Our hummingbird feeder was inundated with ants. There are plenty of commercial options available for solving this problem, but I wanted to try my hand at designing my own solution. I wanted to explore the minimal elements needed to make a water trap and came up with:
- A leak-free cup for the water (duh)
- A upper attachment point that prevents tipping of the cup
- A lower attachment point that is integrated into the monolithic design.
I designed the ant guard in OpenSCAD to take advantage of parametric design principles. The cup was straightforward, and I chose a conical-shaped cylinder for aesthetic purposes. The pillar inside the cup was necessary to prevent tilting of the cup. Using a half-o-ring shape for the attachment point seems to provide sufficient structural integrity (read: I haven't snapped this one off yet like I did in some other prototypes). The bottom attachment is also a half-o-ring and may need some improvements before heavier bird feeders are used. However, for the plastic hummingbird feeder we currently own, it seems to be working sufficiently well.
CAVEAT: as I just mentioned, the bottom support may not be suitable for heavy (read: glass) birdfeeders. Think about this design before you use it with Grandma's hand-blown-glass antique hummingbird feeder. If you're property is damaged because you didn't heed this warning, feel free to sue me. If my net worth were worth something, I wouldn't be 3D printing objects I could buy from Amazon for seven bucks.