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  1. #1
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    Project Bubbles (build thread)

    It has been a long time since I built a light, the last one has been working pretty well. This light has been on the drawing board in a different form for a while, but I finally got the inspiration to get off my butt and build it - that is after seeing Troutie's aspheric lights which provided the inspiration. Originally this was going to be based on triple carclo optics and use XPE's, but the aspherics are too cool to pass up.



    This is a focusing jig, not the best, but works OK.







    The only progress so far is a fixture to hold the parts of the light and the front cover. I still need to get some parts, namely the XML's and the H6FLEX to drive it.













    I still need to mill the body and the back plate (waiting on an endmill for the body since it needs to be longer than normal). Based on past performance, I can see this taking about a week or two to complete if nothing else gets in my way. The milling process is slow and I am still a novice for the CNC stuff.

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    Looks very interesting Huffy, I will be watching this like a hawk.

    Good luck.

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    Is the design meant to have adjustable focus? Or was the jig just to find the optimal distance for throw or whatever beam pattern your after?

  4. #4
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    Thanks Yeti, I am making more progress than I thought I would, so I may have some more pics tonight.

    DIY, the jig is just as you said to find the optimal distance. An adjustable focus would be cool, but I would probably end up cradled in the arms of a cactus if I had something like that.

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    I Likey , Looks most interesting Huffy Puffy Got my beady aspherical trout-like eyes on this build .

    Any more details on the lenses

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    Thanks Troutie

    I picked up the optics at surplusshed.com - I also got a 44mm optic which has some serious throw, but was too big for this project. I have some beamshots from my cameraphone, but they are all mixed up. When I get the light done I will do some proper MTBR shots with the light and the jig using the other optics.


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    Ohh I have some of those from surplusshed be interested in focal distances
    when you get sorted. Not had chance to try them out yet .

    thats going to be one mean thrower Helmet light I am guessing ???

    and sexy machining. nice and curvy

  8. #8
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    I designed it to be a thrower, with some medium distance from the small optics. The small optics don't focus too well and the medium optics will do the throwing (hopefully).

    These values are what I figured were the best looking, measured from the bottom of a standard 20mm star with an XML mounted - I spent the most time on the 24mm optics which are the best balance between size and throwing power, though there is quite a difference when you step up to the 36mm optic:

    Small 12mm optic - L10017
    7.05mm (could not get a really clear die projection from this one)

    Medium 24mm optic - L10085
    10.37-10.82mm

    Large 36mm optic - L3899
    25.74mm

  9. #9
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    Thanks Huffy Puffy

    Are you going for a Die image or defocused a little

  10. #10
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    The best focused die image I could get was slightly defocused (pic above) on the 24mm, so that is what I am going for. I made a small change in the design during the machining which hopefully won't cause too much of a problem with the focus, but if it does I have an idea on how to fix it.

    The body of the light is on the mill now. Had some problems with centering due to my lack of experience setting up the fixture, I think for the next one I will need to get a better way of center finding so when I flip a piece on the fixture it still lines up properly - any slight difference in zeroing the axis is doubled when the part is flipped for milling the other side.

    For a helmet light this is going to be a bit long since the H6Flex is 1.3" diameter and it is going to be mounted flat. I think for the next one I may try and mount the driver vertically to shorten it up a bit.

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    Here are couple pics of the body being milled, had to do it in 2 steps since it had to be flipped over. This is what I started with:



    The front was milled first, there was an area for setting the stars milled in which may mess with the focus, will see:


    Milling the flip side of it now, this was a problem since I did not have the front properly centered when I cut it, so now the back had to be shifted to match up, not perfect, but hopfully close enough for this one:


  12. #12
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    There is a problem with the alignment of the body with the front of the light so this one goes in the scrap bin (which is getting bigger every time I see it). Could probably fix it, but would rather fix the underlying problem with the alignment and get one that is correct. I have an idea to mill several parts together which will hopefully keep everything lined up. Will post some picks of strike 2 when I get it started.

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    Nice work huffy
    Shame about the centering ruining the body, I get that problem when flipping things that are clamped to the rotary table.
    And if it isn't perfect it either ends up smaller or scrap.
    As your using cnc could you machine a base that has the shape of the body cut out of it, then you can flip it and drop it back in? Would have to be a pretty tight fit.
    What mill are you using and did you cnc it yourself?

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    Thanks Goldigger. Good idea on the mating pocket for aligning the piece, unfortunately I can't do that since the workflow I am going for requires a flat surface on the jig - so I can use the same jig for all the steps. What I ended up doing was to set the jig up with 4 holes to align the piece when flipped, but I did not have perfect alignment of the Jig to the table when I milled the first piece so when the others were made, if they were flipped the error doubled, at least I think that is what occurred. I also think that possibly the base of the jig may have moved just slightly during the process of removing and re-adding the top part (the jig has 2 parts, one fixed to the table and one that is fixed to the work, the parts screw together with pins for alignment).

    I am going to try something new since I have a couple of new toys for my mill. I am installing a tooling plate which, once I get properly aligned (which is quite a bit of work), should allow me to get proper alignment of the jig to the table every time. I also have a laser center finder in the mail which I hope will save me some time with alignment, which is the biggest part of the job.

    The mill is an X3 from Harbor Freight with a CNC Fusion kit (which is worth the money).


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    Dumped the jig and made a new one to go with the fixture plate. Pins are 3/8-16 screws ground down. Will see how well this works tomorrow.


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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy View Post
    The best focused die image I could get was slightly defocused (pic above) on the 24mm, so that is what I am going for.
    FWIW: When I light benched the aspherics I had (and that included to 10017), I got nice sharp die images when I had no barrel and allowed any light wider that the lens diameter go its own way. When I trapped all light in a barrel to the lens, I got washed out the grids completely and made a fuzzy aura of between 5 and 10% of the die width around the image essentialy softening the edges and so the cutoff. This increased the apparent brightness a noticebale but not great amount so guessing about 20-30%.

    Bubbles is going ot be awesome.

  17. #17
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    Cool, thanks Brian. I did not test with a barrel around the lens, but that is how it will end up (I did not consider that there would be much difference - doh!). Was thinking of painting the inside of the barrels black if there are weird reflections since I heard that mentioned in another thread.

    I was not able to get a good die projection on the 12mm optics (so am using them for a med spill), but the 24mm ones looked reasonably well between 0.408-0.426" (10.37-10.82mm) from the base of a XML star. I am going with 0.417" on the 24mm and 0.2775" (7.05mm) on the 12mm optic. Do those values come close to the ones you found in your tests?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy View Post
    Cool, thanks Brian. I did not test ... Was thinking of painting the inside of the barrels black ..
    I painted the mounting screws, the soldered leads top pf the MCPCB and barrels black in my first version. I painted none of those wiht the second set of parrels. I awas trying for the smallest die projections I could get in version 1. Discovered that was not needed and figureed i'd take all the light I could get as long as I did not get intolerable rings. I did not. I made one barrle short and let the light into the head around the barrels. An Amber circular ring captures this as side light. Good at night. Barely seen in the day. .YMMV, so I'd suggest a look see before adding the paint.


