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!
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Besides, I hear this is what all the kids are into these days.
Monday, August 12, 2013
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Do you have an electric guitarist in your life? Is Christmas coming this year? Then click this link!
Sorry if you've already seen this from me, I'm just trying to help a buddy out :) My shop-neighbor Bill Hoff just launched this Kickstarter project. He runs a one man machine shop two doors down from me and invented this awesome jack wrench that prevents you from damaging any of the jack components while tightening the jack nut. Lame if you are at home, a gigantic disaster if you are at a gig, expensive in either case.
Even if you aren't a guitarist, you probably know one! It would mean the world to Bill (and maybe his future) if you'd be willing to share his project with your friends, family, and social media outlets. There is nothing on the market like this, so if anyone can hook up this project with some "music industry" attention that would be amazing!
Monday, July 15, 2013
|Black & Decker FC150 Infrawave toaster oven|
|Yes, it's as much of a mess as it appears to be. (Click for a larger image)|
Saturday, July 13, 2013
I figured some of you would be interested in the Kickstarter progress/process even if you didn't back the project. All of my updates are public...except for boring administrative stuff that only applies to backers :) So you can just follow this link and find the current update and all of the past updates as well!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Monday, June 10, 2013
I just got in a batch of the Xtar WP2 chargers so you can charge two batteries at once! This model also includes spacers so you can fit everything from a full size 18650 to the shorter 16340 (CR123 size) or the 18350. The WP2 also features a selectable charge current of 500mA or 1000mA. Because of this higher charging current, it is not USB compatible, but it comes with a standard wall plug. You can also set the charger to setting "0" and this activates the USB port on the charger, so you can plug in your other USB devices and charge them. Check out the WP2 on my website (link)!
Selectable Output: Please be sure you know which setting to use (500mA or 1000mA). Basically the 1000mA setting is for larger batteries, and 500mA is for smaller ones. The charge current should not exceed the battery capacity! For example, a 500mAh battery should be charged at 500mA. 1000mA should not be used on a battery with less than 1000mAh of capacity. It can be dangerous to exceed the charging capacity of your battery.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
I've been sitting on this project for a while. It's been about six months in the making. I just applied for a patent, so now I can show you some photos of the world's first Quick-Release Key Chain Flashlight! The images below are "beta" prototypes and fully functional. More than likely, the production versions will be offered in Type III hard anodize (with knurling) and Electroless Nickel (with fine flutes or smooth head) to match my other offerings.
If you are interested in seeing this light make it to production, please post a comment below!
Output is expected to be around 70 lumens with two modes, "moonlight" and full power. "Moonlight" is a flashaholic term for really-low and is excellent for use with night-adapted vision. On high, this little wonder is still as bright as the old incandescent "cop" MagLite that takes two D cell batteries. Did I mention it fits on your keychain?
Monday, April 29, 2013
I'm excited to announce my Preon pocket clips are finally for sale on my site! (LINK) .
This project came about after many customer requests. I used the crowdfunding platform CrowdTilt to launch the product. I ran about 100 clips and the last ones are now available! This clips replaces the stock clip on the Preon. It's made from 6Al/4V titanium alloy and is significantly thicker and stronger than the original clip. It's also more simple and understated, which I think compliments the clean lines of the light quite nicely.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
As most of you know, I've been installing the Primary Seal Ring in both Ready-Made and Blue-Label lights for the past few months. Now those of you have have pre-PSR lights can order your own kit if you are feeling crafty. If not, you can return the light for an upgrade. Just to recap, the PSR is a 100% custom made part from Smalley Steel Ring Co., engineered specifically for sealing the Alpha window.
|Primary Seal Ring (PSR) and nylon-jaw installation pliers|
I really (really) recommend getting the nylon-jaw pliers if you plan to DIY. See the "note" below. I do not warranty any damage you do to your own light :)
Mail-In Upgrade: The cost to send in a Ready-Made light for upgrade is $20 This covers the ring, the labor to install it, a thorough cleaning of the light, replacement of any o-rings that need it, and return shipping. Blue-Label owners pay only $5 for return shipping. The PSR and installation is provided (free) as part of the Blue-Label "Lifetime Upgrade" program. Membership has it's privileges as they say :)
If you want to send your light, please email me in advance to make arrangements: email@example.com
PLEASE NOTE: The nylon-jaw pliers are an option when you order a PSR kit. I spent months trying to find the best pliers for the job, in order to make DIY installations easy and reduce the chance you will damage the light during the install.
