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Improvised Gas Mask

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Inspired by some plans from 1942, I made my own gas mask from a snorkel, a tin can, and some charcoal I made from coconut husks. It works great!. I varnished my boat and didn't get a headache!
I'm not wearing it now, I can smell the fumes from outside, and I AM getting a headache.

This gas mask is very similar to the successful British Small Box Respirator used in WW1. Inside the familiar cloth hood with goggles it had a nose clip, a mouthpiece and a hose to a can full of charcoal and soda lime. My canister only uses carbon as the absorbing agent since I'm not concerned about "acid gases". If you need to filter out military poisons or chemicals similar to them, add the soda lime and other ingredients.

There are many avid gasmask collectors and enthusiasts. Images and information about gas masks is very abundant online. The French collector's site gasmasks.net has an amazing pictorial database covering gas mask evolution in all the worlds armies.

In 1942 Time Magazine published the following piece:
"Homemade Gas Masks
Monday, Sep. 07, 1942

An emergency gas mask that can be made at home was demonstrated in Manhattan last week by the American Women's Voluntary Services. The necessary materials can be found in almost any house: a bathing cap, a small tin can, the transparent cover from a powder-puff box, a bit of wire net (from fly swatters), two handkerchiefs, elastic ribbon, adhesive tape, and (from the drugstore) a few ounces of activated coconut charcoal and soda lime. The principle behind the homemade mask is simple; the assembly is more difficult. The rubber cap is fitted snugly over the face and two holes are cut in it; one for the powder-puff cover (to look through), one for the tin-can respirator. The ends of the can are removed, replaced with the wire net. Inside the can go the chemicals (two parts activated charcoal, one part soda lime) wrapped in the handkerchiefs. All openings in the cap are hermetically sealed with adhesive tape. An elastic-ribbon harness holds the mask on tight. An alternative model makes use of rubber baby pants (see cut) instead of the bathing cap.

When carefully made, this improvised gas mask is effective against all known war gases. But the A.W.V.S. and the War Department are leary of inexperienced workmanship. The least carelessness in fitting the parts of the gas mask together would permit gas to enter. The A.W.V.S. recommends that all such masks be made under its supervision.

An even simpler mask is advocated by Dr. Kearney Sauer of the Los Angeles Citizens' Defense Corps: two twelve-inch squares of bed sheeting with a quarter-inch layer of baking soda between, held in even distribution by crisscross stitching. Dampened and held firmly over the face, this napkin will give temporary protection against any gas, according to Dr. Sauer but not the Army.

The simplest device of all consists only of a beer can filled with absorbent material and a clothespin to clamp on the nose. It is approved by no one except its inventor, Chemist Vernon Bowers of Baltimore, Ohio.
"
 
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vladivastok6 months ago

HAVING USED MILL. GRADE MASK ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASIAN , THERE WAS ALLWAYS A PROBLEM WITH FOGGING UP AS SOON AS PHISICAL LABOR WAS STARTED. HOPPING THAT THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN FIXED BY NOW. IF YOU CANT SEE [OR HEAR CLEARLY] THE GAME IS PRETTY MUCH OVER ANYWAY.

freak0vnature9 months ago
those holes in the tin foil were due to a small trace of sodium hydroxide you can make stronger form of it by running the water thought it over andover again then you can make soap. :)
If I'm not mistaken, Soda Lime is sold quite cheaply for CO2 Scrubbers, commonly used for reef aquariums. So I'd suppose you could find a bag of soda lime at the pet store, in the fish section, next to where you bought your activated charcoal (made for charcoal filters).
Good Instructable by the way, very informative!
Well, where I think I'll buy my charcoal anyways, not too much in the mood for burning coconuts at the moment.
where do we buy soda lime?
Kapt.kool5 years ago
Would baking soda work in place of the soda lime. They are both alkaline and neutralize acids but im not sure of teh potency of the baking soda.
baking soda also expires after 3 months
___ Kapt.kool5 years ago
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Kinnishian ___3 years ago
Second. I once had some lye on my thigh and it dissolved slowly into the basic solution by absorbing skin water. It was very caustic. That is the end of story. But it would seriously hurt your lungs, you you'd want to at least put the charcoal between the lye and lungs [as another barrier]. Eitherway, I don't suggest it; it's hard to know if lye has the surface area necessary (my lye at least isn't *that* small of a powder).
XOIIO ___4 years ago
And do all these base belong to us?
ortenberg XOIIO3 years ago
hahaha!
___ XOIIO3 years ago
i meant more alkaline or more basic
Tim Temple2 years ago
"Every silver lining has a cloud," as they say. Breathing through your mouth means you are pulling mercury fumes from your metal fillings into your lungs! It's a cumulative neurotoxin.