    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy View Post
    I was not able to get a good die projection on the 12mm optics (so am using them for a med spill), but the 24mm ones looked reasonably well between 0.408-0.426" (10.37-10.82mm) from the base of a XML star. I am going with 0.417" on the 24mm and 0.2775" (7.05mm) on the 12mm optic. Do those values come close to the ones you found in your tests?
    The 10017 was in the 7-8 mm range. Since I was making adjustable barrels, I did not care overmuch exactly where but the size of the image. Sorry taht isn't more helpful.

  19. #19
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    Brian I was looking around for your adjustable light but could not find it. The amber windows for side spill is a cool idea, I'd like to try some time. I had thought about adding amber LED's and a light channel to give some lighting on the sides, but that was when I was going to make my own driver and could add anything I want. I will just be happy to get a working light out of this first attempt at a milled light body.

  20. #20
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    Huffy Puffy

    when I had a mishap with mine and milled a hole in the body there is enough lumens bouncing around to cover a hole with red or amber epoxy and it will shine brightly no need for extra leds or drivers just a hole or 2 .


    I Hope the MK2 works out for you soon

  21. #21
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    Thanks Troutie, you gave me an idea (still not for this one, but maybe the next). Mill 2 holes/slots in the stock that will make the faceplate prior to the other operations, then fill these holes or slots with amber epoxy. Let it cure fully, and then use that block to mill the rest of it. Not sure if epoxy can take the stress of milling though, or if it would just chip out of the hole during the process.

  22. #22
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    My guess is that little would be left of wide angle light bouncing several times in a barrel before emerging with 10-15% loss each bounce. So troutie's idea should work a charm using that light out each side in a future light for both of us. I see a custom housing in my future helmet light.

    The first version of a helmet light with aspheric lenses is in this thread. I used brass tubes that nested to make adjustable barrel lengths to get the dice projected as I wanted. It would not tolerate a helmet hit though.

    So I rebuilt it and it is here. The mid distance lens barrel is about 1 mm shy of catching all output from that LED and that light bouces around betweent he barrels and the polished interior surface of the Marwi housing and comes out as a ring just beyond the bezzle. The amber hood catches this admirably at night or low light. It does not show well in the day. It would be al lot brighter if it was the light from all three LEDs at low angle and I had side lenses just forward of the LEDs. However, I can just turn my head and let the driver get the full power of this light in flash mode. Seems to work well. Anyone so treated made me think they had not seen me and it seems they either had not, or recognized they were acting as if they had not. In the day it doesn't ruin night vision, so no harm, no foul.
    Last edited by BrianMc; 06-01-2011 at 05:42 PM.

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    Thanks Brian, I like the second version with the illuminated hood. I am definitely gonna try that, it is a cool effect.

    After building 2/3's of 2 lights, I am thinking a re-design is in order. The problem I am having are the though holes which need to be perfect or close since they not only hold the damn thing together, but they allow me to get it placed on the fixture properly. So far the holes have been close, but not quite right. I have however learned a thing or two about drilling straight holes, mostly how not to do it. My plan now is to get rid of the though holes which are a roll of the dice anyway, and only use shorter holes. The housing is a bit long for a helmet light too so I am gonna try and either shorten the housing or flatten it.

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    A bit more progress in the past few days. I decided to mostly scrap the original design with 3 parts, since it had the long center section which was making it difficult to align the holes. I went with a 2 part design with a front cover and a back cover. This will make the holes much shorter and so far it seems to be working out OK.











    All that is left is to mill the front, clean them up and run it though the tumbler, that may need to wait till next week though.

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    Very nice Huffy. Glad to here the machining aspect is producing the result you are after. I do like 2 piece lights. Easy to machine and assemble.

    Just as a side note I notice you have a vacuum cleaner to remove the swarf. Although I do have an air compressor I quite oftern use a poor mans compressor in the shed to blow the swarf away from the cutting tool. Costs about $25 and can be bought from any camping store. It is one or these http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000E176W/...SIN=B0000E176W. Once the fine nozzle is fitted the air output is excellent and produces very little noise so no disturbing anyone and greatly improves the surface finish.

  26. #26
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    Huffy really nice looking build, not sure how or why it has taken me 4 weeks to see it for the first time.

    What is that plate with all the threaded holes on it and where did you get it from? My new toy is on a slow boat from china at the moment and I'm already thinking of my first "milled" light. I think I'll call it "Miller Lite" because like its liquid name sake if you didn't know any better you'd think it was OK but up against the real thing it'll be s#!t

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by emu26 View Post
    Huffy really nice looking build, not sure how or why it has taken me 4 weeks to see it for the first time.

    What is that plate with all the threaded holes on it and where did you get it from? My new toy is on a slow boat from china at the moment and I'm already thinking of my first "milled" light. I think I'll call it "Miller Lite" because like its liquid name sake if you didn't know any better you'd think it was OK but up against the real thing it'll be s#!t
    Come on be positive...have a play with the mill first and get a feel for it..
    I messed around with mine and mucked about with a little light that would fit a quazzle board..i cut the round hole for the board and made some fins..then made a front cover..
    It went in the scrap pile..as i now had a good feel for the machine and had a good idea what i could achieve..and where i could do things better.
    Plus i had fitted the DRO's..
    Then came the tripple P7 and it's still my favorite design...

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    The best part with mills is that they tell you when you've got it right from the sound that the tool makes when cutting the work piece and the feedback you get form the the cross slide handles. Once you know your mill or lathe everything just falls into place.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by brad72 View Post
    Very nice Huffy. Glad to here the machining aspect is producing the result you are after. I do like 2 piece lights. Easy to machine and assemble.

    Just as a side note I notice you have a vacuum cleaner to remove the swarf. Although I do have an air compressor I quite oftern use a poor mans compressor in the shed to blow the swarf away from the cutting tool. Costs about $25 and can be bought from any camping store. It is one or these http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000E176W/...SIN=B0000E176W. Once the fine nozzle is fitted the air output is excellent and produces very little noise so no disturbing anyone and greatly improves the surface finish.
    Yeah, the two piece design is much simpler (less frustrating) and the way to go. That compressor looks cool, I think I may have one around here, will give it a try, thanks!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by emu26 View Post
    Huffy really nice looking build, not sure how or why it has taken me 4 weeks to see it for the first time.

    What is that plate with all the threaded holes on it and where did you get it from? My new toy is on a slow boat from china at the moment and I'm already thinking of my first "milled" light. I think I'll call it "Miller Lite" because like its liquid name sake if you didn't know any better you'd think it was OK but up against the real thing it'll be s#!t
    A buddy from work suggested I call my mill "The Alan Parson's Project" even though the only laser it has is this one. My X3 is still a light beer when it comes to CNC though, it is at the low-mid end of capabilities for small mills. Just means slower or shallower cuts, or more setup needed, other than that the small mills can do a lot of stuff.

