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  1. #1
    Flashaholic* coyote's Avatar
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    Default Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    i live off-the-grid in the wilderness and have been a flashaholic all my life.

    while i enjoy trying out the newest-brightest 'lights, i've come to discover that the most important lights i own are the ones i carry everyday 24/7 (EDC), particularly those that are as reliable as humanly possible.

    having purchased hundreds of tiny lights, the finest light i've found for my use is the Mako, custom-made by longtime CPF member Endeavour (aka: Enrique).

    its a basic low-power 1xAAA "key-chain" light, much like its predecessor, Gransee's original Arc AAA. its also much like its contemporary, McGizmo's Sapphire.

    as the maker put it: "The design objectives were to create a small, unobtrusive torch that ran for a very long time on a common AAA cell, in a durable package, with some compelling features at an affordable price point."

    of course, it sure can't compete with the high output or number of settings available in lights like the LF2XT, Illumina Ti, Maratac, iTP, et al.

    so why would anyone pick the Mako?

    although i enjoy my fun high-tech lights, what i require most is a trustworthy survival / back-up / emergency / EDC / camping flashlight.

    what sold me on the Mako was:

    • bomb-proof titanium construction
    • simple design using 24K gold anti-corrosion contacts (read: ultra reliable!)
    • super efficient electronics/LED for extreme run time (80 hours on a lithium)
    • option of a tritium vial
    • lack of breakable glass "cover" lens
    • ability to tail-stand
    • two-level output with lots of twist between them
    • ultra-light weight for a titanium light
    • long threads requiring over two full turns before engaging the contact (to keep from losing the head)
    • reasonably white beam (not a blue-yellow amalgamated beam)
    • very smooth threads
    • one-handed operation


    many other lights have one or more of these features, but in my mind none come close in terms of total functionality and reliability.

    i own a few of Makos. one to EDC in my pocket, another in my survival BOB, one next to my bed for navigating the house at night, and others for back-ups.

    some Mako owners were disappointed with the 15-degree off-center ringy beam, a result of the designer's demand for water resistance. i agree: it not pretty when wall hunting... but for a survival light that's not a huge concern. still, a nicer beam would be wonderful, making the Mako just about perfect for me.

    at some point i heard about the "Mako 60", a rare 60-degree smooth-beam flood version. after years of searching, last week i finally located one through a fellow CPF'er. scout24 was kind enough to sell me his.

    turning it on for the first time i was stunned and amazed. this floody Mako is THE answer i've been looking for most of my adult life (i'm 58 yrs old).

    Mako "60" Flood on left --- standard Mako on right


    (my photo)

    of course, one "Mako Flood" isn't enough for me. sadly, research indicates that only a handful were made and the likelihood of buying another is next to nill.

    so why brag on something we can't buy?

    because i recently learned that the maker is still into producing custom hand-made lights!

    if i can twist Enrique's arm by convincing him that there's a big enough market to do another run of them, who out there would be willing to pony up as much as $150 to own a new Mako Flood, "the world's greatest back-up light"?

    ===

    2012 news: on Jan 7th 2012, it was announced that a limited run of 75 Mako Floods will be produced.
    Here is a link to that thread: Mako Flood Run - A Titanium, Two-Stage, AAA-Based Flashlight

    ===

    Early 2014 news: on Feb 20th, 2014, an additional limited run of 22 Mako Floods as announced
    More info on page 8 of this thread, or click HERE to go there now.

    ===

    Mid-year 2014 news: yet another very limited run was produced, called the Mako MK II

    the run was of approx 50 units, in three versions of the Mako Mk. II:

    High Output (HO)
    This is a 21-lumen output flood light, with much higher brightness and spacing between modes than the previous model, which was around 10 lumens. I’m very excited about the performance characteristics of this light.

    Ultraviolet (UV)
    This is a regular output Mako equipped with a UV LED with a nominal wavelength of 375 nanometers. Useful for finding things that fluoresce, curing adhesives, activating glow phosphors, finding scorpions, etc.

    Regular Output (RO)
    This is essentially a “6/30” Mako flood, with updated styling.


    delivery began on Aug 25th and they are wonderful. i'm now carrying the Mako MK II HO as my EDC light. best of the best.



