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3D Printed Nests


21 replies to this topic

#1 Offline ColdBloodedCritters - Posted September 18 2022 - 8:19 PM

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I am looking into getting a 3d printer since I have plans for what to make but I'd like to know what you guys would like to see in a 3d printed ant nest. All answers are welcome.


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#2 Offline UtahAnts - Posted September 18 2022 - 8:49 PM

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Modularity, where different sections can all easily fit and connect with eachother.


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#3 Offline ColdBloodedCritters - Posted September 18 2022 - 8:53 PM

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Modularity, where different sections can all easily fit and connect with eachother.

Interesting. Do you have any suggestions on how to make them modular? My first thought was magnets but that may be hard to do in a 3d printed design.



#4 Offline UtahAnts - Posted September 18 2022 - 8:56 PM

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Magnets are one option, creating universal adapters able to connect with all of your formicariums would also work. Like a puzzle piece where each formicarium can securely lock into the next.


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#5 Offline Locness - Posted September 19 2022 - 8:54 AM

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Ant Dimension is a foreign company with very stunning designs; great for inspiration. They created a locking mechanism that allows you to also open/close ports.  



#6 Offline ColdBloodedCritters - Posted September 19 2022 - 9:25 AM

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Ant Dimension is a foreign company with very stunning designs; great for inspiration. They created a locking mechanism that allows you to also open/close ports.  

For me their nests look very well made but a little hard on the eye. The aim in all my nests is easy on the eye and very easy to use. But you are right. They are good inspiration.



#7 Offline Serafine - Posted September 19 2022 - 2:17 PM

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Good hydration. Most 3D printed nests suck in that department.

A hydration tub below the nest filled with perlite is a decent solution but few designs have it.


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#8 Offline T.C. - Posted September 19 2022 - 4:00 PM

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Ant Dimension is a foreign company with very stunning designs; great for inspiration. They created a locking mechanism that allows you to also open/close ports.


I could not find this site. I have not heard of it.

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#9 Offline Locness - Posted September 19 2022 - 5:08 PM

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[/quote]
I could not find this site. I have not heard of it.[/quote]

https://antdimension.com/

#10 Offline ColdBloodedCritters - Posted September 19 2022 - 5:42 PM

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Good hydration. Most 3D printed nests suck in that department.

A hydration tub below the nest filled with perlite is a decent solution but few designs have it.

Thanks for your answer! I've thought of using a different design than that for hydration, so it makes it much more mess free than perlite. I've thought about using sponges in the nest for hydration. The sponges would be given their own little sort of cubicles and small little holes for the ants to get water evaporation from. And there would be a lid on the sponge so that the water doesn't evaporate outside of the nest. And like all my nests since they all have rounded corners, I'd just make circular pieces of sponges for hydration.


Edited by ColdBloodedCritters, September 19 2022 - 5:46 PM.


#11 Offline Serafine - Posted September 20 2022 - 12:20 AM

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Perlite tubs make zero mess. I've filled mine 6 years ago, never changed it (probably should do at some point), never had any issues.

SInce perlite is completely unorganic (it's basically porous volcanic rock) nothing grows on it unless your ants are very dirty and some of their trash drops though the nest btottom's mesh into the tub.

And the stuff keeps water FOREVER. Years ago I accidentally overwatered one of my nests and even after soaking everything up with tissue paper i had condensation in the nest for SIX WEEKS.

Sponges are much more prone to mold and other issues.

 

If you go for a sponge solution just make sure the sponge is BIG. About 95% of the printed and acrylic nests i see have sponges that are too small and thus dry out too quickly which can lead to all sorts of issues.

The sponge should be able to keep your setup at adequate humidity levels for at least 2-3 weeks, otherwise you risk ants dyign should their keeper get incapacitated or simpy forgets to water them for a while.

Alternatively you can go for a water tower design (although vertical water towers carry the risk of flooding the nest should they ever leak).


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#12 Offline antperson24 - Posted October 4 2022 - 5:38 PM

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I have heard that 3D printed nests are not the greatest, but I have always thought it would by cool to 3D print ant nests!  :)  


Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!

 -Proverbs 6:6


#13 Offline NicholasP - Posted October 4 2022 - 6:57 PM

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I have heard that 3D printed nests are not the greatest, but I have always thought it would by cool to 3D print ant nests!  :)  

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Edited by NicholasP, October 4 2022 - 6:58 PM.

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#14 Offline ColdBloodedCritters - Posted October 4 2022 - 6:58 PM

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I have heard that 3D printed nests are not the greatest, but I have always thought it would by cool to 3D print ant nests!  :)  

They aren't the best but if you design it right, they can be great.



#15 Offline T.C. - Posted October 4 2022 - 9:21 PM

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I have heard that 3D printed nests are not the greatest, but I have always thought it would by cool to 3D print ant nests!  :)  

 

Most of my colony deaths occurred in bare 3D printed nests. So yeah I'd say they're pretty not great, but I found covering them with grout fixed the issue.


Edited by T.C., October 4 2022 - 9:22 PM.

