Ed Kranz – Featured Builder – July 2013

We are fortunate to have advocate-builders out there, and one of our biggest is Ed Kranz (of edandcolleen.com fame). Ed is a meticulous builder, and we’ve had the pleasure of helping him out during his RV-10 build. Without further ado, here’s what Ed told us about his project…

Ed Kranz

What’s your project: Van’s RV10
How many hours do you have in so far: Around 900
How many hours left: 1300… maybe. I went the full slow-build path.
Favorite part of building so far: My favorite part is when you start piecing together sub assemblies into something that resembles an aircraft! Oh… and designing my dream panel… I think I’m on version 3 or 4 now!
Biggest challenge so far: Most of the building has been pretty straight forward, and the few parts when the instructions are vague, I’ve been able to rely on the knowledge of other builders. I always read the build logs of a few other builders before I begin a new section, so I’ve been able to avoid most big surprises. The most difficult parts of the build have been building the fuel tanks, and those the one or two “impossible rivets”. Also, since for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to make a timelapse video of the entire build (which can be seen on our website), it can be a challenge to go thru the entire ritual of setting up the camera, editing the video, and uploading to youtube every time I work on the plane!
What are you most excited to tackle next:I’m close to done with the metal work on the plane, and I’m just about to have a baptism in fiberglass… but I’m most excited to begin work on the control systems and electrical.
What’s your Van’sAirForce.com handle: NovaBandit

Never Enough Tools!

NOTE: The Squeezebox project has permanently canceled. You can read more about the decision here.

You may notice there is a slight gap between the swivel body and the piston plug in my last post.  The threads are a bit tight due to the anodizing layer on the plug.  When I tried to assemble a swivel, the spindle broke before I could get it tight enough.  Here in Mayberry we can’t get a 1/16-27 NPT tap to clean out the threads, so now I am stuck waiting for one to get here to see if the spindle works, thus making the squeezer FINISHED.  More to follow Monday.

Finally a bleeder

NOTE: The Squeezebox project has permanently canceled. You can read more about the decision here.

With our other projects done I was finally able to get the bleed stem programmed and the first side is running. I manually made the second side of one to verify measurements  (shown below). I drilled a bit deep, so this one won’t seal, but with an accurate adjustment it ought to be right on. Plan on testing this afternoon or tonight!


NOTE: The Squeezebox project has permanently canceled. You can read more about the decision here.

As suspected, moving the low pressure regulator to the far side of the actuator valve solved the problem.  The delemma is that there is a whole shelf full of fully built units in the current configuration.  To correct the problem would mean fully disassembling them and making new platforms, essentially starting from scratch.  The less expensive option is to add another regulator in line and take the hit in the cost of the part.  It is a relief that it functions though.  I took a video a couple of days ago and will get it posted up as soon as I can.

The new bleed spindle is on the lathe next which would be tomorrow, except the ‘new builder’ webinar we are doing means that it will most likely get pushed a day back.

More to come.

Dan Weyant – Featured Builder – June 2013

We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, and we’re really excited to announce that we are starting a new feature in the Cleaveland Aircraft Tool newsletter. We’re putting the spotlight on one homebuilder each month. This month’s featured builder is Dan Weyant near KGTU. We asked Dan a few questions, and here’s what he said…

Dan Weyant

What’s your project: RV-9A
How many hours do you have in so far: Just over 300 hours since my wife (Karen) and I started last October.
How many hours left: ??? That is the big question, I try not to think about that too much.
Favorite part of building so far: I’m having fun with most of it.  But my favorite part is probably when you rivet something together after all of the prep work and you wind up with something that looks like an airplane part.
Biggest challenge so far: I’m just finished with the fuel tanks and while I’m not a big fan of pro-seal, it hasn’t been the most challenging.  I think the thing we have struggled the most with was the metal strip that joins the wing leading edge to the fuel tank. Wound up having to order a replacement rib from Vans, and even after that it was quite challenging.
What are you most excited to do next: My fuselage kit gets delivered tomorrow, so I’m anxious to see the big box and do the inventory on it.  I’m almost done with the fuel tanks, so the next big task is to start riveting the skins on to the wings.  Those are big airplane parts :).
Van’sAirForce.com handle: Very un-original dweyant

Two months gone by

NOTE: The Squeezebox project has permanently canceled. You can read more about the decision here.

