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looking for help,to understand static grass appilicator

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  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 404 posts
looking for help,to understand static grass appilicator
Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Saturday, April 14, 2018 1:29 PM

 I built one from a fly swatter; works good enuff for me.

What I need help with, is understanding how/why.

Ihave the +, two C battery, the - probe. Power,current goes thru the screen to grd. Takes grass with it.

What is the stuff between the battery and screen? how does this make it work?

In layman terms please. Thanks

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, April 14, 2018 1:41 PM

Static grass does not involve current flowing, hence the word "static."  Instead, it develops a static charge diferential between the metal strainer and the surface below.  The metal basket holding the "grass" material ends up with, say, a positive charge and the layout below gets a negative charge.

When you turn the applicator on, the surface gets charged through the wire, clip and pin, or whatever, and the charge is distributed for a few inches around the pin by wetting the surface with diluted white glue, which also serves to hold the grass in place.  As you shake the applicator, the grass goes through the strainer lengthwise, and it therefore ends up with a positive charge on lower end.  This charged end is attracted to the negatively charged surface, and the grass stands on end as it lands.  It's light enough that it won't fall over.  Gradually, the glue sets with the grass standing on end.

I like to use lots of different scenery techniques along with static grass.  Here, down by Squirrel Creek, I used a Gypsolite base and Hydrocal boulders, old-style turf and ground foam, added some tall field grass and then finished off with multiple colors of static grass.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, April 14, 2018 2:04 PM

 The circuitry in there changes the low battery voltage into a very high voltage (at a very low current - but you'll feel it if you zap yourself). This high voltage causes an effect more like static electricity (the type of electricty you have when hook a light bulb to a battery to light it up is called current electricity, because a current is flowing), which makes the grass material stand up on end like hair being attracted to a balloon that's been rubbed on a wool sweater on a dry day. There's a potential difference between the layout base with the ground pin jammed in and the grid on the applicator which causes this. Like shuffling your feet on the carpet and then approaching a metal object, or something connected to ground, when you get too close, the potenial exceeds the insulation capability of air and a spark jumps in an attempt to reduce the potential difference. If you actually touch the metal object, the charges will quickly equalize - if you just get the spark and pull back, only some of the charge has been removed from your body, down to the point where the distance in air is too great for the remaining potential to bridge.

                                             --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    November, 2015
  • 404 posts
Posted by UNCLEBUTCH on Saturday, April 14, 2018 10:38 PM

that helps,, I appreciate it guys

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    December, 2015
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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, April 15, 2018 7:52 AM

Unike the usual short circuit with a picture of hammer lying across the rails in the background, a static grass applicator falls into the realm of pure magic.

 

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

  • Member since
    December, 2004
  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
  • 17,670 posts
Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, April 15, 2018 11:35 AM

BigDaddy

Unike the usual short circuit with a picture of hammer lying across the rails in the background, a static grass applicator falls into the realm of pure magic.

I agree.  Having never seen static grass up close other than in pictures, I bought one of the budget-priced Grass-Tech applicators along with a selection of grass material in different colors and lengths, 2, 4 and 6 mm.  Woodland Scenics makes 2 mm grass in shaker jars.  The other grasses I've bought are Silflor.  Really, can you beat this look?

This is a liftout section on my layout, raised up to show the grass.  When back in place, you can hardly see the separation line.

WS 2 mm grass gives a trim, fuzzy look, appropriate for N-scale.  I think 4 mm works best for HO because it looks more wild, although scale wise it's probably too long.  I generally mix grass material as I add it to the applicator, and mix up slightly different batches every few square inches, unless I really want a lawn.

I've been doing model railroading for 60 years now.  To me, the three greatest scenery improvements over that time have been Envirotex for water, Bragdon Foam for rock castings and static grass for, well, grass.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

  • Member since
    February, 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 24,139 posts
Posted by rrinker on Sunday, April 15, 2018 11:50 AM

 4mm grass in HO would be about a foot tall - so for an open field, just about right.

I'd have to add in ground foam - I remember dyeing coffee can after coffee can (5lb size) of sawdust for early HO layouts. When I built my last layout before being otherwise distracted with HS and college, in N scale, I finally used ground foam and it was light years better.

                                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 4,968 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Sunday, April 15, 2018 1:44 PM

When doing wild or field grass I mix up the lengths and brands of static grass and throw it in the applicator all together as it gives the varied look of wild growth.

  

The field stones in this field actually came with the grass. I think it was Noch.

  

The Batgrasser MK1 met its demise as I added more power to it, to see how much she would take. Apparently not much more than it was designed for.Laugh It was a planned experiment as the Batgrasser MK2 had rolled off the assembly line. Using ABS pipe, it enabled doing finer work in more confined areas. I have the Batgrasser MK3 partially finished that uses 1" PVC for really fine work between buildings and along roads. A $4.00 flyswatter and junk box stuff do the job for me. 

The Batgrasser MK1

  

The Bargrasser MK2

Made from only the finest of junk box material and works like a charm.

  

 

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1

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