Respirator Questions

The Rocketry Forum

Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

bguffer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
415
Reaction score
15
Hi all,

Would like to get a respirator for applying epoxy and for sanding epoxy/composite materials.

Reviewed this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Respirator

Remembered i've read elsewhere to use a respirator with P100 and organic vapor protection.

A visit to McMaster Carr's website took me to this page:
https://www.mcmaster.com/#respirator-cartridges/=3vlgfy

Some questions:
1) I see half facepiece and full facepiece respirators are offered. Is there any reason to go with a full facepiece respirator for my purposes? I currently assume no, as i do not remember seeing any photos from build threads of full facepiece respirators being used. I would think safety glasses/goggles would protect my eyes when sanding and be cheaper.
2) I see small, medium, or large sizes are offered. Anyone have any idea how to know which size is right for a person?
3) I see tear-resistant, lightweight, and ultrasoft respirators are offered. Anyone have any insight which of these (if any) is overkill for my purposes? I currently assume the lightweight would work fine, and the tear-resistant is not worth the extra money for my purposes.

Thanks,

Bob
 

mkadams001

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2009
Messages
879
Reaction score
1
I personally prefer a full face respirator but a half mask works well too. I find the full face is much more comfortable and you feel much cleaner after painting. Unless you have already been fitted with a respirator I would not buy anything from a catalog or online source. For a respirator to be effective you must have it fit tested. Also refer to the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) to make sure you are using the the correct safety precautions for the type of paint you are applying which includes the type of filters for the respirator. They will also indicate if you should use a full face respirator. However, a half mask and goggles should be ok for most applications. Also if you have a beard or mustache there will be a problem with the fit of the mask.

Check with a safety supply house or auto body and paint supply house for your purchase and some guidance for selecting the correct respirator. Depending on how much you are going to use the respirator will determine the quality of your purchase.

For sanding the materials you listed, again check the MSDS to see if there are particular requirements for sanding. You may need or want a different setup for sanding.

I have spent many years working in a spray booth for hours a day painting many different types of paints and finishes. I was also the safety manager for a company that had industrial paint operations and had to manage all the PPE in the company including correct respirator use.

I think that it is great that you are looking for a respirator for your finishing operations. It will pay off in the long run. Also, cover all your skin and use disposable painters coveralls when you start painting. I even mask off or wear booties over my shoes.

Have fun
 
Last edited:

Pat_B

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
922
Reaction score
0
I went through this purchasing decision a few months ago. My problem was that half-mask respi still let too much air in. I could never get it to form fit around my nose area. I'm sure you've seen the sites showing how to fit a respi.

Anyway, the full-face versions generally fit better because the seal doesn't have to follow the contours around the nose area. I too had no idea what size I needed so I called a few industrial safety supply houses and found one who let me come in and try one one- the only way to be sure.

I bought a nice 3M one that has a dual cartridge setup so that a pre-filter (particulate) can be mounted on top of the more expensive organic vapor ones to keep them cleaner if I'm doing something like sanding or even airbrushing.
 

troj

Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
14,339
Reaction score
245
1) I see half facepiece and full facepiece respirators are offered. Is there any reason to go with a full facepiece respirator for my purposes? I currently assume no, as i do not remember seeing any photos from build threads of full facepiece respirators being used. I would think safety glasses/goggles would protect my eyes when sanding and be cheaper.
Safety glasses with a respirator is a challenge -- the respirator covers your nose completely, preventing the glasses or goggles from sitting properly.

Full face isn't required, but if you're doing a lot of sanding, it'd be nice, for keeping dust from collecting around your eyes. Mind you, my experience comes from 24" airframes...

2) I see small, medium, or large sizes are offered. Anyone have any idea how to know which size is right for a person?
Commercial applications have them fitted, to answer just that question. A friend had to put his on, then they snapped a vial of something really nasty smelling while he inhaled -- anyone who didn't gag had a properly fit respirator.

3) I see tear-resistant, lightweight, and ultrasoft respirators are offered. Anyone have any insight which of these (if any) is overkill for my purposes? I currently assume the lightweight would work fine, and the tear-resistant is not worth the extra money for my purposes.
All of those are basically glorified versions of paper masks, if they're what I'm thinking of.

A respirator is a handy thing to have for more than just rocketry. They're really handy for, oh, say, extracting an expired hamster from the blower of a furnace... (Yes, I've had to do that, and was VERY happy to have the respirator)

-Kevin
 

mkadams001

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2009
Messages
879
Reaction score
1
I went through this purchasing decision a few months ago. My problem was that half-mask respi still let too much air in. I could never get it to form fit around my nose area. I'm sure you've seen the sites showing how to fit a respi.
I have had problems with fit as well for half masks. Each brand will fit differently and even different model numbers within the same brand line will fit differently. So, you might have to try on a few before you get a proper fit.
 

stantonjtroy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
1,114
Reaction score
116
Location
Glen Burnie MD
I paint aircraft/spacecraft components for a living and we use 3M 6000 series half resporators. The cost is reasonable. We have sanding booths and spray booths so the only time I use a full mask is while spraying CARC. The rest of the time we shoot polyurathaine and epoxy base with no problems. I agree that before you puschace one online, you need to know your size and the only way to do that is to try it on. It depends less on the size of your head than the shape of your face. You can try CarQuest or even Home Depot sometimes carries them.
FWIW
 
Top