limited production :: hand crafted :: high performance :: rechargeable :: premium flashlights

This is my blog about creating a startup LED flashlight business. I'm a designer, fabricator, and strategist and I'm passionate about making ideas real. I believe that products are about people, that they should be built to last, deliver real value, and that we need to do a better job than we have in the recent past.

Most of my career has been contract or freelance work and I've crafted products and strategies for both big international companies and startups. I also used to work in the "industry" fabricating special effects for film and TV, along with the occasional hot rod. Bottom line, I love making things.

I'm starting this blog so you can follow along, from day one, and see what it's like to start a business, or fail in the process. Only time will tell, but I hope you find this interesting enough to stay tuned, comment, link, like, tweet, and (most importantly) participate in turning this idea into something tangible and valuable.

For a good place to get started with general info about who, what, why, etc., check out the "Stickies" on the left side of the page. Thanks for stopping by and please don't hesitate to ask questions and get involved!

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New (to me) Haas VF-1 CNC Mill

In November I decided to machine a set of six lights. Other than being able to test different components side-by-side, it would allow me to get a handle on the amount of time invested in each one, and how efficient I could be on the operations side. The plan I came up with was really smooth and I don't think I could save much more time. It took about 10 hours to make each light. Yep, that's a lot.

So, working full time and then some (60 hrs a week) I could pump out 24 lights a month. This wasn't going to cut it, because I need time for things like writing this blog. It became apparent fairly quickly that if I was serious about making lights then I was going to need some more serious hardware.

If anyone needs a rigger in the Bay Area, Curtis Roybal is the man. 

I've actually been keeping my eye on Ebay for years looking for CNC machines. I was never actually planning to buy one but I always wanted one. You know, kind of like a Ferrari. It's an aspirational thing. In any case, soon after I made the big decision to make custom lights I found a really old, but really well cared for Haas VF-1. In fact, it was manufactured in 1991 and it was a screamin' deal. It started life in Ventura, CA at the Haas factory, moved to New Jersey for 20 years or so, and is now back on the west coast. Kind of amazing for a ten thousand pound machine, with no wheels, to have so many miles on it.

I had it delivered just after Christmas...and a Merry Christmas to me I might add!

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