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!

Please sign up for my email list to get updates and notifications for contests and giveaways!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dark Sucks...So does spam!

Hi all, just wanted to let you know I've taken the hateful step of requiring a "word verification" in order to post a comment on the blog. I can't stand those stupid things. However, some awesome denizens of the internet have decided my blog is the best place to relentlessly spam useless crap.

If you are like me, you might have taken a moment to wonder why the heck spam still exists. I mean, it might have seemed like a good idea when people didn't know what spam was and were suckered into clicking on links...but surely everyone knows how to identify spam and hates it as much as I do?!

A quick Google search linked me to "E-Commerce News" which tells me that spam exists...because it is effective. If I was Elvis I'd put a bullet through my monitor right this second...even though I have two monitors and could keep writing this post...I'm so reasonable I'm not even shooting one...but oh so tempted. Are you freaking kidding me? Effective?!

No wonder the world in in chaos. I blame all our problems on the people who are clicking on spam links. Not only is spam effective, 11% of those nasty spam clickers actually (deliberately) spent money on the garbage the spam linked to! Oh but wait, there is more. Roughly 90% of those people who spent ripped off. Who would have seen THAT one coming? Sigh. I'm afraid I've run out of motivational angst and have lapsed into apathy.

Just remember, if you get an email from Prince Alyusi Islassis in Nigeria, please send him all of your bank information...and if you do, please consider emigrating there yourself. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Ti Pocket Clip Wins an Award!

Hi all, I was pretty excited to hear my Titanium Surefire Pocket Clip won "Best Accessory" for 2012 over at Everyday Commentary. Cool right?

Best Accessory: Prometheus Pocket Clip

"The best accessories make the main product better than it was before, but the truly elite gear is something that seems like it should have been included in the first place.  The Prometheus Pocket Clip is the best flashlight clip on the planet, bar none.


It is better than my old favorite, the McGizmo clip, because it is just as secure and can be added and removed from a light without tools.  It is simply, unquestionably the best design out there.  Its so good that absent a few tritium inserts I can't think of a way to make it better.  The titantium is very flexible and smooth cut with a perfect amount of tension.  Let me put it bluntly: if you own a light compatible with this clip buy it.  " -- Everyday Commentary

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Blue Label Wait List...sign up now!

It's come to my attention that I may have mistakenly directed people to this email list instead of the wait list. I have already sent out a confirmation email to everyone on the wait list (check your spam). If you didn't get the email and think you should be on the wait list, then please follow this link and sign up. If you received the email, there is no need to sign up again.

If this is news to you and you still want to be on the wait list, by all means, sign up :) I'll be releasing a batch of Blue-Label lights on (or around) January 1. People on the wait list will be notified of new stock (and emailed a special purchase link) 48 hours before the lights are released for general sale on my website. If they sell out, then no stock goes up on the site.

I'll be releasing a limited number of Blue-Label lights each month... basically what I'll have time to build. Right now the plan is to do 5 lights in each finish, so a maximum of 15 lights per month. Ready-Made lights will continue to be "in stock" and ship within (most of the time) 48 hours. I'm going to be working on a few big projects this year and I need to have time to actually get them going.

  1. A pen based around the Montblanc Fineliner and Rollerball cartridge
  2. A "AAA" sized light with the Nichia 219 "High Color Rendering" LED
  3. The last one is still a related...but not a flashlight :) 

Monday, December 24, 2012

A monkey in your mailbox...

That's a catchy title right? Don't worry, we are talking digital monkeys.

Merry Christmas!

I've signed up with MailChimp to help streamline my workflow. That's a fancy way of saying, my blog will now send you an email if there is a new post and you've signed up for the mailing list. In the past, I've sent out "announcement" type emails separately. If you wanted blog content, then you had to (separately) visit the blog and/or sign up specifically for email updates.

