DIY Rebreather Scrubber Refill

Most people fear refilling their own ink cartridges. [Skipbreather] made his own CO2 scrubber refill for his rebreather. (Modern rebreathers are damn impressive.) The build is fairly straight forward, but requires some machining. I had to laugh when I found out that part of his build involved toilet seat hold down bolts.

27 thoughts on “DIY Rebreather Scrubber Refill

  1. please, stop posting scuba stuff. you said you wouldn’t post scuba stuff the first scuba post; it was too dangerous. this seems just as dangerous!

    stop posting theese!!!

  2. Oh come on, anything scuba related is dangerous, hacked or not.

    I for one want more dangerous hacks on here, if I wanted anything less, I would go to one of a dozen lame sites.

  3. @Michael Witt:
    I respectfully disagree.
    The last post about SCUBA gear involved a couple of teenagers breathing unfiltered pressurized air without a regulator, if memory serves, and was pulled because it was a stupid stunt with no educational value.
    While I’m about as far from a diver as there is, this article appears to be a reasonably well informed person building a scrubber refill. As I understand it rebreather sets aren’t the kind of thing one would find in a recreational dive shops in some tourist trap – ownership, use, and maintenance of such gear usually suggest a sizable amount of technical knowledge and diving experience on the part of the owner. In fact, from what I gather, a lot of technical divers build/heavily modify their gear as the stuff they need is simply not available on the consumer market, and as such I trust the person doing this would know what he/she is doing. After all, his/her life depends on it.
    I don’t know ANYTHING about rebreathers so I wouldn’t even DREAM about trying this, but that doesn’t mean I (and others) can’t appreciate the effort and craftsmanship that went into this project.

  4. chlazza:
    I understand that, this does seem to be put together quite well, and by someone experienced. but by posting it to this site, it could give someone the idea to actually build one of these things–or something similar. There seems to be no disclaimer about this, and if this isn’t 100.000000% watertight, then something bad could happen.

    That’s not to say its not cool nor informative, but it might give some dumbass a bad idea.

    Furthermore, it would seem stupid to modify anything your life depends upon; technical knowledge or not, scuba or otherwise. Maybe people can’t find the stuff they need, but it wouldn’t seem wise to build it in your backyard, and if you 100% need that part, someone probably makes it, and it will be tested safe. Something you build in your backyard may or may not be safe, and an inherent problem may not immediately present itself.

    I will admit that I came off sounding like a douche in my first post, not explaining myself, but it still seems justified, or at least justifiable.

    Just because someone can build something like this doesn’t mean everyone can; and a few of the people who can’t may end up trying.

    Essentially, I think that anything which can be forseen to fail, and have a reasonable probability of causing death if it does fail should at least have a disclaimer on this site.

  5. @Michael Witt:
    All in all this discussion seems to be leading into the general debate about protecting people from themselves by preventing them from seeing information that could ‘inspire’ them to make decision’s that cause them harm.

    In this case I think the chance of somebody trying this and harming themselves is certainly possible, but extremely improbable. One point I think I failed to make clear in my previous comment is that the scrubber being built here seems to be for kit that probably costs quite a bit and (I assume) is only available though specialty suppliers. I feel those facts alone preclude the average Joe Idiot from attempting assembly of this equipment and potentially injuring or killing themselves when it fails.
    Certainly there are inquisitive and tenacious idiots: there is an extremely small possibility that somebody with little or no training will buy a bunch of parts from eBay and hardware stores, build their own rebreather, and then end up killing themselves when their set fails. However I think these people are the same people who lick power sockets on dares and eat random mushrooms they find while on hikes. In short, there is not much we (as a society) can do for them short of posting a round-the-clock guard to keep them out of trouble.

    I think (and this is my personal view) that censoring information that somebody deems ‘dangerous’ sets a bad precedent from a legal standpoint, puts an excessive burden on society in general in a variety of ways, and may set up a vicious cycle of increasing ignorance in future generations.

    We also have the problem of defining what constitutes dangerious information. For example, what about those kids with their homemade SCUBA? Ignoring this website for a moment: should information about SCUBA gear, or at least the details of how it works be suppressed so we don’t have people building air tanks in their garages? We narrowly avoided a potential disaster already (as the now-removed video allegedly showed).
    Of course not. Ignoring the work that would need to be done to censor the details of such a widely known system, anybody with basic knowledge of science can probably figure out that tanks can hold compressed gases and put two an two together. And of course somebody did, as we have professional SCUBA systems today, as well as that previous post.
    Another point I would like to make is if the information was censored, would the person with the homebuilt SCUBA gear know about oxygen toxicity, decompression sickness, and the importance of clean air systems? Probably not. In this case a lack of information may in fact put him a greater risk than he would otherwise be.

    In regards to your comment about a disclaimer, I agree entirely, although I was under the impression that such a warning was implied for the entire site – they are called hacks after all, and the majority tend to clearly void warranties and bypass warning labels. Although I admit that probably won’t stand up to legal scrutiny.

