Gas station without pumps

2020 July 24

COVID-19 mask #2 now working

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 23:36
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For Covid Mask #2, I complained that the top straps were too wide and that they wouldn’t stay above my ears:

The thin tie at the bottom works well, but thick tie at the top is too wide and does not fit comfortably over my ear.

I replaced the top tie with a thinner self-fabric tie quite some time ago, and I sewed a place to put a wire stiffener over the nose (having given up on getting the 3D-printed nose clips to be reliable). I’m using 22-gauge copper wire (with insulator) in a triple thickness to get something that has the right stiffness and malleability.

The mask sort of worked with the thinner ties and the nose wire, but even the narrow ties would not stay in place over my ears and got quite uncomfortable after a while. I also had trouble keeping my glasses from fogging, despite the nose wire. I had stopped wearing this mask, relying just on my first COVID mask.

Last week I had an idea on how to make the mask work better—instead of trying to keep the upper tie above my ears, I tied it below my ears:

The tie below the ears does not slip and does not crush my ears.

The low tie also pulls the nose wire firmly against my nose, and I’ve been able to walk or bicycle for 45 minutes without my glasses fogging and without needing to fiddle with the mask.

The change in how I wear the mask has changed this mask to being my favorite, though I still plan to make or buy some more, as having only two masks means that I sometimes don’t have one that has been laundered since the previous wearing.

[The astute reader will notice that my beard is much greyer in the newer photos—I’ve not been dying my beard this summer, and all the dye has either washed out or the dyed hair been trimmed off. The colors now are the natural colors of my hair.]

2020 July 16

Updated plot for COVID-19

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 19:36
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My previous COVID plot showed New York having reached its peak and California doing really well, but things have changed a lot for California in the past month, and even more dramatically for Southern states:

Santa Cruz has shot up in the past month, but is still doing better than much of California.

I added Santa Cruz (county) as a possible location to highlight, but I’m having to manually copy data from the Santa Cruz website, which is a pain, as they update it daily with corrections extending back a week or more. I probably should try to find where the data exists in downloadable form.  Santa Cruz is still a month or two behind California as a whole, but seems to be catching up.  We’ll probably hit a peak just as school starts.

Florida has now reached the top of the leaderboard in terms of cases/million each day, as Arizona seems to have moved past its own peak.  Louisiana is probably the only state that is seeing a second wave (rather than a delayed first wave), having brought the new cases down for quite a while.  It probably won’t be long before Arizona and Louisiana surpass New York in total cases per capita.

Bay Tree Bookstore at UCSC has come out with “Fiat Face Mask”:

It isn’t a very creative design, but it has a certain appeal to it. I’m getting one to add to my rotation of cloth masks.

2020 April 30

Improved 3D-printed nose clip for fabric masks

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 16:54
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I posted earlier about the nose clip I designed to keep my cloth masks from fogging up my glasses, based on the design from Prusa.  The nose clip was not as good a fit to my face as I wanted, and it seemed a little more complicated than necessary.  So I redesigned the clip to be easier to reshape, using parameters that could be more easily specified with OpenSCAD’s Customizer.  I tweaked it until it fit my face reasonably well.

The clip viewed from inside the mask—there are only two clips resting on the cheeks—nothing on bridge of the nose.  The band is now constant thickness except at the clips, which are longer than before, because they now lay more-or-less flat on my cheeks.

The outside view shows just a simple band.

I reduced the amount of “stringing” I got from the printer by changing the Z-seam settings to  “sharpest corner” and “expose seam”.  This change reduced the amount of trimming and filing needed to get a smooth surface on the clips. I’m still printing at 0.07mm resolution, though that is very slow, in order to get a smoother surface.

I have uploaded the new nose clip design to

2020 April 26

Idea Fab Labs masks

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 14:21
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Because Idea Fab Labs can’t do their normal business of providing tools and a place for makers to gather, they have been producing PPE for local healthcare and have started a new online business providing fabric masks. The mask sales are being done from the Chico branch of Idea Fab Labs, as the Santa Cruz branch is concentrating on manufacturing PPE for local healthcare.

There are many places selling masks online, but IFL have an added twist: design your own mask print:
The $40 setup fee is fairly normal for custom prints, but would make getting just one or two masks rather expensive ($60 for one mask, $80 for two). But if a store wanted to make 100 store-logo masks for all their employees, the cost would be only $16.40 each.

Idea Fab Labs also has artist-designed mask prints (which many places also provide) for $25 each, hand-sewn fabric masks for $30/3, and economy masks for $50/10 or $400/100.

If you want to design your own print and make several masks, you could use to make custom-printed fabric.  They are still shipping from North Carolina.  You can find a couple of patterns from Idea Fab Labs at


2020 April 6

Local effort to produce PPE

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 11:06
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Ppe4cc is a website for a local effort (Central Coast of California) that is attempting to produce personal protective equipment by distributed production around the community. It is being lead by Idea Fab Labs, I believe.  The site has patterns for a face mask similar to the ones I made (here and here), but with a wire to shape the mask to the nose, rather than a 3D-printed clip like I switched to and with 4 layers rather than 2 layers.

The Idea Fab Labs  mask pattern may be easier to sew than the one I used, as it has a fold at the center, rather than a curved seam.  They added darts to get the necessary shaping to fit the face.

There is an effort to get locals with sewing machines to make lots of masks, for distribution to others who lack sewing machines.  Full details are on a link at the bottom of, but the basics are that they’ll distribute kits for making 20 masks, and pay $3 a mask for the finished masks.  There are also requests to help with distribution.

They also have an effort to get people with 3D printers making face shields.

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