But the most likely use for this is smoke from fires in a building or a forest. The next most likely is dust from various natural sources. It would also stop you from smoking a cigarette. Airborne allergens could be stopped, hopefully before they cause too much problem.

Keep swimming goggles attached to the breather -- whatever bothers one will bother the other. Keep them handy under your bed.
Is baking soda a possible mild-ish substitute for soda lime? It does, however, react with those acidic gases to form carbon dioxide. I wouldn't be so sure to use that stuff, though. Yeah, I think I'll stick to distilling carbonates out of our water and treating them w/ lye... Lol
ilpug2 years ago
Am I the only one who has cracked open a real respirator filter and inspected it?

Surprisingly, it is really similar to this. There is a layer of what looks like dense cotton or soft padding, then loose charcoal, that is more like flakes or Black Powder grains than an actual powder. Then another layer or two of that cottony stuff, and that is it. I am not sure about the actual chemical make up of the charcoal stuff, it might have additives.
Will this filter work against tear gas?
Maybe for a few seconds against inhalation, but since his eyes are exposed, no.
son of s8an3 years ago
Would this filter the fumes from spray paint?
Better than nothing. It would catch any aerosol drops for sure.
jlund2 years ago
this instrucable was helpfull to what i was looking for im making a rebreather like what navy seals use and i couldnt find any thing on making a carbon scrubber wich is what you made as a filter it will take carbon out of the air you are breathing in small amounts
laneman133 years ago
will coffee filters work instead of a paper towel
jlund laneman132 years ago
they will work way beter
could aquarium charcoal work as a good substitute for the filter
yes it is what is used by every one iv seen
Kuhne3 years ago
With a hose and can of that size, wouldn't it be extremely laborious to breathe?

Every breath you'd have to push all the air in that house right out, and breath it all back in again just to get to the clean air on the other end. Then there's the resistance due to the can to consider.

That's why most gas masks have the filters hanging in front of the face, to shorten the amount of hose needed.
it has an exhale valve. so the air goes out of that valve while fresh air comes in through the hose
-max-3 years ago
what do you mean by: "After some reading I decided
my wasteful way of making it pretty much guaranteed it would be 'activated' "?
Osmann5 years ago
This is just a toy this WONT help you in case of poisonous gasses or nuclear explosions!
Sure, it won't protect you from radiation, but it provides pretty good protection from many types of poisonous fumes. If I were to use this for welding or something, I might go ahead and plug up my nose somehow anyway just to make things a bit easier.
 a gas mask won't protect you from radiation anyway....
tkjtkj red-king3 years ago
On the contrary. Gas masks are also 'particulate filters' and one danger of radioactive fallout is when particles of alpha-particle emitters (eg, plutonium) are brought into the body. Alpha's are nearly harmless when outside the body .. their range is very short .. Touching a block of plutonium will not burn you. It'd probably warm your hand. That is not much of an issue, but when such particles are ingested/inhaled they become extremely dangerous, for *all* of the energy of the alpha particles is transferred to internal body parts, vastly increasing cancer rates.
Beta particles are the opposite: their range is great, though energy is small .. Inside the body, beta's do little damage, but outside the body, their great range can affect a person who is not close to the source.
Anything that reduces the inhalation of alpha-emitting dust can be very beneficial!
red-king tkjtkj3 years ago
ah. that's interesting. it would probably be good to know that in the event of nuclear fallout...
But it could prevent you from inhaling irradiated dust.
jdkchem vestie3 years ago
That would be incorrect. However the dust will "clog" up the carbon bed rather quickly and render the filter useless.
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 You don't need to be within the blast radius of the nuke to get the radiation. Air currents can carry the fallout and irradiated dust for miles.
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 Then what's your point?
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but you cant out run 20 mile an hour winds
 Ah ok I see your point. Yeah it would really only be useful if you cannot outrun the fallout. Otherwise you are entirely right
Y_B_Nrml Osmann3 years ago
I think you're right... It would only act as a very good particulate filter which wouldn't help in the case of poisonous or noxious gases. But, for pretty much all applications that have been mentioned, (besides the whole radiation thing) it would be great. Great instructable.
-max-3 years ago
how do you make "activated" carbon?
chakra3 years ago
very well thought :-) AND cheap!!
anode5053 years ago
I didn't read all the comments, but what about the eyes and nose? They are still exposed and rather sensitive bits of the body.

