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Thread: TnC D-Flex (3 or 4 wide 18650) interest and ideas

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* LED Zeppelin's Avatar
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    Default TnC D-Flex (3 or 4 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    This thread is a spin off from LuxLuthor's thread in the Homemade and Modified Lights forum about the possibilities of producing a 3 wide 18650 tube.

    The application for such a tube would be for high current hotwires and multi-LED mods which are currently limited by tube and cell solutions.

    A123s and Emoli cells can deliver high current, but not all of us have A123 compatible chargers, or want to tear apart tool packs. Most of us do however have some or many 18650s which in a 3p configuration would easily deliver the current and capacity I need for my multi-LED mods.

    Eric has mentioned tentative plans for producing a triangularish modular tube system a la C-Flex line, that would fit either 3 wide 18650, or standard D cells. The tube would have a closed-tail, with cells loaded from the front. The tail would have a high-current clickie, or a plug that replaces the tail switch for use with a Mag-style side switch. There would be extenders available that can be used for any number of series additions.

    Adapters would be made on the head side for a variety of applicable heads including SF M-series and Mag. I believe the Mag adapter would also incorporate the ability to use the stock Mag switch, a configuration I would be very interested in since I need to fit converters and often a pot in front of the switch.

    Other than the cosmetic tube treatment, which I am looking forward to knowing what Chris can do with metal, there are some design decisions that need to be addressed like methods for cell contacts.

    The method of connecting the cells could be dedicated fused packs, but then packs like these would need to be fabricated or sourced.

    Cell holders could be made, but I imagine there would be a myriad of desired configurations of series/parallel combinations, so if those were also modular that would be a bonus. If cell holders are offered I hope there would be a charging jack so unloading is not necessary for charging.

    Another option is to have the cells simply drop into the bore, but there would be the issuse of connecting the cell ends to the light contacts with some type of wired end plates. This might actually work well considering the tri configuration would distribute contact spring pressure evenly. The problem I see here is the misloading of cells, especially by ones not familiar with the light. Also the orientation of both plates would need to be correct. This would not be so bad if there was a charging port on the light, and the cells rarely needed removal. But if not, I imagine Murphy's law will prevail and most of us will at some time or another have an accident.

    This thread will hopefully allow Eric and Chris to gauge demand for the D-Flex line, and gather opinions on what accessories to produce. Everything from cosmetic design to available space for converter boards needs to be determined for them to be able to produce what we want and need.

    Personally, being a multi-LED guy, I would like to see Mag D head compatibility with stock (or offerred) side switch, and room in front of the switch similar to a stock Mag. That would allow me to fit the several boards and pot I often need, and use the parts and heatsinks I have designed for the Mag tubes.

    I'd like to see it tailstand and have an attachment point for a lanyard, which could possibly be the plug for the tailswitch for my application.

    And HA natural or black would be nice choices, but the problem with natural is finding matching heads. Chrome would be a nice option to match up to FM3 heads.

    I'm interested to see the solution for alignment of the various sections and extensions, and how they will interconnect. Simple threads would need fixed stops for proper alignment, or perhaps a more exotic solution is in the works such as bolt-together gasketed sections. The bolts could occupy the space between the cells, and connect a flange or bosses that could be blended in to the tube for cosmetics. I'd prefer the bolts as it would be a stronger unit and wouldn't spin inadvertently.

    The D-Flex line is going to apply to more and more of us as we move up the food chain of modding. And it promises to be long-lived since the 18650 cells are available in almost any flavor from anyone, unlike the C cells. I think it's going to look killer, and be surprisingly comfortable to hold.

    This is exactly what I need and have needed; I'm excited that it may happen soon and with TnC quality.
    Last edited by LED Zeppelin; 02-20-2008 at 07:50 AM. Reason: change title

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Icarus's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by LED Zeppelin View Post
    This is exactly what I need and have needed; I'm excited that it may happen soon and with TnC quality.
    Great initiative!!! +1

    Appart from the stock Mag switch it would be good to have a better quality, high power switch been made. I’m a big fan of George’s MaxFlex and bFlex drivers, so I would love to see a good momentary switch as well.

    A big head (3” or even 3.5”) specifically designed for leds would also be very welcomed. Building a tri-led using 38mm reflectors is still an old dream of mine…
    Last edited by Icarus; 02-11-2008 at 01:34 AM.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic* LED Zeppelin's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Freddy, amen!

