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SR-500 PAPR Vs. 3M Versaflo

Discussion in 'Woodturning Health & Safety' started by Roger Chandler, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. Roger Chandler

    Roger Chandler

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    SR-500 PAPR Vs. 3M Versaflo
    Which system do you think is best, or are they about the same? The Sundstrom is sold by Ken Rizza of Woodturners Wonders, and I saw it at the Virginia Symposium. Price is a little less than the 3-M Versaflo, and they have cartridges that can be changed out on the belt pack and have both particulate and vapor canisters available for the system.

    https://woodturnerswonders.com/coll...or-products/products/air-purifying-respirator

    https://industrialsafety.com/3m-tr-...FsHABieRDIhGWJ6TiFdpwYQpgI0ahJzRoC_pAQAvD_BwE

    Check out the links and let me know what you think! According to Ken Rizza, Sundstrum has a long history of offering protective equipment for the mining industry since the 1920's.
     
  2. Lamar Wright

    Lamar Wright

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    Hi Roger...... I have neither but after reading the specs if I were to purchase one it would be the one Ken sales....sr500. I guess I'm old school.... I use face shield and 3M dust mask.:D. I do use a North respirator when needed.
     
  3. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I really like my Versaflo. I think that the airflow of the SR500 is marginal.

    Actually, you can get more airflow and spend less money if you get the 3M Airstream.
     
    Emiliano Achaval likes this.
  4. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Roger, I'm extremely happy with my Versaflo. It's not scientific, but I still do the "Kleenex" test. At the end of the day, after a shower I blow my nose to use my Qnasal allergy medicine, I used to see brown snot, sometimes a lot, before the versaflo. Now, ZERO, nada. My sinuses are happy. If you look on Ebay you can find some great deals, I know you have read my other threads about it. Let me know if you need any more info. Aloha
     
  5. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    Bill, just currious, were you able to try out all three of these units? Or are we looking at the published specifications?
     
  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I've been using a 3M Airstream for about twelve years and a M-407 Versaflo with a BreatheEasy turbo unit for a few months. Both are rated at 10 CFM and I wouldn't want anything less than that. I suspect that the Versaflo when used with the BreatheEasy is considerably more than ten CFM. I've tried out a Triton unit that is rated at 6 CFM and it felt very stuffy in warm humid weather. The SR-500 is rated at 6 CFM. It's probably fine in certain conditions, but I have my doubts about it being sufficient for my local weather conditions. It's rather expensive to be taking a chance on given that I was able to put together my Versaflo system for less than 20% of the cost of the SR-500.
     
  7. Randy Wright

    Randy Wright

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    The SR-500 must be really poor if the 3M Airstream has better airflow. Have been using the Airstream and the Trend units for 5 years and the Trend products 3 times the airflow. The Airstream has almost no noticeable airflow. The face seal is also really poor. The Airstream is more comfortable, but, really poor airflow.
     
  8. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Here are some thoughts regarding your Airstream air flow problem.

    It definitely sounds like there is a problem with your Airstream because it should produce a very strong air flow. I would first check the airflow using the tester that came with the Airstream. The filter might be full and needing to be changed and maybe the foam prefilter as well. Also it sounds like it is time to replace the Tyvek face seal if it is loose fitting. The temple seals probably also need to be replaced if they haven't been replaced in the last five years. In my experience the temple seals need to be replaced every couple years if not sooner.

    The battery voltage is something else to check. A fully charged battery should measure about 5.3 volts assuming that you are using the 3M intrinsically safe battery. After about ten hours of use the voltage should read about 4.6 volts. The smart charger doesn't really give you enough information about the health of the battery so you might not know that the battery is on its deathbed until it is completely dead. That's why I suggest using a voltmeter. There is also a small probability that the blower motor is defective.

    You can also experience insufficient airflow over your face when there is lots of leakage on the sides and back of your head. If that is the problem, the cradle assembly and headband need adjusting so that the top of your head makes good contact with the rubber headseal.

