Shelved


With many recent inquires, I should put out an official statement…  We are no longer working on the squeezebox project.  We have a ton invested in both time and parts, but there are several roadblocks that have come up.  The system grew into a fairly high parts count/cost and verifying that every part was correct on every unit became a QC issue that we are not used to dealing with.  In addition the batteries were failing after long times without being used, and the built in charger circuit is not compatible with other battery technologies.  We are working with a couple beta testers to try a new battery / charge system and are hopeful that will yield good results.  I have always said that we would not release it unless I felt that it was exactly the way we think it should be.  We don’t want to have something that either develops a bad reputation or that is a pain for customers and for us in updating to fix ‘issues’.  My hope is that after we get some time on the new charging system that we can revisit it and continue to move forward.

Another update


Progress has been slow going with regular work going on, but we have made some progress.  Our friend Paul came up with a simpler setup for plumbing the valves making the exhaust cycle faster.  We also were able to identify that on the low pressure side that one of the solenoid valves was not working predictably.  This lead us down two paths, one using a more expensive valve, and the other, adding electronics that switch pressures rapidly. The latter allows the high pressure to open the valve, but dissipating quickly before the ram touches the rivet.  This configuration allows for a slightly quicker cycle time.  Currently this is controlled by a microprocessor for testing, and we are waiting to tweak a bit of code before we settle on timings.  It is hoped that some simple circuitry will do the job in the end, and figuring that out, and it’s cost will be the next step.  Then we can compare the cost, and the benefits to each solution and figure out which to implement.

Status Update


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

We had a request for a status update on the Squeezebox project this morning.  I have been making steady advances over the last month, but have not been diligent about posting them…  The good news is I know how to thread-mill tapered threads in a blind hole now (ugh!).  I will just paste my reply to the email here.

“Hi xxx,

The last mechanical part is done… finally.  We have made a jig for modifying the stock tool boxes and are waiting for a cutting bit to arrive (today).  I have been unhappy with the control system as very occasionally it will lock up and not exhaust properly.  It seems to be a random problem found only when repetitively cycle testing the units, unfortunately just under half of them do it eventually.  We have a customer who is an engineer specializing in ‘controls’ looking at it and he thinks it will need another valve.  I am sending him additional parts today to try.  
Thanks for your interest and patience,
Mike”

More Parts!


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

2014-07-17 12.47.28

After many hours of design and re-design, I sent the files off to Kit @ Profile Laser in Portland Oregon. Kit has been SO helpful in getting our items ‘just right’ a trait that many seem to be lacking these days. Nervously I waited for the parts, and they arrived yesterday.

 

 

 

They drop into the2014-07-17 12.45.50
boxes perfectly without restriction, the control board and input jacks line up just right as does the new backer plate to protect the control board and provide some backing for the shop heads of the rivets inside the box.

 

2014-07-17 12.46.36

 

I can’t wait to put one of these together…

But I have to, Oshkosh prep. is very demanding.

-Mike

 

 

Our Customers are the Best!


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

In only a few days I was able to move off of being stuck on the SqueezeBox control board (thanks to Joe Condon in last post) to working on the platform.  Learning more about SolidWorks from Seth (a young man who started helping us model parts while still in high school, now at Iowa State in his first year of Mechanical Engineering) I was able to turn this into a ‘sheet metal part’ with bends and tabs.  Eliminating the need for 6 separate angles with two machining operations on each, plus a separate step for coating, should further reduce the cost and complexity of the SqueezeBox.

I went from model, to flat pattern, to dxf, to real world in a few hours, all thanks to Dan Weyant in TX who commented after seeing our FB/blog post that he could help us out!  As I said our customers are the best.  Thank You!

A couple of days for UPS, build one up to verify the hole locations, then off to the (metal) laser cutter for production.

-Mike

platform solidworks phot

platform solidworks flat photo

platform dxf photo

platform wood cut photo

 

June Squeezebox Update – In Case You Were “Board”


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

One of the two MAJOR roadblocks I had on the SqueezeBox was the control board.  I have all the components to build 125 boxes, but the layout software used to generate the boards was something that would have taken me three days of uninterrupted time (bwahh haa haa) to fumble through.  Another instance of going from prototype and etching and drilling my own boards, to production and ordering them from a board manufacturer is a larger challenge than I had planned on.  To the rescue comes Joe Condon, RV-9 builder and flyer who is now working on a Onex at the local builders assistance center.  He built up a weather ticker that uses a microcontroller to scroll across current weather in the lobby of W&C Aircraft.  A light bulb went off followed by a certain amount of explanation and begging.  A few days later he emailed me the above photo which is now being manufactured with the expected ship date of mid. June.  Thanks Joe!!  Yet another reason I feel so blessed working with such a talented group of people in the homebuilt community.

 

 

particianNext up on my list is to verify the hole and slot locations in the Aluminum deck used to mount all of the plumbing and valves.  For the prototypes we 3 axis milled, then cut filed and fit the ‘partitions’.  For the production units they will be laser cut, and I don’t want a pile of wrong parts (again).  Anyone able to cut one of these for me???  🙂

partician 2

More soon!  – Mike