Flocking is a surface finishing process where short fibers are applied to adhesive. It produces a rich velvety finish. It’s most widely known from wallpaper- think Grandma’s fuzzy brocade parlor walls. Car manufacturers use it in the interior of cars, (frequently the glove box), on rugs, greeting cards and tee shirts. Flocking has industrial applications as well, it is now being applied to factory floors to prevent slipping. Here’s a longer and very informative page, although I have no idea what Denise Richards is doing there. Model train builders use flock as miniature grass, and car racers will flock a dashboard to reduce glare.
Anyway, one of the many great things about working at NextFab is that I finally had access to knowledge and skills that allowed me to make my own electrostatic flocking rig. In the world of flocking, you’re small potatoes if you don’t have an electrostatic setup. I don’t have the resources to buy an electrostatic setup on my own, they start at about $800. I hobbled along for years with an air assisted gun that gave me substandard results.
Posted by Stephanie
The electrostatic process statically charges the fibers so they are attracted to the surface being flocked. They land perpendicular to the surface and deeply embed in the adhesive. The result is a rich, velvety surface with densely packed fibers.
I used a 12VDC negative ion generator and instructions from a model train forum for the first iteration of the gun. After a late night of compulsive youtubing and some false starts I settled on the gun I have now. I’m planning 2 more guns and a “probe.” The guns will have smaller heads so I can get into tight spots and the probe will clean out small concave areas.
It’s taken a while to develop the manual skill, but I can use it for my current project, flocking a life size mounted foam horse head. Hopefully that will put me in my wheel house for the real show stopper- a full life size horse (scanned on the NextEngine and carved on the Shopbot, natch). Here’s an image of my progress so far, I’m pretty happy with it.