WIP: bold new territory

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tab665

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for reasons I cant properly explain I have allways loved TIR optics. there is just a uniqueness to them that I cant put into words. one day I was browsing around ledil's website and came across this, http://ledil.com/node/2/p/6305, a 47mm diameter optic suited for XP-E's and XP-G's. I would love a light that was built around this optic. At that point my imagination got the better of me.

from there I wondered what my ideal dream light would be like, searching for different LEDs, drivers, ect. design wise I think a "vintage" look would be cool. nothing says vintage like being made out of copper, but I already have a copper flashlight I love. What about something different like bronze? better yet, what if the light was made of two different metals, such as titanium for the head and bronze for the body to give a vintage/retro look? while im at it, since the head is going to be big might as well have a body that is built around the 26650 cell instead of the 18650. might as well get a programmed driver to eliminate all the modes I don't use and kick it old school with just a high and low setting. My dream light would also be water proof, easily able to take a dip in the pool at night with no concerns. to help keep it water proof might as well eliminate the tailcap and switch and go with a twist design. and the ability to tailstand is a must. yes,

but this is just daydreaming. looking for components for a flashlight that will never exist. No one would ever machine a 2" head from titanium for a single light for a specific optic. I might as well find some mass produced light covered in black ano for my non-existent tactical missions, im sure perhaps one day I can find use of the sos, strobe, beacon, disco modes, not to mention the 5 other output modes plus 5 more mode groups. Besides, it would take some sort of machining master to build this light.....

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enter Fred Pilon. this is a WIP thread for the light described above. all photos that will be posted were taken by Fred himself. I will try to update this thread some more this weekend (sorry for the tease). above is a bucket of titanium swarf from doing the machining on the head for this light. more photos to come...
 
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tab665

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I would like to start this post off by mentioning how it is dealing with Fred. when I first emailed him he was very prompt with his reply. I actually figured this project wouldn't get on the ground running for a while longer. be we were able to get the ball rolling in no time. I first emailed Fred on October 6th and was already ordering the LED and optic on the 7th. one email is all it took to realize Fred was the man to take on this project. and since then I proabably havent gone more than 5 days or so without some sort of update from him. long story short, he is the man.

now, back to the light. there are going to be 3 external components to the light. the body, head, and a bezel ring. however, first came the issue of finding round stock in the diameter needed to hold the optic. Fred was able to source a big round hunk of Ti with an outside diameter of 60.2mm. here im going to detail the lengths he went through in order to turn down the diameter of the material and then cut out the bezel ring.
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first things first, after Fred faced the Ti he had to then start the tedious process of turning the diameter down from 60.2mm to 56mm (about .17 inches)

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here he has the Ti turned down. each pass he took off 0.20mm which comes out to over 20 passes. Fred wanted to err on the side of cation to avoid any damage to the material, the tool, or the chuck.
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now its time to flip the piece around and machine down the part that was previously being held by the chuck. again, taking material off little by little.

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and presto! he now has the entire piece of Ti turned down to 56mm. here he has also began to remove some material so he can saw off a slab that will make the bezel. the bezel is going to be about 11mm thick.

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the removal of the material is done and here it is on the saw. he ended up making an opening that was 31mm wide and 15mm deep. Fred doesn't forget the details, he made it 15mm deep to allow for the thickness of the saw blade which will then leave the 11mm he needs for the bezel. for what its worth, it took the saw 1 hour and 15 minutes to make it all the way through the material.

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the piece has been separated and now fred is facing the material.

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and the results. the bezel still needs to be bored out further and also threaded at this point. however, first fred is going to begin machining on the head, which is going to be no walk in the park. this light is the largest Fred has machined, hence the "bold new territory" title to the thread. Can he pull it off or will he rue the day he decided to machine a 2" head out of titanium? stay tuned.
 

tab665

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lets continue this story... on to the machining of the head! up to this point Fred has been fastening the chunk of Ti into his machine with the chuck. to get better access to material the machine the outside of the head he is going to need to use an expanding collet in the head. here he is going to start removing some of the inside material.
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here, he is drilling out the inside of the Ti. removing material is the name of the game here. at this point he had already used multiple drills. starting with a 5mm bit and working his way up to a 18.5mm drill bit. one of Fred's great strengths is patience, working in smaller steps to ensure perfection.

