3D printed formicarium

3D Printed Formicarium? - General Ant Keeping

#1 Offline Antennal_Scrobe - Posted

July 24 2019 - 10:09 AM

Are 3D printed nests generally good for keeping ants? If so, what are some good tips I could use if I were to design one? Has anyone had any experience keeping ants in such a nest?

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#2 Offline AntPhycho - Posted

July 24 2019 - 10:17 AM

Are 3D printed nests generally good for keeping ants? If so, what are some good tips I could use if I were to design one? Has anyone had any experience keeping ants in such a nest?

 I find that 3D printed (and bare acrylic) formicariums work great with small species like Solenopsis or Tetramorium. You can get many free formicarium templates on https://www.thingive...675d38a07048d88

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#3 Offline Antennal_Scrobe - Posted

July 24 2019 - 10:35 AM

I imagine 3D printed designs are even better than acrylic though, because they do have a texture of sorts that ants can cling to. Not to mention cheaper and easier to make.

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#4 Offline Antennal_Scrobe - Posted

July 24 2019 - 10:38 AM

I think I will go for a Hybrid Nest style water tray under the nest, with a portion of the floor being a mesh that water vapor can go through. I'm not sure, however, if I need to put cotton in the tray. I would much rather do without, and because Tarheel Ants nests work fine without any cotton at all, I think I could do this without any problems.

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#5 Offline AntPhycho - Posted

July 24 2019 - 10:39 AM

I imagine 3D printed designs are even better than acrylic though, because they do have a texture of sorts that ants can cling to. Not to mention cheaper and easier to make.

When it comes down to it, they are both bare plastic. 

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#6 Offline betterForm - Posted

July 24 2019 - 11:55 AM

Are 3D printed nests generally good for keeping ants? If so, what are some good tips I could use if I were to design one? Has anyone had any experience keeping ants in such a nest?


See my 3d printed modular formicarium. ..





Camponotus ...


my development blog >>

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#7 Offline Antennal_Scrobe - Posted

July 24 2019 - 1:04 PM


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#8 Offline Silq - Posted

July 24 2019 - 1:21 PM


Are 3D printed nests generally good for keeping ants? If so, what are some good tips I could use if I were to design one? Has anyone had any experience keeping ants in such a nest?


See my 3d printed modular formicarium. ..

my development blog >>


crazy how I was trying to browse this forum yesterday during work then it went down. I was getting back into 3D printing and searched Thingiverse then they crashed. I checked this morning and I actually ran into your 3D model on thingiverse and downloaded it. That is so cool that you are a poster there and here. I have camponotus too and was worried if these would work with them but now I know. I will try to print it this week. My only concern is that I am using a MP mini so my print bed size is limited to 120x120 but it looks like most of everything are smaller parts. I'll check it out in a bit after I finish my other prints.

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#9 Offline betterForm - Posted

July 25 2019 - 1:12 AM

. ..
my print bed size is limited to 120x120....



maximum block size: 102 mm.

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Jake's 3D Printing Formicarium Journey - General Ant Keeping

#1 Offline Jakerobs - Posted

December 29 2020 - 7:53 PM

Hello All!


I figured I'd start documenting my process of building an easily customizable, but very interchangeable line of 3D printed formicaria. My reasons for wanting to create them myself, rather than purchase one of the many listed for sale are as follows:


1. I love to design things.


2. None of the products available have the customization I would like.


3. My 3D printer would love to be used.



Before I get too far into what I've done so far, I'd like to introduce myself a little.



I'm originally from Texas and started getting into anting back when I lived there a few years ago. I'll admit, when I was really young, I was given one of those gel ant farms and a handful of Pogonomyrmex workers. This was back when these had just hit the market. Watching those poor workers dig amazing tunnels over the next few days planted the seed for my interest in ants. At the time, I thought it was dumb to only have workers that would live a few months, then die. I just never pursued the idea of catching a queen. 