    1. You said it well. How would we ever learn anything if we censored the information we already have. New people with that original knowledge and a new prospective have been innovators for many generations. Censorship for safety of the ignorant is just as, if not more dangerous than shared knowledge. New ideas and new inventions are very often built on knowledge learned from others. The Internet has let us communicate in ways we never dreamed of. The only thing I might tolerate in censorship would be Islam. It is evil, evil evil. But we need to know who and what the enemy is about so no censorship to protect the idiots is very stupid.

    2. This article is a single piece to a rebreather that costs almost 10,000 USD. This hack would do nothing other than enable someone to refill their own Megalodon rebreather. The Meg rebreather has enough electronics to see the amount of oxygen inside of the loop and most rebreather divers are familiar with hypercapnia. Quit being sensational.

  6. Only put a disclaimer on thing like this, on things which cause you to make or modify something upon which your life _depends_.

    I don’t necessarily think that this shouldn’t have been posted, there just should have been a disclaimer. And yes, we do need to protect some people from themselves, but not at the cost of babying those who can handle themselves.

    I do think that I was wrong in the first post to say to not post this article, therefore, I would like to let the text to now read: “FIRST!!! w00t!!”

  7. I personally prefer to use something that My life depends on that was built by myself. I’m in manufacturing for a living, and I can tell you what happens to people on Mondays and Fridays. Hack on! For those who don’t like it, don’t hack , that simple

  8. Awesome post I’ve always wondered what it takes to support a re-breather.

    I think it should be posted. If someone does something stupid based on information in the post that is their fault. Maybe that will reduce the chance they will reproduce and pass on those “great” genes.

    Use a disclaimer if you want to legally protect yourself, not to protect others.

  9. Im building an indoor grow enviroment controller, using hobby robot parts, and a microcontroller. I cant find a DIY CO2 dectector board, or schematic. All the ones commercialy avail are for $200+, I just cant see why a guy cant locate the components, and build one. I did find a CO2 sensor,$6+ but cant find a circut to drive it. I was hoping that the scuba guy might know, if he is still around.

  10. “Furthermore, it would seem stupid to modify anything your life depends upon; technical knowledge or not, scuba or otherwise.”

    Somebody had to do it originally. It’s not as if being associated with a business automatically makes your work any good.

    I have a feeling that most people who have access to a rebreather in the first place maybe know enough that this isn’t such a huge deal.

  11. I really gave it no thought until now. There is no readily apparent hold harmless statement here on hackaday. Perhaps they aren’t worth the bandwidth it takes to send them, I don’t know.

  12. in diving you learn to respect nature and your equipment and know the limitations. you prevent diasters by proper scheduled maintenance and rely on the instruments and backup equipment for safety.
    if the rebreather refill is built to spec and carefully assembled, what’s to say that you can do it yourself. if the o2 level is too high you can switch to a pony bottle or use your buddy’s octupus…or do these things not come with a backup regulator. chances are you will get certified in rebreather diving and know how to stay within the limits.

  13. Hi. I repeatedly announce this forum. This is the head together unequivocal to ask a ridiculous.
    How multitudinous in this forum are references Nautical port behind, knavish users?
    Can I bank all the advice that there is?

  14. Not bothering to read half the responses here but those complaining at the top that this is dangerous… well I don’t see anyone running out and dropping 5000 usd minimum to try this hack. a rebreather costs at least that much. If you happen to already have a rebreather then you already know what you are doing and can make your own judgment about using this hack at home

  15. People are responsible for their own actions. If someone constructs and\or uses something irresponsibly, based on limited, incorrect or misunderstood information, that person is willingly taking a risk by failing to research more thoroughly. That’s their right and good luck to them. What we absolutely shouldn’t do is withhold valid information in an attempt to protect such people, especially when more information is precisely what might prevent them from making dangerous mistakes.

    Has our culture become such a blame&litigation-frenzy that people are no longer responsible for their own decisions? We take our lives into our hands every time we walk out the front door. Everyone has a different take on what constitutes a good idea or an acceptable risk. All we can reasonably do is discuss and spread as much knowledge and wisdom as we can, as best we can, and simply let other people be themselves and face the consequences of their actions. Such is life.

  16. All right everyone 1st off try to understand what you are reading about, and how it works. This is a CO2 scrubber filter.The filter he built was made to replace the existing filter in a $10,000 rebreather.”Question being why not buy one after spending that much on the rebreather” But hey some people have the money to spend. I am truly disappointed by a lot of the “smart people” here. Most of your arguments not to make this are without anything to back them up other than narrow minded opinions. The filter in the scrubber does not have to be water tight “the housing it resides in does”, however do not get it wet unless you want to seriously reduce it’s life,maybe even yours. Dangers of making a faulty scrubber filter include,”Break Through” when it allows too much co2 to pass,or “caustic cocktail” if using sodalime, when sodalime is mixed with water releases caustics “not good to breathe”,among others. My advice is build at your own risk, and if you are going to comment on something try to have some knowledge of the subject before sharing your ignorance with the world.

  17. Hahahaha,… it is sooo funny to read all the “dangerous” bits of the comments… think about it and build one yourself… and than what? put it on the shelf and stare at it? you need to have a rebreather to use it – simple as that, and if you have one you will know what and how to do it. So lets nature do its own natural selection of peoples that will manufacture that rather good looking piece of scrubber and dive with it without rebreather LOL.

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