Argonaut Kraken question

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Luis H

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Argonaut Kraken question

The question has been brought up about the future of the Argonaut Kraken. It is too early to talk about any new built units. I honestly don’t know if anyone else will be interested on taking on “new-production”. I own the regulator design (except for the label) and I could license it out. I am personally not interested in producing them myself.

Now, for the owners of the existing units, there should be a very little concern for parts availability and service. I will explain in detail.

When I designed the Argonaut, one of my primary design criteria was the future availability of parts. My goal was to design a regulator that could be serviced by your grandkids.

I used as many “off-the-shelf” parts as possible. For example, the High-pressure seats can be obtained from Aqua Lung, or Mares, or Trident. The same applies to the LP seats, they are just a flat elastomer disc. All the O-rings are standard.

The only rubber parts of concern would be the hoses and diaphragm, but they are silicone, which do not degrade like other rubber parts, and replacements will be available as long as there is any interest in any vintage double hose. But you should still be careful not to damage by accidental cutting or similar damage. Also, reproducing diaphragms can be a DIY item, and there are hose alternatives (i.e. from rebreathers). There are options…

There are also sources (or options) for the mouthpiece and exhaust valves.

The brass components should last forever unless someone damaged them during service, like scratching the edge of the volcano orifice. But I made both (the 1st and 2nd stage) volcano orifices replaceable to account for that event. The 1st stage volcano orifice is a standard Aqua Lung component used in several regulators.

The 2nd stage volcano orifice can be easily serviced, or reproduced by anyone with a small lathe. The same thing applies to the HPR (second stage body).

The cans would be the only concerning parts that can be damaged if the regulator is dropped or somehow abused. As far as I know, the molds still exist, but I don’t know their condition or their future.

I did design the regulator so that it could use vintage metal cans from a DAAM or RAM, but that is not my first choice, since the regulator performs slightly better with the new cans and (most important) the new cans are substantially lighter for travel.

It just happens that (for the last couple of years) I have been working on 3D printed cans for my exhaust silencer (I talked a bit about it in another thread) and I also have a 3D printed intake can design. The 3D printed “exhaust-silencer-can” is what I have been using exclusively for the last couple of years, and it actually has an improved exhaust valve design geometry. If need be and no one makes replacement cans, I could make some of the 3D printed files open source, but it is too early to worry about that. BTW, 3D printed parts continue to get better. Their finish is better every day.

So, we have options for all the maintenance parts and replacement components. But I still don’t know what is in the future, specially about any new Argonaut Krakens.

About your existing Argonauts, don’t worry, your grand-kids should be able to service them, if they are interested.
 

grantctobin

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Argonaut Kraken question

The question has been brought up about the future of the Argonaut Kraken. It is too early to talk about any new built units. I honestly don’t know if anyone else will be interested on taking on “new-production”. I own the regulator design (except for the label) and I could license it out. I am personally not interested in producing them myself.

Now, for the owners of the existing units, there should be a very little concern for parts availability and service. I will explain in detail.

When I designed the Argonaut, one of my primary design criteria was the future availability of parts. My goal was to design a regulator that could be serviced by your grandkids.

I used as many “off-the-shelf” parts as possible. For example, the High-pressure seats can be obtained from Aqua Lung, or Mares, or Trident. The same applies to the LP seats, they are just a flat elastomer disc. All the O-rings are standard.

The only rubber parts of concern would be the hoses and diaphragm, but they are silicone, which do not degrade like other rubber parts, and replacements will be available as long as there is any interest in any vintage double hose. But you should still be careful not to damage by accidental cutting or similar damage. Also, reproducing diaphragms can be a DIY item, and there are hose alternatives (i.e. from rebreathers). There are options…

There are also sources (or options) for the mouthpiece and exhaust valves.

The brass components should last forever unless someone damaged them during service, like scratching the edge of the volcano orifice. But I made both (the 1st and 2nd stage) volcano orifices replaceable to account for that event. The 1st stage volcano orifice is a standard Aqua Lung component used in several regulators.

