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Old 03-09-2004, 09:49 AM
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more on homemade respirator

There has been some discussion here the last few days about homemade respirators and although both of the original threads said that compressor air was not being considered still some said they were using it. After talking with the safety director at one of the mines we deal with I have discovered that homemade respirators may be even worse than we thought! contaminants in the air are bad enough but far worse is the pressure you would be dealing with. A positive pressure air supply is a very low pressure system(barely above atmospheric pressure)and even low regulator pressures can be extremely dangerous and can cause serious and permanent lung damage. Having a high pressure line connected to a respirator with only a shop regulator is like having a loaded gun pointed at your head. Since shop equipment is nowhere near precise enough to safely control breathing air a true engineered system is an absolute must! Even a few psi above normal can be VERY dangerous and a regulator failure could mean instant DEATH! If you check the pressure range on most regulators you will find that the low end rating is way above safe breathing levels and even if you can get the pressure low enough to use you are betting your very life on a piece of equipment that was not designed to operate anywhere near that low of a pressure. If someone chooses to ignore common sense and uses shop air as breathing air then their fate is in their own hands and they have to accept responsibilty for their actions but please don't tell someone else that it is safe just because you have gotten away with it so far.

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Old 03-09-2004, 12:46 PM
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I missed those threads about this, but I can offer a little insight on it. I scuba dive and I've never tried surface supplied air systems, but a lot of people do it. I ran across a link about a homemade "hookah" system. You do have to use an oilless compressor. Ideally, you would want a diaphram type pump for your breathing air, but some people have been doing it this way:
http://www.yandina.com/hints.htm#Compressor
I'm not real sure if that is truley an "oilless" pump or not. But you definately don't want oil in your lungs. The other part of the system would be the actual breathing regulator, which according to the article, are cheap.
And oldred is right. It doesn't take much at all to rupture your lungs from the pressure.
I was thinking though, what if instead of a diving regulator, you just hook up a hose to an old motorcycle helmet with an apple warmer on it, and supplying just enough air to provide positive air flow, allowing pressure to escape through some holes in the helmet?
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