ZapCage Version 1.0

Zapcage 1.0 Technical Specification

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Duration: 1 week

To see the improved version of this project, please see ZapCage Version 2.0

This project was born from necessity and was fueled from an abundance of resources to make it happen.

What I'm talking about is my need for a bug zapper to help me limit the number of pesky critters flying around my room, especially at nights.

I had a few rechargeable lanterns (shown above) that were no longer useful to me, at least not in it's current state. The tubes were all burnt out and the batteries were useless. Only one remained that was on its way out.

Knowing me, I couldn't throw them out because I knew I could give them a new shot at life, in a new suit of clothes of coarse.

From my previous researches, I know that electronic fluorescent lamps (such as CFLs) produce a high voltage to energize the tube to emit light. And I also know that bug zappers operate on high voltage to electrocute the insects it catches in its mesh.

To learn more about bug zappers, you can refer to this link which explains in more details.

The lantern I had on its way out was selected to partake in my project to create a bug zapper to satisfy my needs.

The original battery that came with the lantern was done for so I replaced it with a new one that I bought specifically for this project, also featured in my deskfan project . The features of the lantern were perfect for my bug zapper since I desired a rechargeable battery, status LEDs and of coarse, a circuit for the high voltage mesh.

I got the idea to build a bug zapper from the tennis racket one I already had. Though very effective, I wanted the build a bigger version that did not require me to hold down a button to make it work and either chase the mosquitoes to eliminate them or wait until they came to me.

This was particularly a problem at night when I wanted to sleep. So I bought a 1 square yard 1/4" mesh and began to work. It was the ideal size mesh to use to catch insects, not far off from the one on the factory built. I decided to go with a circular design because, with the same given material, I could get a larger surface area to catch insects as opposed to a flat design that required three meshes for safety reasons (2 -ve mesh sandwiching 1 +ve mesh to prevent personal injury). Also, a light source could be placed in the middle of a circular design for maximum effectiveness.

Caution I'm not liable if your shock yourself and injury or kill yourself, a bug zapper uses high voltages typically around 1500-2000V. Working with high voltages is very dangerous!!

Work responsibly.

For the end caps of the cage, a decided to use the dish from the plant vase outside. it was the right diameter for the length mesh I had and had the right shape. I figured that I could make better use of those dishes and the vase doesn't need them anyway, since it was meant for indoors use.

After a good clean up, it was time to make what I call the base-plates. Its made of 1/4" plywood and I happened to have the perfect size to make two.

After measuring up the correct dimensions, I used a back-saw to divide the plywood into two equal parts. The circular plates will then be cut from these using a Dremel tool.

I used the circle cutting tools to cut very neat circles in the plywood. The circle cutting tools came with my Dremel kit.

After I finished cutting both circles, all I had to do was to knock out the shapes. A good sanding with make the edges nice and smooth.

After sanding, the base-plates drop into the endcaps just nicely. I also bought 6 wooden dowels that would serve as the supporting columns that connects the top and bottom halves and also as the insulator between the two meshes.

I used a 60/30degree set square to mark the equidistant locations where the dowel holes would be. A quick test of the assembly proved that everything was going according to plan.

After the parts were fitted together properly, I then used the Dremel tool to crave a groove for the inner mesh. As a light source for the attracting feature of the bug zapper, I decided to go with the same type of tube that the lantern came with.

To fit the light fitting into the base-plate, I used a 1" spade drill to make an indentation in the center. The height of the cage is determined by the length of the tube.


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