DIY Reflector

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Bucket
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DIY Reflector

I've had this idea for a while now and finally dug in and got it done.  I have the desire to make multi-LED flashlights, but really don't like the whole process of mounting individual reflectors so I figured why not try to make a bit that will cut my own.  I've seen a couple of threads in here about guys making their own reflectors, but they were not parabolic.

 

So I did the math using y = .875x^2 as my formula.  I put it into a spread sheet so I could just move the wheels a set amount at a time and went to work on a piece of 7/8 drill rod.

Here's what it looked like after filing and polishing.

At the mill

On to the mill.  This was more difficult than the lathe work.  I probably only need one flute to cut aluminum, but want two.  I debated on how thick to leave the cutting edges and ended up making them too thin on my first attempt.  I chucked it up and tried it out.  It cut well for a while, then stopped.  The cutting edges had rolled over.  Back to the lathe to make another.   Grr.

 

My 2nd trip to the mill turned out much better.  It's not a great picture, but I have to go to work soon.  I'll try to get a better one later.

Here's the test reflector.  It has some ridges, but they should polish out.  I may be able to hone the edges of the bit too.

I'll post up any results from builds I make in here.

 

Buck

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”
—Mark Twain

Toaster79
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Looking forward to see end results! Keep it up!

kralyevski
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i wonder if after polishing, you fill that with steel balls from bearings and press them, than fill it with slightly different size balls and press it again…what would finish look like…some kind of orange peel perhaps?

“the easiest way to become a MILLIONAIRE is: first you become a BILLIONAIRE than you start to be flashaholic”

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Brave attempt, looking forward to the progress. Smile  Most chinese reflectors I see are quite irregular, I wonder how much better a 'perfect' paraboloid will be.

Is the finish going to be the bare polished aluminium, or is there going to be a coating?

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Nice. Looking forward to updates:-)

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Nice effort. I’m looking forward to your creation.

 

djozz quotes, "it came with chinese lettering that is chinese to me".

                      "My man mousehole needs one too"

old4570 said "I'm not an expert , so don't suffer from any such technical restrictions".

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lightme
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That’s a nice tool! Why is your finish so rough? If it’s because you’re not using oil, you should at least make the final cut with everything cleaned and oiled. Did you harden the finished tool or dress the edge? Just looks like a lot of work left to do on that surface.

djozz wrote:
Is the finish going to be the bare polished aluminium …
I’m pretty sure that’s what most, if not all, aluminum reflectors are.(?) It’s definitely the easiest!
Bucket
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lightme wrote:
That's a nice tool! Why is your finish so rough? If it's because you're not using oil, you should at least make the final cut with everything cleaned and oiled. Did you harden the finished tool or dress the edge? Just looks like a lot of work left to do on that surface.
djozz wrote:
Is the finish going to be the bare polished aluminium ...
I'm pretty sure that's what most, if not all, aluminum reflectors are.(?) It's definitely the easiest!

The finish is actually smoother than it looks.  The macro function of my phone really brings out the lines.  For instance, the first picture above when the bit is still on the lathe looks like it's a mirror finish by eye, but the picture makes it look like it's kind of rough.

 

I did harden the finished tool.  Cherry red, water quench, blue, water quench again.  I didn't have time to hone it.  I will try that tonight or tomorrow.  I'm tired after work, so probably tomorrow.  Come to think of it, I'm working 14hrs tomorrow so we'll see.

 

I did use lube, but didn't clean everything off before the finish pass.  I'll try that next time.

 

Yes it will be bare polished aluminum unless there is a powder coat that is suitable.  I haven't really looked into that, but there are some decent looking chromes out there.  Maybe.

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lightme wrote:
That's a nice tool! Why is your finish so rough? If it's because you're not using oil, you should at least make the final cut with everything cleaned and oiled. Did you harden the finished tool or dress the edge? Just looks like a lot of work left to do on that surface.
djozz wrote:
Is the finish going to be the bare polished aluminium ...
I'm pretty sure that's what most, if not all, aluminum reflectors are.(?) It's definitely the easiest!

That's the most accessible for an individual, but manufacturers use vapor deposition, most likely of aluminum in this application.  It might be chromium deposition though, which may explain why when it's rubbed off there's usually a copper colored layer beneath it.

