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Suction Cup Shelf


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Inspired by dhaig's use of a Harbor Freight suction cup to make an external towel rack, I decided to use another Harbor Freight suction cup, https://www.harborfreight.com/4-58-in-aluminum-suction-cup-lifter-110-lb-57500.html, to make an interior shelf. I fabricated the shelf out of a 1/4" sheet of polycarbonate. I'm using the shelf to hold a CPAP machine on the back side of the pantry cabinet of our standard bed Elite 2 but the suction cup shelf could be adapted to a number of different applications depending on a person's need. 

The suction cup is rated for 110 Lbs.  Of course this is a straight line pull and not side loaded like it is in this shelf application, but that said, the shelf is quite secure and can support quite a bit of weight. 

Shelf 1.jpg

Shelf 2.jpg

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Shelf 6.jpg

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I have mine in the attic compartment, with the hose coming through the gromet where the TV wires/cable came through. I have removed the TV so the gromet is free of wires.  I run my APAP on 12v and have it plugged into the 12v cigarette plug.  This has work great for me. Even with the humidifier set at four, it draws very little power.

Andrew

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Andrew, Carianne and Buffy | San Diego, CA


2019 Legacy Elite II Hull #468 "California Burrito" | 2018 BMW x5 35d 

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@Wildbrew, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  However, I cannot claim full credit for the external towel rack.  I expanded on the idea from @Calypso, who made a single rod towel rack using a pair of suction cups.

I see your idea as a general solution for mounting shelves inside an Oliver trailer, or outside.  Your shelf caused me to think of making one for our 2 slice toaster oven, about which I posted recently.  Or, an external shelf to hold my beer while grilling.  

What is the weight of your CPAP machine?  Do you leave the shelf in place, unloaded, when underway?

I had previously noticed the suction cups you used from HF and had wondered how one might be used.  It had not occurred to me to fasten the fixed handle to a flat surface for a shelf.  Obviously, if one suction cup is not sufficient, a second could easily be added.

Well done!

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North Texas | 2022 LEII, Hull #990, delivered 2/17/22 | 2014 BMW X5 35d

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The CPAP machine isn't very heavy, probably only 2-3 lbs but the shelf could support quite a bit more weight.  I do leave the shelf attached and so far it's stayed put.   I like the idea of an outside beer shelf! 😃

 

I chose polycarbonate over acrylic plexiglass because it is much stronger and won't crack.  However, using polycarbonate did offer a few unique challenges that I hadn't anticipated...   My original design had a curved ledge running all around the shelf which I had planned to heat and bend around the shelf.  I've done similar bends with acrylic without much problem.  I researched bending polycarbonate and the suggestion for doing so at home was to heat the piece you intend to bend in an oven:

https://www.justpolycarbonate.com/post/bending-polycarbonate-everything-you-need-to-know

When I went to actually do it, I quickly learned that heating and bending polycarbonate is much trickier then bending acrylic.  Polycarbonate has to be heated to a much higher temperature (around 400 F).  You have to watch it closely because if you heat it for even 30 seconds after it becomes flexible, it transforms into an almost unrecognizable opaque white material! (see photo).  Even when you catch it at the perfect time, you only have a few seconds to bend the material before it hardens up again.  After a few failed attempts, I gave up and redesigned the shelf with straight ledges! 

 

I bought a 12"x24"x1/4" sheet of polycarbonate on Amazon but if you live close to a plastics dealer such as TAP Plastics, you can often find remnant pieces in their bargain bins. 

Polycarbonate (and acrylic) are typically solvent welded when attaching pieces together.  This was the product I used:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003HNFLMY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

PXL_20220716_171832047.jpg

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