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now he is able to use a boring bar to finish removing the material. the inside diameter he is going for is 26.5mm in order for the collet to fit.

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this end is ready for the expanding collet to fit. but first im going to show a picture of the Ti head next to the giant round of bronze...
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the reason the bronze is of such a large diameter is so the tail end can have a nice wide pedestal to stand on. when this light tailstands it will take some sort of catastrophic event to upheave it. as for that odd pattern on the bronze itself, not sure what it is, but youll see later that it disappears once material starts coming off. also I should mention I left out a picture of fred cutting down the Ti to the final length he needs for the head. but that's enough side chatter, lets see what fred can do now with the outside of the head!
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ahhh, starting work on the taper of the head and giving it some shape. here fred is working from left to right, left to right, taking off somewhere around 0.5mm of materai in his passes. here, the narrow end is down from 54mm to 44mm.

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second verse same as the first! left to right, left to right... now the diameter of the narrow end is down around 35mm. still more to go though! and.....

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.... DONE! well, with the flare at least. Still a lot of machining to go however. o-ring grooves, threads, mating for the bezel ring he machined earlier, and that's just for the head. if you think the thread has started to heat up now, the next update might just melt your face off.
 

Chauncey Gardiner

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Hi tab665,

I found this thread via the Café. Yep, I'm a fan of the process. Best of luck with your project. Subscribed.

~ Chance
 

Zandar

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I'm a huge PhotonFanatic fan as well. Fred is a true master and always produces great lights. I'll definitely be watching this build.
 

tab665

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the machining shall continue until morale improves! lets check and see how the final machining of the head went for Fred...

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this groove machined by Fred is the o-ring groove. going to be the cozy abode of a 48 x 2mm Buna ring.

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now he's turning down the outer portion and getting ready to start on the threads.

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and boom goes the dynamite! threading is done, 0.5mm thread pitch.

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here, he has started boring out some more of the material to house the optic. before he continues however, he will first flip the head around and start boring out and threading where the head mates to the body.
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the reason he had to start back working on this end is so he could still use the expanding collet to secure the head. here is his set up getting ready to prep for machining the threads. in layman's terms,to make sure the threads are concentric to the outside of the head he somewhat tightens the head and turns on the machine at a slower speed. checking visually for wobble and also that thingybob that's actually touching there head is giving out readings making sure its at a zero point all the way around. once its just right, the head is fully tightened into place.
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judging by these threads, id have to say he got it positioned just right. before doing the threads, he did a final boring and machine some thread relief grooves. this is actually just one of the 8 passes required to machine the gooves to the proper depth. 1 of 8!! Fred is a wild man.

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heres the final shot of the threads after machining. same as before, 0.5mm threads. there has been a lot of machining done to this chunk of Ti. time to take it down the home stretch....
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here, fred has flipped the head around and is removing more material to house the optic. an ongoing theme throughout the machining of this head has been "removing more material". however, he isn't just haphazardly removing material. the cross slide holding the tool is tightened down into the head at a 72 degree angle. each pass removing about 0.2mm equals a lot of passes and adjusting. by the looks of it, im thinking its just about done...

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sure enough! test fitting the optic, this whole project has been centered around utilizing this optic. damn you optic!

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and now the machining of the head is complete! well, almost, there is going to be some machining to the outside to assist in grip. its crazy to think that Fred did all this without any hiccups. can't just junk the piece and start over. cant be good for his blood pressure. I cant even posts updates in a timely matter because im always having to backspace and delete my typoes.
anyways, theres too much titanium on this page. on the next update were going to follow Fred's adventure as he begins machining the bronze body of the light. until next time, stay classy CPF.
 

tab665

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Before I continue with this next update I figured I would share with everyone what some of the components that I chose for this light are. first and foremost was the Ledil optic. After that I got a neutral R5 binned XP-G2 that will be soldered to a 20mm copper Sinkpad. the driver is a q-lite 3.04 amp driver I ordered from MTN Electronics. there, they will go ahead and modify the driver to you liking, which is awesome if you lack mod skills such as myself. I had one of the chips removed to drop the drive current to about 2.6 amps. also they programmed the modes to be high/low, with low being 15%. That is rather high for a low mode, but I wanted to have sufficient output when I change to low from high as obviously high mode will be overdriving the LED quite a bit and I will not be able to run it continuously on high. my calculations, based on the fact this light can get 550 OTF lumens, has the lux on this light somewhere around 35k on high, and 5k on low. Again, that's just based on a hypothetical assumption on OTF lumens and the CD/lumen value given by Ledil.