    That plate is a a tooling / fixture plate, I got it at A2Zcnc.com:

    https://www.a2zcorp.us/store/Categor...AChinese+Mills

    I made some "pins" by cutting off and grinding down some bolts, they are screwed into the big plate, then added a smaller fixture plate to hold the work which is held by 2 bolts and the pins. The smaller plate is only shown in the 2nd pic above, the last two have it removed since I did not need it for that step. It really helps to have another fixture plate specific to the work since it can be bolted in place and makes things repeatable. Before setting up the big plate on the mill, I was using blue tape around the fixture which was clamped down. It was close, but not as close as when using the tooling plate when I had to put it back on for the various steps.

    I am planning on pinning my table so I can stop worrying about leaving it on when I start using the flood cooling (don't want it to rust when not in use). Really good info on pinning and making a tooling plate here:

    http://www.ihcnc.com/pages/mill-tips.php

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldigger View Post
    Come on be positive...have a play with the mill first and get a feel for it..
    I messed around with mine and mucked about with a little light that would fit a quazzle board..i cut the round hole for the board and made some fins..then made a front cover..
    It went in the scrap pile..as i now had a good feel for the machine and had a good idea what i could achieve..and where i could do things better.
    Plus i had fitted the DRO's..
    Then came the tripple P7 and it's still my favorite design...
    GD, you got the skills man (seriously) One of the biggest reasons I wanted CNC was because the setup for non CNC cutting to get an equal result takes a lot of skill with the mill (that I did not have). Just cutting a hole with a 4th axis is a big operation, and one mistake it goes poof. Learning how to use CNC I have had several dumb mistakes, some of them I was able to salvage, but even so it just takes one mis-calculation with either manual or CNC and the project is screwed. Takes a lot less time to come back after a "binning event" with CNC though since it is just a programmed operation.

    And I agree, the triple P7 turned out like a work of art.

  32. #32
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    Nice to see progress Huffy, I like the idea of the 2 part design too. Look forward to the next stage as it looks like it's going to be be a good'n.

    Managed to make the first few bits and bobs with my new mill today. I have milled for years using a vertical slide on my lathe. I now find it strange milling the right way up

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    Thanks Yeti, I think the 2 part setup is gonna work. Milling with a lathe sounds like learning to write with the left hand (for a right handed person) I think I would have a hard time wrapping my mind around that.

    Finished the milling today, after 2 failed attempts I did not have high hopes, but it seems pretty well aligned It is still pretty rough, I need to sand it a bit and then run it though the tumbler, which will hopefully help with the finish a bit. Really I need to just buy GWizard which will help me figure the speeds and feeds (and depth of cut) without guessing. I was going broke building this thing, I broke 2 endmills, several drill bits, a tap (which lodged itself in the part), and even burned out my XML star while testing the optics, but it is starting to look like it may have been worth it I must have learned something since the last one was almost easy.

    Beamshots will be a while. I held off on buying the parts for this since I was not sure if the 3rd attempt would be successful, and I was going broke just building this thing.














  34. #34
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    Fins, Fins, I love a round bottomed Finn. Looking very nice Huffy.

    I'm going to play devils advocate here and say I think you could loose at least two of those bolts, I would loose the middle one from the set of three on either side, this would then give you a little more room for another round bottom fin to aid cooling.

    Looking forward to seeing the completed product beam shots, interested to see how the aspherics go with both sets of LEDs and not just the XML's.

    One question, why are you always wearing surgical gloves?

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    Very nice Huffy. Glad you got it milled but sorry about the casualties during the build.

    Talking about tool paths, does Mach3 do tool paths and auto spindle speeds?

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    Looks good Huffy,
    Id agree with emu that you could loose the middle bolts inbetween the three, also i would sink the heads of the bolts so they sit flush..
    Easiest way to do that is clamp the rear of the housing down, use a centre finder on a hole.
    Swap the center finder for an end mill slightly larger than the bolt head, plunge mill to the depth required. I use the fine feed and zero it just as i make contact with the surface. Then wind the find feed down to the depth required, one full turn on my SX2 is 1.5mm.
    Then repeat that process for the other holes...
    Or when you have done the first hole, move the depth stop on the Z axis to the mark the bottom of the hole.
    You probably know how to do it it anyway, but i like to share my methods if it helps other people.

    Surgical gloves, probably to protect from tapping fluid, coolant? I find my hands get pretty dirty..

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by emu26 View Post
    Fins, Fins, I love a round bottomed Finn. Looking very nice Huffy.

    I'm going to play devils advocate here and say I think you could loose at least two of those bolts, I would loose the middle one from the set of three on either side, this would then give you a little more room for another round bottom fin to aid cooling.

    Looking forward to seeing the completed product beam shots, interested to see how the aspherics go with both sets of LEDs and not just the XML's.

    One question, why are you always wearing surgical gloves?
    Good idea, I think I will drop that from any future revisions, more fins the better. I think that bolt should'a been dropped earlier now that I look at it, there is really no reason for it.

    I keep forgetting to take the gloves off between my surgical duties and working on the mill. I should really stop trying to build lights while performing open heart surgery, but heh, I'm a multitasker Really the gloves are to keep the cutting fluid I sometimes use off my hands, as well as the way oil. Not sure how bad they are, but never hurts to be on the safe side. They have also saved me from many cuts from endmills dropping from the collets and such, gloves take the brunt of the cut.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by brad72 View Post
    Very nice Huffy. Glad you got it milled but sorry about the casualties during the build.

    Talking about tool paths, does Mach3 do tool paths and auto spindle speeds?
    Thanks Brad, still looking forward to seeing how the anodizing works with your's. I guess the broken tools are just the cost of learning this hobby which is expensive to begin with.

    Mach 3 is the last piece of software before it gets turned into pulses for the hardware controller. It has some wizards, but mainly it takes the G-code and turns it into pulses in my case to the parallel port. The speeds and feeds are manually entered into CamBam using my best guess (this is where G-Wizard will help). The whole process for me is ViaCad7 (export to DXF) -> CamBam (import DXF and add pocketing, profile and drill ops, which include speeds, feeds and depth of cut, and more, then export to G-code ".nc" files) -> Mach3 (import ".nc" G-code, set the z-axis zero, and run the op). It is pretty much a 3 step process, though it could be done with just CamBam and Mach3 since CamBam has some good drawing tools.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldigger View Post
    Looks good Huffy,
    Id agree with emu that you could loose the middle bolts inbetween the three, also i would sink the heads of the bolts so they sit flush..
    Easiest way to do that is clamp the rear of the housing down, use a centre finder on a hole.
    Swap the center finder for an end mill slightly larger than the bolt head, plunge mill to the depth required. I use the fine feed and zero it just as i make contact with the surface. Then wind the find feed down to the depth required, one full turn on my SX2 is 1.5mm.
    Then repeat that process for the other holes...
    Or when you have done the first hole, move the depth stop on the Z axis to the mark the bottom of the hole.
    You probably know how to do it it anyway, but i like to share my methods if it helps other people.

    Surgical gloves, probably to protect from tapping fluid, coolant? I find my hands get pretty dirty..
    I agree, that bolt is history on the next one. I had thought about pocketing the bolt heads for a cleaner appearance, however the inside of the back part is also pocketed to allow some space for wires so I would either need to either reduce the length of the fins, or lengthen the body, or reduce the inner pocket. This pic shows the inner pocket that would cause the problem with sinking the bolt heads:



    I would like to tho.

