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,

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.




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.


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





May 2014 – Squeeze Box Update

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

Many of you have been asking for an ETA and a status update on our Squeeze Box that we unveiled at Oshkosh 2013. Unfortunately, we can’t provide an ETA. We can, however, provide a detailed status update and a big thank you to all our customers for their patience and understanding. While we strive for perfection for our new products, we understand that all of you are excited to get your hands on a new Squeeze Box.

While we are continuing to move forward with the project, the progress has been dramatically slowed by a number of specialized machining and electronics supply chain issues, on top of our commitment to keeping up with the current product line.
The following pictorial is an update of our progress and current status…
Not seen are the boxes themselves.  We need to have a new ‘platform’ cut to allow the use of the new cylinders.  I have them drawn and need to hand make one to verify dimensions.
I also have designed and acquired parts for a new circuit board for the control.  Once I am able to verify the function, I can order the production boards, and we get get wiring the board to solenoid, to battery.
The hydraulic hose has a wire running down it for control, I am not happy with it’s look or function. In-house we have several types of sleeves that I am going to try so that the wire runs down the hose.
Finally a user manual needs to be created.
I’ll admit, there is still a lot of work to do on this, but we are confident it will be an extremely high-quality tool that will make a lot of builds go faster with better results. Stay tuned for more updates.

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.