Monkeys love email! Or so I hear. 
I hope this is a positive improvement, and I've merged those lists and now all updates will take the form of blog posts, which will get pushed to your email inbox automatically. Basically this saves me from managing multiple lists and trying to remember where I'm supposed to publish what information. It will also mean those of you on the mailing list will actually get emails from time to time :)

How will we know if it's working? This post (yes this very one) should trigger MailChimp to send you this post in an email at 6:00AM Pacific time tomorrow. You will not get an email if I have not posted any new content during the day. Of course if you have not already signed up on the mailing list you won't be getting any Christmas email from Prometheus Lights! If you feel left out, you can go here and get on the spankin' new mailing list :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lotsa Lights

Well, it has been a very long day. I put my wife and son on a plane this afternoon. We are spending the holiday with her family in Texas, but I stayed behind for a few days to get these lights out. Fortunately our boy was an angel on the flight :)

This is the second half of the blasted and polished batch. Now all I have to do is get them in the mail! These should all be shipped out tomorrow...except for two that I need to finish up. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Workstation Upgrade

I finally invested in a set of professional, rack mounted bins to keep all of my assembly parts organized. I used to use little trays from the kitchen section at the hardware store. Not bad, but not great :) It's a lot easier to have everything within arms reach, but up off of the desk. Horizontal surface is always scarce in a shop :) I also got a fume filter which is that black box on a wire stand, just below the desk lamp. I've been doing a lot of soldering and getting headaches that last a few days. Not sure if it's the fumes, an old skiing injury, or a combination of both. The fume filter still seemed like a good idea :)

You didn't miss the Prometheus wall clock did you?

Stacking/hanging bins from Akro-Mills

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

NEW FEATURE: Alpha Primary Seal Ring (PSR)

As you know by now, I can't leave well enough alone. I pressure tested my lights to 300 feet for 5 hours...but that's just not good enough is it? What can make the Alpha even more bullet proof (water bullets)? Enter the Alpha Primary Seal Ring (PSR). It doesn't increase the depth rating, but it should extend the exposure time and improve the sealing performance under extreme physical conditions, like impact, vibration, temperature, altitude, and submersion.

Actually, it would be cool to carry an Alpha up to the snowy summit of a mountain and then down to the ocean and into a 300ft scuba dive. Anyone want to meet me in New Zealand?

The PSR makes the front seal 110% effective (that's a guesstimate)
As far as I know, this is also a completely novel method for sealing a flashlight. Patent worthy even, but now I've done it, since I posted this picture it can't be anyone...and I think that's fair :) I digress.

This ring is custom made from 302 stainless steel, just for me, by Smalley Steel Ring Co. out of Lake Zurich, Illinois. It is now a standard feature on all Alpha lights. It does make it a little harder to remove the o-ring and get to the lens, but you should really never need to do this unless the glass get broken or severely scratched over time.

Just in case you feel the urge, you'll need four things: o-ring pick, bent nose pliers, a replacement o-ring, and the link to this video. The pick and pliers are included with the Journeyman Package. They can also be purchased separately.

I do want to note, this seal is not absolutely necessary. I tested my light to 300 feet for 5 hours without the PSR in place. Unless your light is routinely in wet environments, I wouldn't worry about it. However, I want to send out a light that is as close to 100% reliable as possible, and this checks off one of the boxes that has been bothering me.

The PSR will be available as an optional upgrade for all existing Alphas, but not until the new year when things quiet down a bit. Please don't email me until then or I will just forget :) Alpha-Blue label owners, this is a free upgrade!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Blue-Label lights are shipping...Now!

Hi folks, you read that right! I should have all Stone Washed lights out by Monday. Brushed lights should be shipped out by Wednesday. Blasted & Polished should start shipping on Thursday and be complete by Monday December 17th. You'll get automated shipping notices when I print your shipping labels. If any international customers want expedited shipping or tracking and insurance (via FedEx), please email me. My standard Priority Mail only has delivery confirmation, no tracking or insurance.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Parts ready for tumbling !

These are heads for the blasted and polished lights.