    Right on about the gloves too, just don't like to get my baby soft hands messed up with the oils and such

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    I just went back to my CAD program to drop the extra bolt and realized why it was there. I have been doing most of the cutting with a 1/4" end mill (so that is the minimum size of the space between fins), so if I had another fin there, it would interfere with the mount hole. If I changed the mounting it would work, but I think I will wait and see if the though hole mounting works OK (it should be compatible with a Mawri mount, but I need to make an adapter for Cateye to Mawri)

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    Huffy there isn't a lot I can add to comments on the light apart from the fact that it looks really good and well thought out.

    I found this advice on fixtures and thought it may be of use : http://ihcnc.com/pages/pinning-the-table.php

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    Thanks YetiBetty, that is a great source. I am planning on doing that soon, but those drill guides are $5 a pop and the reamers and other tools I don't have - still gonna do it, just pushed it back a bit on the calendar. With my table I am gonna skip the threaded holes they use, and just use the t-nuts and bolts that I am using now for the tool plate, the pins are the key anyway.

    There were some really ugly tooling marks on the light which I sanded off, took a while, but I got most of them. Now running the light though the tumbler now with some ceramic media I got at Harbor Freight, using some dish soap and water. Then it is going for another ride in the wallnut shells, possibly with some other stuff added, will post some pics of each step with the details.

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    wow, that looks fearsome!

    Is this for a helmet light? I'd suggest a remote switch - my helmet light has a switch on the top and it's a royal PITA to get to on rocky trails. I've seen several peeps on here use remotes velcro'ed to the side of their helmets. They're even better for bar lights. Every light I make in the future will have a remote.

    <aaahhhm> santo benedicto remoti de la helmeti y handlebarri <aahhhmm>

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy View Post
    Thanks YetiBetty, that is a great source. I am planning on doing that soon, but those drill guides are $5 a pop and the reamers and other tools I don't have - still gonna do it, just pushed it back a bit on the calendar. With my table I am gonna skip the threaded holes they use, and just use the t-nuts and bolts that I am using now for the tool plate, the pins are the key anyway.

    There were some really ugly tooling marks on the light which I sanded off, took a while, but I got most of them. Now running the light though the tumbler now with some ceramic media I got at Harbor Freight, using some dish soap and water. Then it is going for another ride in the wallnut shells, possibly with some other stuff added, will post some pics of each step with the details.
    Ha ha thats proper light porn, rubbing your nuts on it

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy View Post
    Now running the light though the tumbler now with some ceramic media I got at Harbor Freight, using some dish soap and water. Then it is going for another ride in the wallnut shells, possibly with some other stuff added, will post some pics of each step with the details.
    Interesting Huffy. I thought about making a tumbler as they are perfect prior to anodizing. How have your results been so far.

    Thanks for the heads up on Mach3 also. I had assumed it worked out speeds and feeds so that's a bummer. At the moment I am temped to retro fit a high speed spindle on my mill and get her up around 4-6,000rpm for machining alloy with the smaller diameter cutters to get a better finish. Again just need to find some $$$

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    It was running fine in the tubmler after 6 hours of rolling (in the ceramic media) and making slow progress (probably needed 8-10 hours), when disaster struck. I decided to take a nap, and while I slept the evil gnome who lives in my garage opened the lid on the tumbler and let all the water out (and other stuff) from the tumbler. The light is now pitted all to hell and looks like galvanized steel. Though I do kinda like it, it is not what I was going for. It will still work for beam shots and to test the parts when I get them though, then I'll make another one.



    Now I have a garage gnome to catch (humanely).

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy View Post
    It was running fine in the tubmler after 6 hours of rolling (in the ceramic media) and making slow progress (probably needed 8-10 hours), when disaster struck. I decided to take a nap, and while I slept the evil gnome who lives in my garage opened the lid on the tumbler and let all the water out (and other stuff) from the tumbler. The light is now pitted all to hell and looks like galvanized steel. Though I do kinda like it, it is not what I was going for. It will still work for beam shots and to test the parts when I get them though, then I'll make another one.



    Now I have a garage gnome to catch (humanely).
    Dam Huffy,
    This light is proving to be a pain to get finished...Maybe if you put it back in with some water you can salvage it?
    Please provide some more info on the tumbler, I've not heard of this before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    wow, that looks fearsome!

    Is this for a helmet light? I'd suggest a remote switch - my helmet light has a switch on the top and it's a royal PITA to get to on rocky trails. I've seen several peeps on here use remotes velcro'ed to the side of their helmets. They're even better for bar lights. Every light I make in the future will have a remote.

    <aaahhhm> santo benedicto remoti de la helmeti y handlebarri <aahhhmm>
    That is a great idea, I need to think a bit on how I can implement that though. It seems like a win-win for this light to drop the button since I can get some more fins and possibly make it smaller. My old cheesy helmet light just had a switch on it's battery pack which was also on the helmet and it worked, but a remote would be much easier. Also looking at using the Hirschman connectors, but they are not cheap (but still they look worth it). Has me thinking now of having one lead from the light with 4 wires, then about 8" out, a small delrin housing either with the switch or just to split the switch lead off from the main wire to the battery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldigger View Post
    Dam Huffy,
    This light is proving to be a pain to get finished...Maybe if you put it back in with some water you can salvage it?
    Please provide some more info on the tumbler, I've not heard of this before.
    Yeah, fortunately I am a patient man, maybe a little too much The tumbler is a 5lb (dry) tumbler from Harbor Freight, similar to the kind used by reloaders to tumble brass casings:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/5-lb-me...ler-67617.html

    Does a good job with a wet mix (water, media and some dish soap), aside from the cover unscrewing itself it did not leak- thinking a locknut or double nut will keep it on next time. I bought their ceramic media (Item #97027) which would have had it looking OK at 8-10 hours I think, and then I was gonna run it in the walnuts. I had a couple other of the reject lights in with it to provide some balast. I sanded one of the dud parts for a couple minutes with 220 grit, it will shine up, but it just shows the pitting. I think I will put it back in the tumbler with the ceramic media and some water and let it cook just to see what happens, but not expecting a miracle, will post some pics.

    I found the link below which looks like the a method that works (tumbling seems to be more an art than science):

    http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb...alnuts-157463/

    I would have used his method, but I was trying to get by on the cheap with what I can get locally.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy View Post
    It was running fine in the tubmler after 6 hours of rolling (in the ceramic media) and making slow progress (probably needed 8-10 hours), when disaster struck. I decided to take a nap, and while I slept the evil gnome who lives in my garage opened the lid on the tumbler and let all the water out (and other stuff) from the tumbler. The light is now pitted all to hell and looks like galvanized steel. Though I do kinda like it, it is not what I was going for. It will still work for beam shots and to test the parts when I get them though, then I'll make another one.



