I've gotten a few requests, asking about my skull face shield, so I thought I'd put out a short instructable for anyone who wanted to make their own. As my old safety glasses were getting pretty scratched, I wanted to install a new pair, and thought it'd be a good occasion to show how I did it.
About 15 years ago, I was badly injured when a piece of wood, I was cutting flew up and hit me in the face, breaking my nose. I had taken appropriate safety measures like using push sticks but the blade bucked, causing a piece of the board I was cutting to break off, straight at my face flying at sub sonic speeds. My safety glasses saved my eyes, but I realized, in hindsight of course, that a full face shield would have been much better.
The problem with full face shields is they can be unwieldy and annoying to use. When I'm working, I often wear a hat to keep dust and debris out of my hair, which can conflict with the ratchet strap on a shield, or elastic band on a dust mask. It can get especially inconvenient when you're holding your work in one hand and trying to put on your safety gear with the other, in a bid to try and prevent things from slipping. More than that, it's a choice between using a dust mask Or a face shield as I've yet to find an inexpensive alternative that offers both in one. Having that, as an option can be pretty useful when you're grinding steel, for long periods and all you can taste is burnt metal.
How many times have we been working on something small, like cutting off a bolt and said, "I don't really need it, I'm not cutting a big piece..." all because organizing the straps on your safety gear are a pain to set properly? That's usually when Murphy's law comes knocking and we end up in hospital having our nose set, or teeth repaired.
This simple little mod can go a long way to saving your face, and lungs from damage that can occur in the shop when you're on a project and free your hands up so that you can keep your creative flow going unhindered. The shield uses an, off the shelf, pair of safety goggles, and a plastic skull mask that I purchased from the Dollar Store. The filtration isn't on the level of a high end dust mask, but it does work to keep the larger amount of particles out of your sinuses.
**Note** I've been asked by a few people how they hold on, and trust me when I say, you can be looking straight down, shaking your head and they won't fall off. Safety glasses are designed to hold well and even with the extra weight of the mask, there is almost zero chance of them falling off.
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
- Wire Cutters
- utility knife
- Drill and 1/64 bit
- Hot Glue Gun
- Folding Safety glasses
- Dollar Store Half Face Skull Mask (another mask will do if you can't find one)
- Galvanized wire
- Foam Rubber Gasket Material
- Stanley dustmask Filter
Step 2: Prepping Your Mask
Test fit your glasses to the mask and mark 5 contact locations where you will be wiring them together. One over the bridge of the nose, one directly under each eye and one on each end, where you safety glasses bend inward to protect your eyes from debris flying in at angle.
Use your sharpie and mark one spot on the lens of your glasses, and one in the the mask where the wire will pass through.
Your mask may be a little longer on the sides as this is where the elastic that originally held it to your face attaches. You can cut this off to lighten it up a bit, and make it more streamlined, or you can leave this piece on for extra protection. Your choice.
Once you've marked out your wire spots, use your 1/64" drill bit and drill out both the holes in the glasses and in the mask. Work slowly as you don't want to melt the plastic, or crack the glasses.
Step 3: Adding Filtration
The skull mask I've used is pretty common, and I've seen it sold at the dollar store every year. If you plan on using the same one, it should come with a nice dense foam nose guard, which you can leave in place. If you've opted for another model, you'll need to install one. Another feature of this mask is that the nose, and teeth are open, allowing for the flow of air. Again, if your mask doesn't have this you'll need to drill some holes for air flow.
Start by setting your filter in place and make note of how much foam you'll need to surround it. Remove the filter and trace it over the foam to create a shape. Next, measure 1/2" and retrace around it. When you cut along these two lines, you should have the outline for the filter to create the seal for your face.
Now set the seal into the mask, ensuring good adhesion with the plastic. Test fit it against your face to ensure proper seal. You can add thickness by adding more foam if necessary.
When the seal is in place, install the filter and ensure that there are no gaps for dust to get in. When you're satisfied, apply a few drops of hot glue to hold the filter in place. This will make it easy to change it later on as the filter wears out.
Step 4: Attaching the Glasses
Cut 5 pieces of wire approximately 3" long and bend them into a 'U' shape. Insert one end through the hole in the mask and the other through the hole in the glasses lens. Repeat this process for the other four connections.
Now twist the ends together using a pair of pliers to ensure that the wire is taut. Use a pair of side cutters to snip off the excess wire.
Finally, bend the edges of the twisted wire down flush with the curve of the mask, and apply a small bead of hot glue to protect you from any sharp edges.
**Note** You can twist them on the outside of the mask, but it doesn't look as clean. This is the third incarnation of the same mask and I have yet to have it scratch me, so as long as you bend the wire under the lip of the mask, you should be fine. It's your choice, however.
Step 5: Finished
That's it. Trust me when I tell you, once you start using your new mask, you'll never go back to store bought face shields or dust masks again, (unless your work calls for it of course). If your like me, stopping to put a mask on is a nuisance and a reason to make the mistake to scrimp on my own safety. With this mask, that should no longer be a problem.
As usual, I hope you enjoyed the instructable and thanks for following.