About making a static grass applicator that enables you to add static grass the way that best suits you.
Static grass applicators vary in type and each type has its particular advantages and uses.
The Three Basic Types Of Static Grass Applicators
Before we do anything, lets look at the types.
Fly Swatters Converted To Static Grass Applicators
The poor characteristics of the Fly Swatters converted to Static Grass Applicators simply makes their one positive characteristic of being cheap irrelevant.
These are generally discarded and replaced by one of the two other classes of static grass applicators.
Why? They have low pulling power and the dispensers are usually to small to prevent the grass from flying about when one shakes them.
As one wag put it, the fly swatters only give flies mental shock treatment. They fly away with memory loss but ready to continue to irritate.
Your grass needs more than a mental shock.
We recommend against wasting your time making one of these.
Shaker Type Static Grass Applicators
There are two types of shakers.
One is the single unit shaker such as the one you see at the left. Most commercial grass applicators take this form.
The second is an external shaker.
Both are excellent for adding static grass over large areas. They are what one would describe as general purpose static grass applicators.
If you are going to be doing basic static grass work, one of these is fine.
Unlike the single unit applicator that has to be emptied and reloaded, only the tops have to be switched.
Sometimes grass will cling to the walls in the single unit. So if you refill without cleaning, you end up mixing your grasses. Separate glass jars eliminate this problem.
Static Grass Applicators That Use External Dispensers
To the left is a picture of an external dispenser type static grass applicator.
Nothing compares to these for making finely detailed scenery.
They consist of a main static field generating unit to which you add a grass dispenser in the form of a tea or vegetable strainer or other grass scenery tools. (information about them is here.)
The advantages of external dispenser type static grass applicator of this type are significant.
- Easy to control where the grass is being applied.
- It can be used to groom edges along the sides of buildings and fences.
- It can be used to power your own simple DIY flock box.
- You can change grass in the dispenser quickly and easily.
- You can apply grass in places not reachable with a shaker. In low overhead areas, under bridges, at tunnel entrances, for example.
- You can add unique dispensers to do such things as add static grass branches to trees – wire, wooden and plastic armature-based trees.
- And if you really want, you can use it as a shaker type dispenser.
You can buy one that is plug and play or a kit to build one. Review what is available here.
Kit Versus Scratch Built
A static grass applicator is nothing more than a negative iron generator connected to a grass dispenser with some convenience items around it.
With a good generator in hand, and a little planning, you can “roll your own”. We will show you some below.
Kits Offer Advantages.
All the parts you need come together in one package with one shipping cost.
And the parts you get are the right parts.
Many a person after burning out an anion generator or two rolling his own has said, “I should have bought the kit.”
Simple External Dispenser Static Grass Applicator
It is nothing more than some wine bottle cork feet on a piece of MDF, a switch, connectors and anion generator.
Fast, easy, simple, versatile, powerful.
Anion Generator – This is the heart of your static grass applicator. Get a powerful one. Like this.
Switch – This can make you or break you. Use a high quality switch that completely and definitely isolates the positive and negative inputs. Some allow for a feedback loop to develop that burns out the generator
Male and Female Banana Clips – Any clip will do.
Mounting Board – Your choice of material. MDF with wine bottle corks cut into feet works fine.
Wire – 18 to 24 gauge is fine. The generator is not a transformer. It is more like a capacitor. So amperage is not a concern.
Alligator Clip – Any clip will do.
Tea Or Vegetable Strainer – Screen size is important here. Don’t get anything that is too fine.
Poly Pipe For Handle For Tea Strainer – Anything that will hold the strainer handle wrapped with electrical tape.
Power Supply – Be sure to use a good one. Some wall warts, even though they should not, have an AC component to the output. And that AC component burns out your anion generator. That is why we recommend testing the unit with a 9v DC battery. If you later shift to a wall wart and your static grass applicator doesn’t pull the grass, makes noises or emits a sudden burst of smoke or stench, it is the power supply that is bad and the generator HAD BEEN good.
If you want all the parts, tested and proven, in one package, go here.
Kit Built External Dispenser Static Grass Applicator
The unit to the left is a very popular, inexpensive, powerful, and easy to build static grass applicator.
We strongly recommend that you consider this. Click Here to check it out.
And read what people using it have said about it Click Here
This is a video that shows the process of assembly. So that you don’t lose this page, the video will open in a new window. That is important because there is more important information below that you should read. Here is the link to DIY Static Grass Applicator.
Scratch Built Shaker In Form Of External Dispenser
In this case you use a jar for your dispenser.
You generate the static field with any form of control unit we discussed above..
Roll your own, use the simple unit or the kit built unit. They are all equally as good.
Remember that with an external unit, you can use many more tools than just the shaker. Look here.
Scratch Built Shaker In Form Of Single Unit
Very popular and a often viewed guest in how to this or that videos.
Because the process of building one of these is rather complex, we cover that in a separate page. That page is here.
Here Are A Few Examples Of Scratch Built External Type Static Grass Applicators
These are the creations of people who decided to roll their own.
This was easily made from some mdf and acrylic that the customer had on hand.
This fellow used electronics parts that he got here.
This is definitely more complex but it has a nice look about it and now works well.
In this case, the fellow used parts that he got from here, there and everywhere.
It is important to note, that even though it works well now, he used a push button that resulted in a feedback loop that burned out two power supplies.
After being advised to change buttons, everything works fine.
A perfect example of “I should have gotten the kit.”
He used the anion generator that he got here.
This is how the anion generator is wired.
The thick black wire goes to the strainer. The green wire is the ground that you connect to the surface of your scene.
The thin black and red wires go to your power supply. When you connect these, make sure that the red goes to the positive side of your power supply. Reversing the connection will burn out the generator IMMEDIATELY. So check the polarity of your power supply!
Review Of Control Unit Attachments
By far the most useful tool is either a tea or vegetable strainer.
Just solder a wire to the strainer, slip it through a piece of poly pipe and wrap the pipe with electrical tape. On the loose end of the wire attach a banana clip.
This is a fantastically useful tool. I use it when applying static grass to wire trees, making static grass trees, and “rapid fire” grass tufts, weeds and flowers.
All these processes are page on our page How To Use Static Grass.
and How To Make Trees .
You can make a simple, inexpensive flock box simply by using a backing pan and alligator clip. Details are here.
You Will Need A Power Supply.
Your choice here can make a big difference.
Some wall warts have an AC component to the DC output. Most don’t but you only need one.
We advise that the first time a static grass applicator is tested, it be tested with a 9 v DC battery.
Here is a short video showing how the generator pulls when powered by a 9 v DC battery.
That will tell you if your wiring is correct and show you how the anion generator works.
Many people who use this anion generator either for a roll your own or kit built applicator, stay with the 9 v DC battery. They like the portability of the applicator and not having wires in the way when they work.
In any case, you can power it with anything between 4.5 and 12 v DC. The output will vary according to the input voltage. It is best to get a full understanding by reading the information here.
Use your bench top power supply, layout power bus, or track power.
You Are Ready To Go
With this information in hand, you should be able to make a high voltage output static grass applicator or flock box.
So it is a matter of deciding how you would like to proceed.
You can start with the anion generator alone and get all the other parts locally. If this is your choice, you can get one here. Anion Generator
It is probably better to get all the parts that have been tested and recommended for a static grass applicator. You can get them here.
And if you want the convenience of a kit , and the pleasure of avoiding your own “I should have bought the kit” moment, you can get one here. Static Grass Applicator Kit
In any case, download these instructions in a .pdf instruction book. Click Here.
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