    The stock Mag switch is unnecessarily large; I'm sure a better switch with significant space savings could be designed.

    And a 3.5" head would be incredible. But it would probably have to house a reflector as well to satisfy the incan market. It's probably too much to ask for at this point, or even think about such a head, but an LED version would be much appreciated. Maybe one with a universal "floor" upon which different height pedestals can be placed for various LED/reflector combinations. The LED market shifts too rapidly to dedicate the heatsink to one particular combination, but perhaps such inserts could make it more universal.

    That's getting a bit ahead of the D-Flex line, but both you and I are seeing the same thing on the horizon. Hopefully there are others who want the same things.

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    Flashaholic* adamlau's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Best to integrate a soft start (dual mode low to high), 10A switch for higher voltage incan lamps. The ability to use loose cells is of greater preference over that of holders, which would be of greater preference still over packs. Would prefer not to have a charging port unless it was guarded against the unwanted infiltration of water and debris. A 3x18650 TnC D-Flex body would certainly open the floodgates towards innovations involving designs more compact and powerful than what is currently available today .
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Hi Dennis,

    Thanks so much for posting this. I can use the help with this thread if we are going to make something unique that can work for both LED and Hotwire camps. I don't know if you did, but it might be helpful to link from LuxLuther's thread that started this.

    I had to rewrite my post after seeing Dennis began addressing the issue of the triangular shape. For a body such as a triangular shape, extenders become problematic, unless the extenders are round inside and out. Otherwise it's hard to match up threaded sections cosmetically and functionally, but it can be done. However the issue remains if folks accidentally loosen the extenders with batteries inside. With an inside bore fitted to accommodate loose cells, or even with battery packs or holders, torquing from the two tube sections could mean trouble. Other than finding a good popular fix to this issue, the only realistic way to build a light with a form fitted interior section would be to eliminate the adaptors and build to length. For example tubes in 3x, 6x, and 9x could be built. Obviously there are compromises either way. I like the idea of extenders and use them. Perhaps then just the main tube could be fitted on the interior for loose cells and have triangular exterior dimensions and the extenders would be round inside and out? Then the only way to use loose cells would be within the primary tube. Of course you would load the batteries from the head end and not from the junction of the primary tube and/or extender.

    There are some reasons I wanted to be able to form the inside to fit the 3x 18650 cells, rather than just have a normal round bore. One reason is loose cells could be used. Another is that packs would be more secure perhaps, as that's the shape I wanted to bore the tubes. Perhaps more importantly, I also wanted to accommodate D size cells. If we bore a circle to fit 3x 18650s then that's too large for D cells and the various adaptors that already exist. I was seeking a more universal system that could use loose cells, packs, D cells, and adaptors fitted to D battery tubes (such as multiple AA, CR123, 17670, 17500 cells etc). Of course it would be nice to have pairs of 26mm cells, but that would likely take a larger tube than necessary for most applications.

    Perhaps the answer would be to add a form fitted insert into a regular round bored tube or extension tube. That might be the best idea all around but then the triangle is lost on the outside as well (at least for the extenders). At least this way the light would function with extenders and any-size-fits-all tubes. The cost would decrease significantly as well for the extenders and/or tubes, but would be less 'custom'. There are other ways of providing for anti roll and grip so we could explore those options. I'm kind of thinking aloud here, any comments?

    Thanks

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    Flashaholic* skalomax's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Very Interesting.
    With the shortage of C Li-ion cells, this would be great.


    (Eric, that's why I didn't get to buy any C-flex Bodies, I have no cells to use them with )
    I miss my Milkmods.

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    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Thanks for considering this, and LZ for starting thread here. I'm more on the incan interest side, so I think it is good to have a number of viewpoints represented, as it will appeal to a larger audience.

    In general, I think the goal (at least for a first version) should be to make this more universal, than narrowing down options. While a more open platform may not be as sexy, it will give more flexibility, and allow existing products to be used. Even though the basic Mag is not exciting, it has that common "universal" denominator. Look at how many mods and applications have used it. In the other thread, several mentioned the Wolf Eyes M-300, but I don't find it interesting since they force you into their fixed platform.

    Choosing a color or HA-Gray limits matching parts. There are many shades of HA-Gray that I have seen, so I would stick with a basic black, chrome, or polished aluminum--that could be custom coated if desired.

