Single-Use Disposable Masks

Ok, I know, this is a tech blog – but given the heat we have in Southern Spain right now, sometimes the best thing to do is either soak in the pool, write reviews or better – both at the same time. Right now I’m catching up with a backlog of mail including yet another new soldering iron – and – in with my tech gadget postbag, I found myself the owner of 60 2-layer dust-proof, blue, non-woven single-use masks.

Masks

Sorry about the photo – I just realised I look like a victim in the photo above 🙂

In a few years time people will be wondering what the fuss was all about – right now in many countries including Spain and the UK, you’re not supposed to venture outdoors without a mask, so when Banggood slipped some masks into my order, I thought – why not. Erm, price?

Inc shipping – at least to Spain so I assume to the UK and other parts of Europe, possibly also the USA, around 35 Euro cents a mask – I can tell you that is way less than the same mask sells for in some local stores – including the Chinese stores.

Potential uses:

  • Covid Protection
  • Soldering
  • 3d-Printing
  • Avoiding Undesirable People
  • Buying Underage Alcohol
  • Robbing Banks

Of course some of the above list comprises suggestions in arguably poor taste – but there is the obvious use and don’t dismiss “Soldering” and “3D Printing” – I’ve spent a lifetime soldering small electronic components and for years I suffered from a painful eye-problem called Uveitis before realising the cause. I had eye injections, steroids and all sorts of treatments and not once did the medical guys (in the UK or USA) twig to the cause – soldering.

Apparently, “Uveitis is associated with ” X and Y and everything BUT the actual cause in my case. I changed industries and became a medium-size-company IT Director and for maybe 3-4 years I did no soldering at all – and magically – my problems went away. I then re-commenced soldering as part of my once hobby – then career – then hobby of microelectronics – but this time, at the very first attack – I twigged – and started wearing goggles and a mask – and guess what – no more eye problems. I’m convinced there are two sides to this – direct eye contact and through the nasal passages.

Today we have 3D printers (I have a review coming up) and they give off potentially troublesome fumes too. I also have a couple of new soldering irons to review then use – glasses and a mask then – works every time.

Meanwhile of course, to help protect our essential services during the pandemic, it makes good sense to wear a mask. There are many solutions – re-usable and “single use” – I got it wrong at first – washing the cheap masks sounds like good economy but single-use masks tend to turn “fluffy” if re-used and I found myself sneezing purely through wearing a mask (not a good idea when you’re out on the streets – not everyone realises that sneezing has nothing to do with Covid).

Local produce

Anyway, enough of that – thanks Banggood for the box of masks – they don’t have fangs or Mexican colours (like my locally produced mask shown above) but other than that, perfectly acceptable and cheap. And on deliveries, many packages from China to Europe are taking no more than a couple of weeks now.

While I’m here, a sneak preview of my latest gadget – the DANIU PX-988 90W Backlight LCD Digital Soldering Iron – ok, the box front is in Chinese – but do we really need many instructions for an iron? All I can say at this point is that it looks ok and I liked the default tip size – actual testing to see how well it performs will come in it’s own blog entry – after the weekend shopping trip.

Soldering iron from Banggood -

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22 thoughts on “Single-Use Disposable Masks

    1. Hi Brian
      Initially it will have been the normal lead solder as this all started a long time ago – but the lead-free solder seemed to do the same thing – and anyway I hate lead-free solder as do some others I know who work with micro components (such as SMT parts etc.)

      For all I know it could be the flux that is causing the irritation. Simply shielding my face from the lot solved the problem and as you can imagine, that was my priority.

  1. Ah ok.
    I thought it might have been the new nasties in lead-free causing the trouble.

    I was worried when I read all the extra precautions needed when lead-free came out, so I got a bulk order of leaded years ago! Should see me out 😀

    1. You can atill b uy (hopefully) leaded solder in the local Chinese stores here in Andalucia (Baza to be specific) – I don’t know about elsewhere as it is such a long time since I bought any – but I left my huge supply in the UK for reasons beyond me – today we were looking for other stuff in the store and I stumbled on the solder. Well, I have 2 new irons that need a good hammering so I thought a decent size roll would be appropriate.

      1. That’s an interesting point about lead solder for electronics, I don’t know if one can still buy it, I seem to have loads! Leaded solder for plumbing can still be bought but it is illegal to use it for potable water. In fact, not long ago, a person was heavily fined for using lead solder on a drinking water system.

        1. Can you imagine that fining being enforced? As you can’t get the police to come to the house if you get burgled, what chance (a) a householder spots the use of leaded solder on a joint, (b) finds someone to report it to, (c) gets action taken and (d) the company who did the soldering is still in business under the same trading name 🙂 I think there is more chance of getting a human problem solving response out of Vodafone than progressing that one – and that’s pretty slim 🙂

          Buying leaded solder? I just bought a roll at the first Chinese handy store I passed here in Southern Spain. You can tell it’s leaded as it is easy to use 🙂

          1. Peter, whilst I agree about the police I did not imagine the fact a plumber was prosecuted. Contravention of water or gas regulations is not a matter for the police. The bodies responsible for enforcing regulations do, frequently, prosecute people who breach them. The cases do not often make the national press but they are reported in the trade press. One of the issues is that the evidence of wrong doing is easily found.

