Miniscope Baseplate and Protective Cone for Rats
We have developed an adjusted baseplate to hold a protective cone together with Joop Bos (NIN). Using this setup, it is possible to image in rats, while preventing damage due to grooming, bumping into objects, or other unforeseen movements. This system has successfully been tested and used in our experiments. It is possible to hold the animal while snapping on the protective cone with your other hand. Importantly, during baseplating, keep in mind that the set screw of the baseplate is oriented posterior to the animal (to its back). This way, one can easily loosen and tighten this screw and put on the protective cone from the anterior (front) side of the animal, thereby preventing the animal to take it of itself.
The adjusted baseplate has to be milled, similar to the original baseplate. Keep in mind that the height of the baseplate has increased (to 3 mm). Therefore, this system is only useful in combination with a GRIN relay lens. In addition, we have put the set screw in the center to hold the LED PCB rather than the Miniscope housing, as the housing is more fragile. Finally, one has to glue three magnets into the holes, similar to the original baseplate.
The protective cone consists of two parts, left and right, which have to be hold together by an iron rod or thick wire. We have successfully printed both parts using a standard Ultimaker 3D printer, but advice to use a printer with higher resolution as it increases precision (to snap together left and right) and strength (although no protective cone has been damaged during experiments).
Finally, we noticed that rats can take off the protective cap quite easily (within a few days). Therefore, we slightly adjusted the protective cap so it fits better.
Download the .stl and .stp files to directly 3D print (protective cone) or mill the adjusted baseplate, respectively.