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

In case you missed the Beta-QR Kickstarter...

Hey all, just wanted to let people know you can still pre-order a Beta-QR for 2014 delivery. You won't be charged now, but registering will save your place in line! Just click this link .

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Trying to do some "media stuff" you know, social-like

Hey all, I'm trying out a couple of new things!
  1. Tumblr:
  2. Instagram:
One of my Kickstarter backers actually started the Tumblr page for my Prometheus Writes project. A very awesome idea and a nice gesture! So, if you want to see/post some pen pics, that is the place! 

I also decided to sign up for Instagram and will be trying to use that for more "off the cuff" photos of work in progress and my daily win/fail routine.

Besides, I hear this is what all the kids are into these days. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Preon Pocket Clips are Back in Stock!

I just finished up a new batch of Preon Clips. Get 'em while they are hot! (LINK)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Check out this Kickstarter: Jack wrench for electric guitars, amps, and FX pedals

Hi all,

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

Old Toasters & New Tools

I just had some custom made LED mounting bases manufactured, which are very awesome. However, it was going to cost and outrageous amount of money to have LED soldered to them by a third party vendor. Soooo, I decided to make my own Reflow Toaster Oven! Don't worry, that's not as terrible of an idea as it sounds. I purchased a Black & Decker FC150 Infrawave oven like the one below.
Black & Decker FC150 Infrawave toaster oven
Basically any toaster oven with infrared heating elements will work. The FC150 is very old and hard to find, but is one of the original "host" ovens used when this kind of mod became popular...oh...a bunch of years ago. The main reason I wanted this model, is I knew there was space inside the side panels for all of my kit. The upgrade involves some fancy electronics that you'd need a degree to identify and assemble, but in the internet age...ETS Techincal already makes a kit! Let's open this bad boy up shall we? 
Yes, it's as much of a mess as it appears to be. (Click for a larger image) 
I didn't really take any "process" shots but this is about 3/4 of the way through the conversion. It's reasonably simple if you have some basic knowledge of AC wiring, DC wiring, and relay wiring. No biggie right? :) The main part of the kit is a microcontroller with an integrated LCD display and external keypad. You basically disconnect ALL of the existing wiring/controls and install the new kit in the side panel of the toaster. I also installed a sheet of adhesive backed thermal shielding to help isolate the electronics from the heat inside the oven. Blah blah right? Where is the video?!

Best Viewed in Full Screen (1080P HD)!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Kickstarter Progress Update: Alpha Pen

Hey folks,

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!

Please don't forget to check out my YouTube channel as well! Here is my last fancy pants update video created by Whitmore Productions. I have other short behind the scenes videos about the pen project and other flashlight esoterica too :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Charger Upgrade: MP1 to MP1S

Xtar has a new version of the MP1 (the MP1S) and this will supersede the previous charger. All lights will now ship with the MP1S! This updated version features extendable battery spacers to accomodate a range of li-ion batteries, from the standard 18650 that powers the Alpha, to smaller 16340 and 18350 batteries. The charge current remains at 500mA because it is a USB based charger. Check out the new MP1-S on my website (link) !

Monday, June 10, 2013

New Product: XTAR WP2 Double Bay Charger

Hi folks,

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

First Shots: Quick-Release AAA Key Chain Flashlight!

Hi everyone,

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! 

The new light is just over 1/2" in diameter and 3" long, not including the QR portion. In keeping with the Prometheus focus on high-quality "usable" light, this model will feature the 92+ CRI Nichia 219 LED (4500K neutral white). This means it won't have the most output of "any" AAA light, but it will have superior color accuracy for when you really "need" to have some extra light. I'm not aware of any AAA light on the market that comes standard with the 219, but the light quality is nothing short of spectacular. 

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

NOW AVAILABLE: Titanium Preon Pocket Clips

Hi Folks,

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

HDS Pocket Clips Back in Stock!

Yep, more HDS clips are in stock. (link) 

Get 'em while they are hot. These new clips are the much stronger 6Al/4V titanium alloy. Previous clips were CP2 titanium.

That is all.

Friday, April 19, 2013

NEW: Primary Seal Ring DIY Kit

Hi Folks,

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
DIY Upgrade: Pricing is on the sales page of my website :)

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:

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 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

Alpha pen on Kickstarter! ... only a few hours left!

Hey folks, it's down to the wire! I'm excited to say the project has broken 1000 backers! Act now and you can still sign up for a pen at a little over 50% of the future retail price. Also, my new machine arrived a couple days ago. Head on over to Kickstarter and check out my most recent update for more photos. Thanks for your support!

My first new machine tool! The next youngest in my stable was made in 1991. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Help my project reach 1000 backers on Kickstarter!

Hey all,

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'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 advance!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Alpha Pen Scores (near) Perfect Review @ Everyday Commentary!

Check it out! The Alpha Pen reviewed @ Everyday Commentary

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

Prometheus Writes: Alpha Pen now LIVE on Kickstarter!

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.
If you feel like lending a hand...

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

Prometheus Writes: In Titanium!

Hey Folks,

I just wanted to let you know a titanium version (Grade CP2) of the pen is also in the works. Teaser shots below.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Alpha Pen (NOT) Vapor

Hi all! I'm excited to show you some teaser shots of the Alpha Pen. I hope this project will be launching really soon. This prototype is nickel plated, but if all goes well, I'll also be offering a titanium version. Enough talk right?

Monday, February 18, 2013

More Blasted & Polished Shorty Bodies Available

Hi All,

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 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.

  1. 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. 
  2. 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

Prometheus Lights will appear in Season 2 of VGHS!