    I made a brief comparison a few years ago between my Airstream and a friend's Trend Airshield Pro. The air flow was comparable, but it seemed to me that the Airstream had more flow. My friend quit using his Trend Airshield because it bothered his neck and he said that it also seemed to be too top heavy and would droop forward if he tilted his head down. I've heard that some Trend owners have made a modification to relocate the batteries to their belt to address the top heaviness issue.
     
  9. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    I have a Versaflow system. Just scanning the info, the systems appear comparable. I would do a very detailed comparison - initial and ongoing cost, cost of batteries, filters etc. I pieced my system together from ebay, finding some open pkg deals etc, and saved ~$300 vs buying complete system, which I couldnt buy exactly what I wanted anyway. I know the Versaflow stuff is readily available a lot of places online. Is the Sundstrom stuff readily available?
     
  10. Jack Lilley

    Jack Lilley

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    I have the Versaflow and am happy with it. I pieced that whole setup together gathering parts from ebay mostly for less than $400.
     
  11. Jim Hardy

    Jim Hardy

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    Over time, I appear to have developed a strong sensitivity to maple, of all things. After teaching a 5 day class, I nearly landed in the hospital, so it's time to get one of these. Some of what I read above is confusing... I believe that may be caused by lack of specifics. Saying Versaflow includes too many products with different specifications and purposes... its like comparing Powermatic and Oneway product lines vesus individual lathes. Reading the specs of two units that appear to meet a woodturner's particulate filtering needs (Sundstrom SR-500 & 3M Versaflo Heavy Industry PAPR Kit TR-300N+ HIK)... their 2-speed "loose fitting" airflow rates appear quite similar: SR-500 is 6.2 and 8.5cfm, while 3mTR-300+ is 6.5 and 7.2cfm.

    Bill Boehme- If you would, please provide us a link to the spec page for the product you referred to. I have not yet found any Versaflow unit rated at 10cfm.
    Also, would you tell us more about your "M-407 Versaflo with a BreatheEasy turbo unit" setup? The BreatheEasy looks like its intended to "first receivers / first responders". I haven't been able to find it's specs, but 3M typically shows it matched with a full hasmat suit and soft face shield. Will it connect to the Premium Visor and Faceshield (M-307)? What particulate filters do you use? Using a mix/match approach between the various 3M lines, can you build a more cost-effective particulate-oriented PAPR With Z71+ ("high impact") face protection than the "Heavy Industry Kit? Do you have a list of part numbers for such a hybrid? Thanks...
     
  12. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The documentation that came with my Versaflo included a large fold out matrix showing all of the helmets, hoods, and face masks and for each one it lists the approved turbo units, air hose, battery, belt, and any other required equipment by part number. The user documentation also includes performance data for each configuration. I believe that there were initially twelve Versaflo hardhats/helmet configurations, but I think that has been reduced to nine to eliminate overlap. As far as I know all of the Versaflo turbo units only have P100 filters for particulates which means that they must be used with the BreatheEasy turbo unit for other additional filtering. My M-407 is the only one rated for CBRN clean up which means that the BreatheEasy turbo unit is the only one approved. Additionally, for nuclear decontamination there is a specific belt that must be used with the BreatheEasy turbo unit. Also, the M-407 has a double flame proof shroud as well as a heat resistant visor so that folks will be able to say, "don't his head look natural".

    As far as BreatheEasy is concerned there is a wide assortment of headgear, but the white Airstream type helmet used by woodturners is no longer available. The only BreatheEasy headgear available now is the bunny suit type used by painters, etc. The helmet was exactly the same helmet as the Airstream plus a connector for the air hose and ducts to direct the air.. The Airstream on the other hand is self contained except for the battery while the BreatheEasy has everything hanging on a belt and a hose connected to the helmet.

    BTW, the BreatheEasy turbo unit is actually labeled as an Airstream which is really confusing since it isn't used with the current configuration of the Airstream. It's probably something that dates way back to the Racal days before they became part of 3M.