  2. It will be the flux fumes and surface dirt that caused the problems you experienced, other people experience throat irritation. There is no substitute for a proper extractor and one can easily be made if you are so inclined. I think if an activity is affecting ones health then an appropriate solution must be found regardless of cost.
    There are various types of flux, some quite aggressive. Unfortunately we don’t know what is in multi-cored solder.
    Leaded or lead free solder, it makes no difference the flux fumes are still as bad.

    1. Thanks for the helpful feedback Bob. Thinking about it, in recent months I’ve had the odd desk fan to review – never occurred to me to re-task one as a fume extractor.

      Agree on flux – my gripe against lead-free solder is more about usage – it doesn’t seem to solder as well as the older type.

      1. Re flux, spot on Peter, the lead free solder doesn’t ‘wet’ as well as the leaded stuff. The lead free is mainly tin with small amounts of copper and silver added. Unfortunately for lead free to ‘wet’ really well the silver content needs to be increased and that adds considerably to the cost.
        Yes, the desk fan would work well to move the soldering fumes away from your face. In fact I initially used an old computer fan (12V) to blow across the soldering area, it worked a treat.

        1. While we’re on a roll – I’d forgotten all about using PC fans – yes I used to do that – and they make a cheap and effective “quick answer” – especially if you happen to have the odd spare lying around. I just checked and at least one of my desk fans, good as it is otherwise – blows the wrong way to be useful here.

          1. Keep rolling, another cheap option is a bathroom wall fan with a length of plastic ducting attached to it. That’s what I did in my workshop, I pushed the ducting out under the eaves by using a round to rectangular convertor.

          2. other option, one of these cheap “third hands”, with flexible arms (you can find more arms searching for “cnc blue hose”, usually, as they’re used to remove the particles produced by cnc tips, blowing them away)… i passed an usb cable in one of them and attached an 8cm pc fan to one of the arms… i’ve 7 arms, 4 to keep the pcb or device soldering, 1 with fan, 1 with a loupe/magnifier, 1 with a small but powerful led panel…

            cheapest 3rd hand i can find: https://www.banggood.com/Multifunctional-Soldering-Station-Third-Hand-Tool-With-35-Flexible-Arms-Soldeirng-Iron-Holder-Fan-for-PCB-Welding-Repair-p-1467122.html?rmmds=search&ID=6143436&cur_warehouse=CN

            led panel i use: https://it.aliexpress.com/item/4000083425167.html

            you can even do it yourself, buying pieces and using a thick wood on which do the holes to put the arms: https://it.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=SB_20200830033753&origin=y&SearchText=cnc+hose

            a silicon solder mat, heat resistant: https://it.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=SB_20200830033926&SearchText=solder+mat

            the magnifier i use on 1 arm: https://it.aliexpress.com/item/32836236351.html

            8cm fan: https://it.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=SB_20200830034155&SearchText=8cm+fan

            dust filter: https://it.aliexpress.com/item/32961921350.html

            better (active carbon) filter: https://it.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=SB_20200830034325&SearchText=active+carbon+filter

            suitable alligator clips (add heatshrink tube on the jaws to avoid signs on the clipped objects): https://it.aliexpress.com/item/32911189253.html

            idea took from the EXPENSIVE (more than 30€) commercial product in image…

            1. sorry, the “cheap” 3rd hand link is cheap just because the lowest price refer to just the usb fan… here’s an alternative, i can’t modify original comment as 5 minutes are now gone: https://www.banggood.com/NEWACALOX-Soldering-Station-Holder-PCB-Fixture-Welding-Repair-Multi-Soldering-Helping-Hand-Third-Hand-Tool-with-4PCS-Flexible-Arms-p-1612259.html

              just google images for “blue third hand” for many more ideas to steal 😉

  3. On a cautionary note, if those Banggood masks do not bear the correct CE mark (not Chinese Engineering, Cheap Export and loads of others) and the correct EN number (EN 14683:2019 type IIR) with a BFE <= 98%, non woven 3 ply, then they do meet the European standard to be effective. I bought some from Amazon where the box clearly showed the correct CE mark and the EN number. The box that arrived had no such marking so I sent them back. I bought another, box £20 for 50 masks, from a specialist PPE supplier. If the product does not achieve the correct certification then it isn't providing the protection people may think it is.

    1. Thanks Bob

      You mean “CE” – China Engineering? latched onto that one years ago 🙂 The masks are identical to the ones they sell in the local stores at inflated prices… erm, the only relevant marking I can see on the box is “GB/T32610-2016” – and there is a clear note that “This product is a non-medical device”. There is also a reference to “not suitable for respiratory protection of infants and children”.

      I’m still working on the difference between infants and children 🙂

      And if all of this has triggered off more questions by others – maybe this might help? https://www.sesec.eu/app/uploads/2020/04/GB-T-32610-2016-Technical-specification-of-daily-protective-mask.pdf

      1. Interesting reference to infants and children. If the mask doesn’t offer respiratory protection to children then how can if offer respiratory protection to adults? In the case of Covid-19, if we believe the media, then children are less at risk than people in our age group.
        I looked at the technical reference document for the mask, thanks for posting. For my wife and I we will stick with the EU specification, at 40p / mask that isn’t a lot.

        1. And do we believe the media? Well, my main criteria for a mask is that it has to have Mexican colours or be “V for Vendetta” themed. If one is going to die, may as well do it in style. Now I just need someone to send me one of these…

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