Fast forward several years and I happen to see the nuptial flight of what I believe was a C. Sansabeanus colony in a friend's backyard. The queens were huge and beautiful. Thankfully, I didn't catch any (they were just emerging) and instead I went home and did some research. I had a lot of fun learning all I could about ants and even tinkered around with creating formicariums from clay and getting them fired. In the end, using that method was not as precise as I needed for the ants I tried to keep (P. Longicornis, and a couple Camponotus).


I took a break for a couple of years and started getting back into the hobby about a year ago, when I finally bought a 3D printer. I'd also moved to Utah, so I spent some time learning about what species lived here, where to find them and when they flew. Last summer I was able to find a spot that had a large concentration of black Formica sp, I assumed as F. argentea and found several queens. However, I bought my first home soon after, and in all the mess and confusion of the move, my queens were left in the car too long.  RIP 


The mass death, settling in to the new house, and new house projects effectively stalled my anting for the rest of the year until a few weeks ago, when I pulled up my half made designs and started tinkering again. 






Name Undecided


This formicarium is for small colonies just starting out. I've taken a lot of design cues from Aidan's Aeacus line. I really like the sleek, white look he achieved along with excellent visibility. It's about 2inx2in. The picture above shows my first test print. 


The main design features are as follows:


  • Water tank beneath the formicarium.
  • Removable part that holds a wicking agent up against a small ceramic tile. 
  • Tile slots.
  • Formicarium landscape is based on real world landscape data. (This one is Texas hill country, with an exaggerated height increase) 
  • One connection port.

The test print came out rather well, but as always, there are minor adjustments I needed to make. The largest change I am making to the design is overhauling the hydration system. Originally, the tile spaces were square, and the tile was placed from above, resting by gravity. After putting in some thought, I decided it would be too difficult to precisely create tiles to fit the slots. Now, my current hydration system will use circular tiles, and be placed from below. Small circular tower-like structures that I used before to contain the wicking agent will now hold up the tile as well, when inserted into the formicarium. I've also increased the size of the tile, and changed it to a single one for this sized formicarium.  For the landscape, I want to first try out a group of well known canyons in the American west. 





Name Undecided as well


Based on a THA product that I forget the name of. This is meant to be a replacement for test tubes for me. I wanted something easier to stack, refillable, easy to provide food, etc. I am overhauling this version as well, but have not printed what I've designed. I still need to purchase the lids I will use before finalizing the design. It will feature a ceramic tile hydration system as well. What I am also excited about is the easy feeding process. I will print smaller, empty versions of this that will connect using magnets on the face. These feeding chambers can then be attached to give the small colony a place to feed without needing an outworld.  


Now that I've gotten to this point, I'm not sure if I've covered everything I wanted to, but I'm getting burned out on typing this post. I will be documenting small changes going forward. 


Feel free to ask questions. I know from personal experience how hard it is to figure things out on your own. It can be very time consuming. 😉


Edited by Jakerobs, January 3 2021 - 11:41 AM.

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#2 Online UtahAnts - Posted

December 29 2020 - 9:04 PM

Glad to finally see someone from Utah! What part do you live in? (Those nests look awesome by the way, very clean and professional)

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#3 Offline Jakerobs - Posted

December 29 2020 - 10:21 PM

Glad to finally see someone from Utah! What part do you live in? (Those nests look awesome by the way, very clean and professional)

Thanks! I bought a home in West Valley City. Its the nicest neighborhood in West Valley The rest of the city scares me too much. What about you?

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#4 Online UtahAnts - Posted

December 30 2020 - 9:34 AM

Nice, I actually live just north of Spanish fork. As I rarely encounter other ant keepers from around here, what species have you found or kept in Utah, or even Texas?

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#5 Offline Jakerobs - Posted

December 30 2020 - 12:21 PM

Nice, I actually live just north of Spanish fork. As I rarely encounter other ant keepers from around here, what species have you found or kept in Utah, or even Texas?

Last summer I didn't search often and had a Formica sp group of quens, and also found an Aphaenogaster queen. Unfortunately they died in the move.  


In TX I kept a couple Camponotus species, I believe were Sansabeanus and Hyatti, as well as Paratrechina Longicornis. What species have you kept here?

