I have a GCSE in electronics. I am, strictly legally speaking, an adult. Let's do this!
I've never thought about using a static grass applicator before, but I wanted to finish off my temple using static grass and for some dumb reason I thought you could just dump it onto glue and turn the base upside down. You can, but that method works best on 25mm bases, and for larger areas you really need an applicator. After looking around online and realising I'd be shelling out about $80 for a decent one, I decided to try making my own.
I've watched a couple of how-to videos over the last year or so just out of interest but I've never even thought of trying to make my own until I realised how much they cost. Luckily there's a really simple tutorial on the RDF Hobby channel which inspired me to go to Walmart and Home Depot this morning to buy the bits I needed.
Here's what I picked up: a static bug zapper, a small sieve, some insulating tape, a soldering iron, crocodile clips and heat shrink tubing. Altogether this came to about $27, and if we'd owned a soldering iron it would have been $11 cheaper.
Step one is to take the bug zapper apart. This is the simplest step and even I achieved it without messing anything up. The back of the handle has five screws holding it on, and once removed you can see the static generating bit. The rest of the zapper is just pulled apart and the metal grid cut away from the wires. There's a button on the side which was removed and put on my laptop keyboard for safe keeping.
The next step was to take the handle off the sieve, which I did by hacking at it with my side cutters until I was able to break it off with my hands.
With the handle removed the sieve fits snugly into the zapper handle. Well not that snugly, I had to use hot glue to hold it in place but let's just be thankful that it fits. One of the blue wires is useless for the applicator so it was snipped off the circuit board.
I needed to lengthen the other blue wire and luckily this old USB-B charging cable was sitting in the junk drawer, so I cut off the ends...
...and soldered one to the blue wire I'd snipped off, and the other end of that to the blue wire still attached to the circuit board. I haven't soldered anything since the aforesaid GCSE electronics course which I did in 1990, and this was by far the biggest pain in the arse part of the project. Even after watching a couple of basic tutorials I still buggered it up. Finally the wires were together and I used insulation tape and heat shrink tubing to cover the joins.
I fed the other end through the hole in the crocodile clip and soldered it on, which was an exercise in swearing. I wrapped it in insulation tape to be on the safe side.
In another test of my patience and sanity I soldered the red wire to the bottom mesh of the sieve. If 18-year-old me could see me now he'd probably be too shocked at the fact I have a girlfriend to worry about the soldering.
After putting the handle back together, then taking it apart because I forgot about the bloody button, then putting it back together again, it was time to test it!
I got a spare bit of foamboard, my can of Elmer's adhesive spray and some 7mm static grass. I put a nail in the side of the board and clipped the wire to it, filled the sieve and sprayed on the adhesive. I pushed the button while shaking the applicator over the board and it seems to work!
And this is the result... not too bad for a first attempt with a homemade applicator. I'm not sure the glue I used was the best as it's very tacky and I've just discovered from reading the side of the can that it doesn't actually dry, it just stays sticky. Because of that I don't think I'll be using it on the temple and, after reading about the best type of adhesive to use, hairspray comes highly recommended so I bought some, much to Alicia's surprise as I haven't had a haircut since around January 2020.
I'll be tackling the final steps for the temple tomorrow and I'll get the results posted as soon as I can just in case the suspense is killing you. Unless I bugger it up, of course, in which case we'll never speak of it again.
The Maine attraction
Our trip to Maine was a lot of fun. We went to Ogunquit simply because Alicia wanted to go to the coast and I'd heard of the town from Stephen King's The Stand. I'm sure that when King wrote the novel back in 1975 Ogunquit was a quaint fishing village but these days it's more of a crowded tourist trap with horrendous traffic, and with temperatures in the low 90s it was a bit too hot. Still, we enjoyed ourselves and it was good to see the ocean after two years. Above is the view from just down from our motel.
Being in Maine we had to have lobster, and when this was served to me I thought it was going to go for my throat. By the end of the meal my plate looked like an alien autopsy.
As well as doing the usual touristy stuff, although I forgot to pick up my traditional fridge magnet, we also took a boat ride out to the Nubble, or Cape Neddick Lighthouse to give it its proper name. Unfortunately you can't go onto the little island itself but the trip was cool and the sea breeze was bloody lovely.
After a return trip across three entire states, we paid our awesome dogsitter and I promptly crashed out on the sofa.