Daily Archives: January 6, 2013

Building winter gear from a Halloween costume, Wreck-Free Sunday

I have almost completed making the mask to keep the cold wind off my face, and what needs to be done won’t be visible in pictures so I’m just going to go ahead and document the build now.

First of all you need to start with the right mask, the hockey mask used by the monster in one of those slasher series. you will need to trim it so that it doesn’t interfere with your helmet but still covers your face where the helmet and balaclava (if you use one) doesn’t. I didn’t have a camera for this part of the build so I’m just going to describe the process and show what I had when I got the camera. What I did was I wore the mask under my helmet, and used a Sharpie to mark the plastic at the edge of the helmet. This was an uncomfortable process and I rushed it a bit which compromised the appearance of the finished project but did not effect the performance of the mask all that much. After I marked it I used heavy shears to cut the plastic mask leaving the parts I wanted in good shape.

After that I needed to figure out some way to put my glasses on the mask. I had a spare pair that had single-vision lenses and a broken temple piece so I decided they would be part of the mask. I removed the other temple piece and trimmed back the “barbs” on the side of the frames to reduce the amount of snagging things when I was using the mask. The glasses have a nose piece and a bar across the top of the frame, which suggested that a bolt type attachment could be used along with a wing nut to attach the glasses after I put the mask and helmet on. I had to do this because the frames were too wide to fit while putting the helmet on (from prior experience with identical frames and that same helmet, next time I buy glasses I’m making sure I can put my helmet on without removing my glasses). This required further modification to the frames by removing the nose pad (on these frames the nose pad was one structure that went from one side of the nose, up and over the brow, and down to the other side of the nose, instead of two smaller pads) so that the frames would fit closer to the face at about the same distance they would if I wasn’t wearing the mask. Then I marked the mask and drilled a hole for the bolt. I missed the spot (too low and to the side) so I had to re-drill a new hole that was higher and closer to the center. You can see both holes in the pictures.

After I made the physical alterations to the mask to make it fit the helmet and take the glasses, I modeled it for Mrs. the Poet. She did not like it and pronounced it “scary”, so I painted it black since I was planning on doing that anyway. Black was “still scary” because inside the helmet I became faceless, like Darth Vader crossed with one of those comic book super heroes that wore the stretch mask that he could see out but people could not see in. I became “too anonymous” which was “scary”. As I wasn’t trying to be scary (this time) I decided to add some color to the mask and give myself some facial features. which you can see in the first picture.

Painted mask

Mask rear, you can see the holes for the screw and the nosepad attachment

With the glasses screwed on

You can see which hole was right in this picture with the screw in place

After I painted the mask I needed to put baffles in it to keep my moisture-laden breath from fogging the glasses (which was the original reason to make the mask as previous solutions to the frozen face issue resulted in fogged glasses and having to stop to wipe them off so I could see again). First thing I needed to do was get the baffles cut out, which happened before I got the camera. I cut the baffles from a hunk of PU upholstery foam I had sitting around from a previous project. Then the baffles had to be glued to the inside of the mask in such a way that they didn’t fall off or get permanently squished (glued down squished). This took a couple tests with my favorite craft adhesive, Goop.

Finally getting the foam to stick to the mask, this was why I saved the cut-off piece when trimming the mask

Making sure there was enough baffle to cover the width of the mask

I had a little material left over on each side.

You can really see the hang over in this picture

Which was trimmed off after checking for fit.

Neat and clean looking

You can see the difference in this view.

Similar to the picture showing the hang over from the side, after trimming

Testing showed that the mask was blocking a clear view of my mirrors which required some more trimming, this time on the mask itself.

You can see the lower outside corners of the eyeholes have been pushed out and down

It is really visible in this picture.

All done!

Putting on the mask and having it work right is a minor production bit all on its own. First I have to put the balaclava on, and then put the mask over it.

Handsome devil, isn't he?

Then I have to slide the helmet over the mask, keeping it from getting pushed off my face.

Actually more painful than it looks

The helmet must be seated while the mask gets pulled down enough to spin the wingnut over the glasses.

I can almost see out like this

Then the glasses are installed and the mask moved into place.

And I can see where I'm going, and die from the heat if I stay in this too long indoors

I made a run last night at near-freezing temperatures, and while there are leaks in the baffles that caused the glasses to fog, my face was very warm. Problems yet to be solved are related to the condensation of that moisture-laden breath against the cold surface of the mask, the mask isn’t insulated so the inner surface is only slightly warmer than the outside air temperature. All the mask was intended to do was keep the cold wind off my face and prevent direct heat loss on the skin, but as designed and built now my breath condenses out most of its moisture when it hits the inside surface of the mask which on long rides results in a rather large puddle in front of my face. I’m still working on a solution to that issue.

Another thing I’m still working on is making the whole mess quicker to put on and take off. I see two possible solutions for that. One is to buy smaller glasses that can stay with the mask while the helmet goes on over the mask. The second is to trim the mask so that it fits completely out from under the helmet and the strap goes over the helmet instead of inside, but that would require coming up with a different way to attach the strap to the mask and glasses. That’s doable but I haven’t figured it out yet.

PSA, Opus

Edit: So far none of the pictures I uploaded to the site have shown in this post for me. Can anyone see the pictures? All I can see is what is supposed to be the mouseover text posted to the page as regular text.

Edit 2/24 I finally got the pictures to work, now the alt text doesn’t work, but I don’t care.