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.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

New hotness: opinions?

Hi folks, I've been playing around with different surface finishes and I came up with the light pictured below. The body is bead blasted, grooves cut afterwards, and the head and tailcap are high polished. I really like it! So what do you, dear readers, think about this style?

Unfortunately this requires about the most hand finishing as humanly possible. There are ways to make batch processing easier, like vibratory tumbling, but I'll need 3-4 tumblers to the tune of about $750 bucks each. Not exactly the cheap route. I'll have to give this some serious thought. I might also have to start out making lights that have less finishing involved until I can justify the capital expenditure.

And an extra hour of hand finishing?...Check!
It also seems like it might be a bad idea to show all of the things I've been trying in case one is the clear favorite and I'm not in a position to immediately deliver it. (See above) After all, this kind of stuff usually takes place in some back room and the consumer never gets to see what is going on. Partly I hope this behind the scenes look will be interesting, but I also hope people will get excited about the process.

The appearance of production batches will be varied and represent a constant evolution. I don't expect there will be a "final design" until the distant future. Being limited production, I'll be producing small batches of different designs. Some may be "one time only" and others might get repeated. This will be driven by both customer response and whatever I'm excited about at the moment.

I've also been playing around with letter stamping. In this case I stamped a "P" for "Prototype." I view this kind of marking in two traditions, tool and die machining and jewelery making. It's traditional for machinists to stamp their initials on tools that they make. I have several hand made tools I've picked up over the years. I don't know the machinists who made them, but I do like knowing they were crafted by a person who really cared about them. There is also a tradition in jewelery making (and other precious metal products) of stamping a maker's mark and other identifying information.

This is made with a standard 1/8" machinist's letter stamp
I really like the combination of precise machined with rough hand stamped. To some this clashes terribly and to others it seems like the perfect fit :) Can't make everyone happy right? Anyway, I'm still deciding what direction to go so let me know if you have any other thoughts!


  1. I think the combo is killer. Great design, Hui. I'd carry one in my pocket...

  2. I love it! Especially with the stamp contrast.

  3. Have to agree with Ben. The combo is killer!
    - Jon