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Thread: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

  1. #1

    Default Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Hi guys,
    I received an e-mail from a fellow CPF member with the following image attached:



    Apparently this member had the great misfortune of losing their two story stucco house in a wildfire that took out a large number of homes this summer. The Haiku had been on the night stand and while sifting through the rubble in that area, it was found.

    I was queried as to whether I might be able to rebuild the light. Well I have always felt that the titanium host was capable of withstanding hostile environments well beyond anything we would endure and it seemed to me that this light should be capable of being rebuilt. I took on the project and offered to rebuild it as a token contribution to this member who had lost so much!

    (I didn't offer any cosmetic surgery or improvements and as most of you know, cosmetics of the lights is not a focus of mine anyway! )

    Following are some images I took of the light when I received it:



    There was no evidence of the switch in the rear of the light:



    The window,o-rings and reflector were also gone:



    The MCPCB had some evidence of where the LED had been and its isolated layer was no longer bonded to the aluminum substrate.

    My biggest concern was if the head would unscrew from the pak and it came off just like on any other light would:



    The light engine was still present, sort of. The nickel plated aluminum was not there in full form and what was left of the contact PCB as well as converter was just black ash and many layers of fiberglass:



    The anode contact plate fell out of the pak when I took the head off and the only concern now left was if the battery would come out of the pak. It had obviously expanded length wise. I was able to easily tap it out from the rear and the pic below shows it next to a "healthy" CR123:



    I cleaned up the head and pak a bit and then washed them in the sink. I followed up with putting them in a sonic cleaner for a while in order to break free any loose particles.

    This light was obviously subjected to a heat treatment and oxidation process of unknown temperature and exposure to elements. Titanium is known to react to various chemicals when elevated in temperature and I suspected and confirmed that what ever this hard oxide finish is, it is not electrically conductive like a pure Ti oxide would be. So I did use a file on the lip of the pak and a diamond wheel burr in the tail where the switch passes its ground contact.

    This was an original Haiku and it is now a unique and special Haiku XM-L that may well fall short in the beauty category but it works like it should!!







    Incidentally, I didn't want to push my luck on the clip screws but I noticed that the clip could be shifted from side to side a but when forced. I found that both screws needed a partial turn to lock the clip down. So those threads are also fine!

    I didn't name the CPF member as I respect their privacy but should they be inclined to come forth in this thread and add any comments or further information regarding the fire, they are most welcome to do so! And if they want to improve on the cosmetics of this light then perhaps one of you would be willing to provide assistance!

    In my opinion the light looks great and has earned its right to be a bit "off" in the looks department!
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  2. #2
    Retired Administrator Norm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Great story Don.
    Norm

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Very impressive Don, I like how you kept the finish as well.

    A new option for your offerings?
    Finning does help dissipate heat. This is why the fins are removed before cooking fish. Otherwise it will throw off the heat and not reach the proper cooking temperature. --Duglite

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Considering the poor thermal conductivity of Titanium, I could never see any benefit in housing an LED torch in Titanium.

    I now concede that Titanium does have a unique benefit in unusual events !

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    Flashaholic* scout24's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Unbelievable... My heart goes out to the member and their family for their loss. Great job on the rebuild! I'm sure they appreciate your time and efforts!

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Wow my sympathies to the member but well done Don and what an interesting light at the end of the process. I actually like the look of it!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeAusC View Post
    Considering the poor thermal conductivity of Titanium, I could never see any benefit in housing an LED torch in Titanium.

    I now concede that Titanium does have a unique benefit in unusual events !
    MikeAusC,

    Given the more than adequate thermal conductivity of titanium given contemporary LED's driven at moderate levels I believe the choice of using titanium can be made based on other possibly significant considerations. In normal use, the LED is operating well within bounds and other criteria and considerations take precedence, IMHO. With priority given to thermal resistance would you be a proponent for a sterling silver or copper host material for a flashlight? I suspect not and probably due to considerations other than thermal relief. Ironically in a less than catastrophic exposure to external heat or fire, the thermal resistance of titanium might give the LED and other innards of the light a little longer chance at survival. Moot in this particular event though!

