Building A Static Grass Applicator

A “Static Grass Applicator” is very specialized tool used by model makers to create realistic grass. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that, neither did we. Anyway, the idea is that you distribute a fine filament over the surface, and then use static electricity to make the “blades” of grass stand up vertically. This is a huge improvement over the old school method of manually placing the grass on the model, but the tool itself is somewhat expensive, at least for a decent one.

But thanks to avid modeler [Luke Towan], those looking to up their diorama game without breaking the bank now have a fantastically detailed guide on building their own grass applicator that is not only fairly cheap (as little as $20 USD depending on what your part bins look like), but is robust enough to last for years of service.

The heart of the device, and probably the only part you’d need to go out and buy especially for this project, is a small 12V negative ion generator. This is used to setup an electric charge between the grid of the applicator and a long wire that gets attached to the piece you’re working on. What little wiring there is simply provides a switch and some status LEDs. The design [Luke] has come up with lets the user switch between and internal 9V battery for portability, or an external 12V wall adapter for larger projects.

Building the chamber to hold the grass filament as well as the handle which houses the electronics will take longer than anything else, and even that seems pretty straightforward. Given the impressive results shown in the video after the break, it’s actually pretty surprising how simple the device is.

The setup used here reminds us of the DIY powder coating we covered a few years back.

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Ankle Bracelet Lets You Become Emperor Palpatine

Want to shoot lighting bolts from your hands to punish your enemies? You can (almost) do just that with this static electricity generator hack. Above you can see the charge jumping off of this guy’s knuckle and surging through the LED. But that’s not the only trick you can pull off when wearing just a bit of hardware around your ankle. The video after the break shows sand grains jumping around as a charged hand is waved over them.

The trick is done by powering a negative ion generator from a 9V battery. This can’t be done directly, since the ion generator is looking for an AC power source. But conversion is as easy as scrapping an inverter which is designed to plug into a car cigarette lighter. Everything is shoehorned into a glasses case, which can then be strapped on to your ankle. Why this fascination with the ankle area? One part of the answer is that this provides an easy way to interface the ion generator output with your skin. The other part of the answer is that you need to make sure the system is grounded (but you’re not) and the build includes a ring that goes around your shoe to achieve this.

Check out the demo and full build instructions in the video after the break.

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Bio-ElectroStatic Generator

[Matt] sent in Electrifried 2 – the second version of a device with one purpose: shock your friends like you’ve got a giant shag carpet. The ion generator is used to provide create a static electric charge on demand. Looks like another great alternative use for a negative ion generator that could take evil christmas giving to a new level.