If you’ve been a subscriber to Popular Woodworking for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I like to turn. A few issues back, I covered some of my top turning accessories—one of those was the Sundstrom SR500/700 respirator. I had many emails from people saying they loved the idea, but wanted a less expensive alternative. So, I started hunting and found one that I find extremely interesting—the eCAPR respirator from MAXAIR Systems.
MAXAIR has been manufacturing eCAPR (Controlled Air Purifying Respirator) units for nearly 20 years. Their main industries have been the medical, nuclear, and laboratory settings—in short, they’ve been designing units for people to wear for an entire work shift. They’ve got comfort covered. The entire filter and blower unit is within the helmet, and the only cord is lightweight and goes to a battery pack (you can clip it to your belt, or stick it in a pocket). It’s by far the most comfortable powered shield that I’ve worn. And because of their background in the healthcare field, MAXAIR has some other features which are unique to them.
The eCAPR Cuff (as they call their unit seen below) uses disposable face covers. The inside of the cover has a membrane (think of a thick cellophane) that is stretched out as you put the cuff on and forms the seal around your neck. The benefit is that it fits over glasses, beards—everything. The face cover is different than an impact shield, but MAXAIR has an impact shield that can be added over the face cover (impact shield is installed below).
So, why a powered respirator like this rather than a conventional one? Well—first and foremost is comfort. The air flow over your face as you work is… refreshing. It keeps the shield from fogging up, which is my biggest issue with a traditional face shield. And, as I mentioned, comfort. I hate to admit it, but I haven’t had much time to turn since I’ve had the eCAPR, but I did stand in our new shop’s attic and blow in cellulose insulation for about 7 hours with it on, and I must say… it was glorious. I quite literally forgot I was wearing it, and was able to breathe the entire time. The system comes in a hardhat version, or standard (shown here). If you’re interested in learning more about the MAXAIR Systems eCAPR, check out the video below, where I go over some of its features, as well as its operation.
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