enough blabbering for now. you guys want to see some more machining pics, right? When we left off last time, Fred had just completed the head. now its time to start working on the bronze body. as many sculptors will tell you, a masterpiece is already in the block of stone. its the sculptors task to remove the extra stone and free the art. if anyone you have you doubts about the titanium/bronze combination then continue on and be amazed.

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as mentioned before, that odd pattern on the exterior of the bronze round went away after machining began. the starting diameter was 46mm and Fred is taking the first steps towards taking it down to about 34mm.


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in this photo you can see Fred's setup a little better. he drilled a pilot hole in the end not held in the chuck and has a center point inserted into the hole. this to help reduce any deflection as the material is machined; keeping everything nice and centered. here, he is in the familiar stage of removing more material.

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here has almost completed turning down the exterior of the bronze. the part help in the chuck will only get a little machining. told you it would be a tailstanding champion.

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after using multiple drill bits, fred is now using a boring bar to get the proper inside diameter of about 26.7mm. for those wondering, I also sent fred one of the batteries I will be using with the light so he could really nail down his numbers. looking good!

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here you can see the battery bump at the end of the tube. its a raised button machined in the light that allows for good contact with the bottom of the battery. if were machined flat then the battery wrapper would make actual contact difficult.

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fred has started in on the threading. the size and design of this light cause Fred to have to do some machining in certain positions that he normally would not do. in this case, he would not attempt to do threads so far away from the chuck. But alas, there is only one way to skin this cat, hope the threads turn out right...

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looks like they turned out perfect! in this picture you can also see the o-ring groove that fred machined. however, looks can be deceiving time to see if the proof is in the pudding and do a fit test of the head...

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looking good. now the threads are out of the way lets continue machining the body.

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time to rotate the battery tube and start machining down to the final diameter to match the head. the taper portion was cranked by hand and now the tool is working from right to left.

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and the last touch for now, the bottom is cleaned up. lets get this thing off the machine for now and see some glamour shots!

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tail standing proudly

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flashlight porn. I never had a doubt that the titanium and bronze would go nicely together. however, even I was amazed out how it looks at this point. simply gorgeous. heres the kicker though, IT GETS EVEN BETTER! yes, there is more machining to be done to the body. I would like to state again that all of these photos were taken by Fred himself as he goes along. he has sent me photos once or twice per week complete with descriptions as well. its been an amazing experience.

on the next episode, will a ghost from the past come back to haunt us? the bezel ring returns!
 

badtziscool

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It's so nice to see machine work being done and watching a flashlight come out of stock. And I'll agree with you, there is something about the output of TIR optics that I love. I wish there were more options for the various leds that are available today. I think a couple that I would love to see is a TIR designed for the nichia 219 so that it concentrates the beam a bit more giving it a bit more reach, and one for xml2, because there aren't that many options for that led.
 

tab665

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update time! so far 2 of the 3 components has progressed near their final stages of machining. but lets not overlook the bezel. in my first post I detailed some of the work Fred had to do in order to turn down the piece of Ti and then saw off a slice of material for the bezel. the bezel, which is going to be 11mm thick, took over an hour to saw off. since then, it has waited for its time under the spotlight. following, I will detail some of the step Fred took to take the bezel ring to completion.

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starting to remove the excess material. that titanium getting cut off looks sharp!

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the bulk of the material has now been removed in this photo. he now has his thread relief grooves machined and will proceed to machine the threads. once the threads are done he will need to flip around the piece and bore out the opening to its final diameter as well as turn down the outside diameter from 56mm to 54mm. lets see how the threads turned out first before going further shall we?
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in all its glory. as usual, a perfect set of threads in a .5mm pitch.

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as mentioned earlier, Fred has already flipped around the piece, bored out the opening, and turned down the outside diameter to its final size. now he is cutting a 45 degree bevel. on to the beautification process!

