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!

For CPF'ers

Hello fellow CPF (Candle Power Forums) members! I'm "archer6817j" on the forums. I know I haven't been around that long and I'm not nearly as illustrious as (any of) the other custom builders, but I hope you stick around and see where this goes. I certainly blame CPF for my excessive interest in flashlights! I first came across CPF when I was doing thesis research on LED canister dive lights...ohhhh, many years ago. My conclusion was that LED technology and battery technology wasn't where it needed to be in order to effectively compete with HID. I never ended up making an LED dive light but remembered the new ideas and custom work coming from CPF members.

I am a freelance designer and fabricator and was working on some cool projects. My most recent: I designed and built some display stands for Mission Motor's powertrain debut at SEMA. From time to time I promote some of my own work, but for the most part I make cool stuff for other people. A few months ago I decided to finally make a dive light, so I jumped back on CPF to see what was up. I built this light, quick and dirty. Holy smokes! It DESTROYED my venerable Ikelite 6C dive light. I think I was pretty much hooked at this point.

I realized I needed to learn some more about the different LED options, electronics, optics, and a million other options you can choose from. I decided to make something simple as a test bed, which led to this light, which started out as a direct drive MCE. It was fun to carry around, and I started showing it to friends after the sun went down. I've yet to see a jaw that didn't drop. Of course, if you are a flashaholic you know the face I'm talking about: total disbelief at the amount of light coming out of this little 1 inch by 5 inch gizmo.

That response pretty much told me I was on to something...and I've decided to start making lights full time. I went through a couple of iterations on the small MCE light. It quickly became apparent that I needed to make up a set of six mules on my manual mill and lathe, in order to test a bunch of different LEDs and optics. It also helped me tweak the mechanical design and get all of the parts fitting well. Then I went crazy. I bought a used Haas CNC mill.  A lathe is more ideal for flashlights, but as long as I keep the lights small, a mill is going to be way more versatile...and get me to the point where I can buy a nice lathe :)

Now I know I skipped over a few of the "usual" steps where hobbyists make a bunch of lights, develop a reputation, and transform into manufacturers, and that might make me look like some fly by night operation at first glance. Part of the reason for this blog is to give you some more insight into who I am and why I'm doing this. I need to jump into this thing whole hog or not do it at all. I hope you folks will give me a chance, provide the usual awesome feedback, and lead the wave of first adopters! I realize I've got a little bit to prove, but I hope that when you see my work it will speak for itself.



  1. Kendall the CarpentryHeroFebruary 7, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    RIGHT ON!!!!!! live the dream all flashaholics wish we could. I wish I could ;-)

  2. I agree with Kendall =)

    Someday I will have to build my own!

    You aren't starting from scratch though, as I looked at your resume and you already have much of what I believe is needed, style!

  3. that's how you got started. Interesting.

  4. Go man!! Buying your stuff right now!!!