The low mode should be lower.

lightme
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leaftye wrote:
That’s the most accessible for an individual, but manufacturers use vapor deposition, most likely of aluminum in this application. It might be chromium deposition though, which may explain why when it’s rubbed off there’s usually a copper colored layer beneath it.
You’d think chrome would make one of the best reflectors but it’s doesn’t. It’s hardness and corrosion resistance makes it superior for holding it’s shine in harsh conditions but aluminum and a few other soft metals are far more reflective.

http://refractiveindex.info/?group=METALS&material=Aluminium (Scroll down to the reflectivity chart.)

I may be wrong but I don’t see any advantage depositing aluminum on aluminum since the surface would have to be well-polished before coating anyway. A thin layer of something more corrosion resistant makes more sense. Hardness isn’t important.

http://www.thermo.com/eThermo/CMA/PDFs/Product/productFile_1000001029524...

Bucket
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Just a little honing made a lot of difference.  Polishing should be easy peasy.

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”
—Mark Twain

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Very interesting, keep up the good work!

BLF ≠ B-grade Flashlight Forum

 

jacktheclipper
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There aren't many in the public sector

With the skills to create a reflector

When I first saw his plan

I said "there's no way , man "

It just set off my BS detector

 

When you're making a photon projector

One must carefully plan every vector

Mr. Bucket did well

And my doubts he did quell

Now it's clear he should be the Director

 

That's some very fine work , Mr. Bucket

And it's easy to see you don't luck it

You can fix any quirk

With a lot of hard work

I'm sure most of us would have said    screw it

 

 

 

 

What I do

 

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Excellent work, look forward to seeing the focusing tests!

Old-Lumens
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Bucket wrote:

Just a little honing made a lot of difference.  Polishing should be easy peasy.

Well, maybe not peasy. Remember the average reflector does what,  about 15% loss and that's a plated one. Polishing will leave tons of microscopic scratches. Check it with a 15x loop after and see. I imagine it will loose 20-25%. I'm not knocking what you are doing. It is an awesome test and one that I haven't seen hardly anyone willing to try. I applaude your efforts and look forward to the result. Wink

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jacktheclipper
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A few microscopic scratches might just smooth out the beam profile a little .Smile

My question is , how will you seal it against oxidation ?

What I do

 

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Great work! I’d love to test it for you! I can do beamshots! Wink

leaftye
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lightme wrote:
leaftye wrote:
That's the most accessible for an individual, but manufacturers use vapor deposition, most likely of aluminum in this application. It might be chromium deposition though, which may explain why when it's rubbed off there's usually a copper colored layer beneath it.
You'd think chrome would make one of the best reflectors but it's doesn't. It's hardness and corrosion resistance makes it superior for holding it's shine in harsh conditions but aluminum and a few other soft metals are far more reflective. http://refractiveindex.info/?group=METALS&material=Aluminium (Scroll down to the reflectivity chart.) I may be wrong but I don't see any advantage depositing aluminum on aluminum since the surface would have to be well-polished before coating anyway. A thin layer of something more corrosion resistant makes more sense. Hardness isn't important. http://www.thermo.com/eThermo/CMA/PDFs/Product/productFile_1000001029524...

I wouldn't think it would be superior, except for those people that can't keep their fingers out of their reflectors, although aluminum coatings can have a polymer coating (used in automotive reflectors) that reduces efficiency by ~5-10%, but it's still better than chromium.  The advantage should be a more uniform surface.  You can polish an aluminum reflector, but you can't polish away the imperfections in the material.  Some more expensive billet aluminum is formed under a vacuum to improve its quality, but there are still imperfections that occasionally make it unsuitable for an engine, not to mention a reflector.  There's a whole lot about this that I don't know though.  Everytime I start looking into this, I also look at economical rigs and lose interest when concluding that there's no budget way of doing this and there doesn't even seem to be shops that will do small orders.

The low mode should be lower.

