Sunday, July 27, 2014


Regulator bodies and yokes will ship from the plating company to me on Monday.  It will take me a few days for inspection and setup and then I'll start the assembly process.  Please bear in mind that I'm only one person and there are only so many hours in the day.  I'll work as quickly as I can but I will not send out a regulator that is anything less than 100% ready to dive.
I will be away at the Legends of Diving event in Portage Quarry Ohio for 5 days but despite that I see no problem getting everyones regulator to them by the end of the month.

In the meantime could you do two thing for me please

Send me an E-mail letting me know what color hoses you want shipped with your regulator
Please put HOSE COLOR in the title so it's easy for me to find.

And Second, CLICK HERE  To fill out your Argonaut Kraken wavier.....BE SURE you use the address on your waiver that you want your regulator shipped to.  This is the address I will use to make the FedEx packing label.   As soon as FedEx scans the label it will automatically send you tracking information via E-mail from pickup to delivery. 

If you have any questions please send me an E-mail.

Thank you

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Gentlemen welcome to the ranks of the Argonaut Kraken owners.   Please subscribe and or bookmark this blog as it is the 1st place updates are made on the project.  It is also where I share information that I may or may not publish on the website or anywhere else.  Please grab a cold one and start from the beginning of the blog and you can read about the trials and tribulations that it took to get to this point.  
I am shooting for August 31st delivery for everyone.....Don't waste your time E-mailing me asking to get yours on August 30th.  If the machine shop gets done on time.....If my inspection of the parts is good.....If the engraver gets them stamped on time.....If the plating company gets them done on time and finally back to me for assembly we will have no issues.   Thank you very much for jumping in with both fins!  I know you will love diving with the regulator.  Plus I can guarantee it will draw a crowd no matter where you use it.

Since you are now owners you may use the coupon code Argonaut Owner when you check out of the VDH website store and it will automatically give you a 10% discount on your total.

While you wait and if you have not already please take time to get your backplate/wing squared away. The breathing of the regulator is phenomenal but if it is setup and positioned wrong on your back it will be a disappointment right away.  Do it right and you will never want for another regulator.

Feel free to E-mail me or call me if you would like to consult on this.......And or read the website forum as there is a lot of great information and most of your questions will be answered.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tuesday June 24th I shipped 15  Argonaut Kraken regulators to their new homes!  I will do my best to have all regulators purchased during the Fundable crowd funding program shipped by Monday the 30th.
Please watch for an E-mail with the link to the on line waiver I need your information on before I ship.  Please be sure and fill out the waiver with the address you want your regulator shipped to.  If you have any questions please E-mail me and I'll respond as quickly as possible.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

MAY 29th  UPDATE......Please read carefully ladies and gentleman

Late last night Luis gave the green light to the final pre-production Argonaut body.  Early today I sent an E-mail asking the shop to turn the partially finished bodies into the finished product.  I expect to have all the bodies here by June 9th.
Today I stopped at the engraving shop and confirmed with the owner that when I drop off the Argonaut bodies for him to engrave the model and serial numbers on it will take a total of 3 days.
The day he is finished I will be waiting at his door to pick them up and drive them to the metal finishing shop for nickel plating.  Their estimate is 10 days to finish them all.  I will be waiting at their door for them to open on the day they tell me the parts will be ready.

I am working on organizing and putting together an assembly process so I can hit the ground running as soon as the plating is finished.  Please understand that each regulator is assembled and tested one at a time by me and I can only go so fast.  All the ancillary parts that go with the Argonaut are either here or are in route to me. Everything from hose clamps to packing tape will be here on hand.
I will update the blog every chance I get while I'm working.  If you have questions please send me an E-mail. 
If you HAVE ordered and paid for a regulator you can stop reading :)   Thanks for your patience

If you HAVE NOT ordered and paid for a regulator please continue reading below the line.

I have shipped out the Fundable support certificates and other items to the folks on the list who did not purchase regulators.  If you have not received yours by now please CLICK HERE to E-mail me.

