandstreet - Posted July 28 2015 - 12:19 PM

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always hard at work ;)


:hi: Franz

if you find any mistakes, it's my autocorrection. it doesn't speak english.


#47 Offline PogoQueen - Posted July 28 2015 - 5:23 PM

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Turned out very sleek! Can't wait till there are some queens in those!


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#48 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 2 2015 - 1:48 PM

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I recently was given a few more Pogonomyrmex tenuispinus queens by Retroman. These need a very specific setup in order to do well, so I decided to make one just like these dirt/antfarm boxes.

 

I took a 10 gallon tank (also given to me by Retroman), and reinforced the bottom with a piece of 4mm acrylic.

 

med_gallery_2_295_618530.jpg

 

 

I taped strips of foam board along the bottom edges to absorb the Hydrostone's expansion. This way I don't end up with a pile of glass once the Hydrostone cures. :)

 

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Once the bottom layer of Hydrostone was fully cured and dry, I removed the foam board. Now there is just a small gap between the Hydrostone and the glass which can easily be filled with more Hydrostone which should not expand much at all because of the very small amount. Hydrostone expands at a percentage, so the more you have in one direction, the more it will expand in that direction.

 

med_gallery_2_295_175502.jpg

 

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I created the inner chamber out of some 1/8 inch clear acrylic. I did kind of a sloppy job since the way it looks is not important at all.

 

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I added the water spout for hydration.

 

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Once all the acrylic solvent was fully cured, I scraped and sanded the sides to make them as rough as possible. This will ensure the dirt between the glass and the inner tank is held up very well to prevent any collapse. I also dug a groove all along the outside of the rim about 2mm down. This will help hold the tank in when flipped upside down and set into the Hydrostone.

 

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I poured another 1/4 inch of Hydrostone in the center, staying about three inches from the glass sides and let that fully cure.

 

Once cured, I filled in the rest, filling in the gaps on the very bottom made from the poster board as well.

 

I placed the inner tank into the Hydrostone and let it cure.

 

med_gallery_2_295_810009.jpg

 

 

I cut a hole in the inner tank and filled it with sphagnum moss. Sphagnum moss has antimicrobial properties, and is very absorbent, so it makes the perfect sponge for this application. The moss can actually hold 16 to 26 times as much water as its dry weight.

 

med_gallery_2_295_6943.jpg

 

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I poured a few bottles of water into the tank, and glued a cover over the hole.

 

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I filled the gaps between the glass and the inner tank with sterilized dirt from the area this species is found in.

 

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I mixed some epoxy resin with dirt and gravel, and spread it all over the top of the inner tank, sprinkling more dirt and gravel on top of that, until I could no longer see any resin. I pushed a few larger rocks down into the resin as well.

 

med_gallery_2_295_154002.jpg

 

 

Once cured, a layer of gravel and rocks were held down very securely.

 

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I poured water into the tank, and allowed it to soak all the way to the bottom, where you could see some water had already started soaking up from the water in the inner tank.

 

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All done. B)

 

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#49 Online drtrmiller - Posted August 2 2015 - 5:34 PM

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Fascinating...



#50 Offline Ants4fun - Posted August 2 2015 - 5:52 PM

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I thought you didn't like dirt formicariums? Or boxes of dirt as you call them.

Edited by Ants4fun, August 2 2015 - 5:52 PM.


#51 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 2 2015 - 6:15 PM

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Fascinating...

 

B) B) B) B) B)



#52 Offline Wamdar - Posted August 2 2015 - 6:24 PM

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wow, made it look easy! awesome job!


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#53 Offline Foogoo - Posted August 2 2015 - 7:01 PM

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What's needed is a semi-flexible coupling that fits a standard size test tube. Can you make those?

I feel like the proper size vinyl tubing should work, though you may have to go somewhere with a wide selection (I've had the best luck at Osh where I am).

 

I've also thought about using heat shrink tubing, just slightly shrunk, though it'd be opaque and may outgas chemicals.


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#54 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 2 2015 - 8:05 PM

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I've broken test tubes using vinyl tubing. Like I said in my response to PTAntFan, silicone tubing works best.



