Gary Rinsem

Navy Tools
by Gary Rinsem

Much of what I did in the Navy was far more advanced than what you see here. I still smile at the memory of those challenges. Difficult accomplishments helped make the hardships of Navy life, worthwhile to me. There was too much to do in the Navy, but I always found more on my own. Many times I designed and built tools or equipment to solve a recurring problem. Below is three projects that I have pictures of.
Long after I got out of the Navy, I got a letter with a check in it. My tool was adopted Navy wide. They were being mass produced to be used on every ship for damage control. If a pipe is damaged in battle, these tools could be used to temporarily isolate parts of a piping system, to allow the rest of the ship to resume operation. The letter said it's called the "Rinsem Clamp." I often wonder if it really is on every ship in the Navy.

As a repair ship, broken wore out machinery came to us to overhaul. I worked in the pump shop for a time, where a major problem needed to be solved. After overhaul, the pump needed to be pressure tested before sending back to it's ship. Every pump had flanges to attach the pipes, and the flanges were all different. The shop always took hours for a couple people to pressure test a pump. More than the time it took, it was also dangerous because big C-clamps didn't hold well, so under pressure test they'd blow off. We couldn't possibly have blank flange plates for every situation, and gaskets to seal them to the pump flanges. I made a prototype of this tool to prove it's value. The foundry on the ship made a pattern and cast the grey part. Other shops on the ship worked together to produce a number of these in various sizes. It worked very well, solving all the problems.

This is the prototype clamp. I never claimed to be a machinist. Machining those clamps out of thick steel was a real challenge for me. I'm even less of a welder. I got a real welder to stick those threaded pieces to the sides of the clamps.

Still stuck on pressure testing equipment... when working on other ships, we needed to pressure test things before calling the job complete. The Navy is a bit broken in some ways. The system will accept things as is, for ever and a day. A company built what was accepted as a "portable" hydro pump. Nobody questioned the design, the system just bought several for every ship to use. Daaam.... The design was really bad... It took two people to carry and wouldn't even fit through a scuttle (small round hatch in the floor). I turned the three foot wide hundred pound monster into a condensed version. It did the exact same job, but one person could carry it with one hand, and it easily fit through a scuttle.

This won't make cents to anyone, but I'm only doing this because I'm bored... The pic shows clamps that mount on the shafts of a motor and a pump. Dial indicators attach to the clamps to allow allignment of the shafts. By rotating the shafts and watching the dial indicators, you can measure the misalignment of the two shafts. Measurements are used to slightly move the motor or pump to correct the misalignment, and to add shims under the feet of pump and motor. Not my design, but the clamps weren't available on their own, only in a computerized kit for shaft alignment. Didn't need and couldn't get a bunch of the expensive kits. Bored and stuck on the ship, I just made several sets, copies of a tool we had from the alignment kit.