    Now I have a garage gnome to catch (humanely).
    I really like the look actually. Far too much bling around these days, this looks almost "military spec". You just need to stencil some random no. on it and it'll look really cool.

    As for the switch, you can do a hacked up ghetto job like mine here or a really professional looking delrin jobby like Goldigger's here, though you'll have to ask him where the original thread was. Some people use a 4 core cable and split 2 cores off for the switch, I just use some old magicshine cable and a 2nd hole in the light body.

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    I kind of like the industrial look. By the way, those aren't pits, those are precision cooling dimples. Carefully calculated to increase the surface area

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkBike View Post
    I kind of like the industrial look. By the way, those aren't pits, those are precision cooling dimples. Carefully calculated to increase the surface area
    exactly - if the perceived wisdom is that polishing your light reduces cooling, then pitting it should increase it!

    now there'll be a run on Harbour Freight tumblers...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    I really like the look actually. Far too much bling around these days, this looks almost "military spec". You just need to stencil some random no. on it and it'll look really cool.

    As for the switch, you can do a hacked up ghetto job like mine here or a really professional looking delrin jobby like Goldigger's here, though you'll have to ask him where the original thread was. Some people use a 4 core cable and split 2 cores off for the switch, I just use some old magicshine cable and a 2nd hole in the light body.
    I kinda like the look as well, it is just like a piece of galvanized pipe, but I have it back in the tumbler to see what will happen (this time the top is secure and the gnome traps are out).

    For the remote, I am thinking of milling it from acetal, but that thermoplastic stuff has me thinking of a cool way to illuminate it, but I can't find any that is clear. I found this video showing it mixed with some glow powder, that looks like it has potential.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEhVZ...eature=related

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy View Post
    For the remote, I am thinking of milling it from acetal, but that thermoplastic stuff has me thinking of a cool way to illuminate it, but I can't find any that is clear. I found this video showing it mixed with some glow powder [URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEhVZeswgX0&feature=related[/URL], that looks like it has potential.
    I was by no way suggesting you follow my dubious example - if I could have milled or CNC'd it out of alloy/ delrin/ hard cheese (parmesan, etc) I would have. I have to profess my ignorance about thermoplastic, in fact I was pleasantly surprised it worked at all. There's probablyalso a fancy way of making some kind of LED readout for the switch, but it seems a bit superfluous when you can just see how bright the light is

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    I was by no way suggesting you follow my dubious example - if I could have milled or CNC'd it out of alloy/ delrin/ hard cheese (parmesan, etc) I would have. I have to profess my ignorance about thermoplastic, in fact I was pleasantly surprised it worked at all. There's probablyalso a fancy way of making some kind of LED readout for the switch, but it seems a bit superfluous when you can just see how bright the light is
    That thermoplastic stuff looks cool, what I had read is that it is actually biodegradeable and it can be re-worked many times. Thanks for the tip.

    One of my friends told me the same thing when he saw the status light on one of my other lights, really not much point, but I like the LED's For a remote I can see a use though since it would make it easier to find, though on a helmet the placement of a remote may not be easy to see anyway.

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    I suspect the pitting you experienced in the tumbler is a result of the alkalinity of the dish soap you used. The pH of your water could also be a factor. .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    I suspect the pitting you experienced in the tumbler is a result of the alkalinity of the dish soap you used. The pH of your water could also be a factor. .
    That could be, though in my case I think the bulk of the problem was related to the bowl running out of water and running for possibly an hour or more. The tumbler was doing a good job till then and it was making progress towards a dull, but pit free surface before the mis-hap. I think I will use Ivory dish soap next time since I read that it has a ph around 7.4.

    Got I took it out after another 6 hours in the ceramic media, did not look much better:



    Running it in the walnuts now, put some dryer sheets in and will possibly add some mothers polish later. Gonna check it in a few hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkBike View Post
    I kind of like the industrial look. By the way, those aren't pits, those are precision cooling dimples. Carefully calculated to increase the surface area
    Yeah, the galvanized look is definitely industrial, and I think even after the walnuts it will pretty much look that way. I like the look too though, it is almost a gunmetal color now and the surface seems a bit work hardended by the tumbling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    exactly - if the perceived wisdom is that polishing your light reduces cooling, then pitting it should increase it!

    now there'll be a run on Harbour Freight tumblers...
    They have a 25% off coupon for the 4th, they have em at the store. The tumbler is a good investment, though it did not work out this time for me, I think it will save a ton of time in the long run once I get a system down.

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    Huffy, I found what I thought was a lump of lead 10years ago in my attic/loft when we moved into our house and it stayed there untill last year, it looked just like yours. When after a clear out last year I found out it was 700 grade ali.

    I think it could be your water as the lump I found was next to an open water tank in the loft and we have very hard water in our area. I had to mill quite a bit off as the pitting was deep but still use bits of it now and then. I made a little vice with a piece of it (pic included 'Cos I'm quite pleased with it).

    What Ali are you using? The 700 stuff is very prone to Chemicals including strange water and you may have to add something to the water in your tumbler to make it neutral.

    Oh and I like the way your light looks now , could save you anodizing

    Vice
    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-A...0/DSC02325.JPG
    Last edited by yetibetty; 06-29-2011 at 02:25 PM. Reason: 'cos I'm a crap typist

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    Quote Originally Posted by yetibetty View Post
    I think it could be your water as the lump I found was next to an open water tank in the loft and we have very hard water in our area. I had to mill quite a bit off as the pitting was deep but still use bits of it now and then. I made a little vice with it (pic included 'Cos I'm quite pleased with it). [/url]
    Yeti, that's gorgeous. Thanks for posting and inspiring.

    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy View Post
    That thermoplastic stuff looks cool, what I had read is that it is actually biodegradeable and it can be re-worked many times. Thanks for the tip.

    One of my friends told me the same thing when he saw the status light on one of my other lights, really not much point, but I like the LED's For a remote I can see a use though since it would make it easier to find, though on a helmet the placement of a remote may not be easy to see anyway.
    thank Ofroad'bent, he was the one who gave it to me I think it'd be really cool to have a low power LED embedded in it, especially if you can find some more translucent thermoplastic. That kind of stuff is way beyond my electronics abilities, so I'll have to leave it to others to figure out.

    I have my remote butted tight up against my shifter bracket so it's about an inch up and to the left of where my thumb hits the shifter paddle. It's a conscious thumb stretch, but not a hard one.

    Oh, and I think your housing looks even cooler now

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    Quote Originally Posted by yetibetty View Post
    Huffy, I found what I thought was a lump of lead 10years ago in my attic/loft when we moved into our house and it stayed there untill last year, it looked just like yours. When after a clear out last year I found out it was 700 grade ali.

    I think it could be your water as the lump I found was next to an open water tank in the loft and we have very hard water in our area. I had to mill quite a bit off as the pitting was deep but still use bits of it now and then. I made a little vice with a piece of it (pic included 'Cos I'm quite pleased with it).

    What Ali are you using? The 700 stuff is very prone to Chemicals including strange water and you may have to add something to the water in your tumbler to make it neutral.

