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Thread: Brass or Stainless Steel?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic
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    Default Brass or Stainless Steel?

    What is the most durable material - brass or stainless steel. The light will be for pocket/keyring carry in a single mode AA light. I want something that will last a long time and not require much upkeep. I'm not too concerned about thermal efficiency as the light will not be used for long periods at a time. Any feedback will be appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    Brass is not too good. Yes brass is harder than aluminum but it can't be anodized so it will probably wear faster than a good anodized aluminum. Plus it needs to be lacquered, once the lacquer wears off it will tarnish and turn ugly. Stainless is much harder and more durable and takes and keeps a polish well. Definitely go with stainless.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    Stainless will last longer -- but could be heavier (is heavier than aluminum), which is not good for a pocket light. Either one should last long enough for the use....how long do your brass keys last? I'd go for brass just because I prefer the way it looks --- personal preference.
    Last edited by bluepilgrim; 11-26-2009 at 05:07 PM. Reason: correction

  4. #4

    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    Brass is heavier than stainless, 8.4 g/cm3 for brass 7.85 g/cm3 for stainless. Plus to get the same strength you'd have to use more brass making an even heavier light.

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    Flashaholic post tenebras's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    Brass is better than SS for heatsinking, but not as good as aluminum.

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    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    Quote Originally Posted by qwertyydude View Post
    Brass is not too good. Yes brass is harder than aluminum but it can't be anodized so it will probably wear faster than a good anodized aluminum. Plus it needs to be lacquered, once the lacquer wears off it will tarnish and turn ugly. Stainless is much harder and more durable and takes and keeps a polish well. Definitely go with stainless.
    Brass maintains a pretty good polish when pocket carried, the last thing I'd do to a brass light is to put lacquer on it, even kept in a draw brass dulls down but still isn't ugly. Having said all that my preference is for small ss lights, brass for smooth threads SS for maintenance free appearance.

    Check out a Peak LED Solutions Pacific in either metal order it with a AA body.
    Norm

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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Norm View Post
    Brass maintains a pretty good polish when pocket carried, the last thing I'd do to a brass light is to put lacquer on it, even kept in a draw brass dulls down but still isn't ugly. Having said all that my preference is for small ss lights, brass for smooth threads SS for maintenance free appearance.

    Check out a Peak LED Solutions Pacific in either metal order it with a AA body.
    Norm
    Exactly! But you just can't beat polished brass for its beauty. Even after a patina has developed, brass IMHO still looks better than any other metal especially if the light is attractively designed and finely machined as are the Peaks.
    Peakaholic!

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    *Flashaholic* Flying Turtle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    The threads in my old brass Peak seem to stay cleaner than aluminum twisties. None of that typical oxidizing. I'd be more concerned about the weight of either. Even in aluminum the light's going to be a heavy-weight in the pocket or on a keychain, at least to me.

    Geoff

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    I like brass and stainless steel too.

    Some homemade lights
    (used and not polished ):

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* leukos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    Very nice lights, Energie!


    As for the OP's question, SS is preferable if your light is going in the pocket with keys, etc. I probably would not carry an SS light larger than AA. Anything bigger I prefer aluminum because of the weight.
    Light is sweet and pleasing to the eyes....

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* tx101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    I have been carrying a Maratac SS light on my keychain
    for the pass couple of months, not a single scratch so far

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* gorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    I've had a Peak brass 3 LED light in my pocket for years. It still looks nice and works every time I twist the head. There is no need to put a protective coating on a brass light.

  13. #13
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Energie View Post
    I like brass and stainless steel too.

    Some homemade lights
    (used and not polished ):
    Very nice work
    Norm

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    I looked it up -- steel is less dense than brass, but titanium has them both beat -- about 1/2 the density, but still way heavier than aluminum.

    I hear rumors that there are some nice titanium lights for sale...

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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    Quote Originally Posted by post tenebras View Post
    Brass is better than SS for heatsinking, but not as good as aluminum.
    This is actually a misconception. Though it is true that aluminum is pound for pound better than brass, brass has more mass and when comparing 2 flashlights with the same volume, the brass will actually be better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Energie View Post
    Wow those are beautiful! Especially the middle 2. They look like something C-3PO would EDC.
    What kind of self respecting nocturnal being cannot see in the dark, one way or another?

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* Monocrom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    If durability is what matters most to you, then go with stainless steel.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

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    Default Re: Brass or Stainless Steel?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dances with Flashlight View Post
    Exactly! But you just can't beat polished brass for its beauty. Even after a patina has developed, brass IMHO still looks better than any other metal especially if the light is attractively designed and finely machined as are the Peaks.
    I think it can be beaten, gunmetal or bronze is beautiful. Take out the zinc and replace it with tin. Brass can't beat that.
    Get thee behind me Satan..................and push

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