Better then nothing, possibly.
But I have plenty of plastic film and duct tape for the windows, so I'm good to go! :)
Goggles + duct tape.
yonex3 years ago
What if ypu farted???
tkjtkj yonex3 years ago
A properly-directed and sufficiently powerful fart might help in your ability to accelerate to that 20mph goal ...

Something about Newton's Laws ...

;)
Braeburn3 years ago
Thank god I don't need to follow this, already got a working gas mask with a supply of filters. :D
jdkchem3 years ago
Since someone is going to say it and proclaim themselves an absolute authority on the matter. Just because you cannot smell whatever it is you're trying to filter does not in any way mean that your filter is working.
jdkchem3 years ago
The instructable is interesting but dangerous if you do not know what you're doing. The information, as far as the chemistry goes, is pretty much incorrect and useless. Making and packing impregnated activated carbon is an art form. The most important aspect of making a filter is packing. Having some experience doing this I would never wrap carbon in a cloth and stuff it in a can unless it was an emergency and there were no other options.

This mask will do nothing more against "acid gases" if you add soda lime. Furthermore soda lime is useless against any military "poisons" The only thing the soda lime is going to be good for is C02 and absorbing moisture. If you want protection from acid gases you're going to need to impregnate the carbon with KOH (potassium hydroxide). If you want protection from military "poisons" you're going to have to do a whole lot more work or call Calgon and try and order ASZM-TEDA carbon. Also the 10/20 mesh is too large and if you do not pack it in the cannister properly it is going to be useless. 10 mesh is not 0.25" in diameter contrary to what the article claims. http://www.tempo-foam.com/engineering/conversion_charts/conversion_chart_mesh_inches_microns_millimeters.htm
30 mesh is the most common size used for air filtering. A 0.25" diameter particle will not do anything for you. Soda lime is not made by a reaction between calcium and aqueous sodium hydroxide.
You're better off and safer buying a pre-made filter.
This is a decent resource.
http://www.americansaferoom.com/AmericanSafeRoom-2011Catalog.pdf
Contrary to some of the claims the filter described in the instructable will filter out radioactive dust, unless your filter is a miniature pachinko.
jinrowolf4 years ago
you know yo can buy a real gas mas for $50
Can you please Pay Pal me $50 then, because I don't have that much.
Blaik3 years ago
Tim,

For this step, would it have been possible to use a 'charcoal maker' over a regular wood fire to turn the coconut husk into charcoal? I would think that even propping a metal coffee can over the flame with the husks inside it would work to cook off the wood gas and leave you with a lovely bit of charcoal. Of course it may need to be activated, but that's nothing a muriatic acid bath wouldn't solve.
fish tank charcoal (i was told) is activated carbon, affordable as well. Another instructable tells you how to make a water filter (for drinking water) using it.

nice.

As far as radioactive dust. well there could be 1 type of radio activity all about you , not enough to kill you BUT fallout that is very fine being blown around you. A high school friend of mine live 50-60 miles from the reactors and they made them carry umbrellas to keep dudt off them and people sealed up all windows from the falling dust. Now, how this will help after the dust falls is not explained.