    Oh and I like the way your light looks now , could save you anodizing

    Vice
    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-A...0/DSC02325.JPG
    I'm using 6061. I am pretty sure that the troubles I had were largely related to having the ceramic media beat the hell out of the part for possibly a couple hours with no water (the previously mentioned garage gnome incident). The pH will be checked next time so it is closer to neutral than base, and I read that ivory soap has a more neutral pH than th estuff I used (Dawn). The water etching the aluminum makes total sense since I read that NaOH is used to clean aluminum prior to anodizing (to get the oxide layer off).

    That is an awesome little vice, or you have some big hands

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    thank Ofroad'bent, he was the one who gave it to me I think it'd be really cool to have a low power LED embedded in it, especially if you can find some more translucent thermoplastic. That kind of stuff is way beyond my electronics abilities, so I'll have to leave it to others to figure out.

    I have my remote butted tight up against my shifter bracket so it's about an inch up and to the left of where my thumb hits the shifter paddle. It's a conscious thumb stretch, but not a hard one.

    Oh, and I think your housing looks even cooler now
    Thanks, I looked around some more for clear or more translucent thermoplastic/polymorph but it looks like they only make it in the opaque white color. But I did see videos where it was colored using powdered pigments (really cool stuff). I think I may just use some plexi for the clear part of the switch.

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    Here is the progression after another 5 hours in the walnuts (with about 2 teaspoons of Thumbler's Tumblers "pre-polish" added):





    The pitting is still there, but getting much less visible. A buddy from work has some treated walnuts used for cleaning brass casings, that he is going to let me use, also he said that tumbling in crushed corn cobs will polish it up. I think that if I did not have the mis-hap with the ceramic media it would be ready to polish right now, I put another of the rejects in (5 hours ago) that had not been though the tumbler or even sanded yet and will post a pic of it as well in several hours.

    The tumbling is definitely removing material, even with the walnuts + "pre-polish". The milled chamfer on the front is all but gone, but now it has a more radiused appearance which I like too. I think the amount of tumbling with this part is on the aggressive side, but it needs it.

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    Huffy there are dags visible in that last pic around what I am guessing is your connector hole. Are they just dried "slurry" or is it really that aggressive that it is taking off enough material to leave burrs?

    FWIW I think you should leave it the way it is

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy View Post
    I'm using 6061. I am pretty sure that the troubles I had were largely related to having the ceramic media beat the hell out of the part for possibly a couple hours with no water (the previously mentioned garage gnome incident). The pH will be checked next time so it is closer to neutral than base, and I read that ivory soap has a more neutral pH than th estuff I used (Dawn). The water etching the aluminum makes total sense since I read that NaOH is used to clean aluminum prior to anodizing (to get the oxide layer off).
    Ditch the Dawn. It contains aqueous ammonia. That is very corrosive to aluminum. Additionally, one of the reaction byproducts is hydrogen.

    The lack of water with the ceramic media was not the source of the pitting. The water and soap solution in the tumbler is primarily to prevent the abrasive from loading up with the material being tumbled

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    Ditch the Dawn. It contains aqueous ammonia. That is very corrosive to aluminum. Additionally, one of the reaction byproducts is hydrogen.

    The lack of water with the ceramic media was not the source of the pitting. The water and soap solution in the tumbler is primarily to prevent the abrasive from loading up with the material being tumbled
    Cool, I will give this a test with some scrap aluminum of the same type, will try some in dawn, and some in ivory and some in my tap water, will let em soak a day and see what happens.

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    Looks good Huffy . The radiused corners have come out really well which is perfect for anodizing as sharp corners are a big no no. I have neraly got over my flu so hopefull I will do some anoing in a week or so.

    These forums still amaze me how much you can learn about various processes. What did we all do prior to the internet.

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    Actually I just re-checked the detergent I have and it is Palmolive, and I cant find the ivory soap now, so I set up 4 cups (1/2 cup capacity). One cup has 3 drops of Palmolive, one has tap water, one has water and about 1/8 teaspoon of simple green type degreaser (spin doctor brand green degreaser) and the last is just a control with nothing but a chunk of aluminum. There are just sitting and not being tumbled so it may not be a valid test. I used some pool test strips and measured each cup:

    Simple Green = pH 7.8, Total Alkalinity = 180ppm (high)
    Palmolive = pH 7.2, Total Alkalinity = 180ppm (high)
    Water = pH 6.8, Total Alkalinity = 180ppm (high)

    Will post some pics after they set for a day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brad72 View Post
    Looks good Huffy . The radiused corners have come out really well which is perfect for anodizing as sharp corners are a big no no. I have neraly got over my flu so hopefull I will do some anoing in a week or so.

    These forums still amaze me how much you can learn about various processes. What did we all do prior to the internet.
    Thanks Brad, sorry to hear you have been ill, hope it is a short interruption. I was just saying the same thing about the Internet to a co-worker who does not have an Internet connection at home.

    I was not aware that sharp corners were a bad idea for anodizing, does it cause a build up of oxide (and darker edges when dye is used)? I have a set of radiused end mills on the way, I wanted to radius them anyway, but I only have a vcutter currently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emu26 View Post
    Huffy there are dags visible in that last pic around what I am guessing is your connector hole. Are they just dried "slurry" or is it really that aggressive that it is taking off enough material to leave burrs?

    FWIW I think you should leave it the way it is
    Yeah that is from the tumbling, I noticed them after the ceramic media. They may be difficult to remove when done. The good news is that the light is polishing up nicely now, though I can still see the pits. A buddy from work gave me some media he uses to clean brass for reloading:

    http://www.lymanproducts.com/lyman/t...ling-media.php

    I ran it though the "TuffNut" media which is the red colored treated walnut shells, and now it is running though the corncob media which is green. I think the Lyman stuff is better than my homebrew mix of walnut shells and the pre-polish.

    The experiment with the different soaps to see if they corrode aluminum on their own was too slow, I checked them today and there was no change so I scuffed the pieces up a bit to expose raw aluminum and put them back in to soak some more.

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    After reading about Brad's XML lights which handle the XML's heat with a good quantity of cooling fins, I think I may set this up as a 2S + 2P with the smaller LED's being driven in parallel. I have doubts that this housing can keep 4 XML's cool and even with 2S + 2P it may be a stretch, will see though. The H6Flex is ordered and the LED's are on the way.

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    This was after about 8 hours in the corn cob media, I think that if it had not been pitted earlier it would have turned out great. I am going to leave this as-is though.


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    I really like the finish on this housing. Instead of pitted, think textured. Many industrial coatings are textured. They show far fewer fingerprints and scratches. While I like highly polished bling as much as the next guy, this is a refreshing change of pace.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkBike View Post
    I really like the finish on this housing. Instead of pitted, think textured. Many industrial coatings are textured. They show far fewer fingerprints and scratches. While I like highly polished bling as much as the next guy, this is a refreshing change of pace.
    and it'll dissipate the heat better

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    I love the look. I might try and add some texture to my polished lights, that way I won't keep dropping them due to them having no grip.
    Lupine lights are Shot-peened to help with cooling and add grip.

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    I have to agree. I really like the look and it will provide a bit better emissivity for heat removal.