I can’t believe that it has been so long since an update.  There has been some progress on the Squeeze Box, but has been a slow process.  Little things have been coming up at seemingly every stage, pieces not fitting, or not preforming as designed.  One of the largest obstacles was the bleeding of the tool.  We have in house tools that we use for bleeding the system, and had a plan for users bleeding in the field.  While the tool preformed as expected with our system, the in field tools did not.  After weeks of head scratching and laying awake at night, I finally decided to go back to a bleed fitting at each end of the hose (getting a bubble out of the middle of the hose was a problem).  With Mark’s original design of pushing fluid from top to bottom through the system, it requires a bit of fumbling, but it works.  The problem with our handle was bleed fitting placement.  Finally I decided to put the tool end bleed fitting on the base of the swivel.

Hydraulic Rivet Squeezer C Handle I really liked the clean sleek look of our swivel and didn’t want to add anything that would catch on items, or add to the length of the tool.  However this was the closest place that I could get a standard bleed fitting.  I thought of a couple other ideas, but it would have added additional features to existing parts, and necessitated production of custom fittings, and custom bleed tools that would likely add $100+ to the price of the tool.  In the end it was decided to go ahead with the design of a new swivel spindle with an integral bleed fitting.

To ensure that the newly designed fitting would work, and equally importantly, would not interfere with the comfort and operation, we had a part 3D printed and installed it on a swivel.  There were a few changes based on this plastic part, and we have lathe time scheduled this week to make the aluminum replacements.

Another issue that has come up was with the low pressure side of the intensifier operation.  The intensifier has two stages, on that allows the ram to move up to the rivet but will not compress it.  The second gives the full pressure to collapse the rivet.  These two pressures are set with regulators in the bottom of the box.  The high pressure set to 90psi and is simply to prevent someone from plugging into 130psi shop air and blowing up the hydraulic hose.  The low pressure is around 8psi and is really hard to measure exactly.  What we have been doing is putting in a 426AD3-3 rivet and adjusting to the point where it would not compress it.  I think a load cell is the correct long term solution, but any recommendations would be welcome.  What we didn’t expect… When this is set it will cycle fine, but after the tool sits unused for a time the 8psi is not enough to throw the valve completely open or closed.  After some investigation, the electric solenoid is intended to move the position of the piston inside the valve, but it is actually 20psi minimum of air pressure that seals the valve’s piston against either end.  When sitting for a while it will often leak when not engaged, or simple not engage at all, and sometimes both.  The easy solution would be to move the regulator to the other side of the valve, but that messes up the layout of the box (see photos in previous posts).  This may be the solution, but I am hoping that another solution will present it’self before the swivel spindles above are finished.

Other problems that we have solved in the last couple months include jigging and fixturing to be able to hold parts while manufacturing, allowing us to get a better idea of final parts cost, figuring out an anodizing problem that lead to powdery looking parts in some batches, and a problem with the circuit board that caused a short when plugging in the foot control and the wall charger at the same time.

Learning all of these new processes in house has been challenging, and rewarding, but has taken MUCH longer than anticipated.  One thing about us though is we will not let a product go out the door until we are satisfied that it will preform as we would expect it to if we were the customer.  This is important for function, but equally important for finish quality and ergonomics.

I have now committed to weekly updates here in order to keep the interested parties informed.
Thanks to all for patience and interest.  –  Mike

What’s in a name?

NOTE: The Squeezebox project has permanently canceled. You can read more about the decision here.

We thought that this would be the week that the squeezer would ship to the customers that have been long waiting. With one thing or another not going quite right, I am now doubting that thought. It is close however. We are assembling in quantity.

I realized we still needed to design a label for the front of the box. With that came the ‘name’ discussion. What are we going to call it. Hydro-Pneumatic Riveting System seems too long. HPRS is good for short, but meaningless to someone unfamiliar with the first term… My sister Jensie, threw out the term ‘The Squeeze Box’. It stuck, and along with the ‘Main Squeeze’ and the ‘Geezer Squeezer’, ‘The Squeeze Box’ will soon become another Cleaveland Tool staple.