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#6 Online UtahAnts - Posted

December 30 2020 - 4:16 PM

Dang, I've always wanted some crazy ants. I've never seen a Aphaenogaster, I'll have to keep an eye out for them. I have had best success with Camponotus, Formica, tetramorium, and temnothorax. I've had a few other interesting but random species too. Most of the coolest species here, like Myrmecocystus, live down south. I'll tell you if and when I see any queens flying this year.

By the way, what is that clear lid to the small test tube replacement?

Edited by AntsUtah, December 30 2020 - 5:31 PM.

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#7 Offline Jakerobs - Posted

January 1 2021 - 10:23 AM

Version 1.5 of Small Nest 


I have made changes to my small square nest design I posted earlier. After a slight printing hiccup, I got a finished print. 





Can anyone guess what landscape is in this version? I've been here several times and I can almost imagine myself there when looking extremely closely.  





The largest change was the hydration system. It now involves a little bit of supergluing, due to the printing constraints. However, it's not that much assembly. What I am happiest about is that I can now not worry too much about the tile being precise (my levels of precise, haha). 

If you take a look at the above pictures, you can see the tile tower that will keep the tile in place, and also hold the sponge in place to wick up water. 



Side view of how it looks when put together. 





These last two show how it looks with everything put together. The last things needed are the magnets to be glued and the glass to be placed. In this version I also made some changes to make it easier to remove the glass, and also fit it better. 


Something that I have been thinking about doing is painting a thin layer of grout in some of the valleys to give the ants an absorbent material. From what I've read, this would help in absorbing the formic acid they produce, as well as help the larvae spin cocoons. If that is incorrect, please let me know.

On that line of thought, would the grout eventually be saturated with formic acid? Would it just be better to give them a little sand substrate instead? Any thoughts are appreciated. 


I also really need to get some closeup filters for my DSLR. It's focusing limit is really getting on my nerves. 



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#8 Offline Swirlysnowflake - Posted

January 2 2021 - 11:34 AM

These are beautiful nests. I’d probably purchase them if you were to sell them. What size ants do the nests work for?

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#9 Offline FSTP - Posted

January 2 2021 - 11:57 AM

these are great, nice job!

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#10 Online UtahAnts - Posted

January 2 2021 - 1:52 PM

Yeah I would buy a couple as well. Really like the tile and wick idea, might give it a try.

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#11 Offline Jakerobs - Posted

January 2 2021 - 5:11 PM

Thanks guys! I don't know about selling them. There's a lot that would go into that, and I tend to be a bit perfectionist. I first need to start testing them with actual colonies. 


These are beautiful nests. I’d probably purchase them if you were to sell them. What size ants do the nests work for?


Technically, I could make them work for a variety of ranges. I would just increased the space between the glass and the base depending on what I need and print it. With the ones I printed already, there's about 4-7mm of space. I don't think tiny ants (2-3mm) would work very well in these unless I siliconed the glass. I might try some tiny ants and see how it goes. 

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#12 Offline ANTdrew - Posted

January 2 2021 - 5:24 PM

Silicone the glass or use magnets for peace of mind.

"The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer." Prov. 30:25
Keep ordinary ants in extraordinary ways.

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#13 Offline Jakerobs - Posted

January 2 2021 - 5:35 PM

Silicone the glass or use magnets for peace of mind.


Magnets are what I use. I didn't have the base magnets glued in the last pictures, or show the glass and top magnets. 


Also, in case anyone is wondering where the latest version shows, search 37.28107886498479, -112.94672070136444.

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Complete 3D Printing Solution - 3D Farms


Complete solution for 3D printing - 3D farms

What is a 3D farm

A 3D farm is a set of 3D printers, usually of the same type and performing standard tasks, within one enterprise.

A well-managed 3D printing farm can be a strong addition to an existing business or stand alone. Creating a cell from several 3D printers will increase production capacity, allow simultaneous production in several materials and offer 3D printing to customers as a paid service.

The use of 3D printing in production allows you to shorten the production cycle, reduce overhead costs and reduce the time needed to translate projects into a finished product.

