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Thread: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

  1. #1

    Default About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    Hi guys,
    Recently and out of the blue I have had a number of requests for completely bead blasted lights. I think I need to explain where I am coming from on this.

    I really like to be able to process an order for a light in as timely fashion as possible and that means getting it out in the next mail pick up after receiving a request. I don't like to wait any longer than necessary when I order something and I figure many of you don't either. I can't control the timeliness of delivery from people and companies I order stuff from but I can have some control in how long it takes me to perform. With this in mind, I like to preassemble these lights as far as possible in anticipation of requests. With the current 3S McClickie lights that means I have everything preassembled with the exception of the light engine itself. When I get a request, I build the light engine with appropriate LED and converter and then complete the build. My McClickie paks are already built out with clip and switch installed and all heads with the exception of the Haiku head are already complete except for the light engine.

    The only components I bead blast as a rule are the pocket / belt clips. I will set up the blasting cabinet and spend a few hours blasting when I get a new delivery of clips. I will also take some Haiku heads and 1x123 McClickie paks that I have set aside for blasting and ideally do them at the same time. My blasting rig is not set up at all times and it takes time to set it up. It is in my garage and I live in a residential neighborhood so I limit running the compressor to mid day when others have lawn mowers and other noisy equipment running. Every time I get a request for a BB Haiku and find my self not having a set ready to go I resent offering these as an option. It's a PITA to take a McClickie pak apart just to blast it not to mention setting up the blasting cabinet. I don't expect anyone to feel sorry for me here but hope you can accept my reasons for not being thrilled about offering custom finish options on a case by case basis; heck this is just cosmetics.

    I don't believe I mentioned a BB option in either the Haiku XP-G or Haiku XM-L threads and this was not an accident. I was kind of hoping the requests for BB lights would fade away along with the original BB Haiku that had the XR-E LED.

    I admit that there are all kinds of plating possibilities and anodizing possibilities with titanium as well as bead blast and stone washed finishes. If I were offering truly custom, one at a time lights and accepted lead time involved I would not have a ready reason or excuse for not entertaining some cosmetic options. Yes, I could offer a completely bead blasted light. I could offer a TiN plated option and anodize colors. I could take nail polish and paint the lights like easter eggs for that matter. But I don't!

    For me to willingly offer some of these options I would have to charge more than I believe they are worth and that due to short comings on my end. I guess I am selfish with my time and a wuss as I don't like to receive a request that I have to deny or say no to. I think being proactive and explaining the situation up front may help avoid requests that will be denied. Does that make any sense?

    I have had it suggested to me at times that I use McGizmo.com (after removing all the cobwebs) as an e-commerce site and set up to do business in a more conventional manner with well defined items listed and shopping cart and so on. There is certainly merit to going in that direction and it might serve both myself and you guys better. BUT. The McGizmo forum we all have built here over time is refreshing in so many ways, at least to me, and the lack of structure seems to allow for more creative and personal approaches it seems. I may be missing business opportunities limiting myself to this forum as means of going to market but to date you guys have provided enough business and support that it hasn't been an issue.

    At some point I probably do need to get a better handle on what is being offered and come up with some more structure related to the offerings but if I can get away with putting this off for a while longer it is the path of least resistance.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  2. #2

    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    I appreciate you explaining your reasoning behind your position!

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* nbp's Avatar
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    Default

    Sooooo, what you're saying is no more BB lights? I think.



    PS: I like the forum over an impersonal website for sure, even if it is less structured. My 2 lms.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    Quote Originally Posted by nbp View Post
    Sooooo, what you're saying is no more BB lights? I think.
    The BB Haiku has been part of the offering all along and I don't plan to remove it at this point. I haven't turned down any requests for BB Haiku regardless of LED being requested, I just didn't mention the option in the other threads.

    I want to also add that I too appreciate the looks of a completely bead blasted light as opposed to the version I have offered where I have gone back and re surfaced some of the faces back to the machined satin look. But one of the reasons I have done this aside from appearance is actually in consideration of these surfaces being more prone to contact and scratches. I believe scratches are less obvious in the satin finish than in the dull bead blasted finish. In other words, I believe the way I am offering the BB light is better suited to retain its appearance over time than if the light were completely bead blasted.
    Build Prices .... some mods and builds (not 4 sale) "Nature can be cruel- but we don't have to be."~ Temple Grandin

  5. #5

    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    Quote Originally Posted by McGizmo View Post
    I want to also add that I too appreciate the looks of a completely bead blasted light as opposed to the version I have offered where I have gone back and re surfaced some of the faces back to the machined satin look. But one of the reasons I have done this aside from appearance is actually in consideration of these surfaces being more prone to contact and scratches. I believe scratches are less obvious in the satin finish than in the dull bead blasted finish. In other words, I believe the way I am offering the BB light is better suited to retain its appearance over time than if the light were completely bead blasted.
    That does make sense. Thank you for elaborating.

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    I think what is needed is a business relationship with someone on CPF who can offer bead-blasting and stonewashing services on a case-by-case basis, or else batch-by-batch at predictable and reliable intervals. People could order the light from you and you could ship it to your business partner for custom-finishing prior to customer delivery.

    If this sounds like I'm hypothetically suggesting a business partnership with me, I'm not, because unfortunately I don't have the space or equipment to offer finishing services. But since there are regular requests for surface-texture finishing for McGizmos and other lights, one or two modders with the appropriate resources could make a pretty steady business of it.

