Sunday, August 7, 2011

DIY Static grass applicator for under $15

Who ever got frustrated with static grass not standing up raise a hand!

I'm one of those frustrated people, and on the other hand I know that the train modelling community are complete wizards with static grass, and they probably have a magic way of doing it.

The answer is an awesome product called Static Grass Applicator, and now-a-days one can buy it for around $200 (which is a bit steep for a piece of plastic that creates a static electricity charge). One other tool can do this very same thing, and that is the world-famous electric fly swatter/zapper bat (i got mine for $8 and that is an overkill since Israel is know to be a very expensive country). All we need are a few minor modifications.

Before I start, a copyright disclaimer. I didn't invent this, I didn't even think of it, nor did I imagine it. I used google and found how-to instructions on a model train site, I followed those instructions, built the gadget, took my own photos, and it worked :)

Here is the whole bill of materials:

1. Fly swatter/zapper bat body
2. Small kitchen sieve (make sure the sieve itself is metal. Mine came in plastic housing which is a bonus)
3. some longer wire for grounding
4. Aligator clip with insulation

Tools needed:

1. Screwdriver
2. Soldering iron/solder
3. Cutter/wire stripper
4. pin-vice (or power drill and #2 or #3 drill bit)

Take apart the bat handle, and cut the wires connecting it to the head. Make sure to leave yourself some wire to work with.

Drill three little holes on the "right" side (viewed from top) and thread your ground wire. This way it wont be easy to pull it out and rip the whole contraption apart.

Strip the end of your ground wire, and wrap the exposed wire from the swatter around it

While you are doing this, remember where you put your little yellow (in my case) power button. Its very easy to lose it (just like I lost it and had to take apart my zapper #2 that was supposed to work as a real zapper)

Solder the two wires you wrapped around together. If you are not sure how to use a soldering iron, find someone who can help you. Soldering irons are hot and they can (and will) burn you.

After soldering you can check yourself with a multimeter just like this one in the picture

Strip the other side of the ground wire, and attach/solder your alligator clip to it. If you have insulation for the clip, make sure to thread it on the wire before you solder.

Take a second shorter and thinner wire (and just to do it properly, different color) from your ground wire. Strip it on both sides, and solder it to the other lead that comes from your zapper whatchamacallit

Take your sieve, trim the handle to length, drill it for screws, and close the whole thing up. The thin wire needs to be threaded through the sieve (not in the photo but i hope you get what i mean :))

And now how to use it:

1. mix 50:50 water and PVA glue
2. Spread it generously over the whole area that will be grassified
3. Stick a steel/iron nail in the glue/water mixture
4. Attach the clip to the nail
5. fill the sieve with static grass
6. shake the sieve while close to the glue/water mix, and watch the grass stand on its end.

Here is how it looks applied:

If you get the opposite effect, where the grass gets all glued down and flat, your polarity is wrong. All you have to do is swap the batteries around. This swatter/zapper is so simple that swapping the batteries is as good as swapping polarity

If you touch the clip/nail to the sieve while you are holding the power button, there will be an audible zap, and you will see a little spark. Try not to get yourself inside that spark since it does hurt like hell (and it can burn you).

Adary-miniatures blog does not warrant that using this device in this way is safe. It works for me but I cant guarantee that it will work for you, or that you wont get hurt. Be responsible, and take care not to touch any exposed metal parts when pressing the power button.

ps. The whole build took me around 15 minutes, including taking photos. This was incredibly easy to do :)

1 comment:

  1. WOW, I love this, I have to make something like this. Although I do not own static grass I really need to!!


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