The 2nd stage volcano orifice can be easily serviced, or reproduced by anyone with a small lathe. The same thing applies to the HPR (second stage body).

The cans would be the only concerning parts that can be damaged if the regulator is dropped or somehow abused. As far as I know, the molds still exist, but I don’t know their condition or their future.

I did design the regulator so that it could use vintage metal cans from a DAAM or RAM, but that is not my first choice, since the regulator performs slightly better with the new cans and (most important) the new cans are substantially lighter for travel.

It just happens that (for the last couple of years) I have been working on 3D printed cans for my exhaust silencer (I talked a bit about it in another thread) and I also have a 3D printed intake can design. The 3D printed “exhaust-silencer-can” is what I have been using exclusively for the last couple of years, and it actually has an improved exhaust valve design geometry. If need be and no one makes replacement cans, I could make some of the 3D printed files open source, but it is too early to worry about that. BTW, 3D printed parts continue to get better. Their finish is better every day.

So, we have options for all the maintenance parts and replacement components. But I still don’t know what is in the future, specially about any new Argonaut Krakens.

About your existing Argonauts, don’t worry, your grand-kids should be able to service them, if they are interested.
Nicely engineered and may he rest in peace
 

rhwestfall

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Luis,​
Thanks for that information.​
Expanding, What about the o-ring for the DSV? What about the Phoenix? Cyclone? HPR?​
Thinking out loud, a list/resource of the mainstream market parts to use in the Kraken, DSV, Phoenix, HPR, Cyclone, etc. would really be a plus to those of us not so savvy in the "dark side" of maintaining these gems.​
I have relied in the VDH "service kits" and extensive (pre-pandemic) parts supply to service and update a growing collection of dh regs. I even have parts to complete a few projects including a PRAM for my daughter built from a present from a recently deceased friend/dive buddy.​
I'm also in process on a few Trieste & FX units.....​
I've pondered in recent days as to what I am to do now...​
Hoping to keep this going. It means more now, more than ever...​
RIP Bryan....​
 
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Luis H

Luis H

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Hi Bob,

It is possible that others will come up with "service kits". But again, it is too early. It is a difficult time for his family and his closest friends.

The parts for all my designs are intentionally "off-the-shelf" as much as possible. The DSV, Cyclone, Phoenix, HPR all use available parts.

I was just thinking of the Argonaut, because that is the subject of the questions I have received.

If you need anything right away, let me know. I will try to help you.

Thanks
 

The Ruttmeister

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I wish I could say yes.

I have some experience of manufacturing, selling and supporting a product... And so I have a decent idea of just how big a workload that all of that is.
I'd be happy to advise and support anyone who took it on, and I suspect Bryan's family would be happy to see VDH handed to someone who would keep it going.
Plus while 3D printing is very interesting for the plastic parts, there is tooling and that should be preserved.

If I was less busy with my day job I'd be really torn.
 

Fibonacci

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Argonaut Kraken question

The question has been brought up about the future of the Argonaut Kraken. It is too early to talk about any new built units. I honestly don’t know if anyone else will be interested on taking on “new-production”. I own the regulator design (except for the label) and I could license it out. I am personally not interested in producing them myself.

~snip~
The cans would be the only concerning parts that can be damaged if the regulator is dropped or somehow abused. As far as I know, the molds still exist, but I don’t know their condition or their future.

I did design the regulator so that it could use vintage metal cans from a DAAM or RAM, but that is not my first choice, since the regulator performs slightly better with the new cans and (most important) the new cans are substantially lighter for travel.

It just happens that (for the last couple of years) I have been working on 3D printed cans for my exhaust silencer (I talked a bit about it in another thread) and I also have a 3D printed intake can design. The 3D printed “exhaust-silencer-can” is what I have been using exclusively for the last couple of years, and it actually has an improved exhaust valve design geometry. If need be and no one makes replacement cans, I could make some of the 3D printed files open source, but it is too early to worry about that. BTW, 3D printed parts continue to get better. Their finish is better every day.