Doing an install with the bent-nose pliers I use in the video is tricky! The nylon pliers are dead simple.
Each installation deforms the jaws very slightly, because the jaws are nylon and the ring is stainless steel. However, you should get 6+ installations out of a set of jaws...so essentially a lifetime of use. I do sell extra sets of the nylon jaws if you are the kind of person that always likes to have a backup :)
Friday, April 12, 2013
|My first new machine tool! The next youngest in my stable was made in 1991.|
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Thanks so much for all of your support thus far! I just wanted to let you know my Kickstarter campaign has 7 days to go. Can you help me hit 1000 backers?! The current count is an amazing 931, but I'd love to break that 1K mark...it's just so close!
So, even if you have done it already, please share on Facebook, tweet, email, call (like on a telephone), blog, carrier pigeon or whatever you can think of to get the word out for the final push!
You rock...in advance!
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Score: Ti: 19 out of 20; Al: 20 out of 20
"Jason's aesthetic is cohesive, clean, and when electroplated, as gleaming an example of the new craftsman gear movement as I can imagine. You want people to ask about your gear? You want to introduce people to stuff made by talented, small batch craftsmen? Carry the Alpha. It is all you'll talk about...If you are the jobsite type, the tumbled Ti should be your weapon of choice. If you are the suit type, trust me on this one, the electroplated Al will be a showstopper. Truly an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. " --Everyday Commentary
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Hi everyone! I'm super excited to let you know my Kickstarter project is live as of about 15 minutes ago!
Enough talk right? Here is the link:
- This is actually a "soft" launch so you are getting this announcement before a big media push on Monday.
- That means you'll have a chance to get in on the first batch of discounted pens.
- The longer you wait the more expensive they get.
I'd love it if you'd back my project and sign up to receive a pen!
Whether you choose become a backer or not, it would be hugely amazingly wonderfully helpful if you'd help get the word out.
Forward this post, blog it, share on Facebook, tweet, Reddit, submit a link to your favorite gadget blog...feel free to get creative. I guarantee someone you know will go crazy for one of these!
I'm looking forward to hearing what you think. Send me a note back with your thoughts and, if you become a supporter or share this with other folks, be sure to let me know so I can thank you!
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Monday, February 18, 2013
I have 4 more Blasted & Polished shorty bodies for sale on my site (link).
They say that when you are delivering news that is not good news, you should find some good news to lead with. Now that we got that out of the way...the other news...you will notice that there as been a price increase on the shorty bodies...and there will be a price increase on Blue-Label lights as well.
After doing my finances for 2012, and then deciding I'd like to keep running my own business, it is abundantly clear that my current pricing structure isn't going to allow me to do that. As both a business owner, and as a customer, I know price increases are feared and reviled. However, that doesn't change reality. I need to acknowledge (through pricing) that the three finishes I offer take vastly different amounts of time and effort (and lost/rejected parts) to accomplish. Henceforth:
Shorty pricing (body only):
- Blasted & Polished - $70
- Stone Washed - $60
- Full Brushed - $50
Alpha Blue-Label pricing (light only):
- Blasted & Polished - $375
- Stone Washed - $350
- Full Brushed - $325
It gives me no pleasure to raise prices. Frankly, I'd be happy to give away lights, but there is that pesky supporting myself, my family, future college tuition for my son, and progressively more grown up stuff that I have to think about these days. What I'd really like is a patron that would offer me total financial security and creative freedom in exchange for delivering more and more awesome to doorsteps around the world every month. So, if that describes you, please give me a call.