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#16 Offline Serafine - Posted October 5 2022 - 1:31 AM

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The problem with 3D-printed nests is that every idiot who has a 3D printer can print one. Most other nest types require A LOT more effort to make, so with 3D-printing in particular you end up with a lot of nests made by people who have little to no experience in actual antkeeping.

 

Most 3D nests i've seen absolutely SUCK when it comes to hydration. The hydration chambers (usually for sponges) are way too small, badly placed or - in some occasions - not there at all. Also material is a big issue - my Simants nests are made out of ridiculously sturdy plastics (from the way it feels i'd guess it's some sort ABS palstics but i don't really know) but many 3D printed nests are not, leaving them vulnerable to ants like Messor chewing through them. There's even a risk the plastics used for some nests might be dangerous to ants.

 

3D-printed nests can be as good or bad as any "traditional" type of ant nest. It really just depends on their design, production quality and the materials used.


Edited by Serafine, October 5 2022 - 1:34 AM.

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#17 Offline ColdBloodedCritters - Posted October 5 2022 - 9:05 AM

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The problem with 3D-printed nests is that every idiot who has a 3D printer can print one. Most other nest types require A LOT more effort to make, so with 3D-printing in particular you end up with a lot of nests made by people who have little to no experience in actual antkeeping.

 

Most 3D nests i've seen absolutely SUCK when it comes to hydration. The hydration chambers (usually for sponges) are way too small, badly placed or - in some occasions - not there at all. Also material is a big issue - my Simants nests are made out of ridiculously sturdy plastics (from the way it feels i'd guess it's some sort ABS palstics but i don't really know) but many 3D printed nests are not, leaving them vulnerable to ants like Messor chewing through them. There's even a risk the plastics used for some nests might be dangerous to ants.

 

3D-printed nests can be as good or bad as any "traditional" type of ant nest. It really just depends on their design, production quality and the materials used.

I'm glad you guys gave your input on the specific subject of ants dying frequently. I can confirm that I will be testing different glues to see which is antsafe so I can coat the inside with a glue and then sprinkle some Sedona sand on there to give it a nice orange look.

Now I want to touch on what you mentioned on ants easily breaking through most 3D nests. I will be doing a design where I make the walls 2-4 MM thick. With how much filament would need to be used to make the walls that thick it would certainly bump up the price, but I know a lot of times people get permits and then buy someone else's nests to contain the ants. So, for containment I'll check the walls on how durable they are and make sure all plexi glass or acrylic fits very tightly on. I'll try ABS plastic. Main thing I'm worried about from ABS is that if I remember correctly from my times with my 3d pen that ABS plastics are more durable, but they also can be a little bit toxic. I'm not sure if that's true though. It's been a long time, so I need to research again.

I would like to bring up about the hydration chambers now. I think I'll go with your plan Serafine and give an option for perlite or a sponge depending on customer's choosing. I would like to ask you guys though where you think hydration towers should be located. I was thinking near the back of the nest to simulate how in the wild the deeper parts of the nests retain moisture much better than the parts near the surface. But I haven't been antkeeping for like 5 years so I'm still learning and any suggestions from you guys would be fantastic.


Edited by ColdBloodedCritters, October 5 2022 - 9:07 AM.


#18 Offline Ants_Dakota - Posted October 5 2022 - 9:35 AM

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2 part epoxy is your best bet. Boog, the expert foricarium designer who i learned from, used that and it worked great.


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#19 Online aznphenom - Posted October 5 2022 - 9:36 AM

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I'm glad you guys gave your input on the specific subject of ants dying frequently. I can confirm that I will be testing different glues to see which is antsafe so I can coat the inside with a glue and then sprinkle some Sedona sand on there to give it a nice orange look.

Now I want to touch on what you mentioned on ants easily breaking through most 3D nests. I will be doing a design where I make the walls 2-4 MM thick. With how much filament would need to be used to make the walls that thick it would certainly bump up the price, but I know a lot of times people get permits and then buy someone else's nests to contain the ants. So, for containment I'll check the walls on how durable they are and make sure all plexi glass or acrylic fits very tightly on. I'll try ABS plastic. Main thing I'm worried about from ABS is that if I remember correctly from my times with my 3d pen that ABS plastics are more durable, but they also can be a little bit toxic. I'm not sure if that's true though. It's been a long time, so I need to research again.

I would like to bring up about the hydration chambers now. I think I'll go with your plan Serafine and give an option for perlite or a sponge depending on customer's choosing. I would like to ask you guys though where you think hydration towers should be located. I was thinking near the back of the nest to simulate how in the wild the deeper parts of the nests retain moisture much better than the parts near the surface. But I haven't been antkeeping for like 5 years so I'm still learning and any suggestions from you guys would be fantastic.

 

 

I am definitely following because I've been wanting to do that for ages. I just didn't catch any queens this year to go ahead with the testing. I was planning on just doing epoxy. 


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#20 Offline ColdBloodedCritters - Posted October 5 2022 - 4:27 PM

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Ooh. Epoxy... Never thought of using that. I'll look into that and see how well it works. If it works, then I'll also use it for vertical nests.






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