    The amount of documentation that comes with each part is overwhelming and no, I don't have a handy shopping list. But, I think the best way to become familiar with the various options is to download and read documents on the Versaflo, the Versaflo turbo units, BreatheEasy turbo unit, and read the epic thread where @Emiliano Achaval and I built up the systems that we have. Here is a link to the thread: Versaflo M-407

    Here are a few thoughts:
    • The Versaflo M-200 series is a good hardhat well suited for woodturning. The M-300 series is a helmet that provides better head protection especially to the side of the head. The M-400 series is the ultimate in head protection, but not what I would recommend because it is a PITA to put it on and take off. That can be mitigated somewhat by removing the inner and outer shrouds. However, the lower jaw still takes some getting used to. Wearing the Versaflo is really comfortable. And, the air flow is like Being in a strong breeze.
    • The Versaflo turbo unit is smaller and lighter than the BreatheEasy turbo unit, but you can find the older BreatheEasy units on eBay for very great prices and sometimes never used surplus.
    • I don't recall the part number, but there is a special hose to connect the BreatheEasy to the Versaflo.
    • For best performance you need the BP-15 NiMH battery with the BreatheEasy turbo unit.
    • There is a special charger required for the BP-15 battery that is no longer being made by 3M, but you can get unused surplus chargers on eBay and the prices are usually between $25 and $50. I don't trust buying the filters on eBay. There are a lot of them claiming to be new, but they aren't packaged in the 3M shrink wrap. New filters are reasonably priced if you buy in quantity.
    • I bought a 3M tactical vest on eBay designed for a different respirator, but it is much better than wearing the BreatheEasy turbo unit on a belt around the waist in my opinion. It allows the turbo unit to be worn much higher on the back.
    My system is not a Frankenboehme ... it actually fully complies with an approved configuration although I do have a couple non-standard improvements in mind to make the helmet more like the M-300.
     
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  13. Jim Hardy

    Jim Hardy

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    Bill Boehme- Thanks for responding so quickly. Have you (or anyone else reading this) actually worn either of these machines (Sundstrom SR-500 & 3M Versaflo Heavy Industry PAPR Kit TR-300N+ HIK) to determine if they have sufficient air volume? Given my current condition, I'm willing to pay for the convenience of a factory assembled (& blessed) combo... but only if they supply enough air volume not to feel "stuffy".

    It happens that I am teaching a blind couple to turn and the guy was so affected by dust that he bought the SR-500 from Ken Rizza. I haven't tried it, but know that he's happy. Once I've recovered, he's offered to let me try his... I'll report my findings. I have not yet found a way to try the 3M unit. Regading the BreatheEasy, I'm concerned about buying into a product family that 3M seems to be winding down. Are you aware of any other 3M PAPRs that have a purported 10 CFM? Since I also have permanently perforated ear drums, I would also like to have filtered air flow down past my ears, which the Sunstrom unit does not provide. Right now (with a dust mask), to keep the dust out I have to wear ear-plugs while turning, but I miss the feedback that hearing provides.
    I live in Georgia so heat / humidity is an issue... but my shop has A/C. I don't want a shroud on my face shield/helmet (like the M-407 or Trend)... due to the added heat and ingress/egress.

    It seems odd that no company has come up with an PAPR which specifically addresses the needs of woodturners. We do need light head weight, N100 particulate protection and high impact face protection, but we don't need all the reliability backups, alarms and certifications that add to the cost. (If it stops, we can just leave the shop.)
     
