Clumpy balls

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steve howe
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Clumpy balls

Postby steve howe » Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:02 pm

I've been enjoying myself making a set of very weedy sidings using the trusty Greenscenes static applicator. This device does produce some very pleasing results, however one slightly annoying feature is the tendency for grass fibres to clump together into small dense balls in the applicator hopper. Although easy enough to pull apart, they tend to re-clump presumably under static attraction. Has anyone else experienced this phenomena and is there some magic way of de-energising the clumps so they fall apart naturally? teasing them apart is highly tedious and generally does not stop the clumps re-forming.

Steve

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Martin Wynne
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Re: Clumpy balls

Postby Martin Wynne » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:07 pm

steve howe wrote:is there some magic way of de-energising the clumps so they fall apart naturally?

Hi Steve,

Briefly hold them in a sieve over a steaming kettle.

Martin.
40 years developing Templot. And counting ...

Terry Bendall
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Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:46 am

Re: Clumpy balls

Postby Terry Bendall » Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:01 am

I cannot help with the static grass issue since I don't use one. On Elcot Road, where we needed the same sort of effect I used some small clumps of long grass bought many years ago. These come on a sheet with a self adhesive pad - I cannot remember the make but they may have come from Green Scenes. The advantage is that the clumps can be pulled apart if needed and trimmed to length. If you look at http://www.scalefour.org/scaleforum/2013/elcotroad/ and view slides 8 and 15 you can see the result.

Terry Bendall

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steve howe
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Re: Clumpy balls

Postby steve howe » Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:26 am

Interesting,.... thanks Martin I'll have a go with the kettle :thumb

I made some of those grass clumps for a previous project having looked at the Noch product and been alarmed at the prices for a small card of tufts. My method (and unfortunately it does require the static applicator) is to squeeze some small blobs and dribbles of clear silicone sealer onto a non-stick metal sheet - a baking sheet is ideal - and the earth wire clipped on. The grass is applied and hoovered off some hours later. After about 24 hours the silicon can be peeled off and stuck where needed. The other way, without the static device, is to roll the fibres into a sausage about the size of a cigarette and press the end into silicone sealant or apply PVA direct to the site. I think this method has already been described on the Forum.

Steve

nigelcliffe
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Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:31 am

Re: Clumpy balls

Postby nigelcliffe » Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:09 am

Having spent some weeks before Christmas experimenting with a friend(*), here's our technique for making small clumps.


Require a high voltage static source. You can buy one for less than a tenner from Ebay, though using the FlockIt (GreenScene) applicator will work. For the Flockit, take the "spreader" lid from the unit and make sure its turned off !! before putting fingers inside.

Need a metal plate (bit of tinplate, aluminium sheet, anything, say 4x6 inches, though size not critical), piece of non-conducting board (hardboard, 2x2in) and the backing paper from self-adhesive labels.

Do not switch on static generator yet !!
Connect the static grass machine centre pin to the metal plate (a lead with crocodile clips works fine). Lay on bench (in a tray helps to sweep up grass left over). Sprinkle grass strands over the plate.
Place the label backing paper on the hardboard, and hold in place with an elastic band. Put glue dabs on the backing paper using glue of choice (the glues sold by the likes of Green Scene work, as does PVA, and artists matt medium, the surface tensions of each is different and will change the clump shape). Connect static grass machine earth clip to the edge of the label paper (it can clamp paper to hardboard).

Hold glue-dabbed label paper on hardboard above the static grass (glue facing downwards) with an air gap of between 1 and 6 inches. Now turn on static generator, and grass will fly upwards to embed in the glue. Exact height chosen is a matter of experiment, depends on grass strand length and power in static generator - I expect atmospheric conditions may even affect it. Changing the angle of holding the board above the metal plate will alter how the grass embeds in the glue.
Turn off static generator. Gently tap the side of the paper/hardboard to remove any grass not glued. If doing long strands, its worth turning on the power again (and then off when done!) because any "crossed" strands will fall away and give things a second chance. Remove backing paper from hardboard, and leave aside to dry.


The use of label paper results in grass clumps which can be easily removed (we tried a lot of different materials for this).


Sorry, no pictures to post.



(*) he's laying a cornfield, clump by clump, it looks absolutely superb.


- Nigel

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Re6/6
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Re: Clumpy balls

Postby Re6/6 » Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:07 pm

A quick whizz in a coffee grinder and they will be separated quite easily.

If you can't use the 'domestic' one, they're available on the net at under £10.

Not my idea, comes from Gordon Gravett. I use mine not only for grass fibres but for making finer grade ground foams and commercial leaves.
John

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steve howe
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Re: Clumpy balls

Postby steve howe » Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:34 pm

Just stumbled on this from YouTube :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFXgSky6JMU

This talented dude makes some very useful videos, I'm surprised he gets any modelling done :wink:

Steve

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jayell
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Re: Clumpy balls

Postby jayell » Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:46 pm

steve howe wrote:Just stumbled on this from YouTube :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFXgSky6JMU

This talented dude makes some very useful videos, I'm surprised he gets any modelling done :wink:

Steve


Quite interesting, especially the 'how to make a static grass applicator' videos for a fraction of the cost of buying one ready made.

John


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