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Dspdrew's Formicarium 06 Research and Design (Updated 11-14-2021)

formicarium container out world enclosure how-to diy design nest dspdrew tutorial

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173 replies to this topic

#121 Offline AntsCalifornia - Posted April 20 2018 - 8:02 PM

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You need to try doing the same thing you did before to see if it was a coincidence or not that it was hard as a rock yet extremely absorbent. 



#122 Offline dspdrew - Posted April 20 2018 - 10:01 PM

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You need to try doing the same thing you did before to see if it was a coincidence or not that it was hard as a rock yet extremely absorbent. 

 

I already did it a few times.



#123 Offline dspdrew - Posted April 26 2018 - 4:15 AM

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Apparently you can't heat Hydrostone for too long.
 
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I completely separated the Glamis and Costa Mesa clay from everything else as well as I could. There was still a small amount of silt mixed in, but that was as good as I could get it.
 
Drying the two clays out. Glamis in the back, Costa Mesa in the front.
 
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Clay is dry and ready for firing.
 
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Fired to a cone 06 / 1830 F (Glamis left, Costa Mesa right).
 
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Fired to a cone 04 / 1940 F (Glamis left, Costa Mesa right).
 
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Fired to a cone 02 / 2048 F (Glamis left, Costa Mesa right).
 
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Fired to a cone 1 / 2109 F (Glamis only).
 
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Fired to a cone 3 / 2134 F (Glamis only).
 
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Fired to a cone 4 / 2157 F (Glamis only).
 
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Costa Mesa clay from left to right, fired at a cone 04, cone 03, and cone 02
At cone 04, it absorbed water about as well as any other low-fire clay.
At cone 02, it barely absorbed water at all.
 
gallery_2_255_255227.jpg

#124 Offline noebl1 - Posted May 6 2018 - 10:01 AM

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@dspdrew  Instead of using silicone rings, what about using flexible filament like TPU?  I started experimenting a bit with it this weekend, and it's got quite a bit of flexibility to it that may give you a similar seal as silicone?  I'm not sure however how practical for you, or if TPU is toxic in any way to ants.



#125 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 6 2018 - 1:27 PM

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I thought about trying a flexible filament.



#126 Offline drtrmiller - Posted May 6 2018 - 1:36 PM

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I thought about trying a flexible filament.

 

I've used a couple.  The ones I've tried don't appear to produce very good seals or gaskets, despite being advertised for such applications, though it could just be a matter of the way I've used them.


Edited by drtrmiller, May 14 2018 - 5:17 AM.

 
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#127 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 13 2018 - 9:38 PM

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Every mom's worst nightmare.
 
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#128 Offline dermy - Posted May 14 2018 - 12:19 AM

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Every mom's worst nightmare.
 
gallery_2_255_3153993.jpg

Yeah, where's the coffee maker? :lol:
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#129 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 14 2018 - 2:29 AM

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Every mom's worst nightmare.

Yeah, where's the coffee maker? :lol:

 

 

Oh this is also Dermy's nightmare.


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#130 Offline Mortamir - Posted May 14 2018 - 8:25 AM

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Hey Drew what do you have for sale right now?

#131 Offline Deluga - Posted May 14 2018 - 9:34 AM

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Every mom's worst nightmare.

 

 

How do you even get in the kitchen?  :lol:

I'll get its going to be take away food, lol.


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#132 Offline sgheaton - Posted May 14 2018 - 9:44 AM

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Every mom's worst nightmare.

 

 

How do you even get in the kitchen?  :lol:

I'll get its going to be take away food, lol.

 

"How do you even Kitchen?" is what I think you meant to say.

 

I love seeing others work areas! Drews has always been...interesting. 


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#133 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 14 2018 - 4:17 PM

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Every mom's worst nightmare.

 

 

How do you even get in the kitchen?  :lol:

I'll get its going to be take away food, lol.

 

"How do you even Kitchen?" is what I think you meant to say.

 

I love seeing others work areas! Drews has always been...interesting. 

 

 

Clean as a whistle now. My big dirt refining job is finished.



#134 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 17 2018 - 12:16 AM

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Before I go through the trouble of collecting more dirt from Glamis, I wanted to make sure there was something unique about it. Well, so far I can't seem to replicate the results I get from it. All other dirt I collect seems to be mostly the same, with a much lower melting point than the Glamis dirt.
 
I took some of the pure Glamis clay and figured out exactly what temperature it should be fired at. Being mostly sand from sand dunes, there was very little of this clay content in the Glamis dirt..
 