But even in od CD films showing bombe shelters they had filters on the air pumps going to the shelters.
Mercury attacks the oxide layer on the aluminum (which is why aluminum doesn't corrode), leaving mercury oxide and aluminum - the aluminum quickly forms a new oxide layer, but the mercury continues to strip it off until all the mercury has been converted into mercury oxide...

Link:
http://theodoregray.com/PeriodicTable/PopularScience/2004/10/1/index.html

Just don't bring mercury on a plane - or do!
Knowledge is power - but it's up to you whether you use it for good or bad!
bears04 years ago
 can you just let it cool then use it instead of having to wait for it to dry
TimAnderson (author)  bears04 years ago
I don't think that would be a problem. Maybe a little harder to breathe through.
i think there will be a difference. the coal is used as a filter bacause of its big surface, if its wet you will have less filtration. plus when i was in the bundeswehr we were told not to let our filters go wet.
josh13243 years ago
can you just use charcoal frome wood or does it have to be coconut?
josh13244 years ago
could you just use a dust mask if you were welding? or do you need the charcoal and possibly soda lime?
Depends on what you're welding and the technique. The gaseous products of SMAW are usually much more dangerous that the ones of processes like MIG or TIG. How dangerous those gases can be will depend on the choice of electrode in SMAW and the choice of the wire and gas mix on MIG/TIG. Those are examples, there are other techniques. The base metal itself can produce noxious fumes. Zinc or even zinc-plated steel will produce such gases. Dust masks won't do a thing. In some cases, a forced ventilation mask is advised.
OK thx :)
zack attack4 years ago
does this gasmask really work?
to make it a nose covering mask, why not just coat a painters mask in plastic then put the snorkal inside of it or cut a plastic bottle and instead of a snorkal, use a short section of pvc? or why not just say screw it, use a large diamater pvc instead of the tin can. a simple gasmask made out of plastic instead of a snorkal, because snorkals are a bit hard to find inland durring the winter
A.C.E.5 years ago
again, bringing back to life kapt.cool's post, could you use baking soda instead of soda lime?
___ A.C.E.4 years ago
again, no it would be almost worthless
A.C.E.5 years ago
will normal charcole work?
___ A.C.E.4 years ago
better by far if activated
Can I use this to make a DIY rebreather?
NO this doesnt remove carbon dioxide efficently it is like a giant coffe filter
eyerobot4 years ago
This mask is great when working around vaporous chemicals.  It almost eradicates the smells too.

I took my useless painters mask, And replaced the filters with carbon.  This made a night/day difference.
Oil based paints no longer make me dizzy or sick.

Great instructible, And useful info too..... Just in case.
Arbitror5 years ago
Ya might also want to plug your nose, because you will most likely automatically breathe through it!
Nah - that was my biggest fear when getting scuba certified... Breathing through your mouth and only your moth (Without a plugged nose) is very easy and very natural :)
First of all, this is a very neat instructable. I like that you pointed out that it would be important to seal everything thoroughly. I would like to point out that while you may be able to not breathe through your nose while using this, your nose and mucous membranes are still exposed to the offending chemicals. Probably not a big deal for painting and varnishing, but it would be a somewhat bigger deal if a person were to expect to use this against chemical agents of war for any reason...same with the eyes. Very cool though, I like the whole approach, even down to making your own charcoal.
splatman Calis4 years ago
quote:
your nose and mucous membranes are still exposed to the offending chemicals.
/quote

Could you exhale thru your nose? That would blow out any fumes that may sneak in.
Putting a 1-way valve in the tube, instead of an exhale valve, would make sure you exhale thru your nose. Or just close your mouth during each exhale.
Calis splatman4 years ago
Exhaling through your nose only solves part of the problem.  Depending on the nature of the fumes, they are still making contact and possibly absorbing into your mucous membrane and your eyes.  With varnish as the article is intended for, it is probably not a big deal.

