Would you like to see how different materials impact flashlight durability

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Mocarny
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Would you like to see how different materials impact flashlight durability
Good idea, I definitely want to read about it
63% (26 votes)
It would be interesting
22% (9 votes)
Maybe...or maybe not, idk
2% (1 vote)
Nah, I don't care and I don't need to know
12% (5 votes)
Total votes: 41

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Mocarny
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I am thinking about something like titanium vs anodizing vs micro-arc oxidation vs something else.
Several scratch tests and drop tests.
Maybe overall hardness test.
Like a review but focusing on different materials and coating durability.
What do you think?

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1Peter1
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You mean, like a sledgehammer or something?
Lol!! Big Smile

Hoop
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In regards to aluminum alloys, 7075-T6 has practically double the yield strength of 6061 and is also 50% harder, so they are like different materials. Also, type III hard anodize has double the thickness, or more, than the more common type II anodize. We can presume that the most robust anodized aluminum light would be made from 7075 alloy and hard anodized.

Grade 5 titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) is the relevant titanium alloy. It is moderately hard with a hardness of ~36 RC and has high yield strength. This should be the most robust material short of even harder steels.

Pre-hardened 416 stainless steel is more economical than grade 5 titanium and should perform similarly. It is a fine choice for making bezels or an entire flashlight out of.

Typical 304 stainless is somewhat soft and has a pretty low yield strength and yet I find that bezels made out of this material do not take much damage from drops onto concrete, which is surprising. The yield strength, hardness, and tensile strength seem pretty close to 7075-T6 aluminum.

Bort
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I’d be very interested.
Years ago on BLF we used to muse about Chinese aluminum somehow being more ductile than standard aluminum, but never figured out why.

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Havok
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Hoop wrote:
In regards to aluminum alloys, 7075-T6 has practically double the yield strength of 6061 and is also 50% harder, so they are like different materials. Also, type III hard anodize has double the thickness, or more, than the more common type II anodize. We can presume that the most robust anodized aluminum light would be made from 7075 alloy and hard anodized.

To my knowledge,

Type II is up to to 0.0010 inch (1 mil)

Type III is up to 0.0045 inch (4.5 mil)

fogofwar
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I think it’s a waste unless some manufacturer is making extraordinary claims of durability.

Drop and durability tests are notoriously difficult to standardize, and you need dozens of samples to achieve any reliability in the data.

I don’t see flashlight manufacturers offering independent reviewers dozens of their lights per reviewer to check for durability. And without manufacturer support, it will be very expensive for independent reviewers to test.

Mocarny
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1Peter1 wrote:
You mean, like a sledgehammer or something?
Lol!! Big Smile

I made something like a… cement mixer? It is an aluminium can like those used in the kitchen for rice or something, and I put a flashlight and many door keys inside and spin it slowly.

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Mocarny
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fogofwar wrote:
I think it’s a waste unless some manufacturer is making extraordinary claims of durability.

Drop and durability tests are notoriously difficult to standardize, and you need dozens of samples to achieve any reliability in the data.

I don’t see flashlight manufacturers offering independent reviewers dozens of their lights per reviewer to check for durability. And without manufacturer support, it will be very expensive for independent reviewers to test.


It would be a waste to test every new flashlight. But I am thinking about just a basic comparison between types of flashlight, not between every new one.
One material vs another material, one coating vs another coating.

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Notmyrealname
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Interested, especially if info about differences in heat dissipation is included.

I feel sorry for people who don't have a hobby or interest to escape to.

Mocarny
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Notmyrealname wrote:
Interested, especially if info about differences in heat dissipation is included.

Yes, it could be included Smile

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Hoop
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What really matters are 1 to 2 meter drops onto rocks and concrete, which flashlights are often subject to in every day use. I once dropped a large light out of a garage attic onto the concrete below which was more like 3.5 meters.

As a flashlight designer, I think there is an almost binary decision to be made in terms of materials and philosophy regarding “durability.” That is: is the light designed to be dropped, or is it not supposed to be dropped? Lights with delicate features and materials are simply not designed to be dropped. If they are dropped they will take damage. If a light is designed to be dropped, hardened materials should be used for the bezel and tail cap. If the body is aluminum it should be 7075 and hard anodized. Sharp corners should be avoided, everything should feature a radius. The designer should test the durability extensively themselves.

flashburn
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Using a railgun to fire the slashlight through a concrete wall.
“Ah, broken. Tittanoum did not do the trick”, something like that?

Nah seriously.

The quality of threads, of the bezel, glass, switch, all this has much more impact on the life of a flashlight than the material alone.
May one coating be more durable than the other, but a flashlight gets it’s own patina through life, perfectly normal.

Sirstinky
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Well from experience, yes, 7075 followed by 6063 is the best thing to make a flashlight out of. Lightweight, durable, tough and has good electrical and thermal properties. Titanium is not a good flashlight material…it’s soft, a bit heavier than aluminum, doesn’t anodize well, has inferior thermal characteristics and electrical properties. Brass and copper are novelties because of the weight. 416 and 304 are good for bezels. Like titanium, thermal and electrical properties are lacking.

Omega_17
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Sirstinky wrote:
Titanium is not a good flashlight material…it’s soft, a bit heavier than aluminum, doesn’t anodize well, has inferior thermal characteristics and electrical properties. Brass and copper are novelties because of the weight.

This is why every flashlight enthusiast pay premium price for these materials. Blushing
Although titanium has a pleasant silk touch when you rub it and posses that high-end look.

But how common are lights using 7075 and how to tell? I think most of my lights use cheap aluminum because they are easy to dent.

Codec
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I dropped a 6D Mag a whooping 10m on to concrete, and the only casualty – apart from abrasions and a slight ding, was a shattered spare bulb in the tailcap. I’d like to see any other light achieve that level of durability.

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To answer this question, I need to ask you a question: Which flashlights are known to you to be less durable?

What characteristics make them less durable?

Sirstinky
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Omega_17 wrote:
Sirstinky wrote:
Titanium is not a good flashlight material…it’s soft, a bit heavier than aluminum, doesn’t anodize well, has inferior thermal characteristics and electrical properties. Brass and copper are novelties because of the weight.

This is why every flashlight enthusiast pay premium price for these materials. Blushing
Although titanium has a pleasant silk touch when you rub it and posses that high-end look.

But how common are lights using 7075 and how to tell? I think most of my lights use cheap aluminum because they are easy to dent.

Most better quality lights are made from 6061. I have some Acebeams (P15, L19 and I believe L18) are 7075. Rovyvon makes lights from 7075 as well like the H3 Pro. Fireflies uses 6063 in their lights also. I think some Olights are 7075 as well.

Mocarny
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zoulas wrote:
To answer this question, I need to ask you a question: Which flashlights are known to you to be less durable?

What characteristics make them less durable?


It is obvious that a cheap $5 flashlight will be less durable than a $50 i.e. Convoy flashlight.
As mentioned above, threads, soldering quality, precision in assembling makes a much bigger difference than just coating.
That’s why I am thinking about more general comparison: brass vs copper vs steel vs titanium vs aluminium and additionally different aluminium coatings.
Comparisons like: “TheBestBrand 23X flashlight vs Nitecore M10 flashlight” would be impractical.

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