Tue Apr 5 2005

More squeezer problems and a solution

Well the guys at Cleaveland Tool were really great and sent me out a replacement Main Squeeze right away. As soon as I got it, I headed down to the shop and tried it out. DAMN!!! Mechanism siezed up on the very first squeeze! I took this one apart and it had the exact same failure. However it doesn't appear like this one got the correct grease treatment. And there's a plastic side bushing missing off the main link. Grrr.

Actually this failure is a bit worse than the first one. The back bushing siezed up this time, too.

...just another shot of the short link.

After examining this a while, I decided the concept of using bushings for these pivot joints is flawed. I can see why they use them...there need to be dissimilar metals for the pivot joints (i.e. steel on aluminum). If they had aluminum rotating directly against aluminum, the joint would gall up really quickly. So after giving this some thought I decided to modify the design. What I plan on doing is eliminating both bushings. The main link will be made out of steel...probably something fairly hard like 4140. The back of the main link will have to be as big as the bushing so it fits into the socket correctly. Then I'll need to remake the short link out of aluminum, but modify the end so it's fits into the socket in the main link just like the bushing currently does. I talked to Mike at Cleaveland Tool and explained what I wanted to do. I knew it was a long shot, but I asked him if it would be possible to get the original engineering drawings so I didn't have to reverse-engineer the parts. He was totally cool about it and only asked that I sign an NDA before faxing the drawings over. Well after that I spent an evening drawing up the modified parts. My friend, Shane, works in the machine shop at work and was nice enough to machine out the two links for me. They worked great!

Update 12/5/06: I've had no problems with the modified design ever since. Mike even called me at one time and mentioned he was thinking of changing their design to use my modifications. Dunno if he ever did, though.

Update 7/5/07: I found out today that Cleaveland incorporated this design change into their latest production run of squeezers. Having the prototype model myself, I can safely say that this change is working well. I haven't had any problems since incorporating the new parts. Mike (from Cleaveland) indicated that they've had no warranty issues with the new design.