Introduction: Raw-edged Carbon Fiber Mask

About: Former Artist in Residence at Instructables, currently Hacker Advocate at Hackster. Cofounder of ProtoTank, a hardware prototyping startup. FIRST kid (rock on, team 677!). Former board member at AHA (Ann Arbor…

This mask enables you to freak out your friends. Turns out, people really don't like it when they can't see where you're looking. :)

Weirdly, this mask actually makes it easier to see, at least in some lighting situations. It reduces visibility to pinpoints, which makes everything darker, but sharper.

Disclaimer: This instructable assumes that you are familiar with working with carbon fiber, and understand how to protect yourself while doing it (even if what you are making is stupid sharp). Follow the usual safety procedures like using epoxy in a well-ventilated area, grinding only with a mask and safety goggles on, etc. Here's a quick guide to CF safety specifically, but you should really learn in person from someone.

Step 1: Obtain and Coat Paper Craft Mask

You can buy cheap masquerade masks at most craft stores.

In future, I'll be sure to paint the paper black before covering it; while it's not obvious through the carbon fiber, you can tell upon close examination.

Then, cut it into a rough shape that you like. Scissors will do the trick.

Put on disposable gloves and cut a piece of carbon fiber that's a bit bigger than the mask.

Coat the mask in 2-ton epoxy (I use Devcon, in the big red-and-blue bottles). If you like to tempt fate, use 5-minute epoxy instead.

Before this dries, press the carbon fabric into it.

Add another coat of epoxy on top, just so it's smooth; I didn't cover the eyes, as there was nothing behind them, and I suspect that might distort your vision. Only cover the mask area with epoxy. Let it dry.

Step 2: Shape the Edges

Now, pull apart the fibers at the edge of the mask. Make it look raw and frayed. You may end up cutting some of the points a bit shorter. Then, coat the edges with epoxy, using your (gloved!) fingers to saturate and shape the carbon.

Set the thing down to dry such that you'll get the least possible distortion. (If I were to do this again, I'd probably leave the strings on the mask and hang it up; as it is, one side ended up a bit bent.)

Careful! - Make sure the frayed bits point outward, at least enough so they won't go into your face. This is very important.

Once the epoxy dries, every single little frayed end becomes a formidably sharp point that loves nothing better than piercing and tearing our fragile, soft, delicate human flesh. And bags. And anything else you put near it. (I have drawn blood on this mask through inattentive handling.)
One of our commenters suggested using a flexible polyurethane resin, instead of rigid epoxy, for wearables; that is a great idea I'd like to try.

Step 3: Rock It!

The world is your (somewhat unsettled) oyster. The second picture here is a view, through the mask, of my colleague Ryan.

I later added a few holes and threaded leather cord through them, in such a way that the mask can be hung from the front of my NeuroHawk. It also looks like eyebrows. Pictures soon!