  14. Dennis Weiner

    Dennis Weiner

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    3m safety product line is vast and confusing but you can narrow it down by browsing various links:
    https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company...1017+8711405+8720539+8720547+3294857497&rt=r3

    Like many of the woodturners on this forum, the high cost was an issue for me. I also obtained my m307 headgear cheaply on Craig’s list and I power it with a homegrown fresh air solution. I opted for the most comfortable headgear made, which I believe is the Versaflo line. The model headgear to consider for woodturning are the 200,300,400 series. Other models will work for us but are overkill and meant for other industries. The 200 series is lighter because it has an semi open helmet and the 300 series and above is a full hard hat. The m207,m307,M407 etc have the “premium face shield protection.the standard face shield will protect from debris equally. The premium shield models ending in 7 are spark or flame resistant . Perhaps it may be useful near a grinder.
    The 400 series accepts a Fire resistant shroud which may be helpful keeping maple dust away from your neck. IMO perhaps too hot.
    This is a more specific link which contains power and filter options:
    https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/693104O/3m-versaflo-m-series-hard-hats-helmets-faceshields.pdf
    Good luck
     
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  15. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    I have the 3M TR-613N Assembly consisting of Motor/Blower TR-602N, Standard Battery TR-630, Length Adjusting Breathing Tube BT-30, High Durability Belt TR-626, Airflow Indicator TR-971. I use a TR-6710N HEPA particulate filter, which I use with a Versaflow M-200 helmet/shield. I also have the organic vapor filter and cover. The blower has 3 settings, and the low setting is sufficient for me. I forget the cfm figure, maybe 6.5 cfm on low, but I feel the flow some, doesn't get stuffy, prevents any fogging, but somone else may not think it's enough flow. The helmet has a directional flapper at the top of the shield to direct flow toward your face or the shield. It works extremely well for me.
     
  16. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The double shroud on the Versaflo M400 series actually doesn't make it feel stuffy at least not with the BreatheEasy turbo unit. The huge airflow keeps the interior well ventilated. I looked at a friend's Triton about a dozen years ago. It had a shroud that draped on the shoulders. The air flow was really weak ... he said it fogged up the visor and caused him to sweat. The filter wasn't rated for anything. The motor was just a tiny toy motor with a tiny toy propeller. My recollection is that the faceshield wasn't ANSI certified

    I don't worry about parts availability. The filters are used on several other respirators. You can always make up your own battery pack. The blower units will be available on eBay for a long time. I don't have a lot of money invested in my current arrangement and there's nothing preventing me from changing to the Versaflo turbo unit if the BreatheEasy turbo unit goes belly up.

    I have an Airstream AS-400 and have used it for thirteen years. That model has been around forever and is still being produced because there is still a market in industry wherever dust is a problem which includes woodworking. I really like it because it is light, comfortable, and self contained except for the battery which is worn on the belt. While I really like my Versaflo for its lightness, better airflow over the face, wider field of view, and quieter there is the encumbrance of the BreatheEasy turbo unit, battery, and air hose to the helmet. I'll have to take the blame for much of this because my "turning muscle" makes it difficult for my pants to stay up ... occupational hazard?

    Anyway I'm not quite ready to give up my Airstream.
     
  17. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    I decided to buy the Sundstrom SR500 with SR540 from WoodTurner's Wonders at the AAW meeting. I have used the unit now enough to recharge the battery once, so not an extremely long term test, but several hours of use. I find that for me the air flow on the low setting is fine.

    I am not in Hawaii or even Texas, in fact my shop is always chilly (on a really good day it's only just 70*). I don't have any particular respiratory or allergy issues.

    I was used to more breeze with the Trend, so when I first started using the Sundstrom my initial reaction was that the low air flow setting was not enough and that I would use it on high. However, I decided to leave it on low while turning and see what would happen. At the end of the turning session I was surprised to realise that the low setting had been just fine. I had no sense of stuffy-ness or being "inside" a closed space. I was not hot or otherwise uncomfortable. The high setting is definitely breezier, but I regularly use it on the low setting.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  18. Stan Semeniuk

    Stan Semeniuk

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    I procrastinated for well over a year about buying the Airstream AS-400 mostly because of the price with the included exchange rate. I have had mine for 3-4 yrs. now and can't say enough good things about it. The only thing I would have done differently would have been to buy it sooner, excellent product. I truly think that there are many good makes and models out there and if it is in your price range they are a great investment in health and comfort. I have worked in the heavy oil industry in manufacturing for over 35 yrs. and have used a 3M gel mask daily with P100 filters with excellent results. It's just so nice at home not having to put that extra effort in to breath as well as having a great deal more protection with the AS-400.
     