Getting back to business stuff. Just so you know, my plan isn't just to raise prices and hold on for angry comments. My short term plan is two-fold.
- I'm actually cutting back on production of Blue-Label lights. At most, I will offer 15 lights per month...5 of each finish. I plan to do more limited runs, special editions, and one-off lights. Some months there may not be any standard lights at all. At the moment, next month is looking sparse.
- I also plan to focus on several major projects that I'm putting off because I don't have time. One is my Prometheus Pen, another is a smaller and much less expensive flashlight, and finally an undisclosed project related to lighting, but not portable. So please stay tuned. Things are going to start happening fast :)
|Just so you know it's not vapor|
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Sunday, February 3, 2013
|This is a 15 second exposure. Check out the "moon shine" material! |
Most of us just call it Glow in the Dark or GITD :)
Saturday, February 2, 2013
A couple years ago I was at the SHOT show and had the opportunity to meet David Allen, the founder of LRI. He was incredibly nice, unassuming, and even had some kind words to say about my little case of custom lights. There are several versions, but X-Light Micro (below) is my favorite...and it's about the size of a quarter! If you don't need more convincing, you can get one from my store!
|Flavors: Clear and Black|
- He's a great guy. He and his wife run a company of 30 people out of a small town in Oregon known colloquially as the "light house." I like knowing who makes my stuff and I especially like buying it if I know they are good folks. I'll even pay a premium for that. Call me old fashioned.
- All of the products are 100% manufactured in the US when this would be the perfect product to make overseas and triple your profits overnight. I guess they care more about their product than profit, which is a (very) rare thing these days.
- These lights friggin' rock. This tiny little light has a microprocessor in it making the LED smoothly dim-able and able to deliver 3 different strobe modes, an SOS mode, and a "signal" mode where the button works only in "momentary" mode so you can tap out your message in Morse code. You DO know Morse code right? Wow, that's good because I don't...but I could learn some day.
- Runs for 12 hours on a single set of batteries...on full blast. That means for keychain use...That might last me a year or more. The lithium coin cells should store for 3-5 years.
|Glow in the dark = Awesome|
(in case that needed clarification)
Thursday, January 31, 2013
|AAA and 2xAAA flavors|
Click here for my CrowdTilt campaign and help fund the Ti Preon clip into existence!
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Sunday, January 27, 2013
It appears the current appetite on the wait list for the "full brushed" finish has been satisfied. So, now they are for sale on my site. I have two lights left from the last batch. They are available for immediate purchase. Just follow this link !
Friday, January 25, 2013
|My old experimental prototype|
|This is just a concept, the interior may look different and assumes |
I won't be forced to epoxy the carbon skin to the aluminum skeleton.
This isn't a "done deal" yet because I haven't seen any tube. It's being made now and will be a couple weeks. Once I get it, I'll have to figure out exactly how to engineer the rest of the light. It will also have to meet some pretty tight manufacturing tolerances so we'll see if that's possible. For example, if the outside diameter is too big and won't slide inside the head...project sunk...anyone a carbon toilet paper roll holder? Hmmmm.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
|Check out my blog post about speding 10 days in the |
Utah back country with two Alphas and a Brunton Solaris
Please be advised. You can search the internet and find these for less money. However, anyone selling for less than $149.00 is violating their dealer's agreement with Brunton and they mess up the market for all of us honest folks.
Monday, January 21, 2013
I get a lot of requests for "shorty" bodies for the Alpha. Typically they are special-order-only but I've decided to make a small run of 10 pcs for each finish: blasted & polished, stone washed, and full brushed. The shorty body is about 1" shorter than a full size light. It also requires a special battery. Details are on my site. Please read everything before you order! There are some important details you need to know.
Oh and these are "body only," not complete lights.
Sunday, January 20, 2013
I've also reorganized navigation for "the store" so please provide any feedback you might have!
|In this case, you can actually believe the marketing stuff written on the box|
Friday, January 18, 2013
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
|Now iPhone 5 compatible!|