    It may be a mistake to try and work out all the electronics such as momentary 10A switch (which I don't think exists), specific battery configuration wiring, or only being able to use specific permanent battery tube slots. I see these as good ideas, but each could easily bogg down the project design, and restrict its adaptability.

    Looking at the FiveMega's Elephant design is another useful template to take note of. Because it uses a more universal approach, and adapts to many existing battery/switch/heads/reflectors, it has also become "The Host" for 6 or 7 wide AA's, or 4 wide 18650/"A" form factors. The only problem is it is no longer available, and a bit too wide for some.

    Trying to work out the various battery holder/compartment & various "s" & "p" configurations can get complicated and restrict options. It seems that an adjustable battery holder with various lengths spindle or a way to attach sections together with variations in contacts to make "s" or "p" combinations would be a better approach. Locking the user into an installed charging port can be a limitation if someone wanted to use a battery cradle or pack. A charging port would require the light to have an integrated secure connection from batteries to outside which is harder to setup than it sounds. It is easier to add a port after the fact if desired by drilling a hole. Any permanent end springs/battery/switch contacts on ends of tube should be of lower resistance design, and potentially removeable....since some designs may not work with certain spring contacts.

    I would recommend the more universal round battery compartment tube for 3 x 18650 + shrinkwrap. If you can add a triangular shape outside of the center battery compartment, I agree it would be novel and sexy. However, IMHO triangular shape should be seen as secondary if it leads to 3 individual (permanent) or dedicated battery tube compartments. I forsee threading/alignment issues with extention tubes lining up the triangular shape, unless you use a twist and lock to a set position setup.

    I would not narrow the head size or build a style that is mostly directed at multi-led setups. For incan hotwires, we need to depend on the standard Mag size metal reflectors, and available Maglite/KIU/AW switch/bulb holders. The widest appeal would be a setup that would become the desired 3 wide "A" & 18650 size host, and use a number of existing parts.

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* LED Zeppelin's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    LL has some very good points, more applications at the expense of 'custom'.

    I'm rethinking a bit, and though not necessarily what I want, I would recommend a more universal approach as LL suggested with the ability to use packs, holders, and maybe even the fitted inserts Eric mentioned for loose cells. The mindset needs to be how to build the widest variety of flashlights with the fewest number of parts, at least from a strictly business point of view.

    Throw in a dash of cool cosmetic machining and I'd be a happy camper. Anti-roll would be great - big lights have big rolls.

    I don't think I'd like different cross section tubes and extenders, I'd prefer them to look seamless.

    But a major bonus would be the availability of modular holders to go with the tubes. Maybe there could be holder units. A single layer of cells in a holder that can connect to another. There would be one for each cell type, and either series or parallel wiring.

    Heads should not be LED-only for sure, but LED-friendly. Even something as simple as a realtively wide, flat inner face with some tapped holes for mounting a heatsink would greatly help. I don't even know if heads are being considered, so that may not be a viable topic. But they should be; I'm positive there's interest and demand.

    Again, these are my recommendations, not my desires. My desire would be the triangular tube, 3.5" head, space-saver side switch, converter compartment, cell holder with charging jack, or loose cells with end plates and polarity protection. I'm greedy.

    But I'm also easy to please, and I know whatever gets produced I'll be more than happy. Compared to the slim pickings right now, and high effort required to procure decent hosts, the availability alone is enough to sell me.

  9. #9

    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    You guys are right; we need to have enough interest to actually build these. If you can't run off 30 or more parts of a product the costs are really steep.

    Dennis, I see what you mean. If the packs/carriers are only one 18650 cell long then you could just add as many as you add extenders. Would all the configurations still be available this way? You would be creating a serial juncture at each addition. In this way I guess it would only be a cosmetic issue whether a triangular tube met up seamlessly with an extender.

    We have heads on our agenda, but it takes one thing at a time. Actually we have a pretty lengthy agenda now. I agree we want big reflectors and multi LED capacity in the same head. The hassle is the big reflectors! It seems many have had issues with this process including TnC before.

    Jonathan seems to be trying to get some holders built here. Perhaps these would work adapted to 3x 18650. I can't find it now, but there was a do it yourself looking carrier being developed for around $20 that might be adaptable.

    So is the consensus the first neck should be a mag switch compatible mag D head adaptor? That would work for both parties it seems, unless we can see something more specific to LED uses or until we design one. I like saving the length of that large switch housing, however I have come to appreciate keeping hotwire heat a distance from the batteries as well.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    as this is an interest thread - I´m very interested in a 3x18650 host. Perfect if a MagD head would fit.. that´s exactly what I´m looking for!