So far...Parts machined, washed, plugged, tumbled 4 hours in medium grit plastic media, washed, tumbled 6 hours in fine grit plastic media, unplugged, washed, dried, plugged, and now ready for 10 hours in walnut shell and polishing rouge for the final high polish. The tailcaps have already gone through this process. Sheesh, is that it?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

VIDEO: Shop-Made Pneumatic Press

Hi folks, just a quick YouTube video of a pneumatic press I made to provide the correct pressure when setting the thermal adhesive tape I use to mount the LEDs in my lights.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Getting There!

Doing some finish machining on bodies today. In the photo, I've just finished grooving a stone washed shorty body. I have to do about 80 bodies total in this run. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

When in doubt, MacGyver it

So yes, I did look up the spelling of MacGyver and it's corret. Weird right? Anyway, I don't mean to give myself too much credit with that title but I couldn't come up with anything else. Recently I had to install a phillips screw inside the control panel of my CNC machine. The trick was it was between two circuit boards that are mounted on end. Think of sliced bread with a 1/2" gap in between and about 6 inches deep and who knows what kind of sensitive electrical components on each side. Remember that game "Operation?" Zap!

Yeeep, right in between those drive cards.
Oh and don't touch the capacitors. 
What to do? I rolled some painter's tape into a tube so it would be sticky on both sides and jammed it all together. Enough grip to keep the screw on the driver but can be removed easily enough. Pretty good eh? It worked beautifully.
It ain't purdy but it worked

Friday, November 16, 2012

How it's made

I had a few people ask about seeing more of the process, so I thought I'd post some random photos from time to time. I also had someone ask what the "chips" were that I referred to in my last post. Chips are what machinist's call the little bits that get shaved off by the actual machining. While sawing isn't really machining (or is it?) the shot below is the best "chip shot" that I had on hand. This is after cutting off a batch of raw stock to length. That's a lot of chips in case you were wondering.

The deck of my chop saw..the lip on the pan is about 2" deep. 
 After all of the parts get cut to length they get piled into boxes and it's on to the next step. The saw cut edges are quite sharp and have "burrs" on them. I need to debur one end before it goes into the CNC mill so the parts sit nice and square. Otherwise, the burrs would make them tip one way or the other.

Cutting the stock to length is not my favorite job. Earplugs and annoyed neighbors required

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chips on the floor means parts out the door...

An old machinist's adage. Of course this photo is of the parts, not the chips :) These are fresh off the mill and now need to be transferred to the manual lathe for the tedious process of machining the outside of the cylinder by hand.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

NEW VIDEO: Tools of the Trade - "Spaghetti" Tubing Cutter

Hey folks, I bought this broken tool on eBay and managed to get it working again! Thought I'd share some of the "behind the scenes" stuff that I do to make the Alpha (and running a flashlight business) possible.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Portable Illumination: 100% off the grid (Brunton Solaris USB)

Hi folks,

I've been using a Brunton solar panel to keep my lights charged up when I'm away from the wall. It really makes a rechargeable light into the ultimate illumination tool and travel companion. As long as the sun shines during the day, you can run your light at night. Backup batteries? Bah! The sun is my backup battery. Okay, I carry one or two spares, but I don't need a bag full.

Get rid of: the expense of tons of disposable batteries, the waste of throwing them away, the weight of carrying them, the hassle of finding batteries in foreign countries, worrying about rationing your battery power, the need to rely on the wall or a store being open to make sure you can see when it gets dark...and I promise it will :)
The Solaris kept me and two Alpha's going for 10 days in the Utah back-country
If you haven't seen my blog post about my Utah trip, you can check it out here.

The cool thing about the Solaris is that it's got a USB you can charge any USB device you have, like your phone, tablet, camera, whateva.

Prometheus Lights is now an authorized Brunton dealer so stop by my site and check out my newest product!

Friday, September 7, 2012

NEW PRODUCT FOR SALE: Titanium Zipper Pulls !!!

