Introduction: Coffee Filter Surgical Mask - Improved!
With a global pandemic upon us and faced with shortages of protective face masks, I will show you how you can easily make your own mask for pennies with readily available materials. I provide tips and suggestions for optional methods of assembly. This instructable provides an “improved” design over a previous instructable that I submitted which used staples in its fabrication. Although this mask design offers a level of protection over not using one at all, it does not “guarantee” protection from infection from other people and helps to reduce transmission of infection to others.
This is a timely project for those who do not have access to commercially available masks as well as for children and adults who want to use their time constructively by making this potentially life-saving device for themselves and others.
Let's get started!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Ballpoint Pen
Non-toxic White Glue (optionally use a non-toxic “glue stick”)
Layout Template (provided)
- Rubber Gloves (optional)
- 1 Paper Clip (1-inch size)
- 3 Coffee Filters (Size 4, 8-inches diameter, White, Unbleached Optional)
- 2 Large Rubber Bands (Size 117B: 7-inch x 1/8-inch x 1/16-inch or Size 125: 5-inch x 1/8-inch x 1/16-inch or Size 5C (a.k.a 135): 5-inch x 1/4-inch x 3/32-inch)
Step 2: Trace the Fold Lines
Before beginning, read Step 11 for helpful comments and recommendations and thoroughly wash your hands and disinfect your tools. You may consider wearing rubber gloves as well.
Print the included template 1:1 full scale. Using the template and ballpoint pen, trace the template fold lines (A,B,C,S,T) onto one of the coffee filters.
Note: Do not use a pencil. The carbon particles leave behind that can be smudged all over the mask. In addition, do not use a felt-tipped “magic marker” type pen as it leaves an unpleasant and possibly toxic odor in the mask.
Step 3: Glue the Filters Together
Concentrically position the coffee filters together and glue around the periphery as shown with about a 1/4 inch glue width along the edges. Keep ballpoint penned side exposed for easy viewing later.
Whenever applying glue, allow the glue to dry sufficiently to handle before proceeding with the next step.
Step 4: Attach the Top Headband
Apply glue between the line “S” and the nearest edge of the filter.
Before installing the rubber bands, “stretch” them a few times to their full extent to make them more flexible and extensible.
Stretch out one rubber band, lay one-half of it along line “S,” and fold the glued filter edge over the rubber band trapping the rubber band in the fold.
This fold establishes the “top inside” of the mask.
Step 5: Form the Pleats
Next, form three pleats by folding on crease lines “C” and matching crease lines “A” and “B” together with the crease line “C” facing outward from the inside mask surface.
Glue each pleat together by applying glue on sectors between either “A” and “C” or “B” and “C” on the inside surface.
Step 6: Flatten the Pleats
Apply glue to one side of the center pleat and press flat against the mask across the mated “A” and “B” crease lines.
Next, apply glue to the remaining two pleats on the “A/C” side and fold the pleat across the mated “A” and “B” crease lines upward towards the top of the mask.
Step 7: Install the Bottom Headband
Position the mask such that the line “T” on the inside of the mask is accessible.
Apply glue between the line “T” and the nearest edge of the filter.
Lightly stretching one side of the rubber band to remove any slack, lay along line “T” and fold along same to capture the rubber band within the fold.
Step 8: Make the Nose Clip
In order to provide a comfortable seal of the mask on the face, we will next make a cushioned nose clip.
Take the remaining coffee filter and fold in half twice to produce a quarter-size segment.
Orient the formed filter segment with the pointed end upward and apply glue over the surface from the point to about one inch down.
Unfold and straighten the paper clip.
Center and lay the straightened paper clip about an inch down from the filter point and fold over to trap the clip within the fold.
Apply glue and fold the glued clip over to form a strip of about 3/8 inch wide. Continue gluing and rolling to form a flat strip containing the paper clip.
Step 9: Attach the Nose Clip
Apply glue to one side of the nose clip. Symmetrically center the nose clip on the mask’s vertical centerline and press the glued side against the top edge of the mask matching the edge of the nose clip with the edge of the mask.
Preform the nose clip by bending into a “U” shape approximately conforming to the bridge shape of your nose, as shown.
Step 10: Fitting and Adjusting Your Mask
To put the mask on, hold the lower band such that the external side of the mask faces away from you and the bottom of the mask is downward. Stretch the lower band away from the mask on each side to form a “loop” through which you can insert your head.
Pull the lower band over your head placing the lower rubber band under your chin. Position this band comfortably below the ears.
Similarly, stretch the upper rubber band away from the mask and pull the upper band over your head. Comfortably locate just above your ears.
Using your fingers, position the mask symmetrically on your face and gently mold the mask periphery to your face to minimize air leakage. Make final adjustments by squeezing the nose clip to conform to your nose.
Done! You may use the mask immediately or store for future use using for example, a Ziploc type bag or plastic resealable container.
Step 11: Comments and Recommendations
- Do NOT use any type of adhesive or glue that may be toxic. Use only non-toxic glues such as white “kindergarten” types.
- Using 5 to 7-inch rubber bands work well provided they are not too thick. There are several sources of rubber bands on the internet, which provide size charts. One example: https://usarubberbands.com/rubber-band-size-chart... I found mine at a local office supply store. The suggested sizes work fairly well. You can try other size bands if you prefer a different fit.
- I have found using a non-toxic glue stick is faster and a bit easier to use than white glue. This Instructable illustrates the use of white glue. If using white glue, only apply minimal glue amounts as excess glue can make an unnecessary mess. Remember to wait a bit between steps to allow glue to sufficiently dry to allow handling before proceeding with the next step.
- If using a glue stick, generously apply the glue to provide a bond strength equivalent to white glue. Applying the glue stick to both mating surfaces appears to encourage a stronger bond.
- I have used tape and staples instead of glue and found these to provide inferior results.
- You may also use unbleached coffee filters, which are more sustainable.
BY USING THIS DESIGN PLAN, YOU UNDERSTAND AND HEREBY AGREE THAT:
These plans, and any items arising out of or derived from these plans, are NOT meant to replace approved medical equipment and devices, and have NOT been cleared, approved, or authorized for use by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as medical devices that comply with performance standards, including American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) standards, for protection against hazards, including bloodborne or respiratory pathogens and other infectious materials.
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