    A two story home was reduced to two feet of rubble, as I understand it. The member stated that they couldn't find any of their other flashlights. To some extent I believe this particular situation is a testimonial to the durability of a titanium host, albeit in rather extreme circumstances but it is often illuminating to consider possibilities at the limits. I think corrosion, abrasion and impacts are more typical threats to the integrity of a flashlight. In this case, the host survived but the occupants didn't. But the survival of the host is not trivial and it won't become part of the landfill.

    In your sig line I see mention of a safety fuse. One of my biggest concerns of a lithium battery based flashlight in a fire would be the potential of it becoming a pipe bomb. I was pleased to see that although both ends of this light were gone, the head and body were in tact. No doubt the switch, reflector and sapphire window might have been projectiles when this light failed but it could have been worse I would imagine.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    What an amazing, awesome story. As others have said, my heart and prayers go out for the family so devastated by this loss. Still, analogous to a mythical figure that I won't mention (I don't want to steal my friend and fellow forum member's analogy), after their lives are restored the light can be a reminder that they can emerge from the rubble and rebuild. Don, thankfully you didn't mention anyone being hurt, right?

    Thanks for sharing! And the light looks beautiful in its own right - I'm sure the owner will smile with pride every time he or she uses it!

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    I didn't name the CPF member as I respect their privacy
    Halle McGizmo,

    impressive story, thank you for sharing. Normally I would have written you this message via private message, but as the adminstration here decided to disallow this to new members and informing me about this with a large red sing nearly filling my whole monitor, I have to write you this through a reply to your thread:

    If you fully respect the privacy of the CPF member, you would also remove the GPS information included in the EXIF data of the picture of the member. Through this, pinpointing the exact location where the picture was taken with a iPhone 4 in texas (and maybe finding out which member owns the lamp) isn't really that hard.
    I would suggest removing this information now, before too much member see the picture.

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Stefan,

    Don does not accept PMs, I would suggest modifing your post and emailing him this information. You can find his email in any of the sales threads.


    Don,

    Thanks for sharing. It is ironic, I was just thinking of what would happen if I accidentally dropped my Haiku in the camp fire.
    Last edited by bmcgators98; 09-27-2011 at 09:05 AM.

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgators98 View Post
    Don does not accept PMs, I would suggest modifing your post and emailing him this information. You can find his email in any of the sales threads.
    Due to the restrictions for new users I can't even visit his profile to find out his mail address - so this is the only chance for me to remark this.

    Blame the administration, not me If you want, you can mail him my post and I'll edit it.

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan DE View Post
    Halle McGizmo,

    impressive story, thank you for sharing. Normally I would have written you this message via private message, but as the adminstration here decided to disallow this to new members and informing me about this with a large red sing nearly filling my whole monitor, I have to write you this through a reply to your thread:

    If you fully respect the privacy of the CPF member, you would also remove the GPS information included in the EXIF data of the picture of the member. Through this, pinpointing the exact location where the picture was taken with a iPhone 4 in texas (and maybe finding out which member owns the lamp) isn't really that hard.
    I would suggest removing this information now, before too much member see the picture.
    Stefan, thanks for the concern about privacy. Its amazing what inofrmation you can get these days from a cell phone pic!
    I am the Iphone 4 in Texas whose home burned and owner of the newly resurrected haiku. I am ok with my information being tagged in the pic.

    I'll chime in to say a big thanks to Don for putting back together a small piece of my life. When the fires came through, there was no fire department presence (the winds made it too dangerous) so the houses that burned, burned to the ground. It is a testament to Don's work that this is one of only a handful of things I was able to salvage. None of my other lights were even found, much less able to be restored to working condition.
    So my little haiku will remain with me as a testament to survival and renewal as I continue this journey!
    ~Liz

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Quote Originally Posted by jemab View Post
    Its amazing what inofrmation you can get these days from a cell phone pic!
    I am the Iphone 4 in Texas whose home burned and owner of the newly resurrected haiku. I am ok with my information being tagged in the pic.
    Okay, great With the picture you can pinpoint the exact location - just keep that in mind, if you somedays take a picture you don't want to know anyone where it has been taken
    AFAIK you can turn this functionality off, but I don't know where.