Hey Folks,

Looking for an awesome gift? Want to personalize a mass produced jacket or bag? Want to win friends and influence people? Try some of my pure titanium zipper pulls!

It's been a long time coming but I pulled the trigger on a batch of these! They are machined at Hirsch Machine in Santa Clara, the same place that makes my Ready Made lights. Check out this link to purchase them directly from my site. There are lots of photos of pulls on things like jackets, sweaters, bags, and flashlights so check out the link. If you buy some pulls, please send me a photo of the item you personalized and I'll post it on my site!

I had to take a hefty bite out of my checking account to make this happen so please help me spread the word! Blog, tweet, share to Facebook, email the gear-head in your life, anything you can think of! Your help is greatly appreciated.

These are also available for wholesale, so if you are a retailer, please contact me!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

LIMITED EDITION: Splash Anodized Pocket Clips

One of the CandlePower Forums members has taken anodizing titanium to a new level. I use heat to build the refractive oxide layer, but he uses electricity. This means a lot more control over the colors and where those colors get applied. You can see the work he's been doing here. This stuff is so amazing I sent him 20 pocket clips to be anodized. There are 10 with a "Prometheus Blue" splash anodize and another 10 that I left up to his creative initiative...and they are stunning. See below:

Only 10 of each are available and will be sold first come first serve. If you are interested please email me directly: Clips are $50 each or you can trade in your old clip for $35 if you mail yours back to me.

Please keep in mind that these clips also fit Surefire 6 series lights and clones! Click here to see the current fitment list.

Cheers! Jason

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

NEW: Titanium Key Fobs For Sale !

I thought this would be a fun little widget so I had my waterjet shop cut some key fobs out of the same material my Ti clips are made from. For sale now and only $15 through the end of August. Free shipping! After that they are going up to $20 each so get em while they are hot. Check these out on my site! 

Titanium! Nuf said. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Comparing LED color temperatures

So when you look at a data sheet and order a 4500K LED you know what you are getting right? Right? Wrong. With respect to LED bins, tints, and output specs we research a world of absolutes but we live in world of ambiguity. I took the photo below to illustrate the point. The same color temperature in different model LEDs looks different.

LEFT (MCE 6500K & 4500K) / RIGHT (XML 6500K & 4500K)
On the left is the Cree MCE in 6500K and 4500K. On the right is the Cree XML in 6500K and 4500K. I don't care what the data sheet says because the look different and that's all that counts. I don't bring this up to say it's bad in any way, I just mean that we should be aware that these sorts of things are not at all absolute. There are a lot of variables that go into the appearance of LED light. We haven't talked about tint for example. But my point is that you shouldn't expect to different models of LED, with the same specs on paper, to appear the same to your eyes in real life.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Prometheus "Writes": Montblanc style

Okay, so I haven't been posting much because I've been busy coming up with more awesome. I've been wanting to do this project for years but just never got around to it. I've you've never used a Montblanc, it's writing nirvana. I mean the cartridge, not the pens themselves. Considering a Montblanc starts at about $350 and goes to well over a grand, most people have never used one. I bought a good friend a Montblanc when they graduated from law school and I took it for a test drive before handing it over. I was astonished and I've used nearly every pen on earth.
The Mont-Alpha ? 
The prototype in the photo is armed with the Montblanc "FineLiner" which refers not to a cosmetic product, but to a fiber-tip ink cartridge. It's kind of like a felt tip, but it's firm and doesn't wear down and get fat like felt pens. However, you can control the line weight like with a fountain pen, and it writes just as smooth and dries immediately. For you traditionalists they also make a liquid-ink ball point cartridge that is interchangeable. The FineLiner comes in blue and black, while the RollerBall comes in a host of colors.

A brass button head screw
This prototype is raw, un-plated aluminum with a "machined" finish. This is how it looks right off the lathe, no sanding or polishing or anything like that. I plan to offer a nickel plated (to match my lights) and (drum roll) a titanium version as well!

