New FIE Mask Requirements

Discussion in 'Armory - Q&A' started by bobb121, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,946
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Texas Riviera
    Yeah, I was hoping US Fencing would have more sense than to just copy the FIE's badly thought out specs. International fencers can buy a new strap when they go to international events, if they need to, though I bet if we show them that they work the FIE would adopt magnetic buckles pretty quickly.

    Regarding the mask coming off in more than one way, I think both failure modes rely on the mask rotating some so the chin pops out of the mask. Then the mask can move either forward or up. The FIE solution, correctly I think, tries to restrict the forward movement of the bottom of the mask when the strap is engaged. If this is correctly designed it should be impossible to take the mask off with the strap in place, and that should prevent both failure modes.

    Existing mask designs use heavy elastic in the back to hold the mask on. If the strap is going to be fastened with velcro (or a buckle) there's no reason I can see to retain the elastic. It could just be a nylon strap, like a motorcycle chin strap but in the back. Make it adjustable enough to keep the mask on snugly and you're good. The benefit of the elastic was to allow you to remove the mask without unfastening the velcro, which is specifically the thing the new rule is supposed to prevent.

    I do hope US SEMI takes into account how other high-stakes fastenings like bike and motorcycle helmets work. There's been considerable development of these things since they were invented, and a lot of that would transfer to fencing mask design.
     
  2. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2000
    Messages:
    3,610
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    After 13 yrs, FINALLY back in Texas
    The US SEMI at this point either recommends acceptance or non-acceptance of any FIE rule changes, not alternative technologies. Any potential new products/technologies presented to the US SEMI for consideration are evaluated with respect to existing rules.

    As for just buying a new strap, that is not a solution as I read the change. The mask needs to be changed to have the bracket installed to accept the new straps. The use of the elastic strap is basically to enable slipping the mask on and off easily, if you use a webbing strap, you'll have to connect and disconnect it every time you put the mask on or take it off.
     
  3. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,946
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Texas Riviera
    Ah, ok.

    Yes, the straps need to be moved down if we follow the FIE change. What I was saying was, having done that, US Fencing could allow for straps with buckles for domestic competition, and if I need to go to fence an FIE event I get a strap with only velcro and use that.

    Isn't that the point? If you can slip the mask on and off easily it can also fall off during a violent change in direction while fencing. I thought the point of moving the strap down was to make it impossible to slip the mask off without detaching the strap. I'm not at all sure you can have both slip on/slip off ability and also remove the possibility of masks coming off.
     
  4. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2001
    Messages:
    37,164
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Somewhere in your nightmares!
    Another possible issue which just occurred to me: the new placement of the strap puts it right at the top of the spine, over the odontoid process. Might a sharp enough tug on the mask produce traumatic spinal injury? I wonder whether that was considered.

    Maybe they should have adopted the method for securing gs masks:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2000
    Messages:
    3,610
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    After 13 yrs, FINALLY back in Texas
    US SEMI most likely wouldn't approve a piece of equipment or modification that wasn't already approved by the FIE.


    I agree.
     
  6. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2001
    Messages:
    16,595
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Hollywood, ca USA
    In the event USFA adopts the rule, US SEMI will have to come up with guidelines for conversion of non-FIE masks...ones that can be done without specialized tools like Gary has to convert epee masks to foil.
     
  7. brtech

    brtech Podium

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    2,429
    Do remember that the design that is pictured, which is what most of the mfgs seem to be adopting, allows the strap to be replaced easily. So wearing out the velcro means replace the strap, and that can be done by the fencer. My understanding is that SEMI asked the mfgs to come up with a solution, and the strap is their response to it. It's not SEMI's design.

    As Mergs says, US SEMI will recommend adoption or not to the Board, who ultimately makes the decision. Other voices (Referees Commission, Sports Medicine, etc) can also weigh in. I personally can't see US SEMI trying to make up rules about how masks can be modified. I think vendors can do to a non FIE mask what they do to an FIE mask, and that will work. OTOH, there isn't a way to reliably determine who made what modifications, so anyone able to duplicate what the factory does to modify a mask is likely to pass any inspection we can run.

    Despite people claiming this isn't a problem, or it's a problem with a simple solution, I don't see it that way, and neither does SEMI. Masks are coming off, from all vendors, it's dangerous, and something has to change. It seems hard to me to ignore SEMI on a safety rule. OTOH, there is always room for interpretation on rules. Personal opinion of course.
     
  8. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2001
    Messages:
    16,595
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Hollywood, ca USA
    Yes....but we all know how fencers will abuse the gear. Replacing the strap is easy from those designs....replacing the buckle if it comes loose not so much.