    All the best to you

  14. #14

    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Holy Cow!!

    I didn't know if the day would ever come, but we have finally found someone to trump the "I rode my McGizmo down the freeway at 60MPH" story!!

    Don, do you even know of one of these lights being destroyed by the hands of God or Man? Amazing to consider the heat it must take to vaporize that sapphire.

    A while back I had a nibble of interest from someone volunteering to let me throw a lit up PD-S off Half Dome in the name of science, but for some reason, they chickened out.....

    That is one incredible light. It's not a Haiku anymore -- it's a Phoenix!! Don't ever "improve" the finish.

    God bless and I wish you nothing but the best, as you take on the monumental task of rebuilding your lives.
    Trees don't grow on money either.

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Jesus. Talk about flame anodizing.

    It's no surprise that the cell and the light engine disintegrated, most likely the cell first and then the light engine afterwards, but if that light got buried in smoldering coals made from wood timber, it was exposed to temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees, probably approaching 2000 degrees. So, um, no surprise the cell popped.

    It's too late to test something using this particular light, but I'd be curious to know if silicone O-rings would've held up any better than the butyl O-rings the Haiku ships with. Unfortunately the only way to test this would be to build a Haiku with silicone O-rings and then intentionally bury it in a campfire, but at least we know the most expensive parts would survive.

    This has me thinking, maybe there would be a market for a special heat-resistant Haiku that uses all silicone soft parts. Not much that could be done about the switch, unfortunately, at least not without replacing the screw-in clicky switch with an all-metal twisty tailswitch instead.

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Quote Originally Posted by souptree View Post
    Don, do you even know of one of these lights being destroyed by the hands of God or Man? Amazing to consider the heat it must take to vaporize that sapphire.
    Sapphire is aluminum oxide, and aluminum loves to hang onto oxygen atoms. In thermite, iron rust actually acts as an oxygen source for the burning aluminum powder. That sapphire lense didn't burn up, it just fell out when the O-rings burned up. Or it got blown out when the cell popped. Or both; I dunno for sure, I wasn't there.

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeAusC View Post
    Considering the poor thermal conductivity of Titanium, I could never see any benefit in housing an LED torch in Titanium.

    I now concede that Titanium does have a unique benefit in unusual events !
    Not all lights require super-effective heatsinking. Also, Don put a lot of thought into the design of the Haiku. The thermal path is very short, as it's designed to conduct heat into the heatsink fins in the head instead of into the user's hand. Also also, the Haiku is limited in power to prevent overheating damage.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Jemab,
    Thanks for chiming in and my apologies for unknowingly providing a link to the geographic location of where the pic was taken.

    Stefan DE,
    It's good to know that the iPhone includes coordinates relating to where a photo is taken in the EXIF data. I wasn't aware of this and I wonder how many reading this thread were until you brought it up. I wonder how many of us have the software or go to the effort of checking the EXIF data. In the interest of respecting the member's privacy you might have posted in this thread or any thread on the McGizmo forum a query as to how you might go about contacting me privately with a message of import. I would guess someone would have commented that my e-mail address is posted in the available lights, pricing and info thread. I think a heads up about the fact that location is now included in some cameras also equipped with GPS has merit so thanks for that.

    Back to the light, it is obvious to me that the battery could not have expanded as it did without the switch vacating the battery pak. I would assume that with a decent amount of heat the EPDM O-rings and plastic threads on the switch would have allowed the battery or internal pressure to expel the switch easily. Compromised EPDM O-rings on either side of the window would have allowed the internal pressure to expel the reflector and window as well. There is a silicone O-ring around the reflector that has an interference fit with the head so internal pressure behind the reflector would have to be relieved by passing through the center of the reflector and with a quick build up of pressure say if the battery "blew" would likely cause the reflector to be expelled. I don't know what the melting point of silicone is or if it would be reached in an event such as happened here.