    ===

    Fall 2014 news: a small run of a new version using a single AA battery is in the works. it will be called the Spinner

    enrique describes it this way:

    "...I've also started work on and will be putting up for pre-order this week a new light called the Spinner. It's essentially a AA version of the Mako, with similar design and named after the Spinner Shark, in keeping with the shark-based naming of the Mako.

    The benefits from a AA include longer runtimes, and the ability to drive the light a bit harder than using the AAA as a power plant. This means that with a lithium or eneloop cell in the light, you can toss it in a bag, along with a spare cell, and you'll have days and days of light. If you need more output, the high mode allows you a small brightness edge over the AAA while still providing decent runtime as well. As with the Mako, it will be made from 6AL4V titanium, feature two stages, and nice, white, high output 5mm LEDs. This will be a fairly limited run based on the number of pre-orders placed, with few extra pieces being made. Cost will be $225."


    ===
    Last edited by coyote; 11-09-2014 at 01:54 PM. Reason: info/link added about new production series

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* BigHonu's Avatar
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    I hear you coyote! I'm experiencing a back to basics trend in my light journey and the Mako and Don's Sapphire are seeing more and more use.

    Just gotta remember to put the battery in the Mako the right way!


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  3. #3
    Flashaholic* coyote's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Quote Originally Posted by BigHonu View Post
    I hear you coyote! I'm experiencing a back to basics trend in my light journey and the Mako and Don's Sapphire are seeing more and more use.

    Just gotta remember to put the battery in the Mako the right way!
    nice to know i have a brother in the search.

    not sure what you mean about the "right way". the Mako loads the battery like most lights: neg contact down into the body, and pos contact on the head. are you're thinking of another light or do you mean something else?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    So I am curious... if it is waterproof but has no breakable glass, how does it achieve this? Some polycarbinate lens or something?

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    *Flashaholic* nbp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Quote Originally Posted by joe1512 View Post
    So I am curious... if it is waterproof but has no breakable glass, how does it achieve this? Some polycarbinate lens or something?

    I believe a 5mm LED which come with an epoxy dome, plus potted electronics. Think Arc AAA style.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    My 2 cents:
    - Being a twisty, I doubt it would be easy or convenient to use it one handedly
    - Being a survival light, lacking knurling on the body is a major setback. Just imagine when your hands are wet, greasy, or ... bloody or sometime you may even have to grab the light with your ... feet, for example.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Quote Originally Posted by NickBose View Post
    My 2 cents:
    - Being a twisty, I doubt it would be easy or convenient to use it one handedly
    - Being a survival light, lacking knurling on the body is a major setback. Just imagine when your hands are wet, greasy, or ... bloody or sometime you may even have to grab the light with your ... feet, for example.
    Mako has a matte finish, and the threads are super-smooth, so twisting is not at all an issue using it single-handed. Actually, I was surprised at how well the threads have been machined - the Arc-Ti I own has square threads, and is a beast to twist - after so many twists, it still is difficult to turn single-handed.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Sounds interesting, I'd need more information on how it compares with the current Saphire. What LED is in the 60deg. version? The beam looks nice in the picture. I think the problem was that at the time AAA lights started appearing from everywhere and the EZ-AA had similar interface even though it was not as small. The price on the Maratac was just TOO good to ignore. The AAA Preon Revo SS would be a really decent light with the right LED. The styling of the Mako is something that maybe others, like me, don't find particularly attractive. I'd like his Ti Aeon, but the price premium over the Aluminum seems much too high for such a small light, and there is a premium for a neutral tint. Price is the only thing keeping me away from that one. Maybe on a special day I'll get one. He lives in an expensive locale to manufacture and I suspect has requirements for higher margins. I'm wondering if he could even produce these in titanium for $150, if he could with the right led he might be able to expect sales in the same numbers as the Saphire, maybe some what more as the beam looks much nicer. Currently there is also the DQG which seems to be getting some attention. I'm looking for the perfect keychain light, until I find it my LD01-SS is working out well enough. If this thread grows, start a poll, or add a poll to the thread.
    Last edited by StandardBattery; 06-09-2011 at 02:55 PM.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* BigHonu's Avatar
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    Really? I must be thinking of a different light then! I bought the light so long ago. Same deal though, Ti construction, twisty, 5mm led and great machining.

