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Old 02-01-2020, 03:09 PM
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Question Making an N95 mask from scratch



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So....Iíve been watching things unfold each day.

It seems to worsen with each day....and like many others, commonsense tells you - since everything is made in China, the supply chain will be broken in about two to three weeks.

I think I am prepared, and Iím pretty sure I have the experience and skills to make, build, process, grow most of the things I need if it gets that bad.

But it got me thinking even deeper....

Has anyone ever attempted to MAKE an N95 filter (n/p100 etc)?

I donít mean the fabric mask section, I mean the actual filter itself.

When used properly and removed properly people will be going through them at a very fast rate....I carry them in my car and my home, but eventually they will run out. Plus it is unclear how to even sterilize a full face respirator- anyhow. Not to mention, online supplies are already out and back ordered, but people buying those will be getting them straight from China - if they donít shut down marine and postal shipping.

I was digging around trying to find out how they were constructed - and I saw a video of the ďmanufacturing process in a Chinese factoryĒ which amounts to women, sitting at tables with a rubber mallet pounding the exhalation valve into each mask and piling them into piles to be packed in plastic and sent out. I am sure that video is pulled by now.

It was not sterile nor was there any more quality control than a man looking over the shoulder to be sure she is working fast enough.

Taking into consideration that we should only use whatever stock has already been in USA for months - anything they have manufactured now I would consider contaminated. And just guessing the work force might be depleted quite soon.

So that brings me to my question......if we wanted to make these masks ourselves - what are the components?

I have my used N95 sitting next to me, the center is a very thin carbon filter, that is sandwiched between polypropylene. Then there is a hard exhalation valve.

Anyone know what type of carbon filter fabric is used inside? And is there a US supplier for the polypropylene or exhalation valve?

Odd thing is, when searching google or DuckDuckGo I canít find a peep on the materials. Or even a supplier.
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Old 02-01-2020, 03:40 PM
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I'd use something like this.
https://www.amazon.com/charcoal-filt...+filter+fabric

Making a reliable valve at home would be difficult.
https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...-20/ref=nosim/
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Old 02-01-2020, 03:47 PM
DenimDave DenimDave is offline
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I was wondering about coffee filters, wrapped in a tight weave fabric? but making sure you have a face shield to protect from direct coughing?

It wouldn't be fun to have to make, that is for sure.
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Old 02-01-2020, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenimDave View Post
I was wondering about coffee filters, wrapped in a tight weave fabric? but making sure you have a face shield to protect from direct coughing?

It wouldn't be fun to have to make, that is for sure.
I had the same thought. Fabric mask with a pocket for an activated charcoal filter. The filters could easily be made from coffee filters.

You could add a few drops of an antiviral oil to try and boost it.

This would be my last option though
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Old 02-01-2020, 04:08 PM
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Exhale valve is easy. Flexible plastic disk on the mounted on the outside of your mask via frame. You could make them with screw on caps and a section of a plastic bottle.



To do good all the air needs to contact the activated charcoal.

+1 for eye protection.
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Old 02-01-2020, 04:15 PM
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This is interesting....

I’m going to keep digging for the next few days and update what I find out.

But the white disposable Tyvex suits are made of the Heat melted polypropylene which is one outside component we need.

I carry that in my car for my job - so while the prices are low, I will buy a case and just rotate my stock.

Now we just need to find a source for the activated carbon cloth which is either n95, n99 or n100 and the exhalation valve and we are good to go.
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Old 02-01-2020, 04:18 PM
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Interesting thanks for posting this.

With that idea.....it really gets my wheels turning.

This is great info since like i mentioned I think we will be blowing through more masks than anticipated considering the more than likely duration.
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Old 02-01-2020, 04:24 PM
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By the way, there is some research which suggests you can steam sterilize masks at home. More testing needs to be done, but this is encouraging.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3078131/
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Old 02-01-2020, 08:54 PM
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You guys all know that an N-95 is just a dust mask, right? It's not going to filter out viruses and bacteria at all....because no one talks like they actually know that.
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Vanishing Nomad View Post
You guys all know that an N-95 is just a dust mask, right? It's not going to filter out viruses and bacteria at all....because no one talks like they actually know that.
That is incorrect. A dust mask and N95 respirator are NOT the same thing. And yes, an N95 can stop a virus. However, there are many factors that go into play in protection from hazards.
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:16 PM
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That is incorrect. A dust mask and N95 respirator are NOT the same thing. And yes, an N95 can stop a virus. However, there are many factors that go into play in protection from hazards.
Sorry dude.
I work in a bodyshop...we order N-95 by the box full. They are for particulates only.

At BEST, they will absorb water droplets from your breath..thats why healthy surgical staff, use them in surgery with healthy patients. It's a minimal risk environment to being with. If you put a surgeon in the OR who has a cold or flue...they wont do a dam thing to prevent the patient from being infected.

Go ahead, google the 3M PDF data sheet on them....see for yourself.
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:28 PM
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You know what, never mind. Forget the google. Heres the PDF right from 3M.

