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I am having a second go at setting up an Ant Farm. In my first attempt I purchased an ant farm enclosure and a funnel ant queen and workers. After a while the queen died. Ant livestock tend to be expensive - lots of work required capturing a queen, freight and then maintaining while workers hatch. I am a cheapskate so this time I decided to capture my own queen.
Meat ants or gravel ants (Iridomyrmex purpureus) are endemic in Australia so a queen should be easy to capture. Also, while not the biggest, these ants are on the larger end of the scale. With my eyes, I wanted something I could see.
For meat ants, you look in spring and in autumn. Spring is preferred. For Canberra, this works out as in October. Today my attempt was in the beginning of November. Three things are required for a mating flight: damp ground from rain over night, sufficient temperature and low wind conditions. We had lots of rain late yesterday and so I thought it was worth a look.
I had previously found two meat ant nest just near work. I examined them at 12:30pm and found one of the two nests was beginning the process. At 12:30 I saw drones on the surface of the nest. These were about the same size as workers but with wings. They were popping up and the back underground.
When I visited again around 2:30pm I could still see the male drones but now could also see queens. These were three or four times the size of the workers but with wings. I could see 15 or 20 of them, a large number for such a small nest.
That was about the end of what happened. The temperature was nice but the wind was up and I would guess either too much wind or not sufficient temperature. In any case I checked down wind for queens.
What is supposed to happen is that the males will fly early and are then joined by the queens. Once they have mated - on wing but drifting down wind - the queen lands and removes her wings before finding a place to begin a tunnel. She will dig 10 - 15cm down leaving a little mound of dirt. I will try again tomorrow.
While this article records my experience, my actions were based on: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1440-6055.1974.tb02212.x
I recently described installing OpenElec with Kodi on the Pi 2. This post includes all you need to get it going and is based on my internal doco. I hope this helps people.
Configure Kodi for use:
Fix the time
Install the MythTV plugin
Adjust the TV
When joining wood to make a right angle, such as the corner of a box, there are several options. Unassisted mitre joints are relatively weak, hard to clamp and hard to cut. Adding dowels or splines just makes the job harder. Dovetails are the ultimate but hard to achieve, requiring high technical skill. So enter the humble box joint. These are medium hard to cut but are common, considered pretty and relatively strong.
To achieve good box joints if you are not a master, will require either a router or table saw and a jig. I haven't built my table saw yet so used my router. Even with the excellent howto at: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-quick-box-using-box-joints/ this takes a little practise. There is a small omission that almost guarantees failure that we will come to later.
The first step is creating a jig. I wanted to use a simple fence to guide my jig and so it is a slightly different design to the article. First make a braced bookend - that is two pieces of wood butt jointed to form a right angle with a brace/handle in the middle across the two boards. If you use screws or nails, you need to place them with care because you will be running a router bit into one side of the face - see below.
Next choose a straight router bit that matches a purchased dressed all round (DAR) wood size. I used 12mm Tassie Oak which was available at the hardware store. Hardwood is to be preferred since this bit gets a bit of wear. Many plans for jigs like this suggest cutting your own, but since the factory can do it much more precisely than I can, I chose the course of cowardice. Cut two pieces about 100mm long of your DAR.
Examine your router table with your uncompleted jig. Figure out where the fence will go - on my table it was opposite to normal - and the direction of feed. Note the router bit will be the width of the jig less 3 and a bit times your DAR from the fence when the jig is used. So on my jig it is 3x12mm plus: say 40mm. Set your fence so that your chosen router bit hits the jig just inside the outer edge. Adjust the height to match the other dimension of the DAR. Run the jig across the bit making a groove or dado about 50mm long through the face and along the base of the jig. Glue one piece of your cut DAR into that groove making a finger sticking out of the face of your jig.
None of the measurements thus far need to be very accurate. Measurements after this point need to be as accurate as possible.
Once the glue is dry use your spare piece of DAR to set the router bit to one width further in towards the fence than the finger. Be sure to measure against the blade of the bit and not the side. Set the height of the bit to the width of the board you are using - 19mm in my case - and run the jig across the bit until the bit is hidden. Your jig is now completed and your router set up to make box joints
I took a day and a half before I got a reasonable joint so expect to practice on scrap. One of my biggest problems was not knowing to start the first piece in a joint with the top to the finger (the how to's omission)..The other trap was not clamping the pieces. My sides were only 40mm wide which is small to hold steady and square. Wider pieces may not need clamping.
Once the joints are cut you can glue and clamp them. Finally sand all the sides down to remove any last variations.
I have pretensions to teach myself some fine carpentry skills. My general skills are slowly getting better but I have a long way to go. Currently I am working on dowelling.