    I have that one paired with a Leatherman Micra and keep the Sapphire on my keychain.

    Now I have to find out what I have!


    Ok, it is a Killer Ti AAA Light from Photon Fanatic. Ha! At least they look sort of the same on my small screen.


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    Last edited by BigHonu; 06-09-2011 at 03:12 PM.
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    Flashaholic* coyote's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    StandardBattery: i too have had 'em all. (note my avatar with Millermods, Mako, Fenix E05 and DQG Tiny, just a very small sampling of what i'm comparing the Mako with).

    where the Mako shines is in reliability and toughness. i'm more than happy to pay a premium price for a high-quality tool i might have to depend on to save my life. on the other hand, i like many of the less-reliable lights too. i even have a new Tiny II coming, but it (and the others you named) are for less important tasks....

    you asked: "What LED is in the 60deg. version?" - Makos were the first flashlight to use these particular 24K mcd 5mm Cree LED. to the best of my knowledge, the only difference between the the two Makos was the angle of throw, 15 degrees vs 60 degrees.

    [edit: i just learned the LED that was later used in the Sapphire was a 3mm Nichia LED, not a Cree]

    ===

    everyone: here's a scan of the spec sheet that came with the original Mako. hope it can answer some of your questions:



    and because it just seems natural to compare the Mako to the Sapphire and Arc, here's a photo of them side-by-side:


    Arc - Sapphire - Mako
    Last edited by coyote; 06-09-2011 at 05:21 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Quote Originally Posted by coyote View Post


    ^nice, the mako can do something the arc & sapphire can't! Wish its twisty was reversed though.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    I guess I just don't get the fascination with reliability. Have many of you had modern decent branded flashlights poop out on you during critical times? I am a relatively young flashaholic experience wise, but haven't had any trouble.

    I mean, if you are often in situations where you die if your flashlight dies, wouldn't you just carry a backup? The Mako light here uses the same emitter as the 1 dollar pinch-lights that many light companies throw in for free. So I'd think one could put a few of those on a keychain or where-ever to use in emergencies if your primary light dies.

    I personally would have my 1x18650 variable brightness or flood to throw, or whatever features are desired with an efficient XM-L emiiter. Then carry my keychain light as a backup, be it a AAA, CR123, AA or whatever. Then maybe a few sealed-ziplock pinchey lights for good measure.
    Last edited by joe1512; 06-10-2011 at 10:37 AM.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* coyote's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    ...Have many of you had modern decent branded flashlights poop out on you during critical times?...
    yes, many times. and i envy your luck. but the point being that if/when my hi-tech light fails, i will always have a Mako at hand because i can be sure of it.

    ...The Mako light here uses the same emitter as the 1 dollar pinch-lights that many light companies throw in for free....
    oh really? i've yet to have a dollar-store light with a 5mm Cree. nor will any give 80 hours runtime. and i've too many $1 lights fail on me, so i don't trust them. nothing wrong with carrying lots of fauxtons, i do too, but i haven't found i can depend on them to function when needed most.

    ...if you are often in situations where you die if your flashlight dies, wouldn't you just carry a backup?
    yes, multiple back-ups. and if one is a self-reliant kind of individual, shouldn't your emergency EDC light be the most reliable you can find?

    ...I personally would have...
    and thats what makes the world go 'round. always use what personally makes you happy and secure.
    Last edited by coyote; 06-10-2011 at 11:10 AM.

  14. #14
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    As I recall, Enrique originally offered these for well under $150.

    The Mako has the smoothest threads I've ever seen on a Ti light and smoother than many of the aluminum threads I've seen on others as well.

    Do not make the mistake of assuming that all 5mm LEDs are made equal, because they are not. The Cree 5mm LED with the 60º beam pattern is one of the best out there, with a completely even tint, no color shift, and the whitest cool-white 5mm I've ever seen.