    Additionally, if USFA adopts the rule and applies it to non-FIE masks, there must be guidelines for someone to do the alteration without needing to send a new mask to a manufacturer who may not have the time to do it, or just for someone who doesn't want to wait and do it themselves. Even something as common-sense (to someone like you, me, Mergs, etc) like putting the mounting bracket on the INSIDE of the mask may not occur to someone who just wants to put the thing on.

    Guidelines, not rules. For me, if someone were to simply sew a buckle to each side to allow for the strap would be OK so long as the strap/velcro was in good shape and the buckles were firmly secured. On the other hand, we may not want the buckles held in by elastic. That kind of thing needs to be spelled out (and better than FIE typically does).

    I'll be playing around with a couple of masks from my club to see if I can do a retrofit when the time comes -- if it does.
     
  9. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2000
    Messages:
    3,610
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    After 13 yrs, FINALLY back in Texas
    Please re-read the urgent letter - especially ANNEX A, para 2.2, sub para 4 "Mechanical systems for this rear device are not allowed at the moment" Buckle = mechanical system
     
  10. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    788
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    As an national level armorer, I personally would not retrofit any existing mask with the proposed new strap system. There is too much liability in it for me. If someone would ask me to do so, I'd recommend either a new mask with the new safety strap already built into it or have a factory trained technician do the retrofit.to an existing mask that is in good shape with a factory approved strap.
     
  11. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2001
    Messages:
    16,595
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Hollywood, ca USA
    Not a buckle like a belt one...a buckle for a strap to pass through, which the new designs DO have.

    If USFA adopts the rule for non-FIE masks, there need to be guidelines for people to up grade, especially if they can't go the route Dwight suggests and simply buy a new one.

    Doing a bunch of retrofits is affordable for a large scholastic team vs buying a whole new set.
     
  12. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    788
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I hope you have some sort of liability insurance. When it comes to modifying safety equipment like a mask, I won't touch it. I'll fix the trim or replace a missing rivet. That's the limit of it.
     
  13. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2001
    Messages:
    16,595
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Hollywood, ca USA
    By that way of looking at it, replacing a worn out strap wouldn't be allowed.

    If the rule is adopted, people WILL find a way to do the retrofit without buying a new mask, access to an armorer or not. That's why clear guidelines need to be out there.
     
  14. dcchew

    dcchew Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    788
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I have no problem with guidelines. The FIE has establish that already. It's the application that I have an issue with. There are too many people out there that will do a poor job of repairing something in order to save a dollar. At some point, it's better to invest in a good replacement mask rather than risk the possibility of injury.
     
  15. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2001
    Messages:
    16,595
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Hollywood, ca USA
    I would agree....however, for some it's not saving a dollar, it's saving several hundred if they have a lot of masks to convert (like a school team).

    You HAVE to give people a way to make the change if they can't just buy a new mask...and let's be honest here, even some new masks have the strap held in only by a few strands of thread woven through the mesh.

    If proper guidelines are not out there, we'll probably have straps held in by large safety pins....no bueno.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  16. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2000
    Messages:
    3,610
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    After 13 yrs, FINALLY back in Texas
    That is not a buckle - it is a loop. Terminology is important. A buckle is a mechanical device for connecting two ends of material together. The loop is not connected to the strap; it is fastened to the mask itself and allows the strap to slide in order to expand or contact as necessary.

    As for retrofitting, it needs to be determined if the trellis of the mask extends low enough to put on a loop that is low enough to satisfy the requirement to lower it about an inch.
     
  17. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,946
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Texas Riviera
    I was just thinking about this. The document says:

    It doesn't actually say the straps have to be attached to the metal cage, just "to both sides of the mask". In a mask like the Allstar shown in the paper you could attach the loops to the bib and then attach the strap to that. It's not like the bib is suddenly going to disintegrate under the strain of holding the mask on someone's head.
     
  18. Purple Fencer

    Purple Fencer Podium

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2001
    Messages:
    16,595
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    North Hollywood, ca USA
    I know it as a buckle, so that's the word I used. I'm now looking into metal rectangular D rings...if that plastic one breaks, the mask is unusable. I'd rather have something a bit more sturdy.

    I seem to recall that being the case on that set I ordered. One thing that has to be considered (and which I and Alliance missed), is the strap needed to be a little shorter to account for the shorter distance across and underneath the occipital curve compared to straight across the back of the skull.

    I DO remember moving the strap down on my own mask and never feeling it was going to come off.
     
  19. K O'N

    K O'N Podium

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    3,946
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Texas Riviera
    That's a ring, not a buckle. For rings, I posted this earlier:

    http://www.caveadventurers.com/store/2-oval-loop-stainless-steel.html

    Welded stainless O-rings. Much stronger than plastic. These will be much more stable than a D-ring.
     
  20. Inquartata

    Inquartata Podium

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2001
    Messages:
    37,164
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Somewhere in your nightmares!
    In the same way that the secondary strap is attached to both sides of the bib on the LP mask, perhaps.
     

Share This Page