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Modify Sansei Masks to work with ESS Goggles
Written by uscmCorps   

I've been playing this sport since 1989 in Hong Kong. Back then I was 13/14 years old and figured Shop Glasses would cut it. Given that our classic airsoft guns back then weren't too powerful, it's possible that shop glasses would have been fine for our eyes. Over the years, the guns became more powerful, I've seen a lot of shattered teeth, punctured skin, and one incident of partial blindness all from BB hits. When the Sansei Mesh Mask first came out, it was a pretty popular mask especially in Hong Kong because we mostly played in summer and non-mesh masks tend to fog up fast and easily due to the heat and humidity. The mesh masks never had that problem and they were very affordable. One thing that always did bug me about them though was how they would cut down your vision slightly due to the mesh grid in front of your eyes. It's like watching a regular TV vs. an HD TV. Mesh simply isn't as clear as lenses. I know a lot of people have complained about how the mesh goggle/masks are unsafe as shattered BB fragments can make their way through the mesh... personally, I have never ever seen that happen (and in Hong Kong we used to play well above 500 fps), but that's not what this thread is about. I loved my mesh goggles, but hated the fact that they cut down on vision. On the other hand I hated lensed masks because they always fogged on me. So I just stuck with Mesh Goggles for well over a decade. Then I came across the ESS Turbofan Goggles (available in both standard and low profile styles) that with the click of a button, allowed me to de-fog the goggles. But they didn't have lower face protection. Call me vain but as much as I valued my eyes, I also valued my teeth. If only we could combine the lower face protection of the Sansei Mask with the ESS Goggle, we'd have an excellent combo. Then my friend and teammate, Jay, came up with a simple and elegant solution and I have since followed his lead and done the same to my masks. What I have for you is a simple tutorial on how to attach the lower portion of a Sansei Face Mask to a set of ESS Striker or Profile Goggles.

Additional Notes:

  • The ESS TurboFan Goggles are pretty commonly available. The Striker TurboFan Model is currently only available in Black, and the Profile TurboFan Model is available in Black, Foliage Green and Tan (a very light Tan).
    The cheapest I have found the TurboFan Goggles is at Botach Tactical for around $129.95. Not cheap, but they really are some of the best goggles on the mask today. Here's the Striker TurboFans, and here's the Profile TurboFans.
  • The Sansei Mask is commonly available at most online and in store retailers. Some places sell clones of the Sansei mask which are a little cheaper. Those will work fine for this modification as you really only need the lower face portion of the mask.

Disclaimer:

  • I know I shouldn't have to say this, but please use common sense when working with any tool. God knows I've spilled enough of my own blood over the years and gotten enough stitches from the many hobby/airsoft projects I've worked on. Like a few years back when I sliced my palm open down to the bone cutting something towards myself. I digress. Point being, Be careful.
  • Also, you're making modifications to a protective mask so be aware of all potential risks that would incur. While the solution outlined in this tutorial worked for me, your own mileage may vary (though very unlikely as this has proven to be a good and solid solution to lower face protection). While it doesn't give you 100% protection, and it's still possible a BB will come in at a low enough angle to go under the plastic towards your mouth, when done right it should help a great deal in protecting your face and increasing the lifespan of your teeth.
  • Basically, know the risks, be careful, and use some common sense!

TUTORIAL: How to modify a Sansei Mask to work with ESS Goggles

This tutorial should work with both Striker (standard) and Profile (shorter, more low profile) goggles made by ESS Goggles.

What you will need:

First you'll need the following items to do the modification:

  • Sansei Mask (I got a clone mask because it was cheaper than a real Sansei Mask, and I only needed the lower face protection part).
  • ESS Goggle (In this tutorial I'm using an ESS Striker Style Goggle. However, the same steps should apply if you are usng a Profile Style ESS Goggle.)
  • Some kind of craft knife or nail scissors.
  • A pair of small zip-ties
  • and a wire clipper would help too.
  • Permanent Marker Pen (e.g. Sharpie)

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Step 1

Take a look at the Sansei Mask. It's consist of two main parts: the top which protects the eyes, and the lower part that protects the face area below the eyes. The two halves are connected at five points: one on either side where the straps connect to the goggles, one on either side below the eyes on the cheek bones, and one centered on the bridge of the nose.

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Take a quick look at this picture. The two flashing points is where we will be threading zip ties through later on in this tutorial.

Seperate the two halves of the Sansei Mask

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Step 2

Now take a look at the bottom of the ESS Goggles. Both the Striker and Profile ESS Goggles have two protruding edges on the bottom of the Goggles that you'll need to modify the Lower half of the Sansei mask to work around.

esssansei05smallbt0.jpg
(Click on the picture to see which edges I'm refering to)

Take the ESS Goggle, and the Sansei Mask and see how they match up. Note where the two protruding edges on the bottom of the ESS Goggle touch the upper edge of the lower face mask. Using a Permanent Marker Pen, indicate those connection points on the Sansei Lower face mask

esssansei06smallzn8.jpg

Step 3

Using a craft knife or some other cutting tool, cut out two small notches on the Sansei Mask where you marked it in the previous step.

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When you're done cutting, test and see how they fit together. (Note: I always cut too little and keep retrying the fitting till I get it right. The notches will probably end up being 3 or 4mm wide.)

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Step 4

Very often when you receive the Sansei masks they've been shipped long distances, or they've been packed in pretty tightly in a box, and the mask may have gotten a bit flattened over time. I like my masks to fit relatively snug to my face, so I wrap a couple elastic bands around it and keep it that way for a few hours. That should help throw some shape back into it.

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Step 5

Now take the two small zip ties and thread them through the vent holes on the bottom of the ESS Goggle. To figure out where to thread the zip ties through, take a look at which vent holes are closest to the corresponding holes on the Sansei lower face mask. On the ESS Striker Goggles, I threaded it through the 4th vent hole from the center in the middle row.

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Step 6

Then thread it into the corresponding holes through the front of the Sansei Lower Face Mask.

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Step 7

Now the ends of the zip ties go back up through the nearest vent holes on the bottom of the ESS Goggle.

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Thread the tails through the zip ties and cinch them tight.

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Step 8

Clip off the excess tails of the zip ties.

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Step 9

Check to make sure you've got a pretty good seal between the ESS Goggle and the Sansei Mask.

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And you're Finished!!!

Here's pics of my three Masks, two are ESS TurboFan Profile Goggles with Sansei Lower Face Masks, and the third is an ESS Striker Mask with a Sansei Lower Face mask.

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The result is a very secure system, and keeps the lower area off the face enough that it doesn't affect breathing much at all but still gives you excellent protection/coverage.

Since using this setup I have officially retired my Mesh Goggles permanently. :D
Good luck and play safe!

A little while back, someone asked me about which colors of the ESS Profile TurboFan masks work best with Crye Precision Multicam. I guess it comes down to Foliage Green vs. Tan goggles.

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While the Tan would be considered a more appropriate color match to Multicam, the Tan ESS chose to use for their TurboFan Goggles is extremely light. It's basically a dark cream color, and oddly, more bright than other Tan ESS Goggles have been in the past.

On the other hand, while Foliage Green may be considered an odd color choice for Multicam as Foliage Green is predominantly used to work with ACU, I do like the more subdued color styling of the Foliage Green over the glaringly bright Tan ESS chose to use.

Either works fine, but ultimately, I prefer Foliage Green a tad more for what I've done with them here.

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Last Updated on Friday, 28 August 2009 14:02