The basics of this intructable are still pretty sound and would work fine to make a carbon filter.  Just don't build it as show and expect to make it through tear gas :)
nate121 Calis5 years ago
puting on the mask that goes with the snorkel (im asuming it is the kind that covers the nose + eyes) then it would be no problem
nate121 nate1215 years ago
(i am replying to my own comment) someone else already said this sorry
i would hate that anyway. the water pressure will force water up into your nose, and it will flood in when you go up side down
Hey... I'm getting my scuba certification this summer!
you dive! let's go!
I haven't in awhile (sadly).... But if you're going and I'm nearby.... Just say where to bring the gear :)

Let me know if you ever make it near S. Florida too... If Free Yacht goes out for a cruise (or dive) you're totally welcome to join (Tim too if he's around)... It's come a long long way since I took those pictures :)
They have sets that cover the nose too for beginners dont they ? though it would be a sleightly more expensive route than a dollar store snorkel.
Perhaps - but that just sounds like a product that plays off buyer ignorance.... If you're going to snorkel - use a snorkel and a mask (one that covers you nose). You want to include your nose not to keep from breathing in water - but to equalize and clear the mask. Snorkeling with goggles is just going to hold you back and become a nuisance.
allan123454 years ago
trust me peoples this experiment is hecka fun and easy to do
me and my partner did it for the science fair
but someone stole our project though D:
Colonel884 years ago
Useful snorkel wehn someone above water is varnishing :D
Vulcanator4 years ago
do you think that activated charcoal for aquarium filters could be used?
macgyverkid4 years ago
One of those flexable, noisemaker things. Those things that make a  whistling noise when you spin it. Hook that to the snorkel and the can so you can wear it on your belt. 
P.S. I think I spelled snorkal wrong.
Bartboy5 years ago
Cool? YES! But, does it REALLY prevent gas damage (like in the war)? I would say no, as mustard gas would go in through your nose, even if you didn't breathe through it.
PKM Bartboy5 years ago
Well the wartime versions were meant to cover the whole face, check out the diagram in step 1. This version probably wouldn't protect you against mustard gas or anything else that bad, but as stated the point was just to not have to breathe in solvent fumes while varnishing a boat.
OOOORRRR, the apocalypse. dreadful, but true. c:
I think that The only difference is that baking soda would need to be replaced often.
A.C.E.5 years ago
will this protect in case of a world wide pandemic of swine flu? i sure hope so, because when all the angry poisoned zombies come to the un-infected states trying to infect us.
A.C.E. A.C.E.5 years ago
i read more of the instructable and decided that yes, the charcole should absorb the swine flu. i think im going to make an add on with one of those noses that you get in the dentist's office when they put laughing gas in your system. i will try to recreate the exhale valve in the nose, and cover everything up with hot glue and black spray paint to make it look menacing. maybe add a skull and crossbones to the can to make it more effective at warding people off. it might even make them think i have the swine flu, but who cares. at least people will respect my personal space lol
yuckzee5 years ago
nice...also if somehow you happen to eat some poison you can just open that baby up and down some of that charcol.
Does that really work?
Charcoal tablets are used to help when you swallow certain poisons.
Really? lol I thought he was joking, although if we're being serious then is there a chance that while using the gas mask that the charcoal might actually absorb poisonous elements from the gasses?
because of charcoals tendency to absorb, it will absorb water, poison and anything else laying around. I'm wanting to make a water version of this. (Home made of course.)
Definitely. Charcoal is used for all sorts of purifying needs. Things like brita pitchers use activated charcoal filter to clean water.
Charcoal does purify things, but if you eat it it will purify your stomach by making you throw up. :)
yes, but not just throw up...it absorbes the poison first so as not to do more damage on the way out.
yeah they use activated charcoal in aquarium filters.
~BenDover~5 years ago
Can you use the charcoal from inside a water filter that I have on my sink?
Would this work with charcoal that is not made from coconuts? (I live in Texas, where coconuts are pretty hard to find. Especially for a 14-year- old.)
daninja5 years ago
that wouldnt work unless you had a valve for your nose... i guess you could cover it up though.
broaff5 years ago
Nice gas mask but what will you do if you fart? :D:D:D