    Additionally, like all of Enrique's lights, the Mako is designed to be the ultimate in reliability and runtime: it'll run for 60 hours on a single alkaline AAA on low or 20 hours on high. The Mako offers us some simplicity and elegance in a world dominated by frustrating multi-mode lights.
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    Flashaholic* mrlysle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Quote Originally Posted by coyote View Post
    if i can twist Enrique's arm by convincing him that there's a big enough market to do another run of them, who out there would be willing to pony up as much as $150 to own a new Mako Flood, "the world's greatest back-up light"?
    Coyote. IF you can convince him to make them, I'm definitely in for one!
    Jeff

  16. #16

    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    what's the runtime on low with say a Duraloop 800mAh or 1000 mAh AAA?

  17. #17
    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Quote Originally Posted by Beacon of Light View Post
    what's the runtime on low with say a Duraloop 800mAh or 1000 mAh AAA?
    AFAIK, runtime is 60hr/20hr on an alkaline AAA.

    What kind of runtime are you getting on your 0 and sub-0?
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    both got 37 hours when I stopped the test as the low was very dim. The remaining voltage was 1.10v for the #0 and 1.11v for the # SUB 0

    Quote Originally Posted by carrot View Post
    AFAIK, runtime is 60hr/20hr on an alkaline AAA.

    What kind of runtime are you getting on your 0 and sub-0?

  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Schuey2002's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Quote Originally Posted by Beacon of Light View Post
    both got 37 hours when I stopped the test as the low was very dim. The remaining voltage was 1.10v for the #0 and 1.11v for the # SUB 0
    But what about the QTC Eigers? Don't they have long runtimes in low mode?

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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    I would put my name on the list for a new Mako, especially if it had the trit slots again.

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    *Flashaholic* nbp's Avatar
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    I really like my new Aeon, I'd be interested in a reasonably priced Mako. What were the output levels on the last one? A floody beam, and outputs of maybe 2 and 30 lm or something like that would be killer. Ti is always awesome, but even a hardcoat would be fine, especially if that would keep it in the <$150 range.

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    *Flashaholic* nbp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Quote Originally Posted by nbp View Post
    I really like my new Aeon, I'd be interested in a reasonably priced Mako. What were the output levels on the last one? A floody beam, and outputs of maybe 2 and 30 lm or something like that would be killer. Ti is always awesome, but even a hardcoat would be fine, especially if that would keep it in the <$150 range.

    After I posted this I remembered this is a 5mm light and 30 lm is impossible. What is the highest output 5mm led available these days? Has anyone hit 20 lm? That would actually be plenty for most of my applications: a 2 lm/20 lm light would be really handy. The highest output emitter I'm aware of is still the Nichia GS, which is like 12 lm. Just a little more...

    I'm still curious about outputs on the two levels of the other ones though. Current draws don't mean much to me.

  23. #23
    Flashaholic Acid87's Avatar
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    I've always wanted one of these beauties! Really like the form of AAA lights. Will be subscribed in hope.

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    *Flashaholic* nbp's Avatar
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    That would be nifty! Why don't manufacturers use surface mount LEDs driven at super low currents for lights like this? Is it just due to price? We're already paying a premium for fancy lights, why not use the latest emitters for insane runtimes with better tints and beam patterns? Peak may be the only one I can think of off the top of my head who does this, I think. ??

  25. #25

    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Any recent developments on this?
    EDC: MilkySpit 1000-lumen Tri-MC-E L5
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Thank you coyote for starting this thread. Up until now I only knew of this light as 'one of the many 1xAAA lights out there', so this was good information.

    I have been EDC'ing my ARC-AAA (Limited Ed.) for the past ~year, and there are a number of things I like about it. I am now exceedingly familiar with the many strengths and the weaknesses of my ARC during use, could someone illuminate (oooo....) me on how a Mako 60 would be superior in most (all??) respects than the ARC-AAA that I am currently carrying? I am thinking along the lines of actual field usage and reliability considerations.

    Thanks,

    Edit: For example, while I very much enjoy using my ARC-AAA, the emitter is a bit outdated. My thinking is that it is a bit off on tint, there are a few beam artifacts, and its single level is a compromise between a good low and a useful 'high', etc etc. On the other hand, the ARC is simply wonderful to operate compared to, say, a Fenix LD01 for example. (And you ARC-AAA fans know that I've been one of the CPF'ers 'carrying the torch' for them in the 'ARC-AAA today' thread in the past ~year.) In what ways might an updated Mako 60 be superior during usage compared to the ARC?