3D printer farms are the best solution for starting or expanding your business. Their advantages:

  • Easy scalability – from small workshop to factory
  • Quick install and start
  • Ideal for fast turnaround times

Why you need a 3D farm
For a large team

A 3D farm increases the efficiency of a team of engineers or designers - having several 3D printers will allow you to print models at the same time, without taking up a queue for printing and without waiting for several hours or days.
By dedicating one specialist to maintain the farm, you free the rest from the need to fill printers with material and control printing, which allows them to focus on their work.

For more productivity

Regardless of the field of activity, the production cell of several 3D printers allows you to increase production volumes.
The Formlabs farm, for example, which includes fifty Form 2 printers, produces about 650 models per week in different types of polymer, and only seven people work there. When printers are bundled together, there is no need for an operator for each device.


Most 3D printers print one material at a time. There are models of FDM printers with two or even three extruders, but such printers are also limited in the number of plastics used at the same time. This forces you to wait for the end of printing to create the next model from a different material, which stretches the process for many hours. With the help of a 3D farm, you can print parts from any number of materials at the same time, limited only by the number of printers in your farm.

Custom print

3D print shop websites and 3D hubs accept 3D printing orders over the Internet, converting printer life into profit. Users who print too little to buy a 3D printer send them their models in .STL or .OBJ format and receive finished prints. This industry is growing, the service is gaining popularity. If you are interested in getting into this field and capturing your piece of the market, then it's time to get a small 3D farm, which can then be easily scaled up by adding new printers.

For Guaranteed Success

Even with the most reliable 3D printer, there is always the possibility of a breakdown, operator error or disruption due to unforeseen circumstances. If you have only one 3D printer, this situation can slow down the entire organization while it is being repaired, causing production delays and customer dissatisfaction. Having a farm of 3D printers, you are protected from suddenly being left without a 3D printing tool, and especially important orders can be duplicated by printing at the same time to ensure that force majeure is avoided.

Options for execution


FORMLABS FORM 2 Farm 2 is equipped with high-precision stereolithographic 3D printers that have proved to be well-produced by the quality standards in table stereolite.

Buy Formlabs Form 2

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Ultimaker Farm

Ultimaker builds some of the most accurate and high quality FDM printers in the world. This solution is perfect for prototyping or custom 3D printing. The farm is equipped with Ultimaker 3 Extended 3D printers, which print simultaneously with two filaments in a working area of ​​215 x 215 x 305 mm.

Buy Ultimaker 3 Extended

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Makerbot Farm

The MakerBot Farm is a centralized, scalable 3D printing center consisting of MakerBot Replicator + 3D printers.
The solution includes 3D printers and installation, custom printer manufacturer software, job training, technical support, and filament supplies.

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We will select 3D printers according to your requirements and create a project of the farm, taking into account the field of activity, the size and layout of the room, customer preferences, ergonomics and increasing efficiency.

To create an individual 3D farm project, please contact our staff.

To calculate the cost of and the timing of your order, send your request through the form or by mail:

[email protected]


Startup studio

Brief information:

TulGU Startup Studio is designed to create and maintain a favorable environment at the university that promotes the formation of interdisciplinary project teams consisting of students, graduate students and young scientists of TulSU. These teams can be engaged in the commercialization of scientific and technical developments. The tasks of the startup studio include comprehensive support (organizational, technical, methodological, consulting) of projects from the idea stage to the product launch on the market. In the course of accompanying the project team, the startup studio analyzes the competencies of the participants and recommends educational programs to bridge the gaps in areas important for the implementation of the project. The startup studio conducts educational events, during which it trains teams on project work and provides an opportunity for interested stakeholders to present their cases to project teams.

Startup as a diploma:

Thanks to the approved regulations for the defense of the WRC in the form of a startup, university students can work on their entrepreneurial or social project, formed during the implementation of the student technological entrepreneurship program, and as a result, submit it to the protection of the state attestation commission. In order for a project to be admitted to such a format of protection, a number of conditions must be met, one of which is the attraction of funding or the availability of a scalable business idea.

