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, February 2, 2011

Prototype production run is under way!

These shots are actually from yesterday. Today I finished the CNC machining of 30 flashlight bodies. When finished, ten of these are heading out into the field for some user testing. 

I haven't picked the testers yet but I'll make an announcement about the same time I complete final assembly of the lights, so stay tuned!

(if you want to get the chance to do cool things like test future designs, be sure and sign up for my email list!)

Anyway, back to nitty gritty. My saw stop worked great and I spent time cutting stock to length while the machine was running parts. I also have to deburr the edge on every part (one end) so that there isn't any interference when clamping the parts in the vise. We need everything to be nice and straight.

Chicago Pneumatic right angle die grinder with an 80 grit abrasive disk
and a bunch of parts waiting to be deburred. 
Right now I'm using the red air grinder with an abrasive disk to deburr...hold the part in left hand, grinder in right hand, rotate part a couple of times. Not real slow, not real fast, but it's on of the things I might need to make more efficient in the future.

These are the parts I ran yesterday. I did about 25 more today. You can see that the exterior of the body is still rough stock. I'm going to put these back on the manual lathe, take a finishing pass to clean up the outside diameter, and then cut the grooves in the body. Even though I'm using a CNC there is still a lot of manual work to be done!

These parts are machined internally on the end facing away from the camera. 
The video I posted a while back is the test program for these final parts. The test parts were only 2 inches long to conserve material while proving out the programming, but these bodies are a full 4 inches. I'll post some shots tomorrow of the big stack I ended up with. I also hope to finish the tailcaps and copper sleeves tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. You might consider a 6" Scotchbrite wheel for deburring. You can mount it on a bench grinder and leaves a nice finish on aluminum. It leaves both hands for holding your part, too. I can't live without mine now.