A $10 Homemade Bug Buster

Don't swat: Put uninvited visitors on the hot seat with a $10 homemade bug buster.

| July/August 1981

Summer is the time of year when many folks spend their evenings outdoors, relaxing and entertaining. Unfortunately, it's also the season for insects. The six-legged "unwanted guests" can be a real nuisance, too, and many devices (citronella candles, toxic pesticide strips, and bug bombs to name only a few) have been used to wage war on airborne arthropods.

Probably the most effective and ecologically sound "weapon" to date is an electronic insect killer (aka "bug buster"). However, we recently priced these elegant exterminators and found, to our dismay, that most of them will set the budget back anywhere from $100 to $220. So we came up with an elementary build-it-yourself design that will allow the average handyperson to enjoy many an "unbugged" midsummer's eve, for a cost of about $10 and an hour or two of shop time.

You can start the project by gathering the necessary materials listed at the end of this article along with a piece of scrap 1 X 8 lumber about 26" long, a coping saw, a drill with an assortment of bits (including one 5/8" and one 1" in diameter), a compass, some wood glue, a soldering iron, a screwdriver, and an adjustable wrench.

Scribe two 7 1/4"- and two 5 1/2"-diameter circles on your plank (using the space as efficiently as you can). Next, outline a 3 1/2" circle, centered, inside one of the larger rings and a 4 3/16" loop in the middle of one of the smaller ones. Cut out the four disks with your coping saw, then go on to remove the centers of the two marked wheels after drilling small pilot holes to start your inside cuts. (If you have a router handy, you can also add a decorative kerf to one edge of each of the larger disks, as we've done.)

Now, take the dowel sections and carefully pencil transverse marks—1/8" apart—along each one's length, then cut 1/16"-deep slits on these lines, leaving 1/4" or so at the ends of each rod unscathed. This rather tedious operation can be made relatively simple if you have access to a band saw and can set up stops behind the blade that will allow you to make the channels rapidly.

Once the dowels have been grooved, drill six evenly spaced, 1/4"-deep, 5/8" holes in the face of the "gutted" 7 1/4" disk ... placing them about 3/4" on center from its outer edge. Repeat this procedure on the like-sized uncut blank, boring from the side opposite the kerfed surface if you've included a kerf. Drill a 1" opening through the center of the latter circular plate, and fasten your bell transformer and light socket to it, using the mounting holes provided in these pieces of hardware as drilling guides.

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