New flashlight modder (hopefully), needing some general advice!

42 posts / 0 new
Last post

Pages

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
New flashlight modder (hopefully), needing some general advice!

I have many mechanical and electrical (residential/commercial/underground) tools but i would like to have the specialized stuff for electronics.

What are the tools flashlight modders need or “nice to haves”?

What size reamers do you use for small flashlights parts?

Is it possible to build a light as tough as an elzetta with parts from mtn elec. or should i buy tougher components and where to find them?

Edited by: GRAY LITNIN on 12/07/2017 - 13:02
bilakos10
bilakos10's picture
Online
Last seen: 2 min ago
Joined: 08/22/2013 - 14:25
Posts: 442
Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

Here's some tools that you should add in your toolbox:

  • 50W+ Soldering Iron - with temperature regulation if possible
  • Medium and fine soldering tips
  • A good set of tweezers
  • Snap ring pliers
  • Helping hands with magnifying glass
  • Crocodile clips
  • A hot air station if you are into SMDs
  • Multimeter / Clampmeter

The list can go on, depending on your budget and the passion for modding.

My daily deals thread: ☢ [Gearbest.com Special Deals]
If you need any coupon code, just leave a reply on the thread.

DrafterDan
DrafterDan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 2 hours ago
Joined: 11/21/2014 - 13:33
Posts: 79
Location: phoenix, AZ

That’s a great list B10! I can only add a really good set of wire cutters, very short, strong jaws. Basically, you should not buy cutters that cost less than about $25.

If you have that, you will know when you need more specialized tools.

The elzetta brand are a very strong design, no doubt of that. The hosts from Mtn Elec are generally convoy bodies, correct? I have a S2+ I purchased from RMM there, but haven’t quite finished the build.
If you want American-made quality, well, there are a few choices. You can task a local machine shop to make you some custom hosts. If you are looking for things that follow an industry standard, then I’d have a look at Fivemega. He’s in California, and not exactly sure if he posts here, as he mostly works over on CPF.
Fivemega overview)-25-Off-4Th-of-July-Sale"

Also, Bugsy (also on CPF) sells surefire 6P hosts that he’s bored out to accept 18650 batteries. I have one of his offerings, they work quite well.
Bugsy hosts

have light, will travel

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Thanks so much!

Medium and fine soldering tips
Helping hands with magnifying glass
A hot air station if you are into SMDs

Sources for qaulity tools such as this? I have the rest, would also like a good spot welder.

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Yes MTN ELEC is convoy, i will have to get a tougher host thats for sure. So Fivemega is it for durable electrical components? Are there any brands that are known for longevity?

I just don’t want to put together a light where everything is permanant then have anything fail lol!

I know it might be overkill but this is what i like lol!

bilakos10
bilakos10's picture
Online
Last seen: 2 min ago
Joined: 08/22/2013 - 14:25
Posts: 442
Location: Thessaloniki, Greece

GRAY LITNIN wrote:
Thanks so much!

Medium and fine soldering tips
Helping hands with magnifying glass
A hot air station if you are into SMDs

Sources for qaulity tools such as this? I have the rest, would also like a good spot welder.

All of the Chinese online shops should have these tools.
Save yourself some bucks and try to purchase budget priced tools that have good reviews – you won’t need to go full throttle on tool quality for hobby use.

I would also suggest you to get bench power supply – if you don’t already have one.
It will come in handy very often.

My daily deals thread: ☢ [Gearbest.com Special Deals]
If you need any coupon code, just leave a reply on the thread.

kiriba-ru
kiriba-ru's picture
Online
Last seen: 9 min 10 sec ago
Joined: 01/17/2016 - 02:34
Posts: 1343
Location: Russia

DrafterDan wrote:
Basically, you should not buy cutters that cost less than about $25.

Cant agree this. I know knipex quality, but for small tools I would prefer Pro`sKit as best price/quality ratio. For example, I have been used PK-25P-E cutters for near 5 years and they were always able to cut even most thin wires (until met something too strong). They cost under $10.

Meanwhile in Russia: https://twitter.com/CrazyinRussia

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

bilakos10 wrote:
GRAY LITNIN wrote:
Thanks so much!