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here is some of his practicality at work. Fred has all the three dimensional drawings and specs so that he can go ahead and set up the tools and start machining. however, at the end of the day what matters is the eyeball test. he already has the groove cutter tool in position based on his specs, but before he starts cutting he uses a marker to mark the cuts to make sure it looks perfect (which they did). cautious and practical.

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and the machining commences! here the first two grooves are done and he is working on the last one. here you can see those sharp looking slivers of Ti scrap. can you imagine what it would feel like to have one of those ran between the webbing of your fingers or toes!?! AHHH! WHY!?!

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I like this step. its a step that I would have never thought to ask for. here is adding a little bit of a bevel to the outside of the bezel. unless im crazy I think the bezel might just be about done....

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correct! this photo and the next were taken in natural day light. I cant even tell that im looking at two pieces threaded together. where's the seam?!?

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another shot of the bezel on the head. looking good! its crazy the number of steps taken to make the bezel and the amount of hours it took to make it. again, it took over an hour just to saw off the material to make it. so whats left for the machining of the of the light? stay tuned because the next update will include both bronze and titanium as well as a few failed attempts at humor. stay classy, CPF.
 

calipsoii

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This is a very interesting build log, thank you for taking the time to write it all up tab665! Fred's work is outstanding and it's a pleasure to watch the process.

If you're talking to him can you ask him two questions for me?
1) How the heck is his workpiece always so clean? Where is all the cutting fluid and swarf? :faint:
2) I'm curious what motions he made with his boring bar to leave such a prominent, angular battery bump?

Cheers man, looking forward to seeing the final results!
 

tab665

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ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?!?
this update will be a monumental one. we are now down to the final machining to the outside of the light and will be able to see what the light is going to look like. im the kind of guy that like to see things simple. when me and fred were emailing ideas back and forth it was decided that some vertical grooves were the way to go. vertical grooves on the body to give it that vintage look, and vertical grooves on the head for grip since its a twisty. without further delay, lets move on to the action shots!

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fred has just finished putting some grooves on the tail area. to quote fred, "symmetry is a good thing". the thickness of the bezel and tail are the same with matching grooves machined.

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on to the vertical grooves. the tool Fred is using a ball nose endmill. the body is secured into place via the expandable collet. each groove took 4 passes. to damper the vibrations ha had to hold the tail end which reduced any chatter. luckily bronze isn't as hard to machine as titanium. now, on to the glamour shot....

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the vertical grooves really nailed the "vintage" look.

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a close up of Fred's machine work. but come on, that was too easy. lets see if fred can do matching grooves on the titanium head!

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since Fred isn't accustomed to machining pieces the diameter of the head he has to secure the piece any way he can. here he has it on the four-jaw chuck. its gripping from the inside of the head since there are threads on the outside. this gives him only 5mm of "grip". seems risky to me, can he pull it off?

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looks like its working! same as on the body, each cut takes 4 passes before reaching the final depth. certainly looks like the grooves will provide the grip to twist the head.

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here's a side view of the set up. looks about done, but hopefully the grooves on the head will match the grooves put on the body...

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straight baller son!!

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not much to say about the last two photos other than "wow". again, what I really enjoy is the two tone look from the different metals. I know Fred is more well-know for some of his crazy machine work. dudes got skills. but simple, practical and sleek are on display here. utilitarian with dress shoes and a tie. from here its time to test fit all the components. getting the LED perfectly focused, building the light engine, and all that other technical stuff. Fred has held up his end of the bargain, now its time to see if the components I sent will live up to the awesomeness that Fred has built. Will the TIR optic live up to its hype? stay tuned.
 

CaptainRogersUK

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damn thats some serious flashaholic porn... lol.... will re read ind epth later when i have more time..... you never thought of adding trit's or are you a purist and prefer pure clean lights :).. either way looks a delight..

by the way Fred needs a pat on the back.. his level of workmanship is through the roof... dread to think of the time he's put into just that one light...

shame there are not another 5 apprentices working with him ;)
 
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YummyBacon!

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This thread just gets better! When Fred made me a Luce a few years ago, I was fortunate enough to also receive some wonderful WIP photos (still have them!) I always
appreciated that extra, seldom seen perk. Thanks again Fred.
 
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