For those of you that don't know FreddieW, he has the #7 YouTube channel on the internet. Last year they launched a crowd-funded YouTube TV show called Video Game High School which was an offshoot of previous work. Freddie's channel has 4.6M subscribers. I know, crazy right? Lucky for me I'm excited to announce that my lights will appear on at least two episodes of the upcoming season! Don't forget to subscribe :) You still have about 60 hours to support their Kickstarter campaign if you want to grab a piece of the glory.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Retail Product: Stor-A-Cell Battery Carriers

Hi all, I guess you can tell I'm on a bit of a roll here with the new products. As always, my goal is to bring you more awesome and these little battery carriers are just another step in that direction. The carriers are made the the good ol' USA and were originally designed for pilots to keep spare batteries organized in their flight bags.
This is a 15 second exposure. Check out the "moon shine" material!
Most of us just call it Glow in the Dark or GITD :) 
It just so happens they'll do the same job in your junk drawer. They are also great for travel or if your job requires you to have spare batteries on had. Of course they also work with rechargeable batteries, so keep an eye out on the blog because I'll be getting in some Sanyo Eneloop NiMh AAA and AA batteries in the next couple of weeks!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

New Retail Product: LRI X-Light Micro!

Hi everyone,

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
David is credited with being the "father" of the micro-light, which he first started manufacturing at his kitchen table back in 1993. He's basically the flashlight maker from whence the rest of us came. I know, cool right? Ever since we met I've wanted to carry his products for the same reasons you should buy one:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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

Crowd Fund a Titanium 4Sevens PREON clip!

Hi all. Over the last few months a lot of people have been asking if I'd make a titanium clip for the 4Sevens Preon flashlight. I didn't own a Preon so I bought one (okay two) and it's a great little AAA light that packs a puch.
AAA and 2xAAA flavors 
However, the clip is a little on the wimpy side and has some strange styling that doesn't really fit the otherwise austere nature of the Preon...a little too ornamental for my taste. So, here is my entry! If you don't own a Preon, this clip might make it worth buying. If you do own a Preon, what are you still doing on this page?

Click here for my CrowdTilt campaign and help fund the Ti Preon clip into existence! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One step closer to a carbon Alpha

My custom tubing is still a few weeks out buy I couldn't resist playing around today. The point of carbon is to be strong and light, so I want it's use in this light to be a little bit more than cosmetic. I've also decided the first batch will be the "carbon ultra-light" version. To that end I'm milling away about half the normal mass of the body. Still not sure what the final product will be like, but this is my first prototype ultra-light body.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Two (2) "Full Brushed" Alpha Blue-Label lights for sale

Hi Folks,

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

Alpha Carbon: Oh, it's real(ly almost real)

I just ordered 30 feet of custom made carbon fiber tubing. It only took me about 16 months to find a supplier. Turns out, sometimes all you need to solve a problem is wait long enough for the internet to get better. I digress. I'll be using Clearwater Composites out of Duluth, MN.
My old experimental prototype
I don't have all the details worked out, but they are just details. The carbon tube will be a thin sleeve that covers the aluminum tube, so the interior of the light will still be continuous aluminum. However, my plan is to mill away a significant portion of the body for maximum strength and weight reduction (below).
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. 
Normally you'd bond the carbon to aluminum with epoxy. However, I'm thinking I'll leave it unbonded, so you can remove the tailcap, slip of the carbon sleeve, and proceed to admire the ridiculous mill work underneath. Sound good?

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

Price Drop: Brunton Solaris2 USB Panel

Hey all. I have not been selling any of these USB solar panels. I'm not sure if that's because you don't need them or because the price is too high. Yes, it's a little expensive, but what exactly is an unlimited source of USB power worth? I'd say at least $149.00 (MSRP $180.00).

Check out my blog post about speding 10 days in the
Utah back country with two Alphas and a Brunton Solaris
If you spend any amount of time away from a wall outlet this thing is a terrific deal. I've dropped the price down to the lowest price that my contract with Brunton allows. I was hoping to get a little extra since I'm a small company and will never move a ton of these things. However, selling a few is better than none :) I feel bad for my inventory, just sitting on the shelf and not living out its true potential.

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

Small Batch of "Shorty" Bodies Available Now!

Hi all,

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

NEW PRODUCT: Klhip Ultimate Clipper

Huh? Yes, I've decided to carry a nail clipper. You can imagine how awesome it is, because I'm sure you know that I wouldn't sell anything that wasn't the pinnacle of awesome. This link will take you to the new product page on my website. I spend plenty of characters relating just how awesome it is on that page so I won't rehash everything here. Suffice to say, you should check it out.

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
In short, I love this thing for two reasons. First, it works so well you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. Second, it's actually the pet-project of a fellow I know from my days in the fly fishing industry. He's a designer/maker like myself and just got inspired one day and came up with, oh you know, something revolutionary. Not a bad day eh? Now if I could only sell as many flashlights as they sell clippers...

Friday, January 18, 2013

One of my stocking stuffers

I just wanted to take a moment and wife really knows how to stuff a stocking! I already ate the Hot Tamales so they are not pictured :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

iPhone 5 EL cables now available!

Now your phone can ride the light! In case you missed these before I have several versions available on my website. This Electro-Luminescent cable replaces your standard charging cable. Check out the link for a video of the cable in action. I know Christmas is over but don't forget about birthdays or even a "hey I'm glad the world didn't end in 2012" gift for someone special. Nothing says "I care" like lights in motion.
Now iPhone 5 compatible! 
It has 3 "speeds" that are activated based on the charge state of your device. If your device is "low" when you plug it in the light move really fast. As your battery gets full, the lights will slow down. The cable shuts off when your battery is full so you don't even have to get up and look to see if you phone is charged. I know, cool right?