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rankodd

Building a Static Grass Applicator

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rankodd

Hi! I got some interest in the Project Party forum about the static grass applicator that I built.

 

Now, this is how I made mine, and it works great, but experiences will vary.

 

Parts list:

 

1 x 15kv Negative Ion Generator from Oatley Electronics - $26CA shipped. ($14 for the module, $12 for shipping)

http://secure.oatleyelectronics.com//product_info.php?products_id=915&osCsid=803e059960f6b39bcbde3d8bdf38bb40

 

8" of 1.5" ABS plumbing pipe

 

2 x 1.5" ABS end caps

 

3 x Small plastic containers (Mine have screw on lids, $1 for a pair from a Dollar Store. One for the end of the applicator, one to store mixed grass, and one to steal the lid from to put on the applicator when not in use.)

 

2 x medium alligator clips (sourced from Dealextreme.com  - $2.31/10 pair)

http://www.dealextreme.com/p/alligator-clips-middle-10-pair-6359

 

Power switch (I used a fancy one with a round base and an LED)

 

Power jack (sized to match your power supply, or get a plug that matches the jack and put it on the supply itself)

 

Wire (I used 16 guage)

 

4 x clamp on ring terminals (Not sure of the technical name, sized to match the wire.

 

6 x Small bolts, matching nuts and washers

 

Aluminum mesh (which was the hardest thing to find, next to the ion generator itself. You can probably find some used for autobody repairs. You may also be able to use aluminum window screen, but it could be too dense. I used Art mesh I got at the dollar store a long time ago, after failing to find anything suitable to purchase new)

 

Power supply (I used a 12 volt, centre positve switching wall wart from Princess auto, ~$4)

 

Soldering iron, heat shrink tube, and solder.

 

Hot glue gun, drill/drill press, drill bits, multimeter, duct tape

 

Photos:

 

1) Wire, clamps, ring terminal

2) Mesh, container

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rankodd

Wiring:

 

Wiring the Ion Generator is very simple, if a little fiddly. It has 3 wires - a red and black pair at one end, and a single red wire at the other.

 

The pair of wires are the Positive and Negative/Ground, and the single wire is the Ion+ wire that goes to the container on the end and is attached to the mesh.

 

I ran the positive wire from the power jack to the switch, and from the switch to the positive wire on the Ion Generator.

 

I ran the negative wire from the power jack to the negative wire on the Ion Generator. It also has to be run as the Ion- wire to the side of the applicator body, as it's the long wire that clips to the pin or nail on the layout when laying grass.

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rankodd

Details:

 

1) Here's the power switch and jack. I had to counter sink them into cap from behind because the material was pretty thick, then drilled an appropriate sized hole all the way through. The power switch is a very tight friction fit because it has a long body inside, and I was silly enough to forget that the nut that holds it in needed extra clearance. It's snug enough that it is absolutely not going any where. The power jack did have enough space to tighten the nut on, though.

 

2) Here's a poorly focused shot showing the inside of the switch. There's extra wiring because the LED connection isn't shown on my diagram.

 

3) ION- goes has a ring terminal on the other end and goes to a bolt through the side of the body. You can just make out the block of the Ion Generator itself in the background. The Ion Generator is a snug fit in the 1.5" ABS pipe, but not snug enough by itself. I ran duct tape around it twice before sliding it in to place, and it's now good and stuck in there.

 

4) Here's the outside of ION-. I've got a couple feet of 16 gauge wire with a ring terminal on one end and an alligator clip on the other. The ring terminal is then tightened between a pair of nuts on the bolt through the side of the body. All the ring terminals and clips are both clamped and soldered.

 

5) A shot of the internal wiring. You can see where the negative terminal of the Ion Generator and the ION- wire are both connected to the negative line on the power jack. The caps are friction fit on to the body, and are tight enough that they are absolutely not going anywhere.

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rankodd

1) The business end of the grassinator. ION+ is the red wire, once again with a ring terminal and alligator clip. ION+ on the inside has a ring terminal and is attached to the bolt the same way ION- is. The other 3 bolts are just there to hold the container to the end cap. The alligator clip allows easy removal of the lid so you can change mesh sizes, or put an intact lid on for storage.

 

2) The lid of the container has a hole cut in it with enough border to attach the mesh to. The mesh is trimmed to fit, then glued on using a hot glue gun. A bolt is run through the mesh to attach the ION+ alligator clip to.

 

3) The business end with the intact lid in place for storage. That static grass gets *everywhere*! I use another of the containers to store the mixed grass.

 

4) The finished product.

 

When its working, if you bring the ION- to within an inch or so of the mesh you can hear a static/crackling noise.

 

Any questions?

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Martijn Meerts

I think I'll just buy a pre-made one, seems they've been going down in price since last I checked :)

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rankodd

Lol! They were still a couple of hundred dollars, last I looked. I paid about $40 in parts, and about 4 hrs of my time to put this together. This one is also more powerful than the retail models - they usually run off of a 9v battery, where this one is 12v.

 

I can fully understand why you might not want to try this, though. It's a bit nerve wracking before you fire it up the first time and get grass :) That being said, I could probably knock together a second one in an hour or so, now...

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Martijn Meerts

I can get the Noch one for about 125 dollar, including various accessories, so it's not that bad really.

 

I'm always a bit weary when it comes to electricity.. I've been zapped a bit too often too still feel comfortable working with it =)

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rankodd

I couldn't find one of those fly swatters, or I would have tried that first. Apparently you can only get about 3kv out of one at best, though.

 

That reminds me - A strainer is supposedly a good option for the metal mesh, and the ones I looked at had about the same mesh size as the aluminum screen material, which would simplify finding that part a bit...

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Hobby Dreamer

rankodd,

 

Thanks for taking the time to explain this!!! 

 

Rick

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rankodd

rankodd,

 

Thanks for taking the time to explain this!!! 

 

Rick

 

My pleasure :) It was a fun project to put together. :D

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rankodd

Yeah, but it's $9. The real ion generator is only $12, although shipping is worse, though I'm in Canada so I'd have to pay expensive shipping on the flyswatter anyway... There was no point messing around with it if I had to order it anyway. I was tying to find one locally without luck, even though I remember seeing them all over the place not long ago.

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WuZhuiQiu

I've seen electric fly swatters in use among some friends who are in the local Chinese-Canadian community. Thus, the fly swatters may well be available from Chinese or Asian markets or shops.

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Martijn Meerts

I used to have one of those electric fly swatters.. It burst into flames when it was used on a rather large fly ...

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cteno4

Rankodd,

 

bang up job on the static grass applicator! ive been meaning to build one of them! from all the chatter on them in the yahoo scenery forum over time it looks like the ion generator version is quite a bit stronger than the flyswatter versions.

 

harbor freight sells the fly swatters

 

http://www.harborfreight.com/electronic-fly-swatter-40122.html

 

cheers

 

jeff

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Bernard

rankodd,

 

Thanks for taking the time to explain this!!! 

 

Rick

 

Me too....it was interesting and detailed to see how you put this together and same quite a few dollars in the process!

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rankodd

Thanks for the replies :) I'm glad someone gets some entertainment out of it, at least!

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