After I ship the regulators to the folks above who purchased them during the campaign I believe I will have more regulators available for sale.  They will be available to the folks who have not already purchased one but who supported me during the Fundable campaign.
If you are interested in purchasing a regulator with your Fundable discount please E-mail me.  This is only available to the folks on the Fundable backer list who have not already purchase a regulator.   You have until June 22nd to decide.  After that I will put them on the website for general sale and they will sell out within hours.
Regulators will be assembled and delivered by the end of July if you purchase before June 22nd.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sorry for the delay in updating but there has not been a whole lot going on that is worth writing about or boring you to tears with.  

Cerakote is the finish I wanted on the Argonaut for a very long time.  I wanted something that was different and unique.  Initial experiments worked out great and I could find very little fault in it.  Currently there are Phoenix first stages available in Cerakote and I think the finish worked fantastic on them and I plan on using it on other parts in the future.
Which brings us to the Argonaut....... 

Luis and I always planned for the yoke on the Argonaut to be removable and not held in place by a retaining clip which is standard for most regulators.  When you can remove the yoke it lets the regulator pack flat and overall travels and stores easier.  I had a couple of scrap bodies done in Cerakote and the look was fantastic!  The problem was with taking the yoke on and off the body.  The tolerances and machining on the Argonaut are much more precise than you find on most regulators.  So when the Cerakote was applied to the threads of the body and yoke it was extremely difficult to take the yoke on and off....And it was so tight that after doing it a few dozen times it was removing the coating........Houston, we have a problem.   After racking my brain and weighing all the options and getting some professional advice I decided electroless nickel plating was the best option.  The folks at Seminole Metal Finishing will be doing the work and since they are close to me I'll drop off and pick up to save on shipping cost and time.
Pictured below is the sample they did for me.  Let me know what you think.....

 Major update again next week.  Stay tuned for details :)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Update for everyone

Promotional items are just about finished and will ship around the 20th for the backers who are not getting a regulator on the 1st run.  T-shirts are set to be delivered on the 9th to me, Certificate is in progress and just about ready to print. I'm still working out a few ideas on a unique way to show off some of the design highlights of the Argonaut without being a plain PDF of the body drawing.  I think it will display a lot nicer with the idea I'm working on.  The waterbottle idea got a lot of thumbs down response so instead I have a custom tag being made with the Argonaut Kraken logo and a small chain that you can use on your regulator for display or attach it to anything else while waiting to order your new regulator.

If you are getting an Argonaut on the 1st run I will put these items in with your regulator when I ship it.

Later in the month I will do an update on the specifics of the regulator itself. I'm waiting on some important updates from two of the parts manufacturers.

If you have questions or comments please E-mail me HERE

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Slowly but surely the Argonaut Kraken is coming together.  Cans arrived last week and I have been trying to figure out the best method for installing the hardware and having them all prepped when the regulator bodies arrive.  I plan on doing the same thing with hose assemblies so final assembly and checks will take less time and I can get them out to you as soon as possible.   Its a very slow process right now but I hope to learn a lot from this first group and shorten the delivery schedule in the future.  Since It's just Me, Myself and I doing all the assembly I need to maintain the quality expected from a hand assembled regulator but still maximize efficiency where I can.
Machine shop is doing the production now and it's possible they will have enough brass on hand to make a few more regulators than I originally thought.  I have taken the liberty of contacting the first backers on the list to see if they are interested in getting a regulator now as opposed to waiting till the second run in the fall. I have asked that they reply to me by Tuesday April 8th if they are in our out.  If anyone declines I will continue up the list contacting each backer till I have the quota filled for regulators on this run.   If you have questions about this please E-mail me directly.Click To E-mail me and I can give you further details.

Here are a few pictures if you have not seen them on the Forum or Facebook page.

Thanks for your support!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Sorry I have not updated for a while but didn't really have any concrete details worth discussing and I'm sure the small details most of you catch on the Facebook and website forum pages.

Final production body sample still had a few issues...Detailed notes, pictures and drawing highlights were sent and an order was placed and large deposit made.  If all goes well I will be able to meet the June delivery time for those who have purchased an Argonaut Kraken.
As it stands right now there will be a few more regulators available if we have no problems with the production bodies.  I will start on the list from the first backer who did not purchase a regulator and work my way up till I have all the additional ones sold.
Yoke samples were spectacular and I think it is one that will serve us well for many years. The new design is very robust and is a great fit on the Argonaut.
Can production is done and they are scheduled to ship out to me next week.