    Edit: I´ve signed up for a shorty in the "Mammoth" order thread - please count me in (if/whenever a list wil be started)
    Last edited by dan_; 02-29-2008 at 04:51 AM. Reason: not longer interested
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    Flashaholic d1dd1's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    interested in 3 or 4 x 18650 fitting a Mag D head

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    Flashaholic Russki's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    I will take it, what ever it gona be.
    I am fan of 18650 cells.

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    Flashaholic* LED Zeppelin's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Eric, I think we're mostly on the same page at this point.

    Start with the most universal which would be the tube and Mag switch/head adapter, and some form of cell holder to fit a round bore. I'm sure this basic platform will be able to generate much more than the 30 units needed to make it worthwhile.

    The cell holder units would only cover 3p units in series, or all cells in series, but that's a good start and maybe enough. With Jonathan's reconfigurable contact holder design only one type of holder unit would need to be produced. Those who are looking for something more specialized could opt for a battery pack.

    At least it's nice to know heads are on the drawing board, and now they'll have tubes to mate and integrate to.

    Now I'm looking forward to seeing some cool machining and cosmetic treatments.

  14. #14
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    I hope this works out !!!

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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas


  16. #16
    Flashaholic* LED Zeppelin's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    I'm wishing out loud here; this is what I'd like to see:

    - Tube that can accept 3 or 4 X 18650 across
    - Matching extension tube(s)
    - Cell holders offerred for tube and extension configurations
    - Mag switch/head compatible adapter, finned near head
    - Large head, 3"+, offerred with and without reflector, LED friendly, finned and/or grooved for heat dissipation
    - Quality lens, AR coated
    - Chemkote interior
    - HA, bare, and hopefully chrome finish
    - Really cool machining integrating head to tail

    D'I miss anything?

    If 30 is the target quantity for moving this to the top of Eric's to-do list, I'll start by committing to (2) complete lights, head-to-tail, w/ cell holders in a 14.8 V configuration, no reflector necessary. Move over Moby Dick, make way for Behemoth.

    Feel free to express purchase interest so we can get this rolling by brute force if need be.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    That is some list you have there.. Battery Holders, Battery Tubes, Extension Tubes, Head, Switch, Tail. Man that is one heck of a setup... Someone sure does have a lot of engineering to do!!! Oh, wait, that would be me..

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* LED Zeppelin's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Chris, I wouldn't have it any other way. Or at least let me say I wouldn't want anyone but you at the helm. That's why I'm so keen on this particular project.

    I'm sure it won't be the cheapest setup, but it will be the flat-out best. And for all the effort we collectively put into our big light mods, often the host is the least of the expense, especially factoring in the time invested.

    My TnC light thus far can stand up to magnified scrutiny, perfect workmanship at the less-than-visible level. Imagine applying that quality to a BIG light. I'm really lookin forward to building up some insanity in one of these.

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* skalomax's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Waiting patiently for a HA NAT 3in head.
    I miss my Milkmods.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* adamlau's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Would prefer a dual stacked body (six, or eight cells) to start off with over a single stack + extension tube(s).
    Last edited by adamlau; 02-19-2008 at 07:58 PM.
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    Flashaholic* Icarus's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by LED Zeppelin View Post
    I'm wishing out loud here; this is what I'd like to see:

    - Tube that can accept 3 or 4 X 18650 across
    - Matching extension tube(s)
    - Cell holders offerred for tube and extension configurations
    - Mag switch/head compatible adapter, finned near head
    - Large head, 3"+, offerred with and without reflector, LED friendly, finned and/or grooved for heat dissipation
    - Quality lens, AR coated
    - Chemkote interior
    - HA, bare, and hopefully chrome finish
    - Really cool machining integrating head to tail

    D'I miss anything?

    If 30 is the target quantity for moving this to the top of Eric's to-do list, I'll start by committing to (2) complete lights, head-to-tail, w/ cell holders in a 14.8 V configuration, no reflector necessary. Move over Moby Dick, make way for Behemoth.

    Feel free to express purchase interest so we can get this rolling by brute force if need be.
    I couldn't have said it better!
    Including the 2 committed lights!

