This is a terrarium with a size of about 450x250x250 mm and was primarily designed as ant arena, but I guess it can be used for other animals as well. I created this design as comparable terrariums made from real glass are a lot more expensive and a lot less customizable when it comes to additional hose connectors and other things that might be required when keeping larger ant colonies. I'm a fan of a very robust look and after having quite some colony outbreaks, I tried to make the terrarium in a way where all possible gaps are covered at least once by another part and are close to the screws tightening the whole thing. For very small ants/animals, a bit of animal-friendly silicone can be used to tighten everything even further.
The design provides a very easy and pretty much self-explaining framework to build the terrarium with. Also, it contains the design for a set of pretty strong tube connectors for different sizes, the smallest being a dual-6mm (outer diameter), the largest a 20mm (outer diameter).
All of those come with a counter-plate to secure those that are not in use yet and little "stairs" that optimize the ants access to the connectors, as e.g. Messor barbarus are horrible climbers and keep falling down when trying to reach the connectors.
Furthermore, you will find a design for top vent openings that are made to be used with a filter inlay like metal weave to provide air circulation without being an easy outbreak source.
Acrylic glas plates, 4mm thick:
- 2pcs 450x250mm (Top, Bottom)
- 2pcs 250x250mm (Short Sides)
- 2pcs 442x250mm (Long Sides)
Screws (+ Washers and Nuts):
To get a full frame, print the frame sets according to the number in the round bracket, e.g. (x1) means to print it once, (x2) to print this Set twice.
- Silicone that is not harmful for animals (I use aquarium silicone, transparent)
- Filter material for the top vents (e.g. 100 micron metal weave for small ants/animals)
- 3mm drill
- Step drill for up to 30mm diameter
- A small file might be necessary, depending on how exact the print is
- I've always started with building the bottom frame, put in the bottom acrylic glass plate, and go from there.
- I remove the protective plastic from the acrylic glas on the last steps, e.g. after all holes are drilled and I know all parts fit together and need no further polishing, just before the silicone is applied and everything is screwed together tightly
- Do not tighten the screws too hard, especially when using a power tool! It is better to use a manual screwdriver and do the final tightening with that to prevent the acrylic glass from cracking. For the same reason use washers.
- If the animals you're going to keep in the terrarium are not very small, you might be able to ditch some of the gap cover plates. However, that might weaken the overall stability.
- This is not an aquarium, so don't try to use it with water. Even if there was no leakage, the pressure would be too much ;)
- Do not use it as ant nest or add too much or heavy terrarium interiour. I've tested a few kilogramms and that held well, tho.
- I've not done the exact math yet, but the cost for this self-built Terrarium (including filament, acrylic glas, screws/washers/nuts, power, ...) should be about 35-40% of what a typical ant arena of similar size costs on the market.
As always - I can not be held responsible for anything that happens because of the use of this design or the above instructions. Use at your own risk ;)
Modify Resolution to fit your printer and nozzle. If required or wanted, infill can be maxed out.