Good to know, thanks for letting us all know your suffering so we dont have to suffer. Seriously, I'm not joking, anyway, TY so much for the instructable! Helped me so much. @ home bad smells, @ school when there is a fire out side :(, When a fire breaks out, O.o
dciocoiu5 years ago
What is a Powder-Puff Box? and were do you get them?
TimAnderson (author)  dciocoiu5 years ago
I've seen them. It's a can of makeup equipment. A thing for putting on face powder. So your skin would look like it had no pores. For some reason they had a clear lid so you could see the powder puff inside. The puff was a piece of lambs-wool or somesuch. The puff sat on a powder cake. You'd rub the puff on the cake to pick up some powder, then you'd hit your face with it and try not to breathe the dust. In old comedies people would cough while this was going on.
probably what people would call 'foundation' today
MalleusDei5 years ago
If I am not mistaken if you run water through some types of wood ashes you can end up with lye. Perhaps that ate through the foil. Excellent instructable by the way.
NetReaper5 years ago
Awesome! would this work for soldering fumes. Yes, I fear soldering fumes.
Haha I used to solder in my room lol (next to the window, but still...)
Doesn't quite answer my question but kinda explains a lot.
lol, well I would think that it would, but I'm not all that experienced with gas masks...
I just read that again, and realized that it might not make a whole lot of sense, I was replying to your original question just to clarify that...
A good name5 years ago
Well you need to cover your skin if it's mustard gas, but otherwise, cool idea...
lemonie5 years ago
Another way to make charcoal (or coke from coal) is to put coconut shell / wood in a can and seal it (dirt will do) and cook this in a hot fire - let it cool naturally without water. I've inadvertently carbonised dung-beetles in this way, though you probably don't want to think about that... L
stasterisk5 years ago
can anyone explain why coconut shell charcoal in particular? also - you poured paint thinner on the fire of the charcoal you wanted to breath through. does this make sense?
Coconut shells make particularly fine, highly porous carbon. It's what good commercial manufacturers use.
TimAnderson (author)  keepiru5 years ago
say more! are you in the business?
In business for what exactly? Buying coconuts?
No, I have nothing to do with gas masks. I use the stuff for indoor VOC reduction.
he said coconut because thats what the military masks are composed of
and why is that?
im not sure but maybe because its the easiest to keep as a chunk
If you look at step 10, he used a mortar and pestle to grind it up.
TimAnderson (author)  stasterisk5 years ago
Desperation. I hoped it would burn away before there were any coals, since it's so volitile. Does anyone know if carbon alone is good enough for welding fumes? I see that some welders just use particulate masks.
I would suspect that as long as you can't smell or taste any of the fumes coming through the filter you're getting out the most if not all the welding fume cooties. There may be something that's getting through, but I'd imagine the charcoal filter would do a pretty good job in itself. Better than nothing for sure. The big problem with welding is long term exposure to the fumes and light on your skin anyway. As long as the welding area has decent ventilation I've never seen anyone suffer more than an offended nose at welding. I have seen plenty of welders who had skin cancers removed from their arms from welding without sleeves though, so put on a sweater (preferably wool so you don't catch fire).
handyman15 years ago
Very informative instructable, this is the stuff they don't teach you in history class. I thought I'd give this one a try based on the article from the popular science magazine. I had every thing I needed at home. Milk jug, duct tape, aluminum cans, motorcycle goggles, elastic band, packing foam, plastic tubing, balloon, linen cloth, string. Thanks for all the good website links and info, It made assembling this project really go smoothly.
1.JPG3.JPG
That looks awesome. I want one so badly! :D That would look cool for a home movie too..
nickademuss5 years ago
you could also get activated charcoal from your pet shop, its used in the water filters, you may need to smash it a bit to make it pack in closer to your filter. I would also recommend, sealing off your filter when not in use, it will keep absorbing contaminants in the air just sitting around. Interesting idea....
chrisrocks5 years ago
I don't get it?
eseaman5 years ago
