I’ve been joking for years that if I ever ended up needing a CPAP mask, I’d incorporate it into a facehugger. Because obviously.
Well, I was recently diagnosed with sleep apnia, and now have my own CPAP torture machine. Seriously, these things are awful and create as much discomfort as they prevent. So I may as well have some fun with this thing while it’s intruding on my life. BigBadToyStore.com sells a life size replica facehugger for a tolerable price, which saved me the immense hassle of trying to cast and mold my own.
It looks great, and even has an armature wire in the tail so you can pose it to some degree. Unfortunately, everything but the tail is stiff rubber filled with hard foam, so there’s no posing the rest of the thing, and no easy way to wrap the legs around my head. Surgery it is!
Conveniently, the, um…mouth…vagina…alien-to-human-face-rape interface (thanks for making this awkward, Giger)…bit is exactly the same size and shape as the CPAP mask I use. Cut that out of the way, account for the air hose, and scrape out all the hard foam filler, and you’re left with a pretty workable space. Unfortunately, the rubber is too stiff to really bend the tail enough to wrap it around your throat like it should be, and it tapers too much to run the air hose down the entire length. Rather than hack off the bottom half of the tail, I settled on running it in just the first section, then let it exit and go where it needed to on its own. I could attach some zip ties or some such if I really wanted to be picky about covering the hose, but *shrug*.
A quick test fit proved that I had the right idea going and would still have enough clearance to actually use the mask even with the facehugger over it.
The greatest challenge, and biggest pain in the ass of the whole project was the legs. They were splayed out like it was running along the floor, and the stiff rubber prevented the joints from flexing at all. The only way to get them to bend inward enough to actually hug something required me to cut out most of the underside joint and glue it all back together into a new position.
Several attempts, lots of swearing, some Shoe Goo, and a bit of improvised bracing later, and I had six of the eight legs where I wanted them. The top two would have been a hacked up mess if I’d tried to move them into a different position, and just the attempt to flex them at all started to tear one of the joints, so I left them alone.
I tried several ways to incorporate the legs into the existing straps for the mask, but I wasn’t happy with any of them. In the end, I sewed a simple pair of Velcro strips onto the fingertips and left it at that. It’s not great, but it does the job. After years of going out of my way not to impale fingers with sewing needles, it felt weird to do it on purpose even if they weren’t my own fingers.
And with that, behold the CPAP facehugger in all its glory:
It took about a week to finish, most of that just an hour or two here and there in between other things. I’m happy with it as a prototype, but I think it would need additional refinement before I started making these things for other people. Other than making it even less comfortable to lay on my side, it’s not all that much worse than just wearing the CPAP mask on its own. I could probably sleep with this thing on, at least for a couple hours. If nothing else, it helps keep the light out of my eyes.
As weird as it is, this might actually be the most practical Tinker Gnome project I’ve done so far.