Exciting Morning

After a month of fighting various illnesses on and off again, as well as catching up on the normal tech support and daily tasks, we are finally running again on the hydraulic squeezer project.

This morning was particularly exciting as not only two boxes showed up from Numatx (above), but also the new style miniature air regulators for the intensifier box came (below).

The setup had been tried before, but we wanted to double check everything with the new regulators.  Shown below is the plug and play hack to prove them out.  We are still waiting for one other solenoid valve to replace the one that is in the center of the photo and it will be assembly time.

The assembly below is a spacing mock-up (ignore the cylinder as we used a mock-up we had rather than the Numatx cylinders shown above) that we used to make sure that we could stuff all the equipment needed below a deck in the bottom of the intensifier box.  The view is as if looking through the bottom of the box.  All that is left is to manufacture the already designed circuit board (planning for Wednesday).

‘Get in Line’ update

The intent of the blog was to share with those early adopters the progress that they have been so patiently waiting for… I guess with the interest outside this group I should throw out a bit more information.

We are purchasing the intensifiers under agreement from NUMATX.  That agreement has been verbal until the patent issued.  We are now waiting on our lawyer to ‘revise’ the agreement that I drafted.  I am hoping that will be done later today.  Then it will be sent to Mark and I am sure he will go through the same process.

The HUGE learning curve here was 3D machining and the fact that four different operations had to blend together with the part being rotated in separate fixtures.  Operations #1 and #3 had to match down to .0005″ or the tool would not function.  Frankly I can’t believe we didn’t walk away from it.  But finally we persevered.  The remaining items are trivial really, but it all takes some time.

There has been mention of pre-orders to keep a place in line…  Having been in the experimental market for over 20 years now this notion creeps me out.  From engines to aircraft kits, millions have been lost because of this.  I am considering a small ‘earnest money’ deposit though as the apparent market is larger than I had anticipated and the cost of machining these things is huge.  Those notified of the blog by direct email already have a place in line.  I will publish more on the deposit issue in the near future once I have come to a decision.

Thanks for your interest,

Hand Operated Hydraulic Squeezer Arrives

It’s FINALLY in hand!  After 9 months of development we have production models of our new hand triggered hydraulic rivet squeezer coming off of the CNC machine.  The 3D machining of the handle was a totally new thing for our shop and a larger learning curve than we expected.  Combined with my expectations of feel and function, all while hitting an affordable price target, made this project a frustrating but very rewarding learning experience.
Mark Swinford of Numatx tools (fellow RV builder) designed the foot pedal operated hydraulic squeezer in 2010.  It is the lightest, most compact system for squeezing rivets and dimples found anywhere.  Mark received a patent on this design this summer, and we are still selling his pedal operated version.  Many customers wanted a unit that was actuated at the tool rather than on the floor. This design is C-Head that you see below.  Using standard CP-214 pneumatic yokes this squeezer weighs 1 lb. vs. the 4 lb. CP version.  Comparing size, this squeezer is 4.5″ tall x 3.5″ wide x 1.5″ thick , vs the CP 9″ x 4″ x 3″.

Current Project Status:
Shown to the left is the new squeezer fully assembled with the exception of the switch button and the connection wire.  

The button shown in blue is the 3D printed ABS plastic version of this button.  The Aluminum button material is ordered and we should have the buttons complete by the week of Dec. 17th.  Leaving only the wire to complete.

Below is the squeezer with all of the individual parts, both in assemblies, and alone.  The piston plug and swivel alone contain 11 individual pieces, but doing it this way provides an unlimited degree of freedom.  Compression ram has a universal joint (Numatx design) and is threaded with our trademark 32 pitch thread.  This means changing from a -4 length rivet to -4.5 is a simple half turn counterclockwise, no measuring involved.

What’s next??

The intensifier section.  We are packaging the Numatx intensifier inside a tool box.  This will provide a place to store the entire system, allow for protection so the intensifier can be dragged around the floor while in use, and house the necessary enclosure for battery, wiring, charger, air solenoids, and connections.

We have designed and manufactured the Aluminum pneumatic airline connection plate, and the Aluminum slotted hydraulic hose exit plate (also housing foot and hand switch jacks, and charging jack).  We have parts on the shelf for the boxes, batteries, solenoids, air fittings, and charger.

Designed is the intensifier base plate, material is in house, and we expect to have finished by the end of this week (Dec. 14th).  We are in need of more intensifiers from Numatx to complete.

Yet to design:

  • Hold down bracket for the intensifier.
  • Hold down bracket for solenoids.
  • Charging circuit and circuit board.
  • Platform to cover controls in bottom and allow for shelf for storing hydraulic hose when system is not in use.
  • Custom foam insert for top tray to store and protect C-Head, Pull Rivet Head, and Foot Control Switch.
First of the year:
  • Switch operated Pull Riveter Attachment (design underway)

~~~~   Future progress will be posted on this blog as well as availability date.    ~~~~