    Clearly there was a lot of heat present but I wonder how available oxygen was during the course of the event. I imagine that the winds played a significant role in providing oxygen to the interior of the light and allowing for a complete burn of the resins in the FR4 PCB's.

    The MCPCB in the head held and provided a bulkhead for any internal expansion with the release of pressure limited to the vias in the MCPCB. I would imagine that would dampen the rapid expansion capable of propelling the front end projectiles? I would expect the sapphire window and silicone switch boot were still somewhat intact and likely in the rubble somewhere.

    Obviously the health of jemab is the primary concern here followed by her well being which has no doubt received a major set back but hopefully she will rebound quickly and completely and perhaps with a new appreciation for all that really matters.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Nylon plastic can withstand being hit with a blowtorch, so if the switch body were made of nylon, it's possible it would've survived. However, the springs inside the switch would've fatigued permanently due to the heat, so the switch would've still been useless. Given that, I think it's fair to think of the current thermoplastic switch as a de-facto "burst disc" to relieve the pressure of a failing battery.

    There is no way the electronics could survive being heated to thousands of degrees; even if none of the parts burned, the solder would still melt and the emitter phosphor would incinerate at significantly lower temperatures. So, there's no point trying to design a McGizmo that could withstand the course of a house or car fire with only cosmetic damage. However, it is foreseeable that a McGizmo could be exposed to extremely high heat for a few seconds, such as being accidentally tossed into a campfire as someone mentioned. While I wouldn't expect any electronic device to withstand that kind of abuse for long, a McGizmo equipped with all-silicone soft parts would stand a better chance of surviving intact for the few seconds it would take to knock it out of the fire with a stick. I don't know what the melting point of silicone is either, but I do know they make oven mitts out of it, so it's at least good to 500 degrees. If nothing else, it would save the user the cost of buying a replacement lense and reflector, as the reflector would certainly be damaged by exposure to combustion gases the instant the lense fell out.
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 09-27-2011 at 03:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Also, regarding EXIF data: Windows can display EXIF data in the File Properties window of an image file, so no special software is needed. Also, Google Images will automatically geo-locate an image containing GPS data if the image is uploaded to their servers.

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    One of the best threads I've read on CPF in a long time. Bravo to you Don for the wonderful gesture. Prayers to Liz in this tough time.
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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Quote Originally Posted by jemab View Post
    Stefan, thanks for the concern about privacy. Its amazing what inofrmation you can get these days from a cell phone pic!
    I am the Iphone 4 in Texas whose home burned and owner of the newly resurrected haiku. I am ok with my information being tagged in the pic.

    I'll chime in to say a big thanks to Don for putting back together a small piece of my life. When the fires came through, there was no fire department presence (the winds made it too dangerous) so the houses that burned, burned to the ground. It is a testament to Don's work that this is one of only a handful of things I was able to salvage. None of my other lights were even found, much less able to be restored to working condition.
    So my little haiku will remain with me as a testament to survival and renewal as I continue this journey!
    ~Liz
    +1 I agree with you 100 percent. The flashlight is now a testomony to what you went through. And like the light, you will make it through all of this.

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Righteousness from chaos! All the most important things still remain!
    -Chr1s-
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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    A very special Haiku to hopefully brighten the day of someone who has lost so much. There is no better tool than one with a story.
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    Default

    Our thoughts are with you Liz as you rebuild after all this.

    Maybe that Haiku can be a little bit of normalcy in a crazy mixed up time. I would not part with that thing for any price were I in your shoes. Truly a special little item.

    Don, thanks for being not only a great light maker, but a genuinely caring individual. We need more of those in this world.

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    This is just plain amazing.

    Liz, I wish you a speedy recovery with no hassles from the insurance folks.