This makes a great read :) My dad always used to make small amounts of charcoal by putting pieces of wood in an old cocoa tin, putting the lid on, and leaving it in a fire. Lack of oxygen in the tin would cause it to turn to charcoal rather than actually burning away. Also, the oldtime charcoal burners in the woods would build a carefully stacked pile of wood, then cover it over with soil and turf before setting it alight - again by limiting the oxygen they ended up with charcoal rather than ash. It was a skilled job to manage the burn over several days, making sure any holes in the covering that burned through were quickly sealed up again or it would just turn into a bonfire. When I had aquaria years ago, the way to 'reactivate' used charcoal from the filter was to spread it on an oven tray and bake it in the oven for a bit. I kept my fish on pocket money at the time and probably only ever bought one or two of the little boxes of charcoal, just kept reusing them.
static eseaman5 years ago
But you wouldn't want to reactivate when the activate charcoal it's used in safety equipment for humans. Activated charcoal is an expendable part of filters. To be disposed of when it no longer absorb the nasties and, new used.
From Wiki - "Sufficient activation for useful applications may come solely from the high surface area, though further chemical treatment often enhances the adsorbing properties of the material. Activated carbon is usually derived from charcoal." So the chemical treatment helps, but porosity alone does most of the job. It serves its purpose by acting like a sponge for gasses. If the substances you've been filtering are VOC's like varnish, cooking it in the over should do the trick to "reactivate" it, as it'll vaporize all the nastiness and allow the pores to become usable again. I'm sure if what you are dealing with is anthrax, Sarin, etc, you wouldn't want to reuse it if at all possible, but if you absolutely HAD to, it would work.
TimAnderson (author)  eseaman5 years ago
Good tips! What did your dad use the charcoal for? How hot did the oven have to be for the charcoal to be reactivated?
is there any other charcoal in peticular that is good for making one of these? i live in northern michigan so fresh unhusked coconuts are kind of hard to come by haha
NInja995 years ago
My badly drawn piece im too busy to sketch it . 1. filter paper 2.charcoal compund 3.charcoal dust
FIlta.jpg
neffk5 years ago
The bit about charcoal making is cool, but you should cite your source and use quotation marks when you cut/paste from another author's work.
neffk neffk5 years ago
Yeah, as I read over it again, I see that you did cite it. My apologies. Is it possible to indent the who bit? Maybe use quotation marks. Anyway, sorry about that.
TimAnderson (author)  neffk5 years ago
I tried to do that. Let me know if it's still not clear. Thanks for the help!
static5 years ago
Thanks for dredging up this old tech, doing something with it and posting. I would suggest anyone preparing for when the crap hits the fan, stock up on true activated charcoal, a it seems to be more than powdered charcoal. Then again when the chips are down, you play the hand your dealt.
susie5 years ago
Utterly brilliant. I wonder if there's some kind of fireproof tube that doesn't get hot that would be good to make this with in case of fires? I'd be afraid of the snorkel melting. But really nice example that fire depts should promote!
static susie5 years ago
You might begin your search here http://www.globalspec.com/ I really doubt you would see many fire depts. officially promoting homebrew gas masks. :)
Hey Tim, Great instructable, BTW, do you think this would be good for soldering fumes? or do you think it'd be fine to just go without this.
i cant imagine myself wearing this while soldering. I'm sure it would work, but wouldn't it be a bit awkward?
crickle3215 years ago
I enjoy your DIY mortar and pestle. The native touch fits perfectly.
I should have *hack* used this when *cough* putting my PVC potato gun toge*clears throat*ther.
kregnlor5 years ago
I may be wrong, but the old 1942 masks didn't have a purge valve so you breathed back and forth through the filter. Since you have brilliantly used a snorkel with a purge, I would think soda lime isn't needed. BTW, a less messy method of obtaining charcoal is to buy it at your local pet supply store where they sell aquarium supplies. I can't think of the brand name, but the one I buy comes in a blue milk-carton style container. Just ask someone there will know what to get you.
That's no fun. If you're just going to buy charcoal, then go to Home Depot or someplace and buy a painting mask with filters. They have them. I think my dad has one, though I never saw him use it. Apparently they block cigarette smoke too. Isn't it good to know that If you're stranded in Hawaii with nothing but a can of pears, some coconut husks and snorkel you can safely spread varnish on your canoe?
Yeah, stranded on a small island with a big Home Depot
