The Apollo 13 astronauts returned to Earth thanks to a handmade CO2 filter system. It was made with the few materials they had, and with a lot of ingenuity. Human adaptability will be the key to success.
Make a high security mask at home
We will use materials you already have at home, but if you are missing something, you can buy it at the market: Mercadona/Walmart/etc.
You will need: aluminum foil, clear paper, a newspaper, a bottle of washing machine detergent, a cutter, white wood glue diluted 50% in water, a brush, some paper sheets and some rubber to make pigtails.
The first step is to elaborate the material that will compose the mask, it must be malleable and waterproof, and we will achieve this by using several layers of aluminum foil and transparent paper.
We’re going to use three sheets of aluminum foil and two sheets of clear paper. As you can see in the video, we will start with one sheet of aluminum foil, paste it and put a sheet of transparent paper on top. And so on. Let’s say it’s a Big Mac, the aluminum foil is the bread, and the clear wrapping paper is the meat.
To dry the glue well, we will remove the excess by flattening it with our hands. To speed up the drying process you can use a hair dryer, or hang the leaves in the sun.
When it is dry, we will use a plate to draw a circle.
We’ll cut this circle, removing the excess material. Then we will use the cap of the detergent bottle to draw a central circle which we will also cut out.
We will then use the lid of the detergent bottle to draw a central circle which we will also cut out.
Now you have to cut off the top of the detergent bottle. We’re going to use the cutter and the scissors.
Cut the lid of the detergent as shown in the following picture.
The thickest part of the bevel is the one that will correspond to the chin, and the thinnest part will go towards the nose.
As you can see in the photo above, we have cut out small pieces of newspaper, which we have glued to the capped gland of the detergent. And once again, we have used the hair dryer using “hot air”, to dry faster.
Once dry, glue it and insert it through the hole you have made in the circle of our Big Mac.
The next step is to reinforce the mask by giving it some rigidity. To do this, we will stick small pieces of paper around the hole, on both sides, and let it dry for a few minutes in the sun… or with the help of a hair dryer.
When it’s dry, we’ll start shaping the mask, for which we’ve used half a ball, but you can use anything else like: a bowl, a bowl, a ladle to pour the soup… be imaginative!
By the time you’re done, it’ll start looking like a mask. We’re going to make it stiffer by putting a second layer of newspaper scraps on both sides.
We’ve reached a very important point. At this point the material is still malleable, so it will be easy to adapt the mask to each person’s face. Before cutting out the excess material, we have to test the mask on the face of the person who will use it. If it is for you, press it to your face, marking the nose and chin.
When you have the shape of the face in the mask, cut out the excess material and use a spoon to extract the air, and spread the glue.
Leave the mask to dry overnight. Before going to bed, touch the mask incessantly, squeeze the bubbles with your fingers, and smooth out all imperfections.
The next morning the mask is quite stiff, but it can still be adjusted a little more to the face. So try it on again, and adjust it to your face again.
Now that we have the final shape of the mask, we will harden it, using pieces of white paper on both sides, when you finish gluing the whole mask with undiluted glue and dry it again using the dryer.
We have chosen this detergent can, because its double cap allows us to create an intermediate pressure chamber, in which we will introduce the filter. That will allow us to filter both the outgoing and incoming particles.
When the mask is completely dry, it will be waterproof, washable and can be disinfected. The only thing you’ll have to change is the filter.
We don’t have professional filters, so we have used 100% cotton, but if anyone has another idea, it will be very good.
To make the holes in the caps, you can do it in several ways. You can use a drill, a marquetry tool, a simple screw, etc.
In these videos you can see how we did it:
We have used rubber bands for pigtails, which are available in the food markets.
We have cut them and made little bows using sewing thread.
We’ll use white paper to attach them to the mask. Put several layers of paper four or five, applying and drying each layer. You’ll be surprised how strong the layers of paper are. They will be perfectly fixed.
Finally, to make it look good and white, we will apply a last layer of white paper to the whole mask. Let it dry overnight.
Before going to bed, you can polish the whole mask with toothpaste and bicarbonate… With this putty, a little disgusting but effective, the paper will soften, and if you rub with your fingers, you will get a fairly smooth surface.
The next morning, apply undiluted glue to the entire mask, and let it dry. During the day, repeat this operation three times… this way we will ensure that it is airtight, waterproof and resistant. When the glue dries, it is the same as a plastic.
Exterior painting is optional, and you must take into account that some type of washable paint must be used. Do not use temperas because you will not be able to wash the mask. If you do not have acrylic paint, it is better to leave the mask in white foil.