Medium and fine soldering tips
Helping hands with magnifying glass
A hot air station if you are into SMDs

Sources for qaulity tools such as this? I have the rest, would also like a good spot welder.

All of the Chinese online shops should have these tools.
Save yourself some bucks and try to purchase budget priced tools that have good reviews – you won’t need to go full throttle on tool quality for hobby use.

I would also suggest you to get bench power supply – if you don’t already have one.
It will come in handy very often.

Thank you and i agree if i can buy tools that will work just fine for a better price then i will as it is for hobby only. Bench power supply is one of the other things im wanting to build lol, just gotta get my electronics skills where i want them first, so i’ll know exactly what i want out of it. I’ve realized if you don’t know what you want then you can spend alot of money and still not get it right.

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
kiriba-ru wrote:
DrafterDan wrote:
Basically, you should not buy cutters that cost less than about $25.
Cant agree this. I know knipex quality, but for small tools I would prefer Pro`sKit as best price/quality ratio. For example, I have been used PK-25P-E cutters for near 5 years and they were always able to cut even most thin wires (until met something too strong). They cost under $10.

Yes, gotta take price/quality into consideration no doubt! But no reason to quibble over cutters here. I’ve got plenty of small pliers that can cut piano wires and nails!!!

Agro
Online
Last seen: 6 min 23 sec ago
Joined: 05/14/2017 - 11:16
Posts: 1114
Location: Ślōnsk

kiriba-ru wrote:
DrafterDan wrote:
Basically, you should not buy cutters that cost less than about $25.

Cant agree this. I know knipex quality, but for small tools I would prefer Pro`sKit as best price/quality ratio. For example, I have been used PK-25P-E cutters for near 5 years and they were always able to cut even most thin wires (until met something too strong). They cost under $10.

Actually I’m looking for wire cutters and strippers.

I can’t find 1PK-25P-E under $16…
Or rather I can, but not shipped worldwide. And not locally, they don’t seem to be available in my country at all. :/

adam7027
Offline
Last seen: 2 hours 12 min ago
Joined: 09/26/2017 - 13:54
Posts: 23
Location: Hungary

I will have similar plans (including emitter reflowing), so I subscribe here for additional good advices.

kiriba-ru
kiriba-ru's picture
Online
Last seen: 9 min 10 sec ago
Joined: 01/17/2016 - 02:34
Posts: 1343
Location: Russia

Agro wrote:

I can’t find 1PK-25P-E under $16…
Or rather I can, but not shipped worldwide. And not locally, they don’t seem to be available in my country at all. :/


This thread will be mostly usefull for US members. EU import limits (for companies) restrict product assortiment and raise prices on local markets. Im almost sure that you can find knipex dealer in your country, but wont find many Taiwan brands.
However, I think this is not far away from you:
http://proskit-bg.eu/en/pliers/cutters/heavy-duty-cutting-plier-wconduct...

Meanwhile in Russia: https://twitter.com/CrazyinRussia

DrafterDan
DrafterDan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 day 2 hours ago
Joined: 11/21/2014 - 13:33
Posts: 79
Location: phoenix, AZ

Gray,
FM is a manufacturer/ modder for flashlight bodies. He makes some interesting things, but no electronics.
~D

GRAY LITNIN wrote:
…… So Fivemega is it for durable electrical components? Are there any brands that are known for longevity? …

have light, will travel

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

DrafterDan wrote:
Gray,
FM is a manufacturer/ modder for flashlight bodies. He makes some interesting things, but no electronics.
~D
GRAY LITNIN wrote:
…… So Fivemega is it for durable electrical components? Are there any brands that are known for longevity? …

Aahhh, gotcha! Still good to know Thumbs Up

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Lindstrom cutters or Erem 2422e- for those who like the expensive cutters!

Klien 11057- work great for me stripping small wires

Ideal Stripmasters are my favorite but you gotta have enough room for the stripping action to take place and they $50

Hakko is prolly best budget brand cutters IMO

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Calling DrafterDan!!!

I’m curious about the thicker bodied flashlights being bored to accept the 18650’s.

Do you have a link or remember any articles that test the strength lost by thinning the walls?

I’m sure it’s still plenty strong but i find such things highly interesting! Thanks!