The cap screws on and uses the titanium clip that I make for the Peak Eiger flashlight, with a slightly shorter bend at the shoulder. Blue fluorosilicone o-rings provide a nice grip surface. Soft but positive. Since the photo was taken I've added a 5th ring closer to the tip of the pen. The "styling" is up in the air and just what ended up with after a frenzy of machining. The production version may (or may not) look similar. Whatever the case, it will be a full-size pen with a screw cap and accept either the Montblanc FineLiner or RollerBall refill. The refills cost about $7-$8 each.

Any interest? :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Joby, meet Alpha. Alpha, meet Joby.

I've been fooling around with some "other' ideas about what you can do with a light. One drawback to flashlights is that you have to hold them in your hands. Joby even makes their own line of lights that mount to their tripods...but they are...wimpy. I wanted power, anywhere, anytime. So, I headed over to the CNC mill and made myself a set of three mounts. These are prototypes so I just hacked them out in an afternoon.

The cool thing about this particular tripod is the little red feet are magnetic, increasing the versatility even more. It's amazing for automotive work.

Time to start putting light where I need it
Most people think headlamps are the solution to hands free personal lighting, but I think for the most part, they suck. Don't get me wrong, I have 4 headlamps and they have their purpose...last resort lighting. My most frequent use is a tiny Black Diamond light that I wear around my neck when I'm in camp. Oh but you need to "work on something" and have your hands free right. Ever notice how having the light close to your line of sight is guaranteed to make your hands cast shadows on your work-space instead of actually lighting it?

Friday, July 27, 2012

"field testing" the Alpha

This actually has no real point, but that won't stop me. I was out doing some beam shots a while back and decided some horsing around was in order. I flipped the video camera on and started hurling some Alphas in the dark. I probably enjoyed it more than you will...hope you still watch :) Oh and yes, it's on grass so no real danger to the lights.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

For Sale: EL USB charging cables

This is my latest installment in my mission to bring you more awesome. This USB cable has moving Electroluminescent lights that slow down as your charge nears completion and turns off when your device is full. You can tell when your charge is done from across the room! Who really cares though, when you can just sit in the dark and stare at the thing. You can buy them from my website through this link. There are three versions available. All have Standard USB on one end. The others have Mini USB, Micro USB, and iPhone/iPad. The Apple version is white. I only have 20 of each so don't dilly dally. Price is $25 and includes free shipping via USPS first class mail. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The ultimate home toolkit

I was recently tasked with putting together a home tool kit from scratch. I have a shop full of about every tool you can imagine, but at home, a cobbled together mish mash of tools collected from childhood, from my father, from high school, college, that one time I decided to change my own spark plugs. You get the idea. So, this time it was pretty fun that I had free license to choose the tools I wanted and an hour to kill at Home Depot.

25 must have tools for the home repairman
(and woman, just don't make me say repairperson)
I picked out this kit with the 80/20 rule in will work for 80% of home fix-it situations. The other 20%? Well, you know that's how tools multiply :) So, you'll see that I haven't cheaped out. This set will set you back about $400 bones and you won't find a Leatherman in the group. A friend once said about the Swiss Army Knife: Good for some, great for none. One thing I've learned tinkering throughout my life, at machining school, in a hot rod shop, and two special effects shops...good tools never let you down, bad tools always do. They waste time and time is money. You don't want to waste money do you? 

Read on after the jump if you want to hear me babble on about what I picked out :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Why Zipper Pulls?

So someone asked me why the heck they should buy a zipper pull when zippers already have them. I thought of a bunch of snarky responses, but my professional response: I don't know. What I do know is that I (and other people) like to take mass-produced things and give them a little personality, and perhaps some added functionality, by customizing them.

