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.

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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.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Jason,
    What an innovative high tech looking Alpha prototype you have here. What a different look I don't think I have ever seen a carbon fiber encased light. Albeit I haven't seen many things in this world.
    The milled out skeleton would make this light very light in the hand. I am surprised that you aren't milling the prototype tube in house, but I suppose you are to busy getting the next run of Alphas ready. I do agree with you that is some ridiculous mill work, it's almost a shame to cover it up. Hey why not develop a skeleton concept light also that would have a see through battery chamber. One issue would be and a small one would be to deburr all the exposed edges, but that would be done anyway on the carbon fiber model anyway if the fiber would be slid off to admire the skeleton.
    Well I have run on long enough and the development will be interesting to follow.
    Good luck with the project,