1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

    Guest, if you have not yet updated your forum bookmark to a secure log in connection, please delete your unsecure book and add the following secure bookmark: https://www.aawforum.org/community/index.php

    You can dismiss this notice by clicking the X in the upper right of the notice box.

    Dismiss Notice

3M Respirators What parts to Look For

Discussion in 'Woodturning Health & Safety' started by Don Wattenhofer, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

    Jul 19, 2018
    Location (City & State):
    Ponsford, MN
    If possible could someone provide a list of the components typical for a complete setup for a wood turner?
  2. Jason Van Duyn

    Jason Van Duyn

    Jul 26, 2019
    Location (City & State):
    Raleigh, NC
    Home Page:
    I have been using a 3M full faceshield respirator for many years now. Those versaflo systems are nice but I don't have a grand or two laying around to invest in them.


    Use your air compressor to keep the filters cleaned out regularly.
    They started making covers for the face shield recently which I really like as its easy to get CA on your face sheild.

    Ive also taken a few pieces of wood off the face while wearing this too, works nicely. Still got all my teeth.

  3. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Jan 27, 2005
    Location (City & State):
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:
    They have two powered systems that would be most applicable to woodturners ... the Airstream and the Versaflo.

    The Airstream AS400 is all self contained except for the battery. I have used mine since 2006 and really like it. It is rated to provide 10 CFM of air. I noticed that the prices for filters and replacement parts have gone up by a factor of at least three times what they were back when I originally bought the system. There is only one option for the filter ... AS140 HEPA particulate filter. It's a very large sock type filter that lasts a long time. The NiCad battery is part number 520-01-02. It weighs over a pound and is worn on your belt. It holds enough charge to run nine or ten hours. I have been bothered with neck pain for several years, but I can wear the Airstream comfortably for several hours until my lower back pain tells me to quit for the day. The main disadvantage is the noise, but it doesn't bother me. There are optional ear muffs that attach to the helmet and eliminates most of the noise. I have earmuffs, but don't use them much anymore. There are two choices for the battery charger ... the standard charger and the smart charger ... definitely get the smart charger, part number 520-03-73.

    The Versaflo system is the Cadillac of powered respirators. However, there are probably fifty or more configurations to customize it to your needs. You can choose a basic faceshield, a hard hat, or a helmet. Also, for painters and chemical sprayers there are soft hoods that drape over the head and shoulders. I have the Versaflo M-407 that has a flame resistant visor and shroud that drapes over the shoulders. It is CBRN rated (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) which is obviously way overkill for woodturning, but I found it brand new on eBay for about $150. For woodturning I think that the M-305 or M-307 hard hats would be ideal. If you can find the M-405 or M-407 for a bargain price then go for it and remove the shroud. The main disadvantage of the M-400 series helmets is the jaw piece that makes it more cumbersome to don and remove. The double shroud adds to making it cumbersome to put on and take off. There are several different blower units that are part of the Versaflo system and there is also the BreatheEasy blower unit (022-00-03) which is what I use along with three HEPA filters (450-00-01). If you go with the BreatheEasy blower unit then you should get the BP-15 NiMH battery and BC-210 smart charger. It is interesting that 3M still produces the battery, but not the charger ... however, that's not a problem because there are plenty of the chargers on eBay for $25 to $50 that have never been used. The battery that I bought was several years old, but still in the original sealed package and it's working fine.

    Here is a very long thread on the Versaflo M-407 that has a lot of useful information and I think that it is worth wading through to gather useful information. Emiliano and I learned as we went through the process of building up our Versaflo respirators from parts that we found on eBay. I found a 3M tactical vest for about $40 that was designed for a different 3M respirator, but it was easy enough to mount the BreatheEasy blower unit on it. The Versaflo blower units are less bulky and lighter than the BreatheEasy, but you'll pay quite a bit more for them.

    I'm not familiar with the 3M respirator that Jason uses, but it appears to be a negative pressure respirator instead of a powered unit. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm really spoiled by the huge flow of fresh air across my face from my Versaflo/BreatheEasy hybrid.
    Emiliano Achaval and Dave Fritz like this.
  4. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 14, 2015
    Location (City & State):
    Maui, Hawaii
    Home Page:
    I love my Versaflow. As I said before, even if I had to pay full price, it would have been cheaper than sinus surgery. Not to mention the lost days at work in the shop. I had 100% sinus blockage after a few decades of turning. I use my Versaflow daily. I have two batteries, the smart charger, and thanks to Bill B. help I have the vest that carries the cartridges. Bill, Alan Z, and I have paid pennies on the dollar for our systems.
  5. Ron Vasser

    Ron Vasser

    Jan 29, 2019
    Location (City & State):
    Rome, GA
    I had eye surgery 7 weeks back. They put a shunt in my eye and told me I had to stay out of the dust. I had just been turning a few months when this happened and want to get back in the shop but like JVD stated that's a lot of money to spend. I bought a Versaflo M-series and fabbed my airflow system with an old c-pap machine and hoses. It has a foam and HEPA filter and I found a video on how to increase the air output to the maximum. I mounted the c-pap overhead, stretched a wire over my work area, attached the hose to the wire in two places, and dropped the end down to a swivel coupling attached to the Versaflo. I can move all around my work area as the hose slides on the overhead wire. It works great with a cooling positive airflow over my face, no dust in, no batteries to charge, and no added weight to my waist. ( I have enough there as it is). Checking around I found the retired c-pap machines are not that hard to come by. I hope this may give someone an idea on how to have a safe workplace with money left over for TOOLS.
  6. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

    Jun 29, 2017
    Location (City & State):
    Jasper, Alabama
    Great that worked out for you Ron and I know you are glad to be turning again after the eye surgery. Happy turning!
  7. John Torchick

    John Torchick

    Jan 24, 2010
    Location (City & State):
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    I have a respirator but can't wear it as the nose cover raises my glasses out of focus, giving me headaches. I do wear an quality dust mask. Why? Because my wife tells me to wear it. Know whut I mean, Vern?
    Emiliano Achaval likes this.

Share This Page