Can this CPAP stand be saved? Or is there a better way?
May 9, 2012 8:11 AM   Subscribe

My partner uses a CPAP machine at night, with a stand to elevate the hose, to keep it from getting crushed or tangled. The stand he uses works well—it greatly improves his sleep—but each stand fails at one soldered joint after about a month of use, so he just buys another one each time. We're tired of paying $20 a month for what should be a one time (or at least rare) purchase. Can you help us find a way to reinforce the stand, or a sturdier stand that we'll only need to buy once?

My partner uses this stand made by North American Healthcare.

Here is a photo of the joint that fails, with an illustration of a head on view of the joint. The point of failure is the connection between the upright (single straight metal tube) and the base (∈-shaped portion).

The stand is designed to slip between mattress and box spring, but we don't have a box spring, we have a metal base. The stand will not stay up if it is slid between the mattress and the metal base, since the base is not a solid surface, but instead consists of metal bars with space in between. So, we lash the base of the stand to the metal bars, as you can see in this photograph, and then slide the mattress back over. I try to do it so that the weak joint is out away from the mattress a little bit, so the mattress isn't constantly pressing on it. But still, like clockwork, after about a month, the joint will fail again, and we'll have to buy a new one.

Can I reinforce this joint somehow? I'm in an apartment in Brooklyn, and don't have many tools.

Or, do you know of any sturdier CPAP stands available for purchase?
posted by ocherdraco to Home & Garden (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
From your second photograph, it seems to me that there is some kind of stress being exerted at the weakest part of the three spot welds that consist of the joint - you can see three blobs in your first picture (but I could be wrongly identifying that from a photo).

When it is in the second position, place your fingers, palm down, lightly, along the whole metalwork to see if there is any undue stress that can be felt (perhaps) but is not immediately obvious from the visual?

Alternately, that is a bad weld or material (to join the two parts) being used there as you have had this happen to each and every stand you have purchased from the same manufacturer - another thought? Could it be intentional flaw to create repeat purchases?

Could you take the stand to some workshop and have them strengthen that joint for you? Any place with a welding machine should be able to.
posted by infini at 8:25 AM on May 9, 2012

While not exactly answering the question, I can tell you that I use that exact same hose for my CPAP, and sleep with it next to me under the covers. In 9 years, I have not been able to crush that hose. I have often woken up with imprints from the hose on my stomach, meaning that at some point in the night I've slept on it, but it has never crushed. If anything, the newer hoses I've gotten from my CPAP supplier have been even sturdier than when I started with CPAP. So again, not exactly an answer to the question about what to do with the stand, but you might want to consider that you don't need a stand at all.
posted by ralan at 8:31 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Boy, that looks like crap design. How about getting a mic stand for $20 or so?
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:33 AM on May 9, 2012

I was thinking along the same lines as StickyCarpet, but a cymbal stand will be more rugged. You can get them with counterweights as well.
posted by rhizome at 8:39 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I might be looking at it in the wrong way, but would it help/be possible to put a square of plywood between the base of the stand and the metal bed base so that the stand has something sturdy to rest on?
posted by Lyn Never at 8:42 AM on May 9, 2012

FWIW, it's not spot welding, it's stick welding. Spot welding would actually be a worse choice for attaching metal that way.

Can you get your local welding shot to attach a big metal plate to it to stiffen it up?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:49 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

*welding shop
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:53 AM on May 9, 2012

Does it have to be a stand? I would try and take the loop that the CPAP tubing runs through on the end of the stand from a broken one, attach it to some surgical tubing or elastic cord, then attach the other end of the cord to a hook installed in to the ceiling.
posted by procrastination at 8:55 AM on May 9, 2012

I'm going to suggest you suspend a length of fine rope from the ceiling. Position a hook on the wall to pin it back when not in use. Some metal ring-clip will complete the solution.
posted by de at 8:57 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I actually have an unused mic stand, so I'll try that first.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:25 AM on May 9, 2012

And ralan, while I appreciate your input, for my partner the stand is necessary; he has awful sleep without it.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:35 AM on May 9, 2012

Any welding shop could attach a gusset to the joint that would stop it from failing (though the stress might cause another location to fail).

If the mic stand doesn't work I'd probably either use a pair of vice grips to clamp the broken rod to the side of the steel frame of the bed or I'd drill a hole through the rod and bed frame and bolt it on.
posted by Mitheral at 9:46 AM on May 9, 2012

Agreed that it's kind of a crap design. Whoever is manufacturing that thing really cheaped out on materials costs, because a joint like that where they just stick the side of one round thing to the side of another round thing with a bit of welding rod should never happen, especially when there's leverage on the joint. It's pretty much a guaranteed failure. I hate it when people build stuff that's guaranteed to just fall apart, it's like they're building trash.

If the mic stand doesn't work as-is you might be able to modify it by attaching the loop from the CPAP stand to the end, or by building a loop of some kind (or just rubber-banding the hose to the end of the stand). Or failing that, Mitheral's idea of just bolting the broken-off part of the CPAP stand to the bedframe ought to do the trick.
posted by Scientist at 9:59 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

It will look ugly, but try out using some epoxy weld with a piece of metal to add structure and support. It's low tech, cheap, and won't require many tools. You can find this stuff at any hardware store, and should cost no more that $10.

