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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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!

The "knot garage" in action
I think it might have been Arc'Teryx that came up with the "zipper garage" and in that spirit...this is the "knot garage." I back bored the pull with a 1/4" drill bit. After you tie the knot just yank down on the pull and seat the knot in the garage. The fit is very close so the pull will not (ever) slip up the cord. The smaller hole where the cord passes through is actually reamed after being drilled. This creates a much smoother surface inside the bore. Drilling creates a rough surface and I wasn't able, without tools, to pass both pieces of cord through the hole. After reaming the cord ends slide through easily. Most people would have just drilled a bigger hole...but I'm a machinist and we do all sorts of silly precision things.

12" inches of Ti and 13 pulls
Each pull is .65 inches long. The width of the cut-off blade is about .1 inches so that gets wasted on each one. I actually ended up with 15, but I'm keeping those two :) Ti sure is pretty isn't it? It's actually almost identical in color to the electroless nickel I use on my flashlights.

Wait a sec...that's not a zipper!
These little dingle-dangles can (and hopefully will) serve a lot of different purposes. I decided to put one on my light and I like it a lot. It makes it even easier to grab out of my pocket. It also serves as a mini retaining lanyard that you can slip around a couple of fingers instead of your whole wrist. Come to think of it, that's probably a lot safer too since this nylon cord as a breaking strength of 250 lbs.

walk into the light...
So things that glow are pretty awesome and here is the photo to prove it. The head of the light is glowing with self-illuminating tritium vials and the zipper pull has 3 glow in the dark o-rings around it. Those have to be charged with light in order to those stars on the ceiling above your bed?


  1. I want one!!!!! Definitely with the glow in the dark rings!

  2. I want one as well. That looks pretty cool. Next paycheck needs to come quick...

  3. I'd love one..or two. I love zipper pulls, and with your design I especially love them with the blue o-rings to match the light.

    One a side note, I have never seen any other maker using blue o-rings other than you, one look at the zipper pull with blue o-ring - and in the future - a myriad of other products with the same design cue and people would know "That's Jason's!"

    so why not make this your trademark?

  4. Thanks for the feedback so far! What would be really great is if you could forward this post to anyone you think would be interested. Maybe post it to your Facebook page? Thanks in advance :)

  5. Lillian and I would love to have one of those. They will work great on large personal bags too!

  6. Hey Jason,

    Why don't you 'borrow' those pics of your zipper pull from your sub-forum in CPF and post them here? Those customer-submitted pics looks awesome.

  7. Hey Jason,

    I'd definitely be interested in one or two of these. Really nice work!

  8. Hey I want a couple...keep me posted when its available for purchase

    Shyan (

  9. This would be a perfect accessory for my sebenza. Please email when/if you sell them