Here is what the clay looks like unfired. The lighting was different, so the color is probably a little off.
 
gallery_2_255_775263.jpg
 
 
Here is the clay fired to 8 different cone temperatures. The cone 04 -01 were not hot enough because the particles were clearly not fused. cone 3-6 were too hot, because the particles were melted. cone 6 was obviously very melted. The perfect firing temperature was cone 1-2, which means this clay wouldn't even be considered low-fire clay.
 
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Here are the pictures of each firing along with magnified pictures of the particles.
 
Cone 04
 
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Cone 02
 
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Cone 01
 
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Cone 1
 
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Cone 2
 
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Cone 3
 
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Cone 4
 
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Cone 6
 
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This is what happens when all the other natural clays I found are fired at 2300 F. They completely melt into what looks like obsidian.
 
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Just to get an idea of how the minerals that different rocks are made up of behave when being fired, I took a few different looking rocks, clearly composed of different minerals and fired them at 2300 F. Here is the before and after picture. It's pretty interesting how much the colors change if not completely melting to a blob.
 
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So anyway, since I cannot seem to replicate the results I get from firing Glamis dirt, I guess it is made up of different minerals than the dirt from many other places around here, and therefor probably worth collecting some more for this purpose. I tried every different combination of clay and silt, along with different firing temperatures, but just could not produce the same perfect material I get from the Glamis dirt.
 
This has kind of branched off to something not really related to this thread, since these are not formicariums carved or molded out of natural looking materials so I will probably continue this on another thread. As for this thread, I only needed ceramics to use for the hydration tiles, wihich I clearly have now. I just hope to be able to figure out how to make the exact colors I want. This "perfect material" (as seen below), which is actually Glamis silt mixed with a small amount of clay, is probably the best match I can find for the nests with the white floors, so that's probably what I'm going to use.
 
gallery_2_255_1117902.jpg
 
 
I do have the low-fire white talc clay, but it just doesn't absorb water as well as I would like it to.
 
The pure Glamis clay (as seen below) will work great for the ones with light brown floors.
 
gallery_2_255_1203731.jpg
 
 
The only thing I'm having a hard time coming up with is a black or very dark colored ceramic material for the ones with black floors.
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#135 Offline Brooster - Posted May 21 2018 - 3:58 AM

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Where do you get so much material? That is awesome, dude!



#136 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 21 2018 - 5:11 AM

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Where do you get so much material? That is awesome, dude!

 

Which material are you referring to?



#137 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 22 2018 - 3:52 AM

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Now that I know exactly how these different silts and clays behave when being fired, I am going to make a nice little tile. I am doing this using the silt/clay mixture from Glamis.
 
Bought a graphite mold that can withstand temperatures of up to 5000 F.
 
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Poured the Glamis silt/clay into the mold.
 
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Scraped the excess off smoothly with a razor blade.
 
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Put it into the kiln and fired it at 2300 F.
 
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Once fired, you can see it shrinks quite a bit, making it very easy to remove from the mold.
 
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The shrinkage is very stable and not random at all, keeping it's shape perfectly. It's very hard and pretty much feels exactly like a knife sharpening stone.
 
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Now here you can see in this video how absorbent it is.
 

 
 
The problem with using graphite molds, is after a few firings, they start to disintegrate, eventually rendering them completely useless as you can see in this side by side picture.
 
The one on the left has been fired once, and the one on the right has been fired about 25 times.
 
gallery_2_255_1289238.jpg
 
 
Since steel melts at 2500 F, I'm going to have Subverted make me a mold out of steel using his new mill. Hopefully that will last a lot longer.
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#138 Offline sgheaton - Posted May 22 2018 - 4:46 AM

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OR.... or..... or......

Use jet fuel and steel beams. 


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#139 Offline YsTheAnt - Posted May 22 2018 - 7:04 AM

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Are you going to try to make actual formicaria out of the clay, or just tile inserts? Either way, this is pretty ingenius :).

Edited by YsTheAnt, May 22 2018 - 7:05 AM.

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#140 Offline dspdrew - Posted May 22 2018 - 7:22 AM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

It's really for making my little tile rounds, but I might try making a formicarium with it. Just like Hydrostone or Ytong, this wouldn't really be compatible with my hydration technique. They would all just keep absorbing water until the entire nest is soaked. As absorbent as this stuff is, it would be way too wet. There's a reason why drtrmiller called it swamp tile.







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