Introduction: How to Make a Flocking or Static Grass Gun From a Bug Zapper for Less Than $3

Picture of How to Make a Flocking or Static Grass Gun From a Bug Zapper for Less Than $3

This is a super inexpensive solution to building an electrostatic flocking or static grass gun for home use! It's not very powerful but it works! Please vote for this project in the Up contest here! Thanks.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

This part is easy all you need is:
1) $3 electric fly swatter from Harbor Freight
2) 2 pieces of thin gauge wire
3) an alligator clip 
4) Scissors, wire snips, soldering iron, wire strippers, screw driver and a hot glue gun
5) an empty yogurt or cottage cheese container

Step 2: The Guts

Picture of The Guts

Snip the wires to the "racket" part of the flyswatter, and solder one lead to the wire with the alligator clip (ground wire) and the other to a 4"-8" length of wire with both ends stripped

Step 3: The Handle

Picture of The Handle

Now, just put the halves back together and re-install the screws with the two leads coming out of the open end of the handle.

Step 4: Making the Tub or Hopper

Picture of Making the Tub or Hopper

Now mark and cut an opening in the bottom of the container (the side opposite the lid). Insert the handle part way in, being sure to leave the lead with the alligator clip outside of the tub, and the other lead inside the tub. Also, the flyswatter has a red LED, make sure this is on the outside of the tub as well.

Step 5: Making the Lid

Picture of Making the Lid

Now cut a hole in the lid, make sure to leave enough around the edge to glue to.  This is where you get to destroy the swatter part; break the plastic frame of the swatter, keep all of the rods from the outer grate and remove the inner mesh intact (it should slide out after the frame is broken enough). Now use the scissors to cut a rough circle out of the mesh that will fit into the lid without curving up onto the lip so the lid can lock back on to the tub. After making sure it fits, hot glue the mesh to the inside of the lid.

Step 6: Finishing the Hopper

Picture of Finishing the Hopper

Now take the end of the short lead (the one that is inside the tub and attach it to the mesh. You can solder it if you want to but just looping it through and twisting it does the trick too. This is why you want the lead to be 4"-8" so that you can remove the lid with it attached (length depends on the depth of your tub).

Step 7: Finished

Picture of Finished

That's it you're done and you have saved yourself about $200! Now simply fill the hopper with flocking or static grass, brush on your adhesive, stick a needle in it, clip the alligator clip to the pin and go to town! You need to gently shake the gun as you flock to break up the clumps and "sift" it over your work piece. Also it won't really work from more than 2" or so away. Also keep in mind that this thing is building up a strong charge, so if you touch the alligator clip to the mesh it will pop like a stun gun! Please vote for this project in the Up contest here! Thanks.


Brianaala (author)2013-02-19

Hi everyone, have to say I am stunned at the interest in this instructable! Thank you all for your kind words! If you feel inclined to, please consider voting for this project for the Up contest:
Thanks again for your interest!

louis.m (author)2015-12-03

I bought a fly swatter that on the outside looks completely identical to the one in this instructable, but the electronics inside are not alike, and hardly a fiber stays upright. :(

JorgeB (author)2015-09-01

Hello! Excellent Work... One Question, I live in Buenos Aires.. Argentina, and is difficult to find a static grass, Somebody of You, can make o find a cheap substitute?

JeffG2 (author)JorgeB2015-10-26

JorgeB: You can try the bristles from a cheap paint brush (natural hair, not nylon bristles) as well as unraveling and clipping off strands of hemp rope or jute packaging twine. Again, avoid anything made of nylon/artificial fiber as these do not take paint and stain, which you will need to do for green grasses. You can leave them as is for burnt grass and weeds. Good luck.

zishandilse.siddiqui (author)2015-01-24

Thank y sir

zishandilse.siddiqui (author)2015-01-24

Thank y sir

greintsma (author)2013-02-19

I had hoped by the final step to have learned the purpose/use of a "flocking or static grass gun" but her I am in the seventh and final step with little clue other than that the static grass (whatever that is) will then be sifted over a work piece. Guess i'll have to Google or YouTube it?

SuperTech-IT (author)greintsma2013-09-18

If ya don't know what it is, you probably don't need it!
Google and Youtube are your friends! Talk to them often!

zacker (author)greintsma2013-02-21

lol.. i did the same thing!!!

Brianaala (author)zacker2013-02-26

Great minds.... :)

studleylee (author)greintsma2013-02-21

me too :-) Cool idea now that I understand it!

Brianaala (author)studleylee2013-02-26

Hehe great! Thanks for the nice words!

spylock (author)greintsma2013-02-26

Thank you,you saved me some time.

Brianaala (author)spylock2013-02-26

Awesome! I'm glad you found it useful!

kjmatt (author)greintsma2013-02-20

Static grass is used in model railroading. Because the grass stands on end it looks very realistic. I made one of these a couple of years ago but used a flour sifter and it works pretty well.

Brianaala (author)greintsma2013-02-19

Haha, well in a nutshell, an electrostatic flocking gun is supposed to charge the flock fibers with a (+) or (-) charge and the target (glue) area with the opposing charge. This makes the fibers stick in on end instead of lying down (which they would do if you just dumped the flock on them).

Datawolf (author)2013-02-21

I'm discovering the grass gun concept. Completely unknown in France !

georion (author)2013-02-20

can thiis FLOCKthe INSIDE of a cardboard TUBE ????????????

Brianaala (author)georion2013-02-20

Hmm, I doubt it Georion; it's just not powerful enough to shoot the length of the tube from the outside. I think, depending on the distance, you would need a very powerful set-up for that.

Viaticus (author)2013-02-20

Brilliant. I wish you had shown the end result so we could see the realism of the grass.

Brianaala (author)Viaticus2013-02-20

Hi Viaticus,
Thanks for the nice words! I'm working on a short video of it in action, but I'm having technical difficulties (getting my wife to hold the camera)! Haha! Hopefully I'll have one up soon!

audreyobscura (author)2013-02-18

What a cool idea

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