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 The Grassinator.

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Join date : 2013-02-15
Age : 69
Location : Newcastle. Good Old Blighty.

PostSubject: The Grassinator.   Fri 11 Apr 2014, 7:14 pm

No.... not the Terminator's sister!! LOL

A few years ago, a member on another site built a fabulous diorama which had grass in it, that actually 'stood up, just like real grass:

This is achieved by the use of something called 'static grass' (Think very thin fibres 1-8mm long. Applied in a similar way to flocking.)

However,you need an electro static device, available commercially but at over £100 a tad on the expensive side for occasional use. There are instructions on the web on building a home made version but even this costs around £60 AND the negative ion generator needed to power it, is not available in the UK and needs to be imported from the USA which  attracts the dreaded import tax, putting the cost up even further.

Wanting to use static grass in my 'Mile End' diorama, I again went on the internet research trail, eventually finding instructions for this 'cheap as chips' (The modellers mantra) version.

It comprises of nothing more than an electric fly swatter, a small metal sieve, a couple of small crocodile clips, a length of wire and a pin or nail. I already had a metal sieve I use for flocking so my total outlay was £4.98.!!!

The fly swatter:

Mine cost £2.99 with free shipping!!!

Not having any crocodile clips to hand, I purchased these:...

.....and simply linked them together. Not only was it just as cheap as a pair of clips, I can now vary the length at will.

I already had a small sieve but even adding a couple of qiud in for that. it's still WAY less then a tenner.

The conversion:

Undo the screws in the handle and remove the top halve. Cut both sets of wires to the 'Racket Head'. You may have to prise back the plastic to get maximum cable.

Using my rotary tool, I carved out depressions for the sieve:

If your sieve handle is made of chromed steel, as mine was, you will need to grind away some chrome and use a good acid flux to get the solder to adhere. If you do, make sure you give it a thorough cleaning as the acid residue will corode the connection. The photo shows what the acid flux residue looks like after soldering but before cleaning.

Then I cut a piece of styrene to shape, in order to stabilise the sieve. This was superglued in place. Whe cured, I drilled the hole for the cover screw.

I also cut out a shallow depression in order to bring out the 'ground' wires.

I also flattened the base of the sieve to increase the area while in use.

Replace the handle cover fit the batteries and the jobs done. To test, connect the ground lead, and making sure you have hold of the insulation on the ground lead, apply the crocodile clip to the sieve. If it's workin, you will hear a crackle and see a flash.

That's it, a home made 'Grassinator' that works well and at a saving of £100.!!!!

To use, spread some thinned white glue on the surface to be 'grassed', stick the pin into this glue wetted area and attach the ground lead.

Place the static grass in the sieve, press the button and sieve like toy would with flocking.At first it looks like not much is happening but then it builds up and the 'grass' stands up.

This is a mixture of 50% 2mm light green and 50% 4mm dark green.


Success always demands a greater effort.” Winston Churchill

"Success is failure turned inside out"  Unknown

Last edited by Skid on Fri 11 Apr 2014, 7:42 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Grassinator.   Fri 11 Apr 2014, 7:24 pm

Nice tutorial, and I've seen these things go working quite well.

Two other ways and not wishing to out do the original idea, just adding other options if that's ok

if you have a nylon comb you can comb your hair or rub it on your clothes and then just hold it next to a metal tea strainer whilst sprinkling it works just as well.

The simplest is to sprinkle the static grass onto pva glue then use a "rubbed" balloon to "pull up" the grass by waving it just over the surface.
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PostSubject: Re: The Grassinator.   Fri 11 Apr 2014, 11:10 pm

But will it regrow hair? Cool idea, & a great example of thinking outside the box.
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PostSubject: Re: The Grassinator.   Fri 11 Apr 2014, 11:24 pm

Good idea Al. Thanks for putting this one up.
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