    Regarding the number of fins on your light remember that more fins is not nessesarly better. The fin channel width is the most important part as air being a liquid has a harder time getting through a small fin spacing than a larger one so sometimes less can be more. This is most crucial with convection cooling, which is really when we are going slow as once we are moving forced cooling is excellent reagardless of teh design (think exposure lights).

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    out of interest, what is the ideal channel width? I have been using 5mm or 4mm with 3mm fins... but I was going to make a light with 3mm channel and 3mm fins do you think this would be too small?

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    Quote Originally Posted by lachstar2 View Post
    out of interest, what is the ideal channel width? I have been using 5mm or 4mm with 3mm fins... but I was going to make a light with 3mm channel and 3mm fins do you think this would be too small?
    This is one of those how long is a piece of string delema's. There is some good maths that can calculate the correct sizes but since we are always moving and stopping these do not always work. Fin spacing is most important with convection cooling as apposed to forced convection cooling. If you want a bit of technical stuff to ponder check out this article

    I have been using 4mm channel width with 1.5-2mm thick fins. I have also used 3mm channels with 1.5-2mm fins with similar results. To save weight I am going to try some with 6mm channels and test the results with a thermocouple and datalog the results to see the temperature curve.

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    Brad72 thanks for posting the link to the article about convection cooling. A quick google search on the tite of the article brought me to another article here. You're absolutely correct about the fins needing enough space between them in order to facilitate proper convection cooling. I never knew this before. It almost seems counter intuitive that at some point, fewer fins can mean better cooling. I also found a video showing LED heat sinks manufactured specifically for LED lights. While the video is short on details, you can easily see just how large the spacing is between the fins. From what I can tell, all of the LED heat sinks in the video are designed for lights whose only source of cooling is convection as they are bolted in place.

    From the video above, it looks like all the fins are relatively thin, yet the spacing is huge by MTBR DIY standards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThinkBike View Post
    it looks like all the fins are relatively thin, yet the spacing is huge by MTBR DIY standards.
    One factor to keep in mind about thin, widely spaced fins is the meat slicer effect they might exhibit in a crash.

  83. #83
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    Thanks for the comments, I am starting to like the finish too, it reminds me of the brake handle from my old dirt bike.

    Great articles, thanks for posting them. My eyes began to glaze over towards the end of the first one, but the first 2/3's was a good foundation. I'll find out how well this light does soon (hopefully) since I have my order in with George for a H6Flex and cutter has shipped the LED's - crazy I know to build a light without the parts first, but I was not sure I'd like the result.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    One factor to keep in mind about thin, widely spaced fins is the meat slicer effect they might exhibit in a crash.
    That has always been my concern with thin fins, but with a helmet light, much less so. I'd be concerned to have a light with thin fins on the bar though since I have bashed the bars a few times.

    I'd like to have a break away mount so the light does not become a sharp chunk trying to burrow though the helmet in a crash. I read somewhere that this is a new requirement somewhere (Germany maybe) for helmet lights and it sounds like a good idea.

    This light has a hole that should be compatible with a Mawri mount, but I am going to mill a part to allow me to use the cateye spacer since that's what I have. I don't think either the Mawri or cateye mounts are break-away type mounts though (not sure, they just don't appear to be). I was thinking of using a nylon screw to mount the cateye spacer to the mount which would allow it to break off, but that could be too fragile and not rigid enough.

  85. #85
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    Finally finished the light, the soldering turned out to be more difficult than I thought due to the tight spaces. I have the H6Flex set to 3A with the Bike setting and it works well, but gets too hot to hold after 4-5 minutes, but did not trip the 70 degree cutout, though it was not a good test either (done inside). I think I may need to set it down from 3A. The Aspherics seem well aimed, they make a rectangular beam with the small optics adding some spill. I need to get a real camera to take some beamshots, but in the mean time these are the build pics:











    The optics were installed with GS Hypo cement which has a sharp hypodermic style applicator which makes it east to flow it in the groove where the optics sit. http://www.gssupplies.com/cement_hypo.html



    I added some glow powder mixed with epoxy to illuminate the larger optics, not super bright, but I like the effect.




  86. #86
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    Well, Huffy, I'm shocked that your post has been on here for 5 hours with no response

    Bloody amazing...... maybe going small and lightweight will mean that you can't run at 3A but it is a work of art and do you really need 3A? I'm very impressed with the soldering in such a tiny space. (I've been there).

    Well done.

    What does it weigh in the end with those, I assume heavy lenses?

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    looking good Huffy!

    are the bottom 2 XM-Ls wired in parallel with the top two in series (to make a "three" LED string)? If so that would be a butt load of light. The twin XM-L I built is awesome at ~1.7A (L4 with L5=3A) and I don't notice much difference compared with 3A, though I don't ride fast trails. Still, you can always use threemode to toggle between Med and High, with Low just for standing around.

    As a rule of thumb, the thermal trip point should be set so it trips once the housing becomes too hot to hold (60-65C?) - that should equal 10-15C higher at the driver and probably another 10C on top of that at the LED. If the LEDs start going over 90C or so, efficiency drops enough for a lower power level to make more sense.

  88. #88
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    Nice work huffy, I'd be tempted try some home anodising on it, I think that would look sweet in black.

    When do we get the beamshots?

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    Quote Originally Posted by yetibetty View Post
    Well, Huffy, I'm shocked that your post has been on here for 5 hours with no response

    Bloody amazing...... maybe going small and lightweight will mean that you can't run at 3A but it is a work of art and do you really need 3A? I'm very impressed with the soldering in such a tiny space. (I've been there).

    Well done.

    What does it weigh in the end with those, I assume heavy lenses?
    Thanks! The soldering had to be done in stages since I just could not fit things if I did them all at once which added to the problems. I can really appreciate now when I see lights with a driver pocket that has some extra space, it is really not extra. I probably don't need 3A and am going to try stepping it down and getting a real test going.

    I weighed it on my old spring type postal scale and it was just under 1/4 pound which is 110 grams for the head, so it's no lightweight, and the glass optics don't help that. I will need to ask around and see if somebody I know has a more accurate scale I can use. I also need to make a Cateye to Mawri adapter which will add some, along with the bolt used to connect it.

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattthemuppet View Post
    looking good Huffy!

    are the bottom 2 XM-Ls wired in parallel with the top two in series (to make a "three" LED string)? If so that would be a butt load of light. The twin XM-L I built is awesome at ~1.7A (L4 with L5=3A) and I don't notice much difference compared with 3A, though I don't ride fast trails. Still, you can always use threemode to toggle between Med and High, with Low just for standing around.

    As a rule of thumb, the thermal trip point should be set so it trips once the housing becomes too hot to hold (60-65C?) - that should equal 10-15C higher at the driver and probably another 10C on top of that at the LED. If the LEDs start going over 90C or so, efficiency drops enough for a lower power level to make more sense.
    Thanks, the 2 bottom LED's are in series, I decided against parallel since they could be unbalanced and I did not want to have to replace LED's. With this setup once they are in, they are pretty much in, though I have an idea of how to get them out if I really need to. The light is pretty impressive from these XM-L's, and I see your point, I will have to step it down like it or not, but like most I am greedy for lumens

    Thanks for the tip on the temp trip point, I set it just based on the thought that it would be a hot light due to the lack of fins, and was worried about it tripping out, though I think 60 degrees is a better starting point now.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goldigger View Post
    Nice work huffy, I'd be tempted try some home anodising on it, I think that would look sweet in black.