Application for grants from the Student Startup Innovation Promotion Fund:

Project: Production of software-controlled complexes of automated systems

and research activities. The main objectives of the project are the development, production and sale of open source embedded automation systems for the Russian market. The basis of the project will be the block construction of electronics on a printed circuit board of our own design. Thanks to the created blocks, it is possible to speed up the production of control boards. With the development of the design capabilities of the applicants, the empty niche of demanded automated control systems will be filled and partial import substitution of foreign-made devices will be made. The project plans to develop a direction for the design and manufacture of various elements of production chains, small production lines. One of the proposed products is a planter automation system. At the moment, we are interacting with actively developing agricultural enterprises interested in this and other products of the project developers.

Project: Tulkvest

"TooQuest" is historical quests, on open areas, based on cultural and historical aspects of the development of the city of Tula. Objectives: Creation of a digital infrastructure for convenient and understandable passage of quests. Tasks: Creation of software, creation of a plot using the archives and history of the city, advertising campaign, agreement with travel companies to include our quests in the itineraries of excursions and trips. Expected results: development of the tourist attractiveness of the city, preservation of historical memory, popularization of cultural places and objects. Applications: tourism, entertainment industries, parks, cultural sites, historical sites. Possible consumers of the results: tourists, travel companies, residents of the city.

Project: Centroid

The purpose of the project is the development and production of domestic centering devices that ensure shaft alignment. Project objectives: development of a serial version of the centering device based on vision systems; its certification as metrological equipment; production of centering devices for further sale, leasing and provision of centering services at the customer's enterprise. Applications: plants, factories, public buildings, energy, shipbuilding, agriculture. Possible consumers: designers and installers of engineering systems of buildings, installers of conveyors and other equipment of plants and factories, plants for the production of systems containing electric motors, manufacturers of wind, hydro and thermal power generators, manufacturers of ship engines, manufacturers of agricultural equipment. Expected results: introduction and use of the developed centering device instead of imported analogues in the listed industries.

Residents of Startup studio: entrepreneurial, social entrepreneurial projects, victories in competitions

Ant farms ( Happy )

Service-based muravies 3D printing and their subsequent sale. The package includes a formicarium, ants of a special breed, food, instructions for caring for insects. Formicaria are designed with the possibility of future expansion.

Digital Biolaboratory

Short description of the project: Automatic biolaboratory - a device consisting of a camera of technical vision and algorithms of image processing, which allows research in various areas of biologists in various areas of biologists. The resolution of the camera allows you to work with objects invisible to the human eye, and the ability of the biolaboratory to automatically analyze the state of research objects allows you to track the dynamics of processes extended over time.


Brief description of the project: Creation of virtual reality technologies for exercise machines, which can be used in the exhibiting.

Window to the past (augmented reality)

Brief description of the project: Creation of a free application for mobile devices using augmented reality (AR) technologies, which shows what events took place during the Great Patriotic War in relation to geolocation in certain memorable places in Tula and the Tula region.

Fighters from the war, descendants return

A brief description of the project: civilian-patriotic education of the dead during the protection of the Fatherland, clarifying the fate of the disappearance of their relatives about their relatives about their family search, organization and conduct of training search reconnaissance and Memory Watches.

Online School "ABC of Parents"

Brief description of the project: Creation of an online portal for broadcasting educational materials to young parents from graduates.

Development of projects for urban spaces in Tula

Brief description of the project: Development of projects for the development of urban spaces in the city of Tula by university students and their presentation to the head of the city of Tula.

All-Russian Festival "Science 0+"


Brief description of the project: science films, robot battles, entertaining experiments and VR technologies, as well as several dozens of educational lectures , exhibition stands and master classes in radio electronics, robotics, laser technologies, all this - All-Russian Scientific Festival "Science 0+"

Digital transformation of education at the university

Brief description of the project: Transformation of a student's personal account as part of the digital transformation of the university with the addition of a game component.

Green economy

Brief description of the project: Competition of projects and ideas in the field of "green economy", the state of the environment, environmental, environmental-economic and environmental-social problems.

Organization of e-sports competitions

Brief description of the project: Organization of an e-sports league at the university, holding competitions, teaching commentary skills, popularizing e-sports.

Designer clothing brand

Brief description of the project: Creation of a brand and production of limited clothing collections based on Tula party culture.