  19. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    I have been trying to compare the two PAPRs which are the ones the OP posted about...and what I feel is the most important specification: WHAT is the micron rating of the particulate filter and pre-filters? You know...I really thought that 3M would publish that. But, I have not found that info on their specs, or marketing sheets....Sundstrom...have not seen it either. Anyone seen such data?

    ***EDIT*** found this on the Sundstrom 570:

    "As far as HEPA, our filters are 100% NIOSH rated which is the same as ANSI rating. Our filters actually filter 99.997% of all HEPA, which is 10 times more than Niosh requires (99.970%)"

    BUT...STILL no actual micron ratings...heck - even air filters for your HVAC system public the micron rating.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  20. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The HEPA filter rating is 0.3 microns.
     
  21. Roger Chandler

    Roger Chandler

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    I appreciate all the feedback on my original post on comparing these two systems.....it has taken a bit of time to get this many comments. I still have not gotten a new system and am using the oldest of my two Trend AS-Pro units. I suspect I might just go with the Sundstrum sold by Ken Rizza. It really looks like a well thought out system, and ease of use, durability, effectiveness for the purpose and quality of build are my priorities on a system.

    I hope some others who might have either of these systems will chime in related to those 4 priorities will speak to their experience.
     
  22. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    Roger, I bought the Sundstrum unit at Raleigh last July and have used it the last several months. I don't know if that's much of a testament to its durability, but it hasn't broken :).

    I generally like the design and build quality. It is easy enough to put on and comfortable enough to wear that there is not much excuse not use it. Not too loud, either. The visor is clear. Ken sells protective covers for the visor which I also use. Note these covers are sold individually, so you might want more than one. Also they attach to the visor by only two adhesive dots, so not a tight seal, but it seems to work.

    Battery life covers several sessions of turning for me. It takes a few hours to completely recharge. I use the low speed fan which I find is enough air for me. As to it's filter effectiveness I can only believe it filters; I have no way to objectively test.
     
  23. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    I only have experience with the Trend but I like it and it is easy to place on head and can flip up to see better when nothing is going on. The unit is a little heavy and take a little acclamation.
    Batteries are rebuildable and I have two and rebuilt both at least twice. There is a way to use rechargeable AA battery pack that you can make and either clip on belt or place in battery compartment . Also If you want you can hardwire it to a outlet using the charger. This option is nice if you have overhead outlet.
    Parts are expensive but they do stand behind the product and I sent it back once and repair was no charge and they included the new gray headband.
    I usually just blow out the filters but got a new set last year and smelled great for about a week and then no change from with out. Not sure but do not think these are HEPA but looks like spec is NPF50. I will have a serious cough without this or mask but none when using.
    Just my take since I do love the flip up and notice the one Ken sells does not.
     
  24. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    The Sundstrum visor does flip up.
     
  25. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    Thanks the video does not show that
     
  26. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    For me, the two important criteria in evaluating a filter are the smell test and nose blow test. When I started using my Airstream with its P100 (HEPA) filter was the first time that I wasn't able to smell the wood. The nose blow test is self explanatory.
     
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  27. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    You should probably make an instructional video
     
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  28. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    I doubt that will happen.....I have never seen a post post from Bill that you could judge as....wait for it...."snotty".....Sorry - back to my coffee....:D
     
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  29. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Nobody has ever been banned for really bad puns ...... at least, not yet. :D

    I'm probably more guilty than anybody about bad puns so I suppose that you're safe. :D
    Regarding the "S" word, my alter ego is the obscure Roman emperor, Copius Mucous, who developed the precursor to Kleenex.
     
