Engineer

Head Strap Alternative

We are exploring some different options for securing the mask to the head while providing adjustability, and I am hoping to get some feedback.

The original design was using 2 rubber bands, each band wrapping around an ear.  The challenge with this concept is that a.) it is uncomfortable for long use, b.) a single-size rubber band would be too loose for small head sizes and too tight for large head sizes, and c.) the bands break with excessive tension, and d.) it looks very homebrew.  

The latest concept is to use 2 strips of the substrate material (sterilization wrap), staple them to the extremeties of the mask and tie them around the head.  This could work, but it introduces an additional cut and assembly process that may be a source of variability. 

I would like to propose an alternative for review and feedback.  The first part of the concept is to reinforce the holes in the mask extremeties with metallic grommets (shown below):

4288578557?profile=RESIZE_710x

These grommets would provide the necessary strength to prevent ripping of the substrate.  (I believe that doubling-up on the material as shown in the original template file is still a good idea for strength reasons.)  These grommets can be applied by basic hand tools purchased from Amazon or craft stores.

After the grommets are applied, we would thread a swimming strap through each of the holes.  These swimming goggle straps are already designed to secure and adjust around the head, they are inexpensive and widely accessible.  Below is the type of swimming goggle strap that I have in-mind:

4288522635?profile=RESIZE_710x

Let me know if there are any questions or comments about this idea.  Or please share other alternatives.  Thanks!

Eric

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  • Hi Eric, no problem about the original post. Here it is again!

    I like the idea of further reinforcement of the strap attachment and understand the needs that aren't being met with the current rubber band approach. I do like how readily available and inexpensive rubber bands are and have one ore implementation for consideration. It's too late to fire up the laser tonight but I'll try to optimize the pattern around this concept to see how it stands up sometime tomorrow.

    For some reason I am unable to post files in this reply so please take a look at the attached Dropbox link for the relevant pictures:

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mt2rm7fkai4j7iw/AACqO_ovguGzlJrN_4z_UWgc...

     

    Basically, by folding over the ear strap and stapling it back on itself, we can create a tunnel through wich an extra long rubber band passes (the pictures show a 1/8" elastic tied to 7" in length). The same band would span from left to right and the user would first pull the bottom loop over and around the back of the neck, then pull the top loop up against the crown of the head. I see this concept improving on the current ear loops in the following ways:

    • reduces ear strain for the users and should fit a larger range of head sizes with the same band (still needs to be evaluated)
    • quick and straightforward to assemble in both a production line as well as at home
    • inexpensive as long as the correct size rubber band can be sourced en-mass (currently looking at the 7"x1/8" extra long bands on Uline Canada, link below)

    Potential disadvantages:

    • Strength of fold back and staple attachment method is TBD, might end up being too weak.
      • We should be able to extend the tail and fold it 2-3 times with a staple going through all layers if this is an issue though.
    • 7" rubber band might not fit a large enough range of head sizes with proper tension
      • The double-strap offers more flexibility for fit than the ear-loops though, and fit issues can likely be mitigated with user-adjustable placement of the strap against the head

    Will report back tomorrow if this concept has legs after I've had a chance to re-pattern and find 7" bands.

    Thanks, Jared

    Covid Mask Ear Strap
    Shared with Dropbox
  • Engineer

    Hi folks, 

    I accidentally deleted a great post by Jared Sartee.  He was recommending using a single extra long rubber band to wrap around the head (above and below the ear).  It provides a wide range of adjustability for users, and it is a very simple, low-cost approach.  I really like this option, and I am hoping that Jared is able to repost this concept.  Apologies to the group for the accidental deletion!

    Eric

  • Nice ideas, Eric! A few quick thoughts:

    • Can we get inexpensive swim straps that are latex free? My understanding is that this is a requirement for hospitals. It seems that this will be significantly more expensive than elastic.
    • The grommets should work well. Not sure on added cost for manufacturing. It adds some complexity for DIYers due to the required tool and grommets.
    • I'd also like to explore a reinforcing tape solution. If this can be effective, it is probbaly less expensive, but I'd want to confirm that with a manufacturer. It is still another step. This could also have a homebrew look, but I think could look professional if done right.

    An alternate idea is a non-elastic string like shoelace. This could be stapled and tied like the current straps, which would eliminate the custom fit concern.

    • Engineer

      Hi Matt,

      Thanks for the feedback.  I think that Jared's suggestion (single extra long rubber band) is the way to go.  It eliminate the grommets and provides the necessary adjustability.  Jared identified non-latex based elastic bands that could work.  I am hopeful that he is able to repost this concept today, so that everyone can have a look.  It is definitely my top pic for simplicity, consistency, and cost.

      Eric

  • great idea! I like the grommets, cheap and simple. Has 2 bags at home.

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