Here is your mission: open this bag...quick!
Ohhh, can't find the black on black zipper pulls on a black bag? Sorrrrrry.
I took the clunky (and black) zipper pulls off of my camera bag and replaced them with some awesome ones! First, they look cool. Second, the high-vis orange means that I can actually find the zippers when I need to open the bag. The black ones blend in and I spend precious seconds searching for the opening instead of getting my gear out and shooting. I mean really camera bag you even use the stuff that you make? Fortunately (for me) they don't seem to. Zipper pulls: WIN!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Prototype Titanium Tailcap Button

Hey all, this is one of those accessories I've been planning to do from the beginning but never have the time to work on. It looks pretty simple but this is my 4th prototype. The button is designed to be a direct replacement in all Alpha's manufactured to date.

Stay classy my friend
Right now I'm still trying to find a return spring with the right force. The button has an o-ring around it which needs to fit tight enough to keep out water, but a spring is needed to push the button back into the "out" position. The tighter the seal the firmer the spring needs to be and the harder the button gets to push. It's been a little tricky to balance...BUT IT LOOKS AWESOME!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Blue tailcap boots have landed!

Yes indeed. One of my customers was trolling the internet and discovered some blue tailcap boots! Now if I can just remember who that was I'll send them a free me? 

Not GITD but a pretty darn close match to the fluorosilicone. Bad news is they are expensive...for tailcap boots. The good news is that I bought out every one they I'm not sure any more will ever be available. 

It's new! It's blue! It's a boot! 
These will now be an option during checkout and, for any existing Alpha owner, I'll send you a boot at my cost + shipping in a first class envelope = $2.50 

Just send paypal to and note something like "blue boot!" in the comments during checkout. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

New Prometheus Lights Logo! (again)

Hopefully I'm one step closer to having a satisfactory logo! It seems kind of crazy to keep iterating the brand identity...but the company is so new I don't really have one :) One of the advantages in starting from scratch right?

So, my new banner is at the top! What do you think? I ran a poll here on the blog and on Candlepower Forums as well. My old logo actually won both polls by a small margin. I'm not a (certified) scientist but I suspect there is some sort of bias towards things you are more familiar with :) Also interesting, most people who actually wrote a text comment were in favor of the new logo...but the majority of votes were in favor of the old. Not sure what insight to take away from that.

A few people asked me to provide some explanation on the "what" any "why" of the new mark, so if you are into, that please read on after the jump!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ce n' est pas une zipper pull

Recently someone asked me why the heck you'd need a titanium zipper pull when all zippers already come with pulls attached?

My first don't need them, you want them...just follow the swinging pocket watch with your eyes. Second answer: rather than a 9,000 word treatise on zipper pulls I decided to post the following 9 photos.

Let's begin with # 1 shall we?

Does this really need a caption? 
More photos after the jump. Don't worry, you won't even have to read "much" more text or look at my grungy Carhart jacket again :)  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Copper: building character with use

I made a limited edition run of 10 solid copper Alphas, and people often ask me why I would do such a thing. First, because it's awesome. If you've never held a pound of copper in your hand, it's pretty the first time you lift a gold bar. Okay, that one's still on the bucket list. You might consider a copper Alpha as a baby step.

Stage 1: a nice patina from people handling the light
Seriously though, many collectors like copper lights because they tarnish very easily and develop a patina that is unique to their owner and patterns of use. I think it's strongly related to the Japanese aesthetic of "wabi sabi." Other than being fun to say, the concept revolves around finding beauty in impermanence and imperfection. Objects that show their history are capable of a dialogue that more permanent objects are not.

The nice thing about copper is that you can also clean the slate and start over from new: enter Nevr-Dull!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

McClicky Switch Mod Part 2

Well, I don't think anyone was sufficiently impressed for my liking, so I decided to step it up a notch. I completely disassembled the switch and gold plated all of the internal metal components...even the ones you can't see in the photo :) I bought myself a little gold plating setup a few weeks ago and this was my test run. I also plated the (already nickel plated) retaining ring just to show off :)

24K gold, need I say more ? 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

You need a flashlight because...

...they don't have them at the DMV but can't read your vin number off the dash without one. The lady wasn't even impressed that I had one in my pocket!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Logo: at it again (please vote!)

