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Positive pressure face mask

Discussion in 'Woodturning Health & Safety' started by Walter Martinez, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. Walter Martinez

    Walter Martinez

    Dec 8, 2011
    Prairieville, La
    I would like to create a face mask or shield using positive air flow to eliminate breathing in dust. Can anyone lead me to a how-to article?
  2. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

    Apr 9, 2004
    Plano, Texas
    Home Page:
    never seen a how to on that. biggest issue is a method of delivering filtered air to the mask. you cant just use a filter and compressor, it has to be breathable clean, not tool clean.

    Sata (paint gun company) has a mask that runs off of compressed air, take a look at that.

    I havw one i use for painting but it isnt a ANSI mask, just a hood. look up forced air respirators for ideas. Those get clean air from another room
  3. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

    Aug 14, 2009
    Peoria, Illinois
  4. william noble

    william noble

    Jul 17, 2010
    3M makes a very nice combination helmet and HEPA filter - it's not cheap but it works well, I believe it's called an "airmate" - envirosafety is where I got mine
  5. Harry Robinette

    Harry Robinette

    Sep 10, 2010
    I just bought a 3M Dustmaster from a place in Australia off of e-bay. It's brand new perfect condition for $537.00 shipped. This unit looks like a Racal, helmet tilt up face shield power unit on belt uses HEPA dust filters and theres like 4 different one's. I know it's more then most wont to spend but I have COPD now so HEPA was a no brainier.
  6. Supplied air system on a budget..

    Hi Walter:

    A few years ago, Malcolm Zander published a tip in American Woodturner where he used a face mask and breathing tube from a commercial PAPR system to adapt it for a home made supplied-air system. If I recall correctly, he built his system using an exhaust fan (as in the type used to ventilate bathrooms) and an air filter mounted in a different room adjacent to (but not IN) his shop, and used HVAC ducting to bring-in the filtered air to a location above the operator's area of his lathe. He used a step-down adapter to reduce the duct diameter to that of a supply hose that was connected to the breathing tube of the 'face/mask' part of the PAPR system. He noted that this was a good use for the facemask/breathing tube part of the PAPR system that no longer worked, and that the clean, filtered, supplied air was sufficient to keep him happy and safe while sanding. An added benefit he mentioned was that he could readily tell when his wife was baking!

    I use a belt-mounted, battery-powered 3M Air-Mate PAPR System with HEPA filters, and Racal Helmet & faceshield unit with breathing tube. My system was purchased on eBay from a hospital in Florida which was upgrading their emergency response equipment. All of the 3M components of the system (power unit, belt, breathing tube, NiCd Battery charger, additional dust hoods, etc.) were sold for just about $200, and were in essentially new condition (the belt pack/power unit did not have a scratch on it, and was in original packaging!). The helmet/face shield was purchased separately for under $100. I was not happy with the Trend Air Shield (original version) that I had purchased previously; for me, the belt-mounted, industrial PAPR system works far better, with more user comfort and for less money when purchased as a 'used' system.

    You are asking the right questions, and if you intend to stay in woodturning for any length of time, protecting your lungs is as important as any other aspect of safety while woodturning. The nasty part of wood dust is that its negative effects on health are much slower to manifest than a blank flying off a lathe!

    Spend the money NOW, and use the equipment, rather than spending much more money later to try to recover from your pain and suffering when respiratory problems will make you ask why I didn't protect myself "back then".

    Rob Wallace
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  7. Malcolm Zander

    Malcolm Zander

    Jul 18, 2010
    Ottawa Canada
    One solution

    The article Rob mentions is on p.25 of the April 2010 American Woodturner. The Triton is no longer available, but the technique could be adapted to any positive pressure powered respirator. I can wear it all day with no discomfort - it supplies filtered house air at house temperature, and gives excellent face and lung protection.

  8. KellyDunn


    Jun 28, 2010
    Hawi, Hawaii
    Home Page:
    Walter, I also have an old Racall Airmate from Enviro Safety. If you can find an old one you can adapt outside air. I am happy rebuilding my battery pack. But some like Eugen Schlaak has outside air to his and has published someplace how he went about it. ewsturn@cogeco.ca The helmets new are pricy. I have tried the trend and one other mentioned here but like the airmate for how easy it is to flip up the faceshield. I have never regretted buying it. I can turn woods that before would knock me in the dirt. No more eyes caked with dust. I used to wear a double canister but did not use chemical cartridges. The hepa filters in the airmate seem to do a pretty good job. Not sure where but a friend just found a helmet from military surplus. I forgot what he paid but it seemed cheap and was bran new. (3M)Airmate makes these for many applications. The more complex the situation the more $. For us dust is it and the cheapest. At over $800 for new one thats not cheap. I also hear that good ones come up on Ebay now and again in the $300 range.

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