  7. #7
    *Flashaholic* precisionworks's Avatar
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    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    IMHO bead blasting is a royal PITA. The glass bead grit gets into every crack & crevice on a light, especially the internal threads, & is almost impossible to totally remove. Mechanical cleaning does a so so job but always leaves some abrasive behind, at least for me. Ultrasonic cleaning might do better but there isn't one of those in my shop.

    It's a PITA to take a McClickie pak apart just to blast it not to mention setting up the blasting cabinet.
    +1

    Complete dis assembly, BB, clean & re clean, assemble & lube. It is a time killer. In the past I bead blasted lights using a large commercial blast cabinet at a friend's factory. He sold the business & that option is no longer available. Probably one of the best things he could have done
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    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    Are there any viable alternatives to BB such as pickling solutions?
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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    Pretty much the only thing that attacks titanium are strong fluoride solutions -- but only certain ones. Nitrogen loves to be bonded to itself in a di-atomic configuration, and it releases a huge amount of energy when it does so, which is why modern explosives rely almost exclusively on nitrogen-ring-collapse reactions to provide the explosive force, but when titanium "oxidizes" with nitrogen, the resulting TiN is so stable it can be used as a coating for high-speed high-temperature machine tools. Even chlorine tri-fluoride, an oxidizing agent so strong it can set concrete on fire, can be stored safely in a titanium tank. Titanium oxidizes incredibly strongly, and once it has an oxide coating, almost nothing can get in.

    - - -

    Out of curiosity, is metal-bead blasting an option, instead of glass-bead blasting?
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 04-13-2012 at 07:49 AM.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* subwoofer's Avatar
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    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    Pretty much the only thing that attacks titanium are strong fluoride solutions -- but only certain ones. Nitrogen loves to be bonded to itself in a di-atomic configuration, and it releases a huge amount of energy when it does so, which is why modern explosives rely almost exclusively on nitrogen-ring-collapse reactions to provide the explosive force, but when titanium "oxidizes" with nitrogen, the resulting TiN is so stable it can be used as a coating for high-speed high-temperature machine tools. Even chlorine tri-fluoride, an oxidizing agent so strong it can set concrete on fire, can be stored safely in a titanium tank. Titanium oxidizes incredibly strongly, and once it has an oxide coating, almost nothing can get in.
    So that'll be a NO then ;-)
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  11. #11

    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    I would love to find someone who would stonewash a light.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* pjandyho's Avatar
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    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    Ahh Don... So there goes any hope of asking for alternative finishes. Was still wondering if you would offer another version just like your current BB Haiku but instead of having the remaining parts glossy, how about having them laser edged instead? Not sure how much PITA it would be to do something like that, but just saying.
    The love of light is the reason why I don't walk in darkness. But darkness has it's beauty...Sadly, my lights are much more beautiful!!
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  13. #13

    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    Quote Originally Posted by fyrstormer View Post
    ...
    Out of curiosity, is metal-bead blasting an option, instead of glass-bead blasting?
    Way before I messed with lights, I was making anodized earrings in my garage and my wife got into it as well. I tried conventional abrasive media (sand) that had aluminum oxide as a component and this was more aggressive than the glass and did impart a darker finish. However the Ti surface was contaminated by this and I could not anodize it and get colors. (just a warning to anyone thinking along those lines)

    I plan to keep my focus on simple and complete flashlights where cosmetics are secondary and not included at a premium in price and PITA at my end. Obviously once one owns one of these lights they can do with it what they wish.
    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: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    And in that regard, the fact that the light can be completely disassembled using a needle and a small pair of pliers makes it much easier for people to refinish them as they see fit.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by precisionworks View Post
    Ultrasonic cleaning might do better but there isn't one of those in my shop.
    I use ultrasonics to clean blasted parts. Provided the bits aren't to large or the build up to thick, full power will clean down to the metal, leaving a grit free surface.

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* precisionworks's Avatar
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    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    Quote Originally Posted by ElectronGuru View Post
    I use ultrasonics to clean blasted parts. Provided the bits aren't to large or the build up to thick, full power will clean down to the metal, leaving a grit free surface.
    That sounds like an ideal solution for bead blasted parts. I plan to stone wash a few Ti parts & see how they look. Grit should not be an issue using ceramic media & water.
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    Flashaholic* RedLed's Avatar
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    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    Don,

    I knid of like things like you have them now. I am a small company, and pick and choose what I do, and after 20 years, I feel I do not have do every job that comes up, and I actually make more money by doing what I think is best, and selecting the bigger jobs which pay well, and am now making that my focus.

    What you have now works well and you have the respect of your customers and an indusrty.

    Not bad at all.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide to do in the future,

    NR
    Check my Web Site: www.Redwayphoto.com

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* tino_ale's Avatar
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    Default Re: About bead blasting...goofy business practices ....

    I agree with what's expressed here.

    McGizmo being a one-man show, the work he does in the flashlight industry is finite. Bead blasting parts, which I would probably offer for a premium if I lived in the USA, doesn't require any of the genius or skills that Don has shown through his work.

    I much prefer (not remotely implying that it's any of my business to decide) Don to spend time in the next flashlight design or next set of breath-taking underwater Maui pics than blasting Ti parts.

    Cheers
    Last edited by tino_ale; 04-24-2012 at 10:47 AM.

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