Epoxy weld - this is a 2 part epoxy glue designed for bonding metal.

Metal support - look in the carpentry section for metal supports used to hold wood joints together and find a piece that will fit appropriately (you may need to bend it to fit right). Looking at the picture, try something like this.

Tips: Be sure to sand off the paint on the CPAP stand where you use the epoxy. You also may want to clamp the parts together while the epoxy sets.
posted by volition at 12:23 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Epoxy will be unlikely to last nearly as long as the original failed joint.

How big/bulky are these things? How heavy? Is it made of steel? (Will a magnet stick to it?) If you can't find a place in Brooklyn that'll weld and reinforce it for you I'd say you could just send me a broken one and if it's steel I can either fix it (hopefully for good) or make you something better. I'm in Portland, OR though.

Try the mic stand or cymbal stand for sure if you have such things.
posted by MonsieurBon at 1:25 PM on May 9, 2012

I've used a CPAP machine for eleven years now, and just drape the hose across from the machine to the bed. As someone else mentioned - I've never been able to crush the hose. It gets run under pillows, gets stuck between the mattress and the wall, I've laid on it... never once have I crushed the hose or been able to impede the flow of air.

Since the stand is necessary, just DIY it with some clamps and rubber tubing, etc, from Home Depot. No need to pay $20 for something that's continually breaking. Do you have a headboard that a "hose guide"/stand could be clamped to?

BTW, this is great stuff for "crap, have a hole in a hose, don't have a spare, can't get one till tomorrow, need to sleep".
posted by mrbill at 1:57 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

mrbill, that tape looks great. I might get some just to have on hand.

I'm not going to clamp to the headboard (my bed is one of the few really nice pieces of furniture I have), but I don't think that will be necessary. I've got old, broken CPAP stands that I can cannibalize for a loop to thread the tube through, and then the only issue is making sure the mic stand doesn't fall over with vigorous tugging.

Assuming it works as I think it will, I really like the mic stand solution; it's something that my partner can set up without my help, and makes use of something I already have. I'll fiddle with it when I get home and report back to y'all afterward.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:31 PM on May 9, 2012

You could make one out of pipes quite easily. Some DIY solutions here.

Here's one which can go against the wall. And the Hose Boss attaches to the wall. It would also be easy to replicate if funds are tight.
posted by barnone at 2:33 PM on May 9, 2012

To weight it at the bottom, you can make a homemade weighted beanbag, or attach a heavy metal plate to the base.
posted by barnone at 2:36 PM on May 9, 2012

A $2 bag of play sand from Home Depot in an old pillowcase will keep it from falling over, as well.
posted by chazlarson at 5:10 PM on May 9, 2012

Can you attach something like a telescoping shaving mirror bracket to the wall?
posted by gjc at 6:20 PM on May 9, 2012

Did you know that the mic slot on a mic stand is exactly the right diameter for a CPAP hose? This is perfect.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:16 PM on May 9, 2012

I think Mitheral and procrastination are going in the right direction. Your ultimate goal with the stands was to attach it to the bed frame, and if you could find a clamp that connects the right size round thing to the right size rectangular thing, you'd be in business. Try McMaster-Carr.

If you're satisfied with the music stand, stick with it. I mostly wrote the above for others who might have the same problem, but not have a music stand.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:35 PM on May 9, 2012

Thanks, Kirth. I always appreciate AskMes that apply to the general case.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:25 PM on May 9, 2012

Also for future readers if you don't have a mic stand handy and your bed is on a wall with a window: the mister made his own hose holder. It's a piece of wood about half an inch by an inch and two and a half feet long (the length of the piece of wood will vary depending on the distance between curtain rod and bed). He has attached (with screws) metal U shaped brackets to each end. One bracket hangs over the curtain rod letting the wood hang down towards the bed with the second bracket available to hold the CPAP hose. Sort of like this:


It mostly hides in the curtain so it's very subtle. You could also paint the piece of wood to match your curtains.
posted by deborah at 10:41 PM on May 10, 2012

If there's a window that close to the bed, you might be able to use a big suction cup with a tube clamp screwed to it, or with a tie-wrap, depending on the configuration of the suction cup. I'm thinking of the cups used to fasten a thermometer to the outside of a window, which have a screw in them, or the big plastic hooks on suction cups, You can pull the hook out, which leaves a tunnel on the suction cup, through which you could thread a tie-wrap.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:23 AM on May 11, 2012

And I have to say that my own advice paid off; got home from vacation last night and the CPAP hose had a hole in it when I unpacked everything and hooked it up. Dug in my CPAP case, pulled out the silicone tape, and a couple minutes later had a perma-fix in place! Now my hose has red decorations since that color was on hand..
posted by mrbill at 6:40 PM on May 21, 2012

So, we've been using the mic stand for a few weeks now and it's working great. We tied the loop from the end of the old CPAP stand to the mic stand, and threaded the tube through there. So far, there hasn't been any need to weight the stand, either. (We share a double bed, though, so we're right next to the edges—folks in larger beds who would be farther away from the stand might have a different experience.)
posted by ocherdraco at 10:06 AM on May 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Why Cardiac Catheterization #2?   |   Pull a tune from the wall of sound Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.