    I hope your new Phoenix serves you well. I personally think it's the coolest McGizmo light in the world now.

    I am sure it will bring good tidings for years to come.

    Best wishes from Norway,
    obi
    Last edited by Obijuan Kenobe; 09-28-2011 at 11:54 AM. Reason: grammar
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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Certainly one of the most unique looking lights we've seen here!

    Great job on the rebuild
    Bring on the night...

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    Wink2 Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Quote Originally Posted by jemab View Post
    Stefan, thanks for the concern about privacy. Its amazing what inofrmation you can get these days from a cell phone pic!
    I am the Iphone 4 in Texas whose home burned and owner of the newly resurrected haiku. I am ok with my information being tagged in the pic.

    I'll chime in to say a big thanks to Don for putting back together a small piece of my life. When the fires came through, there was no fire department presence (the winds made it too dangerous) so the houses that burned, burned to the ground. It is a testament to Don's work that this is one of only a handful of things I was able to salvage. None of my other lights were even found, much less able to be restored to working condition.
    So my little haiku will remain with me as a testament to survival and renewal as I continue this journey!
    ~Liz
    Hi Liz,

    I'm so glad that you and no one else were hurt in the fire.
    When you can walk away from a disaster like that everything else in the world becomes much smaller and less important IMHO.

    Your Haiku from the ashes is some story and what's the likelihood that out of all your possessions this small piece of Ti was one of a few things that survived those horrific flames and heat.
    "So my little haiku will remain with me as a testament to survival and renewal as I continue this journey!" I just love how you said that, it's wonderful.

    I had much less of a disaster happen to me a few years ago when my Aleph 1 exploded and caught fire right next to me.
    Here's the link to that story if you care to read it. http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...cought-on-fire.
    By no means am I trivializing or even comparing what happened to me to you, but what I'm trying to say is that something wonderful also protected me that day by not having my light explode in my face and you also were able to walk away from your tragedy and this is good.

    As Don (McGizmo) has rebuilt your Haiku and this doesn't surprise me because I experienced Don's generosity along with Wayne Yamaguchi's (Dat2zip/ Sandwhich shop) back when my Aleph 1 needed to be put back together.
    Needless to say CPF has changed over the years since I became a member, but there is still a thread of common decency and compassion that exists in this groups members and this speaks volumes.

    I only mention this as an offer to you Liz if you want your Haiku refinished and I doubt that you do I can return it to it's previous luster and finish. I have experience with metal buffing and Ti will take to buffing rouge as a duck to water.
    I'm sure you will want to keep your "Haiku from ashes" in it's distressed condition which by the way looks cool, but I make the offer out of wanting to help out if you would be so interested.

    I have went on quite long enough as us old retired guys tend to do .

    Be well~

    Jeff
    ~ I've lived to see another sunrise ~
    ><(((•>
    ~ To love and be loved there is nothing else ~

  29. #29

    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your home and I wish you the best of luck as you move forward.

    I think the Haiku looks amazing as is and wears it's battle scars proudly.

    And I agree with Barefootone, that is a great quote describing your Haiku.
    Have a tritium vial to install? See my sales thread for Norland 61 optical adhesive.

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    Default Re: Trial by fire: Haiku from the ashes

    Quote Originally Posted by Barefootone View Post
    I only mention this as an offer to you Liz if you want your Haiku refinished and I doubt that you do I can return it to it's previous luster and finish. I have experience with metal buffing and Ti will take to buffing rouge as a duck to water.
    I'm sure you will want to keep your "Haiku from ashes" in it's distressed condition which by the way looks cool, but I make the offer out of wanting to help out if you would be so interested.
    You know, you've got me thinking that it might be an interesting effect to put the Phoenix on a lathe and trim the flame-anodizing off just the outermost bands of metal, similar to what Don does with his bead-blasted Haikus. Maybe that would be a good "dress-up" mod once the flame-anodizing starts to wear off around the edges, as I'm sure it will do eventually.

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