Luis
Thanks for the update... yes it would be a huge undertaking to continue to manufacture all the myriad of parts that Bryan had sourced from small local suppliers for the Kraken and VDH spares (some of whom are apparently no longer in business post Covid).

I may be able to help with ideas for the Kraken can tooling or refurbishment... depends on whether they were soft tooled (epoxy or aluminium) or hard tooled and whether they are owned by or still stored at the original moulder pending a repeat batch order...
Typically the customer owns the moulds, even if they are still on-site at the supplier.
 

Topcat414

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Its way too early to start talking about someone taking over VDH. The family and close friends have a ton going on and are still grieving. To approach this otherwise would not be respectful to Bryan and all that he contributed to the diving community. I would recommend such discussion just be suspended for the time being.

As far as service, Luis is right on, the beauty of the related designs is that they rely on a long time proven design and are parts interchangeable.

Jerrie Struble has been doing the Doublehose service for VDH for a couple years now (2017 maybe) as a long standing arrangement with Bryan and VDH. The links to Jerrie were on the VDH webpage, but that is down now. I did talk to Jerrie about this and he is still fully engaged in continuing service. That is unchanged. So today, parts can be obtained from Rob at The Scuba Museum (though he may not be super responsive as he and Bryan were like brothers) and service is available as mentioned thru Jerrie.

Todd Conner
 

SilentScreamer

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Thank you for the update! I recently built a twin tank setup especially for this reg and I seems quite nice trim wise after the first test in the pool. I hope the Argonaut is not abandoned.
 
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Luis H

Luis H

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I hope the Argonaut is not abandoned.

The Argonaut is not abandoned... You don't have to worry about about your existing Argonaut...


As far as service, Luis is right on, the beauty of the related designs is that they rely on a long time proven design and are parts interchangeable.

Todd Conner

It is a lot more than just being “related designs” and “parts interchangeable”.

When Bryan and I had discussions about designing new regulators, he always concurred with my design criteria for keeping long-term service in mind, and I mean for long after him and/ or I were not involved anymore. I never expected that conversation to have any impact until very far in the future… This is an issue that was not supposed to come up for a long time…


I made the designs (the Argonaut, the Phoenix, the Cyclone, and the HPR second stage) giving a lot of thought to long-term service. The replaceable volcano orifice, the ease of servicing the HP and LP orifices, or reproducing any needed parts were always an important feature. This was not a consideration in any of the classic vintage regulators (the DAAM, the RAM, etc.). Companies are not required to provide support long after production stops. That was not my or Bryan’s philosophy.

The old DAAM, RAM, and even the Conshelf had non-replaceable volcano orifices and using after-market parts was never a consideration.

As I mentioned, the first stage orifices can be replaced with standard new modern parts from Aqua Lung, etc.

The second stage orifice in the Argonaut can be pulled out and polished if needed. I also designed it to be easily reproduced.

Even the second stage main body of the HPR can be very easily reproduced. It was intentionally simple.

Parts interchangeability was always a design criterion, but long-term service was just as important.


In the case of the Argonaut (or the Phoenix and the Cyclone), only a badly damaged main body will totally put the regulator out of commission.

Even a damaged main body can often be salvaged. The fact is that every one of “my own” Argonauts are machining rejects that could not go to the general public. Most of them have the wrong size O-ring landing in the LP or HP pressure ports and I have to use metric O-ring (either “smaller” 1 mm, or “larger” 2mm cross section O-rings) to make the regulator functional.

One of the biggest concerns for long term support has been the replacement of a damaged can. But as I have mentioned, I have been thinking about how to address that issue. I have also been working on slight design modifications to the cans to make them more friendly to a 3D printed process.

There will be more details to follow…


Thanks for everyone’s patience and support. This is a totally unexpected situation.
 
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Luis H

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We took these pictures in Cozumel last week. We were thinking of Bryan.

Cozumel was probably one of his favorite dive destinations. We dove together in Cozumel many times.


20221112_080840.jpg




20221112_080621.jpg
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/teric/

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