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Thread: The Arc6 MC-E rides again

  1. #1
    fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default The Arc6 MC-E rides again

    Years ago, I bought a few Arc6s. One I modified with a Philips Luxeon K2, and later with a Cree XM-L; another I modified with a Cree MC-E; and the third I left stock. Of the three, the one with the Cree MC-E always gave me the most trouble, because of its funky 4-in-1 emitter design. (but it looks so cool though!) First I used the stock reflector, but the beam was terrible, so I added a piece of diffuser film to the lense, which smoothed-out the beam but destroyed the throw. Then I tried a TIR optic designed for the MC-E, but the only one that really worked well also had a diffusing layer on it, so the throw was still no good. Plus, with both of those solutions I couldn't see the emitter, and frankly I think the appearance of the MC-E is half the fun of owning one. In any event, I was out of good ideas, so I stuck it in a plastic bag and tossed it in a box, to revisit someday.

    A few years later, Prometheus Lights started making lights using the Cree MC-E. His lights used a reflector made by Ledil, which I'd seen before but I'd never realized they had a version specifically made for the MC-E. His results were very good, so I bought a few reflectors from him to try on my Arc6 MC-E...eventually. Once I got the reflectors, I saw they were much larger than the Arc6 reflector, and they would take a lot of work to trim down. In fact, I wasn't sure I could even do it without a proper lathe. So into the box they went, next to the Arc6 MC-E, to be revisited sometime between now and never.

    Well, tonight I finally decided to give it a try. I recently wrapped up a particularly satisfying RC project, and I was looking for a change of pace that wouldn't cost me hundreds of dollars more, so I dug out my Arc6 MC-E, the Ledil reflectors, and my Dremel and packs of sandpaper. Three hours later, here's what I managed to come up with:



    An un-modified Ledil Boom reflector is on the left. The modified one is in the middle. The original Arc6 reflector, which has the outer dimensions I needed to copy, is on the right. Working with just a Dremel and sandpaper, I'm frankly amazed I didn't ruin the reflector outright. When I was done, I used a smaller light to shine through the side of the reflector, and I discovered I came closer to ruining it than I ever would've guessed -- in a couple places, the remaining plastic is so thin the light goes straight through the reflective layer and can be seen glowing faintly on the other side. However, I didn't breach the reflective layer anywhere, so the reflector is still usable.



    The modified Ledil Boom reflector is on the left, and the original reflector is on the right. I don't pretend to understand the math that makes the array-of-mirrors design work, but it produces significantly better results than the random texturing on the original reflector.



    I am frankly amazed I managed to get the reflector to fit this well. I'm really not trying to kiss my own ass with that comment, I just had serious doubts that I could get the reflector to fit without ruining it. I'm super-pleased that it fit properly.



    As you can see from the beamshot, there are still hints of the 4-in-1 emitter design, but having seen what the beam looked like with previous solutions, I can tell you this is orders of magnitude better. This could actually be used as an EDC light without being irritating to look at.

    - - -

    So there, that's how I spent my Thursday evening.
    Last edited by fyrstormer; 03-27-2015 at 05:15 PM.

  2. #2
    nfetterly's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Arc6 MC-E rides again

    looks fantastic! I love the MC-E with the Leidl.


  3. #3
    fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Arc6 MC-E rides again

    Yeah, it looks a lot better now. By contrast, here's what I tried in the past:

    After the initial mod. The LED fits into the hole at the back of the reflector perfectly, but you can tell looking at the reflection of the yellow phosphor that it doesn't focus properly at all.


    So then I tried some diffuser film, which worked, but turned the light into a floodlight, and hid the cool-looking emitter from view.


    Later I tried a diffusing TIR optic, which was better, but was a poor fit inside the reflector housing and had to be glued in-place, and the cool-looking emitter was still obscured from view.


    ...and here's how much easier it was to set up my Arc6 XM-L instead; all I had to do was center the LED and drop-in the stock reflector.


    But hey, at least my Arc6 MC-E is usable again. Yay!

  4. #4
    fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Arc6 MC-E rides again

    ...and here it is, all dusted-out, buttoned-up, and ready to use.



    I love the way the Arc6 looks, I always have. And now this one is finally how I envisioned it when I first replaced the emitter back in 2010. How's that for putting something on the back burner?

  5. #5
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: The Arc6 MC-E rides again

    COOL!!!

    That looks like the maw of the planet killer in the original Star Trek episode, "Doomsday Machine!"

    That is a thing of beauty!

  6. #6
    fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Arc6 MC-E rides again

    Thanks! Interesting comparison, I never would've thought of that.

    That's my favorite angle to take flashlight headshots -- with the edge of the LED just inside the edge of the bezel. It does a good job of showing both the width and the depth of the reflector, because you also have the context of the angle that the rest of the body is at -- narrow reflectors require a more head-on angle, wider reflectors allow a more oblique angle. Also, it just looks cool.

    Here's the twins, now that they're both modernized and properly-fitted with optics:

    Last edited by fyrstormer; 03-28-2015 at 09:08 PM.

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