Hi All,

Well I'm still trying to get the right logo. You know the drill. Which do you prefer?

The poll is open for a month but I'm hoping to make the decision by the end of the week so please vote now!

Which logo do you prefer?

Monday, April 30, 2012

Feedback on my website please

Hi all,

Now that my site has been up for a while and people have had a chance to use it a you have any suggestions on presentation of information, navigation, layout, pretty much anything? I'm considering doing V4 of the website and I'd love your feedback before I get started.

First question, should the landing page be the page below that allows you to select the store or the blog? I know most blogs link from inside the main site, but the blog content is pretty integral to what I'm doing and I want to make sure people see it.

Second: I'm also hoping to integrate a more sophisticated shopping cart, but one that can be embedded into my existing site and not a complete (template) replacement for my site. Ideally I'd like it to work just like PayPal where I can insert buttons where ever I want; again, not using a template. I'm not aware of anything like this so please let me know!

Third: On the other hand, my navigation is a little crazy...maybe I would be better served by a traditional shopping cart layout? My main problem is making the information now contained in "step 1" and "step 2" easily accessible to someone who is purchasing.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Tiny batch of Shorty bodies

Hi all,

I made up a hand full of shorty bodies with my last run and just getting around to posting them. Two stone washed, two blasted, and one brushed. I also have a complete stone washed shorty (see photo) available. The complete light is the same price as a regular Alpha. Shorty bodies are $50 each (plus shipping) and include a reducing sleeve for IMR CR123 batteries.

The ideal battery is an IMR 18350. Both are available from Lighthound, I do not sell this type of battery. Please note that you cannot use a single CR123 primary or a standard lithium ion battery; doing so is extremely dangerous. You MUST use an IMR battery. 

These bodies are intended for existing Alpha owners, or a new buyer that wants both the standard body and the shorty body. I know you are going to ask if you can order an Alpha and get the shorty body instead of the regular body. Sorry. Alphas are made as sets and I don't want to break them up.

These are not sold on my website so please email me directly if you'd like to purchase one:

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ever seen 200 LEDs in the same place?

This is hardly worth a post but I'm scrambling for content :) I'm putting a little "somethin' somethin'" together and I needed 200 LEDs. I hope to have an announcement about that some time soon. In the mean time I had to buy everything I needed to make 200 complete lights.

200 pcs of 4500K (neutral white) Cree MCE LEDs! 
Some people ask why my lights are expensive and this is the largest single cost besides the actual machining. You are looking at $3,000 worth of LEDs. Doesn't look like much right? This is one of 22 components that goes into a complete Alpha. I guess it adds up :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

WIN: I modded the world's best flashlight switch

I should say right up front this is going to get pretty geeky. Like comparing two different types of springs geeky. Better buckle up. I was at a manufacturing trade show (better latch that tray table as well) and found a company called Smalley Steel Ring Co. They make some really interesting stuff...enter the wave spring. It's time to loose the conical battery contact spring and get with the wave spring. I'll be integrating these into my lights as soon as possible.

No flashlight should use anything else. So, when everyone starts doing this, you heard it here first :) This is henceforth known as the "Prometheus Spring!" Cue the music...or you can just check out my first prototype integration after the jump.

They even look cool right? Besides that, there are even more advantages over a standard conical spring. Here are the highlights:
  1. No sharp edges. A typical conical spring is really sharp where the last coil is cut off and that cuts into the thin metal on each end of the battery. Long term...not good. It also makes the light feel awful and "scratchy" when opening and closing. Right now I have to put a blob of solder on the PCB spring and the McClicky switch spring to prevent them from destroying the batteries.  
  2. Distributed contact area: Each wave spring will contact the battery at the crest of each wave...typically 4 different places. A conical (or coil) spring only has one point of contact. Multiple contact points distribute the load generated when the light suffers shock...for example, when dropped. Every effort should be made to protect li-ion batteries from physical damage. 
  3. Shorter current path. In a typical spring the current must pass along the entire length of the spring, as if it were a straight wire. More distance equals more resistance, and resistance is bad. As you can see in the photo above, each crest touches a trough, making the current path incredibly short.
If you made it this far you might as well read on after the jump. More photos! You like photos right?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Can't leave well enough alone

So I bought a new today: a combination belt/disc sander. Woohoo right? I'm not normally a fan of combo tools. It's like a Swiss army knife: good for some, great for none. In this case, that's just what I was looking for. Nothing hard core, just a little something to help take the edge off. I don't know if you were paying attention but that was a tool pun.