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Anyone have a spot welder they would recommend?

vwpieces
vwpieces's picture
Offline
Last seen: 22 min 16 sec ago
Joined: 07/17/2016 - 19:49
Posts: 1794
Location: PA, USA
GRAY LITNIN wrote:
Anyone have a spot welder they would recommend?

For battery builds?
or general sheetmetal repair?

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
vwpieces wrote:
GRAY LITNIN wrote:
Anyone have a spot welder they would recommend?

For battery builds?
or general sheetmetal repair?

Lol, guess i should have specified.
Yes, battery builds!

Lexel
Lexel's picture
Offline
Last seen: 40 min 29 sec ago
Joined: 11/01/2016 - 08:00
Posts: 3150
Location: Germany

LED reflow also works great on a small temp regulated hotplate

Or just a plate of aluminum that provides enough thermal mass so the heat up and cool down follows close to the temperature profilen that is recommended from datasheet,
you can heat it with gas torch or hot air gun

IR thermometer is also good for reflow temperature check

[Reviews] Miboxer C4-12, C2-4k+6k, C2, C4 / Astrolux K1, MF01, S42, K01 / BLF Q8 / Kalrus G35, XT11GT / Nitefox UT20 / Sofirn SF36, SP35 / Imalent DM21TW / Wuben I333 / Ravemen PR1200 / CL06 lantern / Xanes headlamp

[Mods] Skilhunt H03 short / Klarus XT11GT, XT12GTS / Zebralight SC50+Imalent DM21TWcolorful anodisation

[Sale] TA drivers Narsil or Bistro / Remote switch tail DD board with FET

vwpieces
vwpieces's picture
Offline
Last seen: 22 min 16 sec ago
Joined: 07/17/2016 - 19:49
Posts: 1794
Location: PA, USA
GRAY LITNIN wrote:
vwpieces wrote:
GRAY LITNIN wrote:
Anyone have a spot welder they would recommend?

For battery builds?
or general sheetmetal repair?

Lol, guess i should have specified.
Yes, battery builds!

Can’t help ya though.
But I think sticker shock will follow.
I just use solder tabs. Use a high watt iron and be QUICK. Allow to cool if you need a second try. Put Kapton tape under the tabs, on the edge of batt (Pos side) for safety.

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Lexel wrote:
LED reflow also works great on a small temp regulated hotplate

Or just a plate of aluminum that provides enough thermal mass so the heat up and cool down follows close to the temperature profilen that is recommended from datasheet,
you can heat it with gas torch or hot air gun

IR thermometer is also good for reflow temperature check

Great tips, thanks!! Need more tips like this if anybody wants to share! Got the IR thermometer already, those things are awesome, so useful!

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

vwpieces wrote:

Can’t help ya though.
But I think sticker shock will follow.
I just use solder tabs. Use a high watt iron and be QUICK. Allow to cool if you need a second try. Put Kapton tape under the tabs, on the edge of batt (Pos side) for safety.

No prob, thanks for the reply!
Yea, i’ve looked at prices. Sticker shock did follow lol. It will def. only be bought if I pursue building battery packs heavily (quite possible but not presently).

Thanks for the tips! I was figuring something like that would work fine if you paid close attention.

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Does anyone do home anodizing? Got any tips for that?

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Suggestions for diamond jewelers files?

Which thermal pastes/adhesives do BLFer’s like? If its a brand with more than one type can you specify which one?

Potting Compounds?

Agro
Online
Last seen: 6 min 23 sec ago
Joined: 05/14/2017 - 11:16
Posts: 1114
Location: Ślōnsk

Potting:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/25034
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/57534

Thermal adhesives:
Fujik (bad but often good enough, cheap), Arctic Alumina (good, expensive)

Thermal Paste:
Arctic MX-4 is recommended often
Overclockers’ pastes are mentioned often too
Recently I bought GD900 and I think it’s a good choice for cheap lights.
Liquid metal is the top pick for copper lights, but destroys alu ones

I’d like to see a file set recommendation too.

vwpieces
vwpieces's picture
Offline
Last seen: 22 min 16 sec ago
Joined: 07/17/2016 - 19:49
Posts: 1794
Location: PA, USA

I use Arctic alumina for thermal adhesive for thing I need a better bond.

