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Phasor's Phormicariums

nest diy formicarium

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#61 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 23 2021 - 3:06 PM

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After a day, these are not quite reacting the way I expected... The one with the "water tower" is only reading 10% humidity in the middle layer, which is basically the same as ambient. The other one with the sponge is reading 45% in the middle layer, with visible condensation in the bottom layer, so it's probably a good gradient.

#62 Offline PhasorShift - Posted February 24 2021 - 1:55 PM

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I think the 10% is a faulty sensor... Put another one in and it was at 40% almost immediately.
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#63 Offline PhasorShift - Posted April 1 2021 - 7:39 PM

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Not much updates in the way of nests so far. I was on the road for a couple weeks and haven't really done much since I've been back. I know I'll need to have something usable soon (or decide on one I already made) since my Crematogaster are starting to grow...

There is one thing I'm working on, something new to try... Will post that once it's done.
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#64 Offline PhasorShift - Posted September 5 2021 - 4:01 PM

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Hey, wow, it's been a while....

 

Life happens, ya get busy, and you often just straight up forget to post. I'll do my best to update you now.

 

After my cryptic comment five months ago, I believe this is what I was talking about. I had an idea to use my foam core and silicone tube to makeshift a silicone mold to pour plaster over. Because proper molding silicone is pricy. Here's a pic dump of the process.

 

PXL-20210408-232457164.jpgPXL-20210408-232524160.jpgPXL-20210408-235147440.jpgPXL-20210409-001307490.jpgPXL-20210410-010745833.jpgPXL-20210410-010756112.jpgPXL-20210410-182318602.jpgPXL-20210410-183444610.jpgPXL-20210411-013655477.jpgPXL-20210411-014321896.jpgPXL-20210411-014853512.jpg

 

I made this back in April, and overall it was only just a success... The silicone wouldn't cure in the middle, it wouldn't stick to the acrylic but wouldn't separate from the foam, the acrylic kept cracking when I tried to drill holes for the screws, and it just didn't come out very clean. I could use it if I really wanted to. Especially now that I have a much better way to make these molds...


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#65 Offline PhasorShift - Posted September 5 2021 - 4:11 PM

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I got a 3D printer.

 

I've been considering it for a long while now, frequently thinking to myself "I could make that if I had a 3D printer, but I don't," but not frequently enough to justify getting one. Getting into ants and formicarium making was what pushed me over that threshold. So I got one. For ants.

 

One of the first ant related things I printed was one of Schemen's OpenFormicaria modules(I may have helped him design a small part of it in a discord server) It took me a little while before I was able to use it, but it's proved to be a nice feeding chamber for my Crematogaster colony. 

 

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I haven't printed any actual nests yet, but over the past week I've used it to design and make something that the last post's method failed to do.

 


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#66 Offline PhasorShift - Posted September 5 2021 - 4:52 PM

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Chamber molds!

 

(Image heavy post, sorry about that)

 

I like making ultracal nests, but I've only had limited success with using clay or sand to create chambers the way I want. With my new 3D printer, I can create anything I want now! It certainly was a process to learn though.

 

Anyway, my first idea was to just print the chambers, and put it in a container, like I've been doing. But then someone in discord mentioned printing the box with it, so I adapted my design and that's what I did. I chose TPU because it's flexible and so wouldn't get locked into the plaster. But printing with TPU is... a challenge.

 

Here's the first attempt:

 

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(I love me a good timelapse)

 

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As you can see, stringing was a huge issue, making this print unusable.... I did some testing to find better settings, but the result wasn't much better.

 

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I switched to a different filament and had better results, and was able to get a usable mold.

 

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Unfortunately, it didn't work as well as I had hoped.

 

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While attempting to remove the mold, much of the walls broke off with it. It was quite difficult to get the single TPU form away from the ultracal. But it showed promise!

 

I redesigned the model, and printed it in three parts. The TPU chamber mold, and then a two part box out of PLA.

 

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As you can see, it wasn't quite a perfect fit though...

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This worked much better, and the nest turned out super clean! It still took a few tries to get it right without breaking though, and I kept forgetting things...

 

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I think I made about four or five plaster nests before I finally got it right. Here's the final result.

 

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I am very happy with how this turned out, though it certainly was a challenge. Even sprinkled in a bit of sand before the pour, and I did have to break off the layer above the water tower. But it was successful, and I think my p. imparis will be quite happy in here.

 

Next, I plan to design a fully 3D printed nest. My Crematogaster are running out of space....

 


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