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by fredhag, published

FlyTrack by fredhag Aug 23, 2013
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FlyTrack by fredhag is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.

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2249Views 652Downloads Found in Biology


This device was created to allow for student experiments to study fly ambulation (walking) in a controlled space. There are 6 troughs and the flies move inside the tunnels created by the plastic body and affixed plexiglass top. They always move upwards so this can be thought of as an upside down hour glass. Students turn over the whole device for the next trial. The plan is for students to record video of the experiment for analysis, and the plastic is thin enough to allow for backlighting if desired.


This was designed to fit on a 3D printer with a 200mm bed but can be scaled in the source file (SketchUp).

Printed in PLA for accuracy and minimizing warping along with 2 shells and 25% in-fill. No support is needed, but there is intentional support strands and cross pieces underneath the main body that should be removed after printing.

For each device, one needs to print out 4 magnet holders, one body, and two bases (the STL already has two bases in it). Further, we used 4 1/4"x1/4" cylinder neodymium magnets inside the body, and we glued 4 1/4"x1/8" cylinder neodymium magnets inside the magnet holders and the magnet holders to the plexiglass.

The plexiglass was cut to approximately 90x134mm and is 2.3mm thick, Optix grade.

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Well D.A.M. its a drosophila activity monitor.

From what I can member the trick to doing single particle tracking of flies is to add food coloring/dye in the food and its dies the animals fat making it a lot easier to track.

I love the Thingiverse community! I should have realized there would be people with experience in this. I'm on the tech side of the project as a physical chemist and 3D print guy, but yes, it's basically a narrow or corralled version of a D.A.M. This is for an introductory experiment in an integrated quantitative science course so I don't think they will do it long enough for the dye, but the experiment was created to be fairly organic so the students should be coming up with ideas to improve the experiment including accuracy, reproducibility, etc. - at least in reports. The dye is perfect, and I hope it comes up. I haven't seen too many monitors, but I am hoping that the small and high contrast background in this design would be comparable or better than the challenges in tracking flies in those large compartments.