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Topic: Is this project possible? (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic



I'm hoping to build an 40*40*40cm "insect chilling chamber" using a couple of Peltier elements, 5 fans (4 plus one to counter condensation on the lens), 4 fins and some sort of XYZ+ABCDE mover inside the airtight container. By the latter I mean a thing, maybe an arm of some sort, that'll let me position a twig with a chilly bug on it quite slowly and accurately, ie 1 degree per second, to get the twig and bug at the right angle to be able to take shots.

I also need to be able to add temperature and CO2 sensors, a digital readout and infra red control over the whole thing. This is obviously quite an ambitious project I believe Arduino with steppers on gears could be the right approach, but I don't really know where to start or if I'm even on the right path with Arduino.

Is this possible?

Many thanks,
Photography nut trying to make the flux capacitor of macro pho


Is this possible?


but I don't really know where to start

With some research. Specifically on Peltier coolers. The amount of cooling needed, and the level of control over the temperature that you need will indicate whether Peltier coolers are appropriate, or not, and how long they will last if used inappropriately.

How much control over the fans do you need? On or off or variable speed? That defines what kind of fan you need.

Stepper motors can move quite slowly. They can be geared up or down. A stepper motor driver, sized to match the stepper motor, will be needed.

Why are you shooting the insects?


Thank you paul, I appreciate the handholding.

Regarding Peltiers, judging from info online, two beefy ones with decent fans and sinks *should* be able to cool a small space down to where I need it (1-2 deg C). All the research I've done indicates that the fans and sinks are really the key to making it work.

On or off is fine for the fans driving air to and from the Peltiers, but variable speed would be nice for the fifth. The fifth is smaller and just needs to drive air over the lens, to prevent condensation. Vibration is a concern so ideally as slow as possible. Heck a small hand held fan adaptation will even do for that. For the other 4, driving air, my dream would be to add a temperature sensor inside and set a target temperature and write a proggie that'll cut out the inside fans for me when it's at the right temp, then resample every Xs(?) or so and come back on when it's some variable point up from the desired temperature (Y). Trial and error will determine X and Y.

Could you point me at some good sources of information about designing arm-like structures or XYZ manipulators using steppers and gears? If I know my options I'll at least know where to start!

I'm making this thing to keep insects alive. I'm a photography nut but I don't like the fact that in order to make extreme macro shots of things like moths they need to be dead, because alive they don't sit still. You can't have movement between plane of focus shots when you're stacking a few hundred shots together to make a master shot with everything in focus. A cold environment coupled with CO2 keeps them perfectly still but also leaves them unharmed. For example it is very standard when you catch moths to keep them in a fridge overnight in a tube to later ideantify - because it stops them flying around and damaging their wings (scales coming off).

This is an example with dead insects, it is good photography but I'd like to do better and be the first to come out with stuff like this of living, not dead posed insects!

Master & Servant by Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel, on Flickr
Photography nut trying to make the flux capacitor of macro pho


Fwiw, I decided to buy an Arduino starter kit to get some experience.
Photography nut trying to make the flux capacitor of macro pho


Good idea - the starter kit will help you get your feet wet and enable you to ask the exact questions you have as well as to better understand the answers you receive.

I don't have any advice to offer on your build but I think the project is interesting.  Here's hoping you keep us updated :)

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