MX4 (Computer thermal paste) for thermal paste under emitter MCPCB to aluminum pills. If I use a brass pill I usually solder the MCPCB to the brass.

Also got some generic silicone thermal Plaster. Used that in the TIP around the reflector before assembly.

Never bought diamond files, have a couple sets of the 12pk generic jewelers files for fine work and various other smaller Nicholson files that can be had at the Orange store. Wet/dry variety of grits 220-2000 and red scotchbrite are must have on my bench.

I bought this S Mini Black Copper with intentions to expose the high spots of copper. What I did not expect was the nickel plating between the black and copper. I had to hand file the entire surface to expose copper and sand it out after. Turned out good but took 4X longer than I anticipated.
You can see the transition of the layers at the side of the SW in this pic.

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Agro wrote:
Potting:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/25034
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/57534

Thermal adhesives:
Fujik (bad but often good enough, cheap), Arctic Alumina (good, expensive)

Thermal Paste:
Arctic MX-4 is recommended often
Overclockers’ pastes are mentioned often too
Recently I bought GD900 and I think it’s a good choice for cheap lights.
Liquid metal is the top pick for copper lights, but destroys alu ones

I’d like to see a file set recommendation too.

This is bomber!!! Thanks!!!

vwpieces
vwpieces's picture
Offline
Last seen: 22 min 16 sec ago
Joined: 07/17/2016 - 19:49
Posts: 1794
Location: PA, USA

I mess with building my own firearms too. One way to reapply a finish to aluminum is to Lead electroplate and dye it after. Some good vids on YT.
Sig 229 Build – 3 – Anodizing the Frame

That channel has some other good vids on surface finishes. Many other coatings from firearms can be used on our lights too. There was also a big thread on here about Powder Coating and heat transfer.

Of course the most popular way to strip Anno is Lye, Sodium Hydroxide. I have done many lights and usually polish them after. I have had several discussion how I do it but I do not think there is a dedicated thread.

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

vwpieces wrote:
I use Arctic alumina for thermal adhesive for thing I need a better bond.

MX4 (Computer thermal paste) for thermal paste under emitter MCPCB to aluminum pills. If I use a brass pill I usually solder the MCPCB to the brass.

Also got some generic silicone thermal Plaster. Used that in the TIP around the reflector before assembly.

Never bought diamond files, have a couple sets of the 12pk generic jewelers files for fine work and various other smaller Nicholson files that can be had at the Orange store. Wet/dry variety of grits 220-2000 and red scotchbrite are must have on my bench.

I bought this S Mini Black Copper with intentions to expose the high spots of copper. What I did not expect was the nickel plating between the black and copper. I had to hand file the entire surface to expose copper and sand it out after. Turned out good but took 4X longer than I anticipated.

Bummer that it took longer than you alotted, but i think it looks awesome! Great job Thumbs Up

Excellent suggestions as well!! Thank you!

I agree on different grits in several media on the workbench as well as some good polish (flitz or similiar), and a Dremel of course! The diamond files are awesome! I’ve got several bigger ones and one on my Leatherman Charge ALX. They cut fast and last a long time! I’ve also switched all my blade/tool sharpening kit to diamond stones and rods in various sizes and grits and it makes a world of difference! I recommend DMT for that type of stuff but the jewelers files are something i haven’t acquired yet.

GRAY LITNIN
Online
Last seen: 2 min 17 sec ago
Joined: 12/05/2017 - 10:22
Posts: 83
Location: WV, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

vwpieces wrote:
I mess with building my own firearms too. One way to reapply a finish to aluminum is to Lead electroplate and dye it after. Some good vids on YT.
Sig 229 Build – 3 – Anodizing the Frame

That channel has some other good vids on surface finishes. Many other coatings from firearms can be used on our lights too. There was also a big thread on here about Powder Coating and heat transfer.

Of course the most popular way to strip Anno is Lye, Sodium Hydroxide. I have done many lights and usually polish them after. I have had several discussion how I do it but I do not think there is a dedicated thread.

Thanks for this!! I do love me some Sigs! Been trying to save up for a P227 but something always comes up. Thought about grabbing a raw s2+ host to experiment on, might have to snag a raw AR lower to tinker with as well.

Dedicated thread would be nice!! You should do it and share your experiences!!

Pages