Notice that they do not even mention bacteria or viruses in the long, long list of substances.

Also notice, that there are different types of respirators, designed to be used to protect against different things.

You have to know what you are working with, then choose the correct one....and NONE of these are listed as being for viruses and bacteria...Not the N-95, not one single solitary one.

It specifically states that the N-95 is a PARTICULATE (Dust) mask.

To deal with a virus or bacteria, you need to have a fully sealed bio suit with a fresh air supply system. Nothing short of that is going to work.

https://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/...x1PkCTb-BAhQGw


None of this is my opinion. It's fact coming right from the manufacturer of the respirators themselves.
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charliemeyer007 View Post
Exhale valve is easy. Flexible plastic disk on the mounted on the outside of your mask via frame. You could make them with screw on caps and a section of a plastic bottle.



To do good all the air needs to contact the activated charcoal.

+1 for eye protection.
It's easy to make a rudimentary "one way" valve.

It's not easy to make one that will not allow some outside air to enter before it closes completely upon inhaling.
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:48 PM
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Quote:
To deal with a virus or bacteria, you need to have a fully sealed bio suit with a fresh air supply system. Nothing short of that is going to work.
That's not really true.

The PDF you posted is more about chemical and hazardous material protection, but anything that blocks the smallest particles will also block most viruses.

" Does a face mask protect you from coronavirus?
The CDC recommends that patients with the coronavirus wear a face mask to protect others around them, or, if the patient cannot wear a face mask, others should if they are in the same room together.

Caregivers or people living in the same house as someone who is sick should also wear disposable face masks, along with gloves and disposable gowns, when coming into contact with the patient's bodily fluids.

For health care workers in contact with coronavirus patients, the CDC recommends a more specialized type of mask — one that is individually fitted to a person's face to create a seal and that filters out 95 percent of particles that at least 0.3 microns in diameters. (A micron is 1/1,000th of a millimeter.) This type of mask is called N95.

At this time, the size of the coronavirus particles is unknown. The SARS virus was 0.1 microns in diameter."

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/healt...c-rss_20200124
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:51 PM
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Then you go look at what the actual manufacturer of said "N-95" mask says, and you find that its for dust only....

.3 microns is way bigger than .1 micron. Its 3 times the size. Its not going to work.

I posted the data sheet itself...but you go ahead, believe what you like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snyper708 View Post
That's not really true.

The PDF you posted is more about chemical and hazardous material protection, but anything that blocks the smallest particles will also block most viruses.

" Does a face mask protect you from coronavirus?
The CDC recommends that patients with the coronavirus wear a face mask to protect others around them, or, if the patient cannot wear a face mask, others should if they are in the same room together.

Caregivers or people living in the same house as someone who is sick should also wear disposable face masks, along with gloves and disposable gowns, when coming into contact with the patient's bodily fluids.

For health care workers in contact with coronavirus patients, the CDC recommends a more specialized type of mask — one that is individually fitted to a person's face to create a seal and that filters out 95 percent of particles that at least 0.3 microns in diameters. (A micron is 1/1,000th of a millimeter.) This type of mask is called N95.

At this time, the size of the coronavirus particles is unknown. The SARS virus was 0.1 microns in diameter."

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/healt...c-rss_20200124
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Then you go look at what the actual manufacturer of said "N-95" mask says, and you find that its for dust only..
"Dust" is particles.
Viruses are "particles"

Quote:
I posted the data sheet itself...but you go ahead, believe what you like
I looked at what you posted.
You're confused about what it means.

Quote:
Sorry dude.
I work in a bodyshop...we order N-95 by the box full. They are for particulates only.
What they order is irrelevant.
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanishing Nomad View Post
Then you go look at what the actual manufacturer of said "N-95" mask says, and you find that its for dust only....

.3 microns is way bigger than .1 micron. Its 3 times the size. Its not going to work.

I posted the data sheet itself...but you go ahead, believe what you like.
Do you even know that a virus is a particulate? You don’t need a cartridge to stop a virus. Do you know why NIOSH uses .3 micron as the test agent size?

You may work for an auto body shop, but I work for the manufacturer that you listed!

But you sound like you’ve got this all worked out, so I’m not going to spend all night discussing. You do whatever works for you.
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Old 02-01-2020, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Respirators
Respirators meet the CDC Guidelines for Mycobacterium tuberculosis exposure control. They are certified by NIOSH as N95's and designed to provide a secure face-to-respirator seal. This seal helps reduce the wearer's exposure to airborne particles, making them appropriate for protection from laser and electrocautery plume.
N95 is the particle size and efficiency rating, nothing more.
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Old 02-01-2020, 10:34 PM
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I went to the 3M site and they have a “where to buy” as well as LARGE VOLUME ORDER... I didn’t check the price yet but I think it’s worth looking in to.

If you are in a group or have a large family you just might be a large order.
Their pricing from online vendors for N-100 were around 7-10 ea.! Wow...

I know we can ge them cheaper if we buy in bulk.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:49 AM
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If you want to go real field expedient...
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