  30. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    Bill - the contributions that you and Emiliano have made to this thread have been extremely helpful to me, and I wan to think you all for that. I will be ordering a PAPR int he next day or 2. When I receive it...I will do a write up on it. It is not a 3M...nor is it Sundstrom. I researched and compared the features, weight, costs, and most of all..the ratings for personal protection - which includes, but is not limited to the air filtration quality. The brand is RBP - model is Z-Link. ( https://www.rpbsafety.com/respirators/z-link) -See video in the link for more information on these. They are carried currently by Fastenal, and Air Gas welding supply and others. More later....
     
  31. Roger Chandler

    Roger Chandler

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    Tim, thank you for the link to the rpb z-link. I looked at it, then called a distributor in Minnesota who sells both the 3M Versaflo and the RPB Z-Link. He says the protection with the Z-link is way better than the Versaflo. Impact of the helmet, and filtration volume, etc are all greater. He highly recommends the Z-Link. I like the looks of the system, and the visor lift while still maintaining protection against the dust is a nice feature. I really looks well built, and from what I see, it was developed in conjunction will military special ops, and heavy industrial users.

    I may pull the trigger on one of these myself! :)
     
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  32. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    My pleasure to share Roger - as the example I have seen so many times from other woodturners!:D
     
  33. Rob Price

    Rob Price

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    I’ll be interested in what you guys think of the Zlink. I need to get something sooner than later. I get very stuffy after a day in the shop, and I’m wearing a dust mask all day, I need something better.
     
  34. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    Rob-
    I hope to get a review posted this weekend. Have been using mine now for about 2 weeks...all day every day. Love it. But will fill in the blanks and try to answer questions with this review.
    T
     
  35. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    Lebanon, Missouri
    Appears the Versaflow and Z-Link are direct competitors. Both have a dizzying # of types/combinations. Anyone done a cost comparison of essentially the same system for each brand? Be a bit tedious with all the options each have.

    For those considering one of these check parts availability on ebay and other places. I was able to save ~$400 buying components off ebay vs purchasing a complete system.
     
  36. Rob Price

    Rob Price

    Joined:
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    The best I can come up with is a versaflo system around $1000 right now piecing together parts. I’m not willing to buy used on eBay. I’ve been burned a few times there, I’m very weary of the place.

    I’m having a hard time with the cost though. I may go with the Trend and deal with it’s limitations. I’ll see what Tim has to say. I reached out to RBP about the Zlink and one of their product managers emailed back almost immediately, I’ll have a chat with him on Monday but I’m guessing it’s going to be more expensive. I can’t find much online about it.
     
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  37. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    I didnt buy used, over stock, someone got stuck with the wrong thing, etc was more or less the theme of what I found. I came in at ~800 including battery, charger, particulate filter and organic vapor filter, but I think I got a bit lucky with some of the items price wise.

    If you have a large enough compressor, its air can be filtered and used to feed the helmet. I dont have one big enough to feed the helmet and my spray gun together. That method knocks a lot off the $’s if you already have the compressor.
     
  38. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I carefully examine the rating and buyer comments of eBay sellers. They need to have a 99.8+ rating. All of the components that I bought for my Versaflo/BreatheEasy were never used. The Lithium Ion battery was several years old, but still in perfect condition. The only components that I bought from a retailer were the filters because I couldn't find a trustworthy eBay seller.

    I have bought a lot of stuff on eBay and have never encountered a problem ... I keep my BS filter set to MAX.
     
  39. Rob Price

    Rob Price

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    Just to muddy the waters I'm looking at the Powercap as well- an all in one unit like the Trend but lighter and the filters are up front- the theory being that it's a better balance on the head. The same company, Peke safety has a Malina PAPR unit at about half the cost of a versaflo setup. Too many options.
     
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  40. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker

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    Nov 4, 2018
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    Location (City & State):
    Penrose, NC
    The Malina was one I looked at...but the face shield is NOT impact resistant. And...I like my Powercaps. I have 2 of them. But - they are not in the same class of respiratory safety as a PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirator). The approach I took in researching PAPR systems was prioritized on the APF ( Assigned Protection Factor ) because I wanted the best for my lungs, AND face protection. Yes - money spent is dear to my heart...but safety is just something that I don't allow my cheap-skate nature to control.
     

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