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Thread: The Southern Bell -- WIP____Warning: Lots of photos

  1. #1
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    Default The Southern Bell -- WIP____Warning: Lots of photos

    Some time ago, a friend asked if I could make a light for him to take on a trip to India. He wanted something different and pretty much left it up to me, just as long as it had a clip, used a AA battery, and had a Trit sphere in the tail.

    Here's how the Indian Princess came out:




    It was a bear to make, mainly due to the spiraling anodized dots on the battery tube--there are quite a few there. The most intriguing aspect of the dimples, or dots, is that due to the ball nose end mill and the way that it cuts, the dimples come out with an eery glow! You can more easily see it in person, rather than in a photograph, but when slightly out of focus, it does show up somewhat in a photo--to wit:



    Needless to say, since the light is so time consuming to make, I haven't been keen on making another one, but, hey, money talks, so I have another request for something similar. But, of course, we don't have any real Princesses in the United States, so I needed a different name, the Southern Belle, in deference to where she will eventually reside, is the second coming.

    First, let's outline what the Southern Belle will hopefully be:

    • Made of 6AL/4V titanium
    • Will have a three-level driver
    • Will use a rechargeable AA battery
    • Will be a twisty
    • Will be O-ring sealed
    • Mineral glass lens and Khatod stippled reflector
    • Custom made AL heatsink
    • Have spiraling anodized dimple in the battery tube
    • Anodized grooves and dimples in the head
    • Seoul P4 U3SVNH emitter

    So, on to the interesting parts of how the light is being crafted. First I machine the two basic body parts--the head and the battery tube. That means drilling, boring and threading mainly, so that the pieces thread together properly.

    Once those are done, the more challenging decorative work takes place. The head is the easier one to do, but still requires a few steps to get it done. When anodizing Ti, using two colors, there are a couple of ways to approach the job; first option could be to machine the dimples and the grooves, and then mask off the feature(s) that will be anodized in a different color, before actually hitting the anodizing solution. But I prefer to anodize freshly machined Ti, rather than first putting a masking compound on it and then stripping it off with acetone before anodizing the second color.

    So, I decided that for the Southern Belle, I would cut the feature (the dimples), then clean and anodize that feature, then go back to the lathe and machine the second feature (the grooves) and then complete the anodizing on the grooves.

    So here's the head with the dimples cut in place:



    Notice that there is some excess material, the stub as I call it, at one end of the head--in fact that will eventually be the top of the light--where the light emanates. And, if you have good eyes, you will see two bored holes in the stub--that's where I insert the electrode for the anodizing. The stub also allows me to take the piece off the machine, do anodizing, and then come back to the lathe for further machining operations, or tweaking, as may be need, both internally and externally on the head.

    The battery tube is also cut with the first column of spiraling dimples, since those will be anodized the same color as the dimples on the head:



    The stub on the battery tube will also be bored for the anodizing electrode and, more importantly, it has a flat milled onto it so that I can later machine the second and third columns of dimples and have something to indicate on so that the spirals will start and finish in the right spots.




    Yeah, yeah, I know, not very exciting looking at the nitty gritty, boring things.

    So here are the two pieces, now ready for the anodizing:



    Once the gold was done, the battery tube was machined for the second column of dimples, which was then anodized blue. And finally, the battery tube was back in the lathe for the third and final column of spiraling dimples:



    The head was then grooved and the grooves were anodized blue. Here are the pieces after all the anodizing is done:



    Not that pretty yet, eh?

    Some close-ups:




    Obviously, the next operations on the lathe were to skim off the gold anodizing, leaving the bare Ti exposed:



    The gold anodized section at the tail of the battery tube will have some Trit slots milled into it, six of them, then another skim cut to clean that up. The head will have a bevel on the front leading down to the lens, with some small dimples on the bevel.

    Once all the grooves and dimples were completed along the axis of the light, I removed the stub from the head portion and cut a 45-degree bevel leading to the lens.

    The bevel would have 12 dimples added and then anodized. Here's the ball nose end mill and the cut dimples:



    The dimples are cut at 90 degrees to the bevel, so that means that the light is angled another 45 degrees to the axis of the lathe. Here's an overview of the set-up:



    That's a rotary indexer sitting on top of a rotating base, which allows me to set the workpiece on any angle from zero to 90 degrees to the axis of the lathe's spindle.

    Next up were the slots for the Trit vials that the customer will install:



    There are six slots around the base of the light.

