Introduction: Smart-Meter Radiation Shield

About: I have a degree in Product Design from ACCD, Pasadena, and have worked in Special Effects, and then Visual Effects for 32 years now, Directing Commercials, Supervising visual effects, designing VFX, and shooti…

The new smart meters that our electrical utility company installed on my house sends out powerful "WiFi" signals in bursts.  I am concerned about the long-term health effects of these microwaves and so I decided to make a shield to stop them.  Now, as you may know, the whole reason they installed it (in the short -term, anyway) is to be able to read my monthly use remotely so they could lay off an army of meter-readers.  I have an issue with that too, but I have no shield for their jobs.  Blocking the transmissions of data will force them to come out to read it manually anyway.  Too bad:  Nobody asked ME if they could put a powerful transmitter on my house, so they will have to deal.  

Step 1:

Here's how:  Aluminum window screen, available at most hardware stores, TOTALY blocks this type of microwave radiation.  A single layer is enough.  One could simply tape a big piece over the whole thing, but I wanted something more user-friendly and more long-lived.  First, wear some leather gloves.  This material is hazardous and WILL poke your hands but GOOD countless times if you don't ! I used sheet metal shears to cut it, but some good heavy kitchen shears will work.  You may find them more dull afterward though.  It's pretty easy to cut.  I used a hot glue gun with clear sticks to bond the base to the cylinder, and shown in the photos.  I used some small aluminum pop-rivets to attach the sign, and nylon thread (waxed) to attach the "lid".

Step 2:

 I bought about 4' x 3' off of a roll, and cut the piece that the base would be made from.  I designed it to be double-thickness for stability and durability.  Just cut about 14" x 28", fold it in half and then fold about 1" over itself on the edges to thicken it.

Step 3:

Then mark and cut a round hole in the center of that square that is  1" SMALLER than the cylinder you need to enclose the meter.

Step 4:

Then cut 1" tabs from that inner diameter and fold them upright sing a ruler to make sharp controlled bends.  Don't worry about the tabs, they can be about 2" wide.  Mine were smaller and more numerous.  It didn't matter.

Step 5:

Now, cut a single strip of screen as wide as your meter is tall plus one inch.  Use the selvedge of the screen cloth (the factory edge) as one edge of the long strip. The length should equal the circumference of the tab circle plus 2".  Just measure twice and cut once!  

Step 6:

Now using the hot glue gun tack each tab to the bottom edge of the strip building it into a cylinder or drum shape, with the square on the bottom.  Don't use too much glue.  I did and WOW what a pain.  Use a drop.  It will cool fast and you can go back and add more after the first pass for strength.  I use an smooth water bottle (Smartwater works great) to flash-cool hot melt glue.

Step 7:

 Now cut a circle for the top of the drum shape that is 1" larger in diameter than needed.  Fold a half-inch edge all around, nice and neat.  Good luck.  It's very challenging, and aren't you now SO glad you're wearing leather work gloves???

Step 8:

Now for the slow part.  Due to weather exposure, handling stresses and high-ideals, I chose to sew the top on with heavy black waxed nylon thread.  It will last a long time, and it TOOK a long time to do.  You may opt for hot glue but have fun with that.   It's not easy either.  You need a gap-free join here to limit signal leakage.  Sewing worked well, except for the distortion I got from the top being poorly edged.  Your mileage may vary.

Step 9:

To attach the thing to the electrical panel it is most likely mounted on I taped strong small magnets (hardware store again) onto patches of hot-glue pressed flat with a steel plate (a heat-sink!).  I used tape, NOT hot glue because hot glue will KILL the MAGNETS!  Weird I know, but true.  Now it should simply snap into position, and be very easily removed for reading and service.  The electrical equipment box will shield the back side from emitting, so that's handled.

Step 10:

 I included a sign, laminated at the Printing Store, that reads:  "MAGNETICALLY ATTACHED! SIMPLY PULL TO REMOVE.  PLEASE REPLACE AFTER SERVICE.  PROPERTY OF (your name here)"  This will help ensure they don't damage or toss it, and that they KNOW it is easy to remove in a rush.

Step 11:

Now you are fully protected from the microwaves, and haven't damaged "their" property at all.