Despite me being sick of sawdust, I'm aware that my annoyance is trivial; other people have it much worse. Steampunk object fabricator Jake von Slatt, for instance, discovered that he had developed an adult-onset allergy to pine sawdust--not good when you spend a lot of time working pine on the table saw and sander.
Complicating things, "I can't use a conventional respirator," von Slatt explains, "because I sport a beard and a normal respirator or nuisance dust mask will not properly seal to my face. For painting I've always used a Pro-Air Supplied Air Respirator that deliveres fresh air to me via its 50 foot hose. However, walking around the wood shop dragging a 50 foot hose gets old real quick."
In search of the raw materials for a hackaround, von Slatt snagged this gas mask on eBay.
Trying it on, he found the face seal accommodated his beard, but there was another problem. "The temples of my glasses would not fit past the seals," he writes. Hence hack #1: He found an older pair of glasses, took the stems off, and mounted them inside the respirator using a cable hold down and piano wire. "The glasses are allowed to slide up and down on the piano wire so they rest comfortably on my nose," he explains.
Hack #2 was more complicated. With the goal of constructing a wearable powered respirator that would allow him to roam his shop freely, he needed to get the blower and filter onto his body. After poking around his shop and visiting a local auto parts store, he had amassed these items:
- broken fanny pack
- wood pieces
- "Slow - Children" metal street sign from dumpster
- 1" brass sink drain pipe
- cooling fan from a hard disk array
- automotive air filter
- copper elbow
After cutting, soldering, sheet metal braking, pop riveting, sawing, nailing and screwing, von Slatt had this:
And it works:
There is also a separate, equally ingenious device von Slatt hacked up for the following situation:
Sometimes when I'm working in the shop I just need to wear a respirator for a short period. For instance if I just need to walk into the paint area to shoot a second coat on a small part or make a quick cut on the table saw....
Donning the powered respirator for these tasks takes much longer then the task itself. It's so much trouble that, more likely then not, I'll just try to hold my breath. This doesn't always work.
So I came up with this simple solution. I took a respirator cartridge and hot glued it to the mouthpiece of a diving snorkel. Now can pop this in my mouth and have both hands free for a quick operation, I just breath in through the cartridge and out through my nose.