Last week we saw how to make a Static Grass Applicator based off a bug zapper. This week well look at the second type of Static Grass Applicator – Type 2, powered by a Negative Ion Generator. This will give us a good chance to compare the two build, and hopefully provide you with enough information to choose the right build for you.
Again, there are a number of awesome videos and articles out there on how to make your own, but the best one I found I’ll link below.
As mentioned this applicator is based around a Negative Ion Generator, and does consist of a lot more building and assembly. The end result is great however.
As mentioned previously, both applicators do the same thing, that is make static grass stand up straight when you apply it. Thid will provide the comparison you have been looking for regarding cost, ease of construction, sturdiness and how good it does the job.
Time to look at the Negative Ion Generator applicator.
Static Grass Applicator – Type 2
WARNING: We are not electricians, and this applicator does involve taking apart a battery operated electrical device. Please be careful and do not proceed if you have any concerns.
I have to admit that I pretty well followed the comprehensive steps by Luke Towan from Boulder Creek Rail Road. His instructional vidoes are simply brilliant. Well laid out and easily explained, they are easy enough for anyone to do. Some basic knowledge of wiring and soldering is needed, but even then the videos step out everything you need to know. I strongly suggest checking out his channel for other hobby related videos.
I can take no real credit to the below as I was following the instruction videos, but maybe the pictures I took may be of some assistance, or provide additional insight.
Ingredients and cost:
- Negative Ion Generator – $3 (from E-Bay or Oatley Electronics)
- Batteries to suit swatter – had some at home so $0, otherwise $2.50 for a pair of 9V batteries.
- Metal sieve (any sort of handle, we only want the metal sieve section) – $2.50
- Plastic container with a CLIP ON lid. Make sure it isn’t screw on – $2.50
- Length of 50mm PVC tubing, at least 25cm long – $5
- 50mm PVC coupler – $2
- Alligator Clips – $1.50
- DPDT switch, a couple of meters of wire and some plastic shrink tube – $2 combined (I sourced mine from Jaycar Electronics)
- Block of wood (about 30mm x 10mm and about 100-150mm long or so) – had some lying around at home. $0
- Battery connection – I used a 9V battery connection from an old fire alarm. Use whatever you have on hand, otherwise Jaycar has some for a minimal amount
- Two Part Epoxy Glue – $2.50, you only need a small amount
- Sandpaper – had some at home $0
- Small screwdriver to suit fixings on the swatter – had one at home $0
- Soldering iron and solder – had one at home $0, otherwise see if you can borrow one. Failing all that ebay has some for about $10
- Drill of some sort. Suitable for drilling through PVC – had one at home. $0
- Some way to cut PVC. Either a circular saw, hacksaw, jigsaw or some other method – had a saw at home. $0
- Hobby Knife – general household stuff. $0
Rather than layout the steps one by one and simply repeat what is in the excellent instructional videos above, I will instead provide some pictures I took of my own construction. These will provide you with additional resources, and let you see that this is indeed able to be done fairly easily, in an afternoon.
Stuff to note!
- The negative ion generator I purchased had two high voltage wires. You only need one. Anyone should do the trick. I sealed off the other one just to make sure it didn’t touch any other wires.
- Basic electronic and soldering knowledge is a big plus but you can learn on the fly.
- Make sure you don;t get too large a gauge of wire (I did, it still works fine but was harder to solder)
- Luke Towan’s videos use a 12V phone charger to power the applicator. I really wanted mine more portable so soldered in a 9V battery connection in place of the charger. This works fine and I am quite happy with it. I do, however, need to add a battery bracket now.
- There seems to be no shock from the device, unlike the bug zapper applicator
- I found I needed to add a little bit more wire to the high voltage wire to get it to reach. An easy process but just be aware.
- I used two part epoxy for the whole construction as opposed to the multiple glues used in the videos. I found it seems to have worked just as good. Go with what you have, but if you need to buy something a small pack of epoxy will do the trick.
- Being able to use the words NEGATIVE ION GENERATOR in a conversation is really cool…
- Took a total of about 3 hours. Cost $24.
Here are a few pictures of the both the end product and of the static grass being applied with the applicator. You can see the grass standing nicely on its end. I only had very short grass however so it looks more like astroturf at the moment.
You can see the black earth wire wrapped around the outside. The coiled red wire inside is the high voltage wire. The battery and connection sits on top with the on/ off switch to the right. The plastic container gives a very easy way to add and remove static grass, and also keeps it securely in place while you use it.
Luke and I are both very happy with the applicators we each made. Even though they are different in look, cost and time taken to make, the results both applicators provide are great. Really it comes down to aesthetics and how much effort you want to put into it.
Cost: Type 1, $9. Type 2, $24. Considering ‘professional’ applicators can cost up to $150, I would say the cost for either of these is negligible. The warning with the second applicator though is that the more stuff you have around the house the cheaper it will be.
Construction Time: Type 1, 10 minutes. Type 2, about 3 hours. As you can see there is a substantial difference in construction time to be aware of.
Ease of Construction: The Type 1 applicator is simple to make, a couple screws and a couple solders and you are done. The Type 2 applicator requires a basic level of electronic and soldering knowledge to make life easier.
Sturdiness: Both applicators are pretty sturdy, but the Type 2 applicator is designed to be fairly rugged whereas the strainer in the Type 1 could possible be moved around depending on the screw locations.
Results: Well, as you can see, they really both do the job well. For all intents and purposes you couldn’t tell the difference between them
Each device has it;s pro’s and con’s.
Type 1: Simple and quick to make, very cheap and easy to use. It suffers from giving you shock if you aren’t careful and has an open air basket to hold the flock.
Type 2: Still cheap (but more expensive than the strainer applicator) and easy to use. Cost could compound the more items and tools you need to buy. Construction time and effort is very high compared to the other build. This does make an awesome project for an afternoon though. I find this build to be more aesthetically pleasing and more sturdy. Having a container to put the static grass into makes it a bit more secure. No shock is a good thing.
A great project. This was a lot of fun, both in making and using, then comparing.
Both products do a great job. In the end make the one you like the look of, or the one that fits your time, energy and back pocket best.
Good luck in building your applicator, and look forward to nicely standing static grass!
Does anyone else have any tips, tricks or ideas on static grass applicators, or even if you have one you would like to show us?