#55 Offline BrittonLS - Posted August 3 2015 - 6:54 AM

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Drew, so I know part of the problem with these is visibility from small particles versus collapsing of larger particles not sticking together. Have you ever tried using a binder on sand particles to help them stick together, but still be weak enough for ants to dig into? It should let you use more course sand which will improve visibility, but keep it's shape. I was reminded of Green sand, which is used to make disposable moldings in metal casting. From what I've seen, the main ingredient to help it hold its shape is bentonite clay, which causes the sand to have a sticky surface. I'd love to do it myself and show off and be a genius, but you're probably more likely to do it and actually have ants to try it on. Here's some helpful links in that regard.

 

https://en.wikipedia...ki/Molding_sand

 

https://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Bentonite



#56 Offline Foogoo - Posted August 3 2015 - 7:33 AM

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Just want to add that clay will hold a lot of moisture and become rock hard when dry. If anyone wants to experiment with bentonite though, it's essentially cat litter. 

 

I've broken test tubes using vinyl tubing. Like I said in my response to PTAntFan, silicone tubing works best.

 

Anywhere locally that carries a variety of sizes to try?


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#57 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 3 2015 - 8:01 AM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Just want to add that clay will hold a lot of moisture and become rock hard when dry. If anyone wants to experiment with bentonite though, it's essentially cat litter. 

 

Say what? Clays have very fine particles, which create more total surface area, and more pores. This is what makes a material hold more water. As far as what the ants are digging in, I want it rock hard to prevent collapse.

 

I

I've broken test tubes using vinyl tubing. Like I said in my response to PTAntFan, silicone tubing works best.

 

Anywhere locally that carries a variety of sizes to try?

 

Not that I know of. I get most of my materials from Amazon or Ebay.



#58 Offline Foogoo - Posted August 3 2015 - 8:18 AM

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Just want to add that clay will hold a lot of moisture and become rock hard when dry. If anyone wants to experiment with bentonite though, it's essentially cat litter. 

 

Say what? Clays have very fine particles, which create more total surface area, and more pores. This is what makes a material hold more water. As far as what the ants are digging in, I want it rock hard to prevent collapse.

 

Good, then I guess it's not a bad thing  :) . If I were you, instead of buying pure clay, just look for clayey-sand or clayey-silt in the neighborhood, that should accomplish exactly what you're trying to do. Take a small pinch of soil and add a few drops of water, if you are able to roll it into a ball, then it's clay dominant. If not, then it's sand/silt dominant. Clayey soil is unsuitable for building foundations, so you'll likely find it in reject piles, parks, or landscaping.

 

And not to split hairs or argue but just FYI, clay particles are platy and charged so they tend to stack and stick together. So in terms of pore space (quantified as porosity or void ratio), clays are significantly lower than sands. They hold water via adsorption on the surface of the stacked particles. This particle arrangement is what makes dried clay rock hard, unlike sand which has nothing holding the particles together.


Camponotus vicinus, Crematogaster 1, Crematogaster 2, Formica francoeuri, *, *, Myrmecocystus testaceus, Novomessor cockerelli, Pheidole hyatti, Pogonomyrmex californicus, Pogonomyrmex rugosus, Solenopsis invicta


#59 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 3 2015 - 9:11 AM

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Maybe water retention is what I was thinking, and not exactly the total amount of water a material can hold. Smaller particle size equals more surface area, and more surface area means stronger capillary action. An eight ounce glass can hold a lot of water for the amount of material it's made up of, but flip it upside down, and it doesn't hold anything. Is there a better word for what I am describing?

 

BTW, I don't buy pure clay, I just use the soil where the ants are found, and if it's too sandy, I add a little clay dirt.



#60 Offline BrittonLS - Posted August 3 2015 - 11:45 AM

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I was not talking about using bentonite as a substrate, it would be a very small portion of a sand and clay mixture. If you look at the links I posted it is used to make sand stick together for moldings that can then be broken up. It should make the sand particles 'sticky' but not create a hard object, partially depending on how packed it is. It mentions that on beaches, sand with more bentonite make better sand sculptures. Think of it that way, like beach sand that holds up very well.

And for capillary action, it's not exactly the surface area, but the radius of the capillary that effects it. Smaller particles have less space between them, so they have a higher sorptivity. Which I think is the word you wanted.





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