- Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:03 pm
Just a few little tips / trade secrets:
If using an FDM/FFF printer:
1) Don't use PLA filament. The product will only last a matter of months before it degrades as it will be in a constantly humid environment. Many ants will also chew PLA.
2) Use FDA/Food Grade PETG, PC or Nylon 680 as these are safe for long term use and will not degrade or give off harmful byproducts.
3) Beware of unforeseen costs. FDM printers need new hotends/nozzles on a regular basis and regular maintenance as well as often wasted material due to print failures (very frequent!).
If using a SLA printer:
The byproducts are not safe for ants (or humans). Only use an SLA for making a mould for a nest that would be made from ant-safe materials.
If using a SLS printer (probably not likely due to cost, but it's what AntKit use):
1) Use PA12/PA2200 powder.
2) Costs using this technology are based on material swept so be careful with cost calculations and recycle no more than 50% swept material to keep within your support contract and for product quality.
If you are making the top of your nest with acrylic, you will need to use fasteners as magnets and glue will not hold the lid in place due to the hygroscopic nature of acrylic causing it to warp - ants will escape! Annealing is a MUST if you have to use acrylic to mitigate some of these issues. If you are not laser cutting, use polycarbonate instead as it does not warp.
And of course when you do start selling, make sure you contact a member of staff before posting any links so not to be in conflict with the forum rules :)
Great start so far anyway :)
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