Anyway, those of you that know me, know that I have an obsessive compulsion to modify and customize things. As I was assembling my new sander I spotted a 3L sized V belt on the machine. A deformed and pathetic one at that. Fortunately I remembered I had some high performance 3L Fenner link belt just lying around. No really. That's one of the advantages of being a hoarder. You just have stuff lying around.

If you are wondering, I'm blabbering on about the bright red pulley belt in the photo. Enjoy!

For those that care: a Rikon 1x42 belt + 8" disc sander from Woodcraft. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Help me with an instruction sheet!

Hi folks, so one thing I've been messing around with is an instruction sheet. One of those dozen little things that takes some cents out of my pocket but I think it will be both helpful and a nice touch. I'm having it printed, double sided, on post card stock. Please take a look and let me know what you think. Clarity, content, typos, whatever. I'd like to get some printed up sooner than later so please take a sec and comment!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Zipper Pulls V2 (Titanium boyyyyyye)

Okay so I was feeling a little frisky in the shop the other day. I ordered a 12" chunk of commercially pure titanium and decided to turn the whole thing into a bunch of zipper pulls. All of this was done on my Hardinge HLV-H manual lathe. No fancy computer stuff here, just old school handle crankin'.

Clean as...well, you come up with something
My friend Wilson looked at my first prototype and suggested I come up with some way to hide the knot. After some reflection I decided that was (1) a good idea and (2) perhaps even possible. This is what I came up with. The bottom of the pull has to be flat, instead of rounded, but I'm happy with the well balanced result.

So dear public, is this something you'd be interested in owning? Let's not talk about price yet...but keep in mind titanium is ridiculously expensive. I think these are awesome for adding a little custom touch to any mass produced garment, messenger bag, flashlight, pocket knife, camera bag, key chain, whatevs. I also think they would make awesome gifts that are unusual and classy (remember, it's titanium). Dear public, what say you?

Read on after the jump for more photos and explanation!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Belt buckle from the moon

So I just had to post this little bit of cool. I bought this little gem from an Etsy store called CitizenObjects. They have all kinds of amazing hand-made stuff made from (mostly) steel and a lot of items are one-of-a-kind, like the buckle below. By now you probably gather that I'm into that sort of thing. I just get a certain satisfaction from owning something that I know the creator cared about...and wasn't punched out by a robot by the millions.  Anyway, this is the first thing I purchased from the store. I have my eye on a few other buckles but I only have so many waists ya know?

"One of a kind" has a nice ring don't you think? 
I've been lurking for a year or two, but when I saw this buckle I had to have it. It's made from a piece of heavily corroded steel. I'm assuming it was acid washed to neutralize the oxide and then lacquered black. The closure hardware appears to be TIG welded onto the back of the buckle. It's sold "buckle only" so the suede belt is by yours truly. What, you don't have a couple of cow hides laying around at home? Maybe you should rethink that one.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Side Projects: Zipper (awesome) Pulls

I don't really have time to be doing side projects...but I've been thinking about this one for ages. I had a little down time yesterday and decided to whip out a zipper pull. When I started, a tear drop shape was the plan, but ultimately I was really happy with this "pill" shape. I'd actually like to make an sell these, so please leave a comment if you'd be interested. I'm thinking I'll do them in both nickel plated aluminum (to match your Alpha) as well as titanium.

A 6061 aluminum zipper pull with 2mm spectra cord