Air Cooled Paintball Mask

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Introduction: Air Cooled Paintball Mask

I work as a paintball referee and a chronic problem that I have is my mask fogging up. I consider this the worst thing to happen on the paintball field, whether reffing or playing. As a ref, I can't keep track of players or accurately declare hits. As a player, even if my marker fails or I run out of paint, I can still be a diversion or a flag runner. Nevertheless, I'm pretty useless when I can't see. I've tried various anti-fog sprays, but they only last a game before giving up. The basic idea here is to put a fan in a paintball mask to continuously circulate air and remove humidity. Pretty simple, right?

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials:
1 paintball mask
1 computer fan, 12v
2 slide switches, DPDT
1 resistor, 10 ohm
1 9v battery, preferably rechargeable
1 9v battery holder or connector
4 1" long bolts, must fit through holes in fan
4 matching nuts
4 small zip ties
some wire
solder
electrical tape

Tools:
dremel tool
soldering iron
wire stripper
pliers
screwdriver

Step 2: Getting Started

The first thing to do is to REMOVE THE LENS. Also make sure your fan works. You wouldn't want to put all this effort into it for nothing. Just hook it up to a 9v battery. Red goes to the smaller snap. Now make sure it's moving air out of the side with the support structure. Next you'll want to test fit the fan in your mask. The most convenient place for mine was right under my chin. If you put the mask on, you probably won't have enough room in there, so you'll have to trim down the sides.

Step 3: Fitting the Fan

The next step is to cut four corners off of the fan. These should be the corners facing away from where your face would be. Use the dremel with a cutting wheel attachment. You can clean it up with some sanding if you want but this side won't be visible after assembly.

Step 4: Protect Your Face!

Now if you don't want this thing to eat your face while you're using it, you'll probably want to put some sort of guard on it. I think there are commercially made ones available but zip ties work just as well. I drilled two holes on each side of the top half of the fan, where my chin might come in contact. Then I threaded two zip ties through the holes and secured them with another two.

Step 5: Mounting the Fan

After you mark the fan's mounting points on the mask, you can use a small dremel bit to cut them out. they should point in the direction of the mounting holes. If everything fits, just bolt it all together with the screw heads on the inside.

Step 6: Prepareing the Electronics

The switches perform two tasks. One determines the ON/OFF position while the other selects fan speed by incorporating the 10-ohm resistor.

Step 7: Soldering

Follow the schematic to assemble the switch group, being careful not to get the resistor too hot. It fits nicely between the prongs of the switch.

Step 8: Battery Clip Installation

Drill two holes side by side to hang the battery from. Insert the leads through the left hole and back in through the right hole. Secure with a knot.

Step 9: Switch Installation

Position the group to the right of where the battery sits(looking at the inside of the mask). Drill four small holes for screws and two slots for the switch arms. Secure with screws with wires leading towards the fan.

Step 10: Wiring

Solder the black battery lead to the center pole of the power switch. Connect the red battery lead to the red fan lead. Solder the remaining two wires together.

Step 11: Test and Finish

Now you can hook up a battery and see if it works. Use the lower setting to conserve battery power and the high setting for high humidity and heavy breathing conditions.I recommend coating all of the components in something like liquid electrical tape or truck bed liner(if you have it) for added protection. Oh yeah, and try not to get shot in the face.

Update: I tried it out for a day on the field and it kept the fog out for a solid three hours. I also used hot glue to cover all of the electrical components.

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82 Comments

Hey, nice instructable, really neat.

Hey I bought a 12v fan and a 9v battery and a switch only 1.

I hooked it up and the battery gets really hot. Is that normal because I don't want to be playing and having a battery exploding in the back of my head. Anyways thank you for helping me out.

It's normal for batteries to get warm during use, but if it's too hot to hold, there's something wrong.

I bought 1 fan thats not a computer CPU fan it's a industrial machinery fan, Do you think thats the reason, and also tried to hook it up and my switch has a ( - standing for on and a O standing for off, when I hook it up it turns on when the switch is off, its opposite, not a big deal just wondering if you could help me on that as well, Im not that mechanic looking guy, sorry.

Could you post a link or a picture of the fan? Depending on what kind it is, it might require a load (e.g. be installed in a duct system) to function properly. Specifically there are blowers that will burn out if they are just allowed to run with no resistance.

Sent u a link that will take you to youtube, thanks for helping me out. Means alot.

Looks like your switch was labeled or configured wrong at the factory, but it should work just the same.

From the UPC in your video it looks like you got this fan: http://www.steren.com.mx/catalogo/prod.asp?p=3755

I assume the price on there is 84 pesos, not 84 dollars. Anyway, yours is 130 mA while my fan is 0.3 A so that could be the issue. I've never had issues running Energizer batteries in mine. Does the battery get hot when you put the resistor in series with the fan and battery?

Yeah the fan Was purchased at steren my bad, So If I go to another place like radioshack I have to ask for a 0.3 mA fan? and no I havnt tried with the resistor if I were to try adding the resistor what wire would I solder it to or what wires in general?

Your 130ma fan should work fine. 130mA is less than half the power consumption of his 300mA fan. Be sure to use alkaline batteries and not so called "heavy duty" one. They suck. Other than that if battery is hot something is wired wrong

If you get a 12V, 0.3A fan like the one I used, it should work for sure. You should also pick up a 3-position switch if you want the speed selection. Putting the resistor in series with the fan will make the fan turn slower.

Won't the paint splatter into the mask and into your face?