I emailed The Yard last night, and today I got a reply saying it was probably the ‘flapper’. This is a piece of angle that presses on the air intake valve and makes the squeezer squeeze. I looked at it, and sure enough, the ‘flapper’ is just fine. So, I decided to take apart the squeezer and see if I could figure out 1) how the heck this monster works and 2) why does it not work!!

So, after removing the six hex bolts that hold the bottom piece in place, I found that the problem seems to be in the air intake valve. I can press on it with my thumb (with the ‘flapper’ sitting on the table) and if I wiggle it just so, I get a full blast of air. Otherwise I get just a little bit of air.

While troubleshooting my problem, I learned how the squeezer can deliver such large force to the rivet set.

As you can see in the pictures above, there is a big piston inside the squeezer. As air is let inside the chamber, the piston is pushed up. The wedge-looking piece pushes against two bearings inside the squeezer. One of them is fixed (i.e., it rotates only). The other bearing can move ‘away’ from the first one. So, as the wedge is driven between the two bearings, the ‘moving bearing’ will push against another level, which in turn pushes the squeezer shaft out with a lot of force.
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