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Thread: Any interest in raw, un-plated lights?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* archer6817j's Avatar
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    Question Any interest in raw, un-plated lights?

    Hi folks,

    Just thinking, I believe nickel plating is just about the best solution out there...especially in terms of a durable, functional coating. For me, this is a big part of the lifetime warranty since a raw light will be prone to oxidation and thread wear, not to mention that raw aluminum threads will wear and produce a messy black film on the threads. These raw lights would be exclusive to CPF since cleaning/maintenance will be more critical to their proper function.

    However, it occurred to me that some CPF folks still might prefer raw aluminum lights. These could be stone washed or brushed...but polished and/or sand blasted starts to look terrible pretty fast. Another option would be "as machined" but since I'm doing combined mill/lathe work on these lights the appearance won't be uniform. Price would be $210 instead of $225 for stone washed or brushed. $200 flat for "as machined."

    Anyway, just a feeler. As always, please comment!

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* RedLed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any interest in raw, un-plated lights?

    Stone washed here!
    Check my Web Site: www.Redwayphoto.com

  3. #3

    Default Re: Any interest in raw, un-plated lights?

    EN nickel is the finest finish I've ever used on an aluminum flashlight substrate. HAIII runs second, IMO. I suppose it depends on whether you want a shelf queen or a use light or a hard use light.

    Wilkey

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    Flashaholic* archer6817j's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any interest in raw, un-plated lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginseng View Post
    EN nickel is the finest finish I've ever used on an aluminum flashlight substrate. HAIII runs second, IMO. I suppose it depends on whether you want a shelf queen or a use light or a hard use light.

    Wilkey
    Hey there! As you can imagine, I agree The main reason I don't like to anodize is that you have to machine it off to get the electrical contact...leaving behind raw aluminum that is prone to wear and oxidation. Other than that I love the look of natural HAIII. Of course if you want a black light, using nickel makes it harder, but so far Cerakote has been a good (if not much more expensive) option. EN us used heavily in the machine tool, marine, and medical industries so I think it should be okay for lights

    @ RedLed: if you wanted a raw stone washed light I can bring one to SHOT

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any interest in raw, un-plated lights?

    Nickel has a few problems. It is certainly harder than aluminum, but like other members of the Chromium group of metals, it is prone to peel off if damaged even slightly, it's mildly toxic and some people are allergic to it, and it requires polishing rouge to remove the brown tarnish that accumulates -- silverware polish isn't strong enough. Titanium Nitride might be a better coating, and would certainly be a distinctive color for a flashlight. Not sure if it's electrically conductive though.

  6. #6

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    Fyrstormers suggestion would be awesome but honestly id be totally into an unplated, untreated light. I love the bare metal look. Theres my vote! That might just put me over the edge to grab up one of these beauties you build!

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* archer6817j's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any interest in raw, un-plated lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    Nickel has a few problems. It is certainly harder than aluminum, but like other members of the Chromium group of metals, it is prone to peel off if damaged even slightly, it's mildly toxic and some people are allergic to it, and it requires polishing rouge to remove the brown tarnish that accumulates -- silverware polish isn't strong enough. Titanium Nitride might be a better coating, and would certainly be a distinctive color for a flashlight. Not sure if it's electrically conductive though.
    I'll preface with the standard "I'm no expert" but my understanding is that Electroless Nickel (Phosphorus-Nickel) is different from electroplated nickels. EN is often spec'd for medical and food grade applications (non-toxic). It actually does not flake like electroplated-nickel and is quite pliable in a non-heat treated condition so even dents and scratches won't break the coating loose. I even took my personal light and letter stamped my initials and pressed in my makers mark (after plating) and it had no I'll effect.

    You are right about the staining though but I prefer to think of it as patina

    Oh and TiN...see below. Unfortunately this is a one-off and it's sold. You can see what else I've got for sale here.

    This is a link to the original sales thread for the light on CPF. No one wanted it so I put it up for public sale

    Last edited by archer6817j; 01-10-2012 at 09:47 AM.

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any interest in raw, un-plated lights?

    Yep, that's exactly what I was thinking of. TiN is a great coating. I'm actually in the process of replacing all my household cutting tools with TiN-coated scissors, snips, and knives. Around CPF, though, people might be more familiar with AlTiN, so that might be more marketable.

    My experience with electro-less nickel was less than stellar. I had a couple lights that had it; the dull brown "patina" got to be rather ugly over time, compared to the brilliant shine of the original nickel anyway, and as soon as I dented one the nickel started peeling off. Maybe it was improperly applied, or maybe the lights were actually electroplated but described incorrectly, I dunno.

    Anyway, if I weren't full-up on lights and a huge fan of titanium, I would definitely prefer a TiN or AlTiN-coated light vs. an EN-plated light. Since I'd probably have to get it coated myself, raw aluminum would therefore be the best option for me.
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 01-10-2012 at 02:01 PM.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* archer6817j's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any interest in raw, un-plated lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    Anyway, if I weren't full-up on lights and a huge fan of titanium, I would definitely prefer a TiN or AlTiN-coated light vs. an EN-plated light. Since I'd probably have to get it coated myself, raw aluminum would therefore be the best option for me.
    Hey again! Thanks for all the participation, I appreciate it

    I actually had a couple of raw aluminum lights TiN coated and it doesn't work that well. Since the coating is only microns thick it needs a firm substrate to be effective. That's why it lasts so long on carbide tools. The one pictured above was nickel plated and then TiN coated and that worked much better. It also maintains the luster. If you TiN over bare aluminum it gets kind of matte and ugly looking for some reason.

    Also, if anyone knows a good place to get PVD coatings done, please let me know. I don't think the company I'm working with is going to pan out. Their minimum lot charges are pretty high. I know plenty of folks get it done so give me some tips if you want to see coated lights

  10. #10
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: Any interest in raw, un-plated lights?

    Have you ever considered using a nickel boron coating? This is an EN coating that is much harder than phosphorus nickel. Nickel boron is popular in the firearms industry.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* archer6817j's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any interest in raw, un-plated lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Policecar View Post
    Have you ever considered using a nickel boron coating? This is an EN coating that is much harder than phosphorus nickel. Nickel boron is popular in the firearms industry.
    Hrrrmmm. That is interesting. I'll have to do some investigation! If I could find somewhere local that would make it a million times easier.

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