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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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 :)