    Honestly, there are many choices for 1xAAA lights, but I haven't yet been convinced that any currently-available offerings are truly superior to my simple, minimalist ARC-AAA. An updated Mako 60 might be just that light.
    Last edited by Kestrel; 11-10-2011 at 03:22 PM.
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  27. #27
    Flashaholic* coyote's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Quote Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post

    ...I am now exceedingly familiar with the many strengths and the weaknesses of my ARC during use, could someone illuminate (oooo....) me on how a Mako 60 would be superior in most (all??) respects than the ARC-AAA that I am currently carrying? I am thinking along the lines of actual field usage and reliability considerations....
    Kestrel: good question. let's see if i can add any insights comparing the two.

    like you, i've been a huge fan of the tradition Arc AAAs, having owned dozens and dozens from early versions thru the GS (i won't include the Ti version in this comparison), so am solidly familiar with them.

    so besides where the mako obviously already shines, like extreme runtime, much better tint & lack of artifacts, two stage brightness, titanium construction, extremely smooth threads, no anodizing finish to wear off, shorter overall length, can tail stand, available trit slot in tail, maybe i'll just mention a few subtle differences where the mako 60 improves on the arc.

    -mako doesn't crush batteries due to spring contact, unlike the arc's lead-bead positive-terminal hump

    -nor is there any soft lead hump to get deformed if battery is tightened too much

    -o-ring is always fully inside battery tube (due to inconsistent final positive-contact bead size of the head in the arc, a number of mine have allowed the o-ring to be partly exposed when placed in the off position)

    -very tight-fitting o-ring for waterproofing, which doesn't impact twisting smoothness

    -gold plated contact and spring, so no oxidizing of the positive contact that requires periodic cleaning in the arc

    -lots of threading with lots of twisting before "on" occurs, so head can't fall off by accident

    -fully regulated power supply for constant brightness (up to 80 hours in lithium, as previously mentioned)

    -hardness of Ti threads hold up better to constant twisting wear than do unanodized aluminum threads (i've worn out a couple of arcs this way, so that the head could no longer stay screwed in)

    -same super simple UI as the Arc, just twist a bit more for the slightly higher mode.


    in fact, there aren't all that many things i really prefer about the arc's design:

    -like how nicely the arc hangs on a necklace from its large-hole centered lug (but getting the mako to tail stand in exchange is often worth it)

    -the arc is very slightly lighter in weight, ie: .36 oz without battery in my scale, verses the mako at .57 oz (although pretty much unnoticeable unless compared side by side)

    -the arc's lovely "checkering" (but mako's head grooves are slightly easier to grip and turn one-handed when i'm cold/wet)

    -and the arc's tapered head (on newer arc models) that allows it to slip into pockets more easily



    hope that added something to this discussion.

    questions?
    Last edited by coyote; 11-12-2011 at 01:30 PM.

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    Flashaholic* fisk-king's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    To those who have the 60deg. is it 2 stages? On mine its only 1 stage.

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  29. #29
    Flashaholic* coyote's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mako 1xAAA: the most important flashlight i've ever owned

    Quote Originally Posted by mcmc View Post
    Any recent developments on this?
    thanks for the reminder mcmc.

    it pushed me to just send an email to enrique, letting him know that this thread is still alive and well, and that's a number of folks would love a Mako Flood.

  30. #30
    *Flashaholic* nbp's Avatar
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    I apologize if it seemed that way Enrique, I have utmost respect for you as a builder, and love both my Aeon and Ion. I certainly did not mean for someone to "clone" your lights, but another light with a two stage twisty is not out of the realm of possibility for our other builders. Don used a two stage twisty in his PD lights years ago, and has a small AAA powered 5mm light in production now, the Sapphire. I didn't feel that inquiring about him incorporating his two stage designs into another one of his lights would have been viewed as offensive to you, particularly as there is clearly demand for such a light and there wasn't really clear indication that Makos would be available again. The MillerMods Arcs come to mind as another similar light that is no longer in production. Again, my apologies if I have stepped on your toes.

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