    Finally, since there were no more slots, dimple, or grooves to be installed, the stub could be removed from the battery tube and the tail end of the light could be cleaned up and made a bit lighter:



    Still to be done is the installation of the LED/driver and the O-rings and lens, but on the way to the electronics workbench, the light was cleaned and photographed in natural light:





    Once the driver is installed and the light is functioning, I'll lightly buff the light, clean it up well and take the final photos.

    To be continued . . . Please see post #15 for the final installment.
    Last edited by PhotonFanatic; 10-29-2010 at 08:19 PM.
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  2. #2
    Banned richpalm's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Daaayyiiiiiiiimm....

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    That is AMAZING!

    How much time have you got into it so far?

    I can't wait to see how this turns out.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Lost Hawaiian View Post
    That is AMAZING!

    How much time have you got into it so far?

    I can't wait to see how this turns out.
    I don't log the hours, but I'd guess at least 15 all told. I do a little one day, move to another project, and then come back to the first job after a couple of days--keeps life more interesting, at least for me.

    The last photos in the OP pretty much shows how it will look when done--although it will be slightly shinier after the buffing.
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    Flashaholic* Obijuan Kenobe's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Amazing level of workmanship.

    obi
    Stay sharp and bright for life.
    Have your knife and light handy at all times.
    Sent from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* karlthev's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Over the top Fred! Neat-oo!!



    Karl

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    *Flashaholic* wquiles's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Very nice Fred, both the work and the photos
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Fred,

    I don't know if I can go above the superlatives I used when I saw whatever the last work of art I complemented you on was....

    That is simply stunning. Amazing. Looking forward to seeing the trit sphere in the tail. That will act as a wonderful always on ultra-low, essentially? Probably a bit brighter than the lowest find-me glow?

    I look forward to the day when I ask you to build me a one-off (and you agree to!!)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    There will not be any Trit sphere in the Southern Belle, but there are slots for six Trit vials that the customer intends to fill.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Ah, I see. The sphere was only in the Indian Princess. Any shots of that exist? I think it's a brilliant idea.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos




    That's before the NOA 61 was applied though. Maybe John has a better photo after the installation.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Oh my good grief.

    Well, what to say, except

    Methinks this light needs to meet its older and baby sisters :

    Trivia question of the day: who's the most dimply?

    I don't have a great shot of the Princess' rear , but the trit sphere looks awesome. Can't wait to see how the Southern Bell turns out with the 6 trit slots - that's an awesome idea.

    Fred, not surprisingly, you knocked the ball outta the park here. PLEASE stop doing such awesome work! And congrats to the new owner.

    Thanks for sharing! I love these WIP threads & pics... reminds me of why I love this forum just as much as I love the thing its devoted to.

    john

  13. #13
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Fred, your work is amazing.

  14. #14

    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    I think Wilkes will be very Happy. Great work BTW Fred.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- final installment

    There really wasn't too much more to do on the light--most of the machining was completed, so only the internal parts needed to be completed and installed. Here's the heatsink for the three-level driver, which is only 10.80mm in diameter:



    As soon as I took that picture, I realized I had forgotten to machine the holes for tweezers so that one can tighten or loosen the LE (light engine), so back to the lathe I went.

    Then I lightly buffed the light, just to give it a little shine, nothing too heavy, or the anodizing in the dimples could be ruined. Then, my favorite part--washing the dishes, err, the light:



    Nothing too high-tech there--just some good dishwashing detergent and water--but it does the trick--removes all the oils and buffing compounds.

    And now onto some photos of the completed light:





    If you've made it this far, I congratulate you on your patience and persistence.

    Thanks for following the WIP and I hope you enjoyed the photos.

    And, of course, a big thanks to the buyer--without such gentlemen, these flashlights might not get built.
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    *Flashaholic* wquiles's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Man, those photos are amazing - the light seems to be like "suspended" in air - great 3D detail!
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Quote Originally Posted by wquiles View Post
    Man, those photos are amazing - the light seems to be like "suspended" in air - great 3D detail!
    Yeah, thanks, but did I give you enough of them?
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Quote Originally Posted by PhotonFanatic View Post
    Yeah, thanks, but did I give you enough of them?
    Well, perhaps not quite as many pictures as in my marathon-length posts, but you have enough to show the process/steps, so I for one I am very grateful as I am very visual and learn a lot by the pictures
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    Default Re: The Southern Bell -- WIP Warning: Lots of photos

    Somehow I missed this before, and I'm sitting here in Sheer Amazement at the beauty of this gorgeous creation! Jewelry grade artwork, in the field of runaway protons. Outstanding Fred. Love it. And I'm finding myself in lust. Is coveting thy neighbors Southern Belle a sin?

    Dale

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