I have closed repair service for other regulators May 18th to July1st to allow me to concentrate 100% of my time to the Argonaut Kraken and getting them out to their new owners.

Questions?  Comments ?   E-mail me

Thank you

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I sent a link to a one question poll regarding hose color preference to all participants in the Fundable campaign and only 75% of the eligible people voted. I guess I'll send my color preference to the other 25%...


It looks like red hoses will make the cut for at least the first edition Argonaut Krakens. 

Everything else is going well....Waiting for Fundable to release the cash so I can pay some folks and get process moving at a more rapid pace. 

Thank you

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fundable campaign closed with a bang!  I'm sure everyone on the list has received payment notifications from WePay who processes the funds for them.  These will be transferred to my account next Monday/Tuesday and I'll take it from there.
In the next few weeks you will get an E-mail from me asking for T-shirt sizes, address confirmation and for those of you who purchased regulators I will gather your choices and preferences so I can start getting that part organized.  I will also be starting a waiting list for the backers on this list.  Those of you who contributed at the $100.00 level will have FIRST opportunity to purchase an Argonaut Kraken as soon as they become available.  I will publish the list so you can see where your place is on it.  It goes by the date and time you made your contribution. So first to contribute, first to buy.  Regulators will be limited to ONE per backer when they become available.  If you pass on the opportunity when your name comes up your discount of 10% will still apply to a purchase in the future.   I will update this blog with manufacturing updates and other things about the process that I think you will find enjoyable.
It's still a long way to the finish line but without your help and support I would not even be to the starting gate yet.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Monday I'm sending out an Argonaut to a company up north that makes custom bags for the military and outdoor use. They are doing a sample bag ($250.00) The only layout idea I have is one similar to the Mistral bag that Aqua Lung made a few years ago. I've asked this company to give me their ideas of what would work best before they make it.  Since the Argonaut is designed to allow removal of the yoke by simply unscrewing it I think the yoke and knob could be stored in a pouch on or in the bag and it would allow the regulator to be stored flat. Overall size of the bag is a concern because leaving the hose loop in a relaxed circle makes for a large diameter bag. There are many options if you don't leave it that way.  The bag may be more of a travel solution as opposed to a long term storage unit.....More details to follow on this.

I visited the shop that I had planned to do the custom serial numbers on the Argonaut bodies and as luck would have it the device that holds parts for stamping would not accommodate the Argonaut body.  Luckily they knew another local company they felt could do them.  I'll check it out next week. 
Standard serial numbers are no problem as they will be done during the finishing process.  

Another meeting with the attorney and all looks good on that front (aside from the large check I had to write them)  Everyone will still need to do the waiver but I can shorten it up a bit and make it easy to do on line.  Hope for the best.....Plan for the worst.

Shop that is doing the Cerakoting is good to go. Had a nice visit with them today and they are excited about the Argonaut project and the possibility of doing some work on original regulators if folks are interested....More details on this to follow. 
In what world does this make sense?......Company I have been working with for 10 years.  I asked them to quote making large diameter custom oval stickers for the Argonaut shipping boxes....Sent them the details and artwork.  Credit department has called me three times today asking for a credit card number to process the order....Two of the three times they called I said....I'm not paying for something until I approve the proof.....Send me something to look at and I'll be glad to pay for it...Finally the third time I said....Do you need me to pay for artwork to get the artwork done?  No, we need payment for the order so we can process it.....I said, What am I ordering? ...She says I don't know....I said when you do know please call me back and have the artwork in front of you so you can describe the sticker that I'm ordering and we can go from there.....She says, Well I can't process the order without a credit card....I say, I can't pay for your imagination.Produce a proof for approval and I'll decide if I want to pay for a thousand sticker or not....She called back twice after that leaving messages about needing payment to process the order.....Never a dull moment here!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Should have said this on post one but to backtrack for the moment....A lot of what you read on this blog over the next few months will be ideas that don't show up right away or may never show up at all.
 I have a clear vision of what the Argonaut series of regulators is going to be but I am always looking for new and interesting ideas for it.  Just because I share it here does not mean I'm committed to it and it will magically appear on your doorstep. 

I had a couple of E-mails from this group wanting to know more about how things get done around here so here goes.

