Saturday, September 26, 2015

Argonaut 2016 Update

With success comes complications and new opportunities. For the past decade most of the parts I have been making have be either replacements for existing ones or improvements to them with a few exceptions like the Phoenix and HPR 2nd stages. 
When the Argonaut was ready to be made I went about it in the way I had with all other parts in the past.  Submitting requests for quotes with drawings and materials specifications and working from there. Over the years I have developed a good relationship with several manufactures and go directly to them depending on what the part is made from. None of them are in the business of scuba gear and don't know a duckbill from a band clamp ring.  In the majority of cases this was fine and played very little in the outcome of the parts.
The Argonaut was a whole different ballgame.  I needed to somehow get the suppliers to understand the concept of what I was trying to accomplish. In some cases this was successful and in some not so much.  Manufacturing is a business. Making regulator bodies or carburetors, it all comes down to dollars and cents and getting the HP diaphragm to work harmoniously with the regulator really made no difference to the two companies making the parts. 

Cost to the customer was always a paramount concern of mine and was driven up by my need to go to third party companies to supply parts for the Argonaut assembly. Plus I was always at their mercy as to supply and future availability of parts. After the last of them went to new divers this year I set a goal for myself that I would no longer be at the mercy of third party vendors. A goal I realized 3 years ago was necessary for the long term success of the project.
Right now I am working with a company that manufactures regulators for SCUBA and SCBA and who fully understand what I'm trying to do. They might not get the reasons we want a double hose in the 21st century but they are game to do it and are on board with the project.  I have paid up front for the tooling necessary to manufacture the body of the Argonaut and I am awaiting their sample parts. These are due to arrive towards the latter part of November. 

What this means is that I'll be able to produce a regulator using many of the ancillary parts they currently produce and use on some of the single hose regulators they make.  This will allow me a single source to produce the regulator bodies, yokes, screws etc.  The other parts I have covered currently direct from the manufacture. All of this cuts down on the cost and headache of juggling 12 different companies supplying parts.  It also means the vendor knows what is being manufactured and if there is a problem they can solve it quickly because they have most likely faced it working with other regulators.
The regulator itself will change very little as to how it functions or performs.  We had to make a few changes to accommodate and use some of their existing tooling but overall the regulator will remain as amazing as it already is. 
This is the main reason I don't have an EXACT date that new Argonaut will be available in 2016.....If all goes to plan, I can give the OK to the sample parts, ramp up and get them out in January but I'm not at the point where I can do that.  I will keep the Vintage Double Hose website store, Facebook page and Vintage Double Hose Message Forum updated with the latest details on where I'm at. 

Luis, Herman and I along with the test divers are working hard to insure the new DSV mouthpiece and hose assembly is ready in time for the 2016 Argonauts as they will be the new standard for it in the future. 

I can't thank the double hose community enough for their help and support and I ask the future Argonaut Divers have a little patience :)