    When do we get the beamshots?
    Thanks Golddigger, the anodizing will have to wait till my next one. I had considered it, but with the finish problems with this one and the fact that it was my only one (and I really wanted to test it), I just decided to get'er done.

    The beamshots will hopefully come tonight if the weather is OK. I can say though that the throw is not as awesome as I had hoped for with these optics. It is good, but the die projection does not hold together as far as I had hoped - it won't be putting squares on water towers and the like. I need to go and look up the mtbr camera settings.

  92. #92
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    I just tried resetting the max to 2800mA and the temp trip to 60 degrees, and it ran for about a minute and a half on high before the driver tripped and brought it down to low. At 2A it tripped out (60 degrees) at 2m33s in still air. I let it cool down a bit and then tested it with the lowest setting 1.4A, it has been running 15 minutes now and has not tripped at the 60 degree trigger (though it is hot). I think when I ran it previously it must not have been set for 3A since I can't imagine holding on for 4 minutes at that current. I think 1.4A max may be a better fit for this light, or possibly 2A with the knowledge that it can only be run at max for 2 minutes before it trips. Unless I set the trip point back up to 70 degrees. When it trips at 60 degrees the case is hot, but I could still hold it, so I am thinking that possibly 70 degrees may give a bit more room to run since the driver is mounted to a wall which has the LED's on the other side - so aside from the losses in the thermal glue and the H6Flex's thermal pad, it should be seeing a temp close to what the back of the LED's are seeing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy View Post
    Thanks, the 2 bottom LED's are in series, I decided against parallel since they could be unbalanced and I did not want to have to replace LED's.
    So let me get this right Huffy, that's a quad xm-l all wired in series? Bloody hell mate, I don't think you'll need 3A will you?

    Very nice work, it's come up a treat

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by emu26 View Post
    So let me get this right Huffy, that's a quad xm-l all wired in series? Bloody hell mate, I don't think you'll need 3A will you?

    Very nice work, it's come up a treat
    Thanks, I am pretty greedy when it comes to lumens, but at 1400mA it still looks decent. The only disappointing thing with this light is the weight, it is a but chunky so that is not a huge surprise. I am thinking of making this a bar light and building another with 2 LED's (just chopping the bottom 2 off) and hopefully that remove enough weight to make it a reasonable helmet light. Also going to try using fins around the body rather than just at the end.

    The next one with 2 LED's will not be large enough to take a H6Flex though, so I am considering some other options. I also know now that I really don't need 2.8A of output, at least for a small light with limited cooling. I found this cool website which has a wealth of info on the drivers out there, some which I had not seen before:

    http://www.videofoundry.co.nz/ianman...driverlist.php

    I have used the shark driver in the past, and am considering that one, though there are some others that also look promising for a small driver. The worst case is that I will make my own around the Allegro A6210 which looks like a simple to use part, I really don't want to though since the time and effort (and money) it would take is not worth it for one light.

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    Do you have any estimate on the surface area of the housing?

    I am all for small, lightweight lights, but have found that at around 1 sq inch per watt you need a brisk walking pace to keep a light cool enough. I am OK with a case temp of 50 to 60C.

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    Very nice indeed Huffy. I hear you in regards to being a lumen hog. I rode the xc / downhill trails last night and had the 7 up on full plus a triple xpe on the helmet and really wanted more light. Perhaps I was just causing permanent night blindness form everything being too bright.

    With regards to the fast tripout of the driver, I had success in early prototypes with putting some insulating material on top of the driver to fill the air space in the driver pocket. What I found was the air in the driver pocket would heat up and retain the heat and since the temperature of the driver is measured from the back via the heatsink it helped to remove the nuisance tripping.

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    Do you have any estimate on the surface area of the housing?

    I am all for small, lightweight lights, but have found that at around 1 sq inch per watt you need a brisk walking pace to keep a light cool enough. I am OK with a case temp of 50 to 60C.
    I designed it in ViaCad7 as 2D, so I used some of the drawings to come up with an approximate surface area, removing the areas for the lens circles and the connector and button added up to 27.3 sq inch which seems higher that I would have thought. But it makes sense based on your statement, that would put this light at right about 2A, when I measured it in still air it tripped the 60 degree trigger at 2.5 minutes, so with some air movement it may have been stable. It did pretty good at 1400mA in still air. I am going to configure it for 2A max when I am all done.

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by brad72 View Post
    Very nice indeed Huffy. I hear you in regards to being a lumen hog. I rode the xc / downhill trails last night and had the 7 up on full plus a triple xpe on the helmet and really wanted more light. Perhaps I was just causing permanent night blindness form everything being too bright.

    With regards to the fast tripout of the driver, I had success in early prototypes with putting some insulating material on top of the driver to fill the air space in the driver pocket. What I found was the air in the driver pocket would heat up and retain the heat and since the temperature of the driver is measured from the back via the heatsink it helped to remove the nuisance tripping.
    That is interesting to hear, this light does not have room for much in the driver pocket since it is stuffed with wires. I may be able to get away with bumping the temp trip point to 70 degrees though. Right now I am thinking 70 degrees with 2A max, it needs some more testing though. I still need to build a mount for this thing too.

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by HuffyPuffy View Post
    Thanks, the 2 bottom LED's are in series, I decided against parallel since they could be unbalanced and I did not want to have to replace LED's. With this setup once they are in, they are pretty much in, though I have an idea of how to get them out if I really need to. The light is pretty impressive from these XM-L's, and I see your point, I will have to step it down like it or not, but like most I am greedy for lumens

    Thanks for the tip on the temp trip point, I set it just based on the thought that it would be a hot light due to the lack of fins, and was worried about it tripping out, though I think 60 degrees is a better starting point now.
    Holy monkeys, that's a lot of light! I'm ecstatically happy with 2 XM-Ls at 3A, I can't even imagine what 4 would be like. I wouldn't worry so much about how long it takes to trip standing still. I'd spend some time fiddling with it after doing some riding as that is what would give you the most relevant information.

    As for a helmet light, a twin XM-L @3A with an Lflex driver, Laura RS and a Regina, or an asperic + Laura RS would be sweet. Half power (L4, more or less) would be plenty for climbing and should be easy enough to keep cool (and light), full power for the descents would be awesome.

    Another trick for helmet lights is to have the battery (2 cell ideally) at the back to balance things out. I have a 3 cell at the back, which is pushing it, but it still feels better than with just the light head on the front.

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    Ohh I was wondering what had happened to your light Huffy Puffy looks good

    Yes I have long since given up on tiny spaces to shoehorn driver and wires in it is probably one of the biggest cause of driver failure out there.

    Be very interested in the beam shots when you do them .

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