True. True. Not just any island will do. Good thing I said Hawaii! "Stranded" and "Hawaii" are two words not normally associated in my own mind. Though, If I had to be stranded, that would be at the top of my list of islands.
I know I'll sleep better tonight knowing it.
bujo0 kregnlor5 years ago
ya, the older mask do have exhale valves, i have a very old mask from 1942 and it has a round exhale valve in the middle of the mouth area, right above where you hook the hose from the box filter
christophor5 years ago
This is a great idea! I love improvisation. I saw a movie from the 1970's with Richard Harris. He was holed up in an apartment or something and he used a similar setup to defeat the riot gas the cops used on them. The filter was very similar, but they used an empty bleach bottle as a face mask. They cut out the side with the handle and installed a transparent window on the other side so they could see. The filter attached to the neck where the cap goes. I remember from survival training that you can eat charcoal to absorb poisons you may have eaten accidentally. It also helps with upset stomach etc. Interesting thing about the 'non-taste' you described; I remember seeing a segment on Animal Planet about monkey's in India stealing hot peppers drying on the roofs of houses. The monkeys ate charcoal after they ate the peppers to get the taste out and sooth their stomachs. Maybe this kind of knowledge is genetic. I'm curious about the difference between charcoal and 'activated' charcoal. I seem to remember something from my NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) training about 'activated charcoal' being the only thing that would work as a filter. The MOP gear trousers and jacket has layers of activated charcoal in it to keep the poison from getting to the soldiers skin. The filters in the mask have it too. One last thought. Does this thing work against Thai Fish Sauce? Every time my wife uses it, I have to go outside until she's finished cooking. I like the taste but can't stand the smell. lol Great job on the Instructable as always. - Chris
What I mean to say about the activated charcoal, what does 'activated' mean?
i went on howstuffworks.com and it says activated charcoal is charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open up millions of tiny pores between the carbon atoms. hope that helped.
Cool. I've always wondered about that. I'll check howstuffworks.com first next time. Thanks.
A parrot in the Amazon exhibits similar behavior. The most nutritious plants in that part of the jungle just happen to be mildly toxic to birds. The parrots eat clay from specific cliff faces in the region. Eventually scientists figured out that the clay was kaolin - that nasty gritty stuff in pepto-bismol. Apparently the clay "coats, sooths and relieves" the bird's stomachs so they can eat the local vegetation. I spread chili powder in my garden to keep the squirrels out; hope they don't get it into their tiny heads to raid my barbeque grill for old charcoal!
daywalker425 years ago
so, don't know if this would work, but could you "cook" the charcoal by putting the coconuts in a bucket and taking a mapp gas torch to it?
where does the excess carbon dioxide escape at
animes255 years ago
you can add urine to add more protection lol
trebuchet035 years ago
Very cool Tim :) I'll give these to my roommates the next time I decide to make a homemade batch of sour kraut :p
DanYHKim5 years ago
Very nice. I had to do sanding in a very small room once, and found the nuisance dust mask to be inadequate. Being a person with sleep apnea, I was able to rig my Constant Pressure Airway P-somethingorother (CPAP) to use as an external air supply. Probably voided my warranty, so keep it under your hat.
Fizzxwizz5 years ago
Back in World War 1, they would urinate on the filters of their gas masks to make them work better. How did that work?
Apparently some soldiers realized that urea (a base) from urine could be used to neutralize the hydrochloric acid formed when chlorine gas reacts with water (any moist surface). Hence the water in the urine would dissolve the chlorine while the urea would neutralize the resulting acid.
randofo5 years ago
Is there anything particularly magical about the coconut charcoal? Or, can any old charcoal fill in?
goodgnus5 years ago
Awesome, I have been considering buying a personal fume extractor to use while welding, but I think this will work great! You may want to design a system of straps to hold the canister on your back. For those who still end up breathing through the nose, a swimmer's nose clip should work and would be much more comfortable than a clothespin.
This is an interesting idea, I wouldn't use it for spraying insecticides or a CBRNE attack but if it works for painting then i guess that's good. You should heat up some pepper spray on a hotplate and see if the mask will filter it out. : )
omnibot5 years ago
Great idea.