VDH as we know it now is still based out of my garage/workshop. Since we moved here three years ago a car has never parked in it :) I immediately installed a 8 bottle air station with NITROX blending and all that goes with it. I have my main workbench, and an area for packaging, shipping and a majority of the web stores inventory is stored here. These areas never change and I have a fixed process for service work no matter what regulator is sent here. 
Mixed in are several tables used as work stations for experiments, things I'm working on or things that I'm thinking about. There is usually something or other in a salt bath, regulators hooked up to cylinders or on the Quick Set machine.    and several boxes of parts that are either being tested or put in inventory to be sold.  There is another big box of regulators I have purchased that are waiting for me to decide if they get rebuilt, offered for sale or parted out. 
Like many of you I work 24/7. Without a smartphone and an internet connection I feel lost. I don't have set work hours or days but if I'm awake you can figure something is going on the two hose world.. 

An idea I have been toying with for a while is to include a USB Flash drive with each Kraken. It would come loaded with a detail sheet for the particular regulator, i.e. date, serial number, configuration etc and some care and maintenance instructions in PDF form that could be printed if you wanted to. 
So far the cost of customized drives with logo are a little out of reach but it's something I'll continue to pursue. 

Luis and I have been revising the final yoke design a bit. As it is it's based on the Conshelf yoke which works great but I would prefer if it had it's own look to further personalize it. This is the rough drawing of it. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

If you are reading this you most likely have a vested interest in the Argonaut Kraken project.  I started this blog not because I like to talk about myself but to have a place to keep the investors and supporters up to date with the latest information and progress on the project.  The VDH website Forum and Facebook pages are great but they are very impersonal and get hundreds of visitors a day but the majority of readers have no personal involvement in the project so I won't clutter them up with my miscellaneous ramblings. 

I am not a professional writer and the language I use may be colorful at times but it reflects what is going on in my head and what I'm up to at the moment.  I tend to go 2 or 3 directions at once so this is not going to read like a novel or newspaper.  At the bottom of each entry you can comment and I hope that you do. 

The Fundable campaign has been far more successful than I dared to believe it would be.  I have had dozens of requests to offer more regulators but at the moment I don't think I can commit to doing anymore in the time frame I have allotted for myself. 
There are 21 days remaining to raise funds and they will not charge your card until the campaign ends.  After that it takes about two weeks to clear all the legal paperwork I have to agree to and for the funds to be collected and transferred to my bank. 

So what's new 
The Jury is still out on the Kraken Red hoses. I have been collecting votes on FB and the VDH forum and more than 80% of the responses have been positive.
Luckily I have a good relationship (means I have spent a lot of $$) with the hose manufacture so they agreed to make the samples. Normally they require an order of 300 hoses to start.  As I said elsewhere the shade/color was a personal choice that I liked and thought would be unique.  When they arrived I HATED THEM I was ready to write it off and never even show pictures of them.  I put them on a regulator and propped it up in my work area so I had to see it hundreds of times a day and after a while they grew on me.  The Argonaut Kraken is NEW and deserves to break out of the confinements of what double hose regulators have been in the past. I am still not sure if they are a go or not but for those of you who don't like them please go back a time or two and take a look and I bet they grow on you like they did me.  If they are made they will be an option at least at first and you will still be able to outfit your Kraken with hoses in your choice of black, yellow, gray, green and possibly Kraken Red.

Cerakote Metal Finishing
Click to visit Cerakote main page

This finish shows real promise and I am currently banking on it being the finish for the Kraken and for restoration of a lot of other regulators that I do in the future.  Chrome plating is virtually dead here in the US especially for a small scale producer like me. Dave Ali does amazing work on restoring regulators but he does it as a hobby, a favor to me and because he enjoys it.  If you had to pay a company that did this type of work for a profit the cost to re-chrome a regulator would cost at least $500.00 to his level of quality and I'll bet you will have a hard time finding someone with his skills and patience to do it!
I'm no tree hugger but the whole chrome process with the EPA and toxic chemicals is not something I want to get bogged down into for the future. 
Samples of the coating on actual regulator parts are in route to me and I'll start abusing them next week.  I will follow up here with my results.  I have spoken with a couple of guys who have used it on their gear and they really liked the results.  Both of them applied it themselves and that's not something I'm interested in doing.  If I use this coating I will have it done by a professional applicator that is certified by the manufacture to apply the coating. I will follow up here as I get started.