  22. #22

    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Quote Originally Posted by LED Zeppelin View Post

    If 30 is the target quantity for moving this to the top of Eric's to-do list, I'll start by committing to (2) complete lights, head-to-tail, w/ cell holders in a 14.8 V configuration, no reflector necessary. Move over Moby Dick, make way for Behemoth.
    30 wouldn't move it to the top of the to do list, it would just make it doable, but still with high manufacturing costs. 50 or more units would bring down the costs further. The only reason for us to approach this project would be to do something for CPF. There is a ceiling on the potential for future runs for lights of this caliber. In addition there appears to be a competing prospective project that has been discussed for some time. If you split the interest as seems to be occurring then there is all that much less motivation for builders.

    We've discussed providing all the parts for complete builds, including battery holders and reflectors. In addition discussion of collaboration is in the works. However without serious interest it's folly to pursue a build that will require as much effort as this one will.

    A 4x 18650 body is only slightly larger than a 3x 18650 body so you might want to change the thread title? Thanks

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* LED Zeppelin's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 or 4 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Eric, doable is a start, bringing costs down even better.

    I believe there is serious interest, if I may speak for Freddy so far 4 lights are committed from 2 members.

    The competing project lacks the key components to complete a package. Heads without reflectors are useless for incans, and cell holders are necessary for those who don't want to build or buy a dedicated pack.

    I agree that from a strictly financial view, the D-Flex project probably does not make the most sense. Neither do any of my builds, or most of the automobile flagship cars. What they do accomplish is to showcase the ability, resources, and talent of their makers, generate excitement, and elevate the maker above their competition and peers.

    I'm have confidence that this could very well be the nicest big custom light ever produced, and will be the platform of many unbelieveably creative mods.

    I don't think we can expect purchase commitments without pricing or depictions, so to avoid a catch-22 situation maybe anyone seriously interested can express themselves here to gauge whether or not the D-Flex should move forward.

  24. #24
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 or 4 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    I don't see these as competing projects. Those that want the 3 wide have a whole other set of interests for that platform...smaller grip size, different voltage setups, etc. than the 4 wide. The FM Elephant created a historical demand when people saw what could be done...and the demand is there with another 4 wide.

    The 3 wide has never been done in a flexible system. The 18650 cells are here to stay in safe chemistry. That automatically creates a whole new demand for those who want a smaller tube width for those "petite man-hands."
    Last edited by LuxLuthor; 02-20-2008 at 12:17 PM.

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* adamlau's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 or 4 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    What LuxLuthor said. FM is set to start a second run of four-wide Elephants. The Mammoth is a four-wide project as well. TnC can blaze the trail with a run of three-wide D-Flex bodies.
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  26. #26
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 or 4 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    I'm not getting warm feelings on the Tri-Config. Could be the recent snow storm we had though!

  27. #27

    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 or 4 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Hi Lux,

    I haven't dropped the ball on this. Chris costed out some battery holders based on the design by Jonathan and it came out to about $40 a piece (our costs) which is a non starter when you consider all the factors and what the market would likely bare. We are designing holders trying to rely more on off the shelf parts we can source. We'll see where that leads.

    At the same time for a week or two I've been discussing a collaboration based on our ideas and the ideas of another CPF builder. We are not ready to make an announcement concerning our work as we have not yet firmed up all the details and would rather not have a CPF marriage if it ends in a premature CPF divorce

    At the same time, it appears there is insignificant savings in terms of the OD of the tube to go exclusively with a 3x holder setup. I believe it only comes to about 0.1" less than a 4x tube. This does not mean we have abandoned the notion of 3x tubes, as I understand the unique opportunity this would create for certain voltage applications. In fact as is the case with TnC and our other Series of light systems, we'd like to have a modular approach allowing for most battery configurations (not just 18650). There lies the rub. That is a challenging proposition in and of itself without entering a market full of other projects that fit in the same general niche. There is no reason to make something for a saturated market. We own plenty of parts as it is

  28. #28

    Default Re: TnC D-Flex (3 or 4 wide 18650) interest and ideas

    Could a triangular tri- 18650 tube be extruded?

    Edit: My laptop has a spring loaded slider button recessed that I have to push across to drop the battery pack. Something like that could be put on a triangular tailcap.

    Edit2 There could be three hollow ribs/tubes on the inside located in the center of each flat side and those could be tapped so extender and adapter sections could be attached together win three screws(or more)!
    Last edited by mpteach; 01-18-2009 at 03:23 PM.

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