Picture of 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?
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools
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
electrical tape

dremel tool
soldering iron
wire stripper

Step 2: Getting Started

Picture of 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

Picture of 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.
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Never had problems as a player – most goggles I’ve used have anti-fog
lenses. But as a marshal I see the long-term need for this – really cool,
awesome to see its obviously helping a lot of players

haole121 year ago
Cool as hell
pkubicki1 year ago
Also forgot to mention with the mask I am getting in the said kit, If you look it has a "grill" on the front allowing a fan to be installed without having to damage the mask in any way, Same goes for the grill feature of the sides of this mask, Can place power switches there again without any permanent damage :)
JamesRPatrick (author)  pkubicki1 year ago
120mm seems too big to fit in a paintball mask. You should try two fans, each <50mm.
pkubicki1 year ago
Great tutorial dude, I'm getting this kit;

I will also be using a much much thinner fan like this; the higher the RPM the more coolness that is much needed!

I don't know what people on here are moaning about the cost of a battery! :O if you can't afford that I don't know how you are affording paintball.

I will try this with the air blowing "in" first then the other way and judge results, I am also thinking of covering 1/4 f the fan with a plate if you will that connects to some very very thin tubes to blow fresh air into the foam covered goggle area without sacrificing the snugness of the fit. Also to circumvent the need for the cable ties to cover the fan I will be wearing a buff anyway so not needed really :)

I have some micro switches that are much smaller rubber buttons, Not as reliable and well built as a switch, but much more concealable.

I only signed up to this to say thanks for the tutorial! :) I will share mine once my kit arrives and it's made
tynow2 years ago
Hi, i just wanted to point out that you said 2 DPDT switches, but in the diagram you put a SPST for the power and a DPDT for the speed selection.
JamesRPatrick (author)  tynow2 years ago
The DPDT switch for power only functions as ON/OFF, so you can use an SPST switch for that function. These switches came in packs of two, so it may be more convenient to just buy a single pack of DPDT switches.
ah, ok, i see how that would make sense, just wanted to make sure u knew.
kmgcmk3 years ago
I just tried this with a smaller fan (out of a game station cooling unit). It helped, but did not stop the fogging completely. The photos look like the fan is blowing "in". I started the day like that, but swapped at lunch (I love zip ties). Do you know if this fan system works best blowing "in" or "out"? I plan to put a larger fan in before my next outing, if I can get one to fit in my mask.

Thanks for the instructions.
JamesRPatrick (author)  kmgcmk3 years ago
This one blows inward(toward the face) and works like a charm.
ilpug3 years ago
Well, This is a great design for paintball. I have the same chronic fogging problem in Airsoft, and i am trying to figure out a way to build in a fan. An idea i was working on earlier involved a small turbine on the outside front of the mask and tubes to carry air into either side of the goggles. Unfortunately, this design was noisy (i have no extra computer fan), and looked positively ridiculous. I would totally adopt this design, but the inside of my mask has no room for a fan! I am also wondering how much noise your version makes, because in an Airsoft application i need the system to be virtually silent. Does the bottom edge of your goggles in your mask have holes in it? i am wondering how the air circulates into the goggles.
JamesRPatrick (author)  ilpug3 years ago
The foam doesn't seal completely around the eyes. There are gaps on either side of the head, so the air gets around.
Okay. I am going to experiment with drilling holes in the bottom frame of my goggles, because they have no holes in the bottom or the sides. I will have to get another type of fan and build it in.
very cool, and it seems to work, based off of what ive heard from other modders. I have seen people put two smaller fans above their eyes or near the earpieces; propably less chance of getting paint splatter on them than in front of the mouth. But that's still slim odds that you get hit right in the mouth.
It's a huge advantage if you have any amount of humidity in the air. Especially if it's raining, you can sneak around other players who can't see more than 20 yards. I actually did get hit in the mouth the last time I played, and the fan still worked fine. It wouldn't cost much to replace anyway. I think the fan kept the sharp pieces of shell from getting to my mouth, too.

Smaller fans would work well, but I was sourcing from an old desktop at the time and only had the big ones. However, the overhead design might be more susceptible to rain damage.
That makes sense. But what do I know. It never rains here, and its never humid (lol).
Lucky...I bet an evaporative cooler would work especially well in your area.
goober64 years ago
why truck bed liner??
JamesRPatrick (author)  goober64 years ago
It's like liquid rubber. I usually have a can somewhere in the garage and it's good for waterproofing.
BOOM56014 years ago
Me likey, cheaper alternative to the actual fans.
JamesRPatrick (author)  BOOM56014 years ago
Next challenge is making it waterproof.
JamesRPatrick (author)  BOOM56014 years ago
I was thinking more like hot glue and a different motor.
Nah, you should be fine without waterproofing it. Unless you're a really clumsy woods player, or an unlucky speedy, it wont get wet.
JamesRPatrick (author)  BOOM56014 years ago
I've used it on two rainy days(out of 7 total days) without issue. But I'm concerned about nonstop scenario games in the rain. I might spend the day laying in the mud and I don't want to even be thinking about my goggles.
Well, the water wouldn't really do anything to the circuits, but the mud might jam the fan.
JamesRPatrick (author)  BOOM56014 years ago
Never used Sugru before.
mikeybo24 years ago
I just made a simpler version of this yesterday. I used a very old pc fan 9 volt connectors and electrical tape. I stripped the ends of the fans wires electrical taped the 9 volt wires to the fan wires. Then i taped the fan in with electrical tape. Now when ever i connect the fan to the battery it keeps running keeping me cool.
JamesRPatrick (author)  mikeybo24 years ago
Sweet! Can you post some pictures?
I have to get a new fan when i do ill post some pictures i accidently knocked the fan out of the housing
mg0930mg4 years ago
I went paintballing today, and did this mod last night, I didn't fog up all day. Thanks, although your schematic confused the hell out of me. :P
JamesRPatrick (author)  mg0930mg4 years ago
The schematic has been updated.
Looks great.
JamesRPatrick (author)  mg0930mg4 years ago
Sorry about that, I was using someone else's computer at the time and it didn't have any apps that could draw. Thanks for the support!
I posted it up on the nation!
JamesRPatrick (author)  mg0930mg4 years ago
Can you post a picture of your rig if you get the chance?
Totally forgot about this, I need to fix mine to my new mask. It is just sitting in a plastic bag, at the bottom of my toolbox.
Mine actually broke, from my crappy soldering. However, my dad should be teaching me, before my next scenario. Hopefully, by this weekend I will post something.
Could you possibly make a clearer image of this? or of the circuit itself? Because i really want to do this but i don't have a whole lot of soldering/electrical experience but i think i have enough to do this. It would be much appreciated. By the way this is an awesome project. Because i have like 2o fans just lying around.
JamesRPatrick (author)  Allan Mankato4 years ago
Sure! I'm not great with the symbols but I'll try to make it understandable. I'll start on it right now. Thanks for reminding me!
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