DB Custom
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Nice one Jack! Couldn’t let that go without a compliment! 3 tiered prose, well done! Smile

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I have tried to make my own reflectors before. The reflector finish turned out good but trying to get all the proper angles and curves in the reflector is way over my head. With each led type requires a different shaped reflector. The one I made turned out to be quite floody, it did have a large hot spot that was only slightly brighter than the spill. Would have made a great close up light I guess. I kind of like to have both, a decent hotspot that will throw a little and decent spill to light up the surrounding area. Looking forward to seeing some beam shots. Great job with making the cutter. Excellent work. Smile

lightme
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leaftye wrote:
I wouldn’t think it would be superior, except for those people that can’t keep their fingers out of their reflectors …
Definitely not superior for reflectors but for the harsh conditions where chrome is commonly used nothing comes close.
lightme
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I just checked out 2 reflectors, one crappy and one good (XinTD V3). Both seem to have the same construction. With my fingernail, I can rub off the thin reflective material fairly easy. Below that is a relatively thicker, yellowish “plastic” layer bonded to the aluminum.

leaftye
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If that's really plastic, it might be the same stuff they use in automotive reflectors to smooth things out.  I have a book that describes how those are made.  I'll look it up later.  It still won't help us unless we can find someone that will do micro orders.

The low mode should be lower.

Bucket
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DBCstm wrote:
Great work! I'd love to test it for you! I can do beamshots! ;)

Ok.  What dimensions do you want for height and diameter?  How do you want the bottom profiled?

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”
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lightme
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You could try spraying the inside with epoxy paint to get a smooth surface and then use this kit:

http://www.classicstencils.com/Mirror-Solutions—Bottle-Silvering-Kit-5...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XaCvv0MMdUQ

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Bucket wrote:

Just a little honing made a lot of difference.  Polishing should be easy peasy.


well, if you can make your own tool for making reflector i’m pretty sure that you have more than one plan for polishing it Wink

“the easiest way to become a MILLIONAIRE is: first you become a BILLIONAIRE than you start to be flashaholic”

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What is your ID at the top? Do you think it’s better configured for an XM-L, XPG, or would it work well with the MT-G2? Let’s go with an XM-L in the HD2010. Flexibility there. Make the outer diameter whatever you wish, length (top to bottom) is 38-39mm or 1.5 inches. A 5/16” opening (8.5ish mm.) works well. The OD of the current reflector is 58mm but it wouldn’t matter if there were empty space between the reflector and head, the lens would press it down onto the star/centering ring anyway. As long as it fits between the contacts of a 20mm board at the bottom we’re good, and even then if it were wider I can use insulators for that as well.

My HD2010 is now pulling 6.07A and making 1421 lumens OTF at 30 sec. Lux calculates to 222Kcd for 942M throw. Wonder what your reflector would do here?

I’m game if you are!

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That looks elegant!

It Is A Fine and Pleasant Madness

Bucket
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DBCstm, I'm going to make a second one since I drilled the first one too deep.  Height will be the only problem.  This is an inch high.  I'll have to make it taller than the parabolic portion and bevel the remaining material to get to 1.5 inches.  Not a big deal.  

 

Here its what I'll make unless you say differently:

OD = 58MM

Hole for LED = 5/16"

Total height = 1.5"

Small shoulder on bottom to clear contacts = 1mm.

I will bevel the remaining height from where the parabolic ends at some angle...30' 45 or whatever you think you want.  I'm not going to ask for this back so ask for what you want in case you might want to put it in a light.  I can even put a clear powder coat on it.

 

Buck

“If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”
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DB Custom
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To better fit your reflector, we’ll use the Raysoon F13. It’s reflector is 1 1/32” tall. 1 11/32” inside the reflective area at the top, total diameter at top is 1 7/16 with a lip (5/64” thick if you care to duplicate it), 1 3/8” behind the lip (this 1 3/8” fit’s inside the head, the lip portion fits on top and presses into the lens, you could leave it an overall 1 3/8” diameter and not worry about the lip). 9/32” opening for the emitter with a 17/32” shoulder. This should be pretty close to what you’ve got, save a lot of work. Wink

This light uses a 26650 cell, is hosting an XM-L2 T6 3C emitter and is driven at 5A for 1080 OTF lumens on a Powerizer cell. It’s got a fairly large hot spot with the now customary shoulder at the emitter in the reflector. I’m hoping a straight parabolic curve without that shoulder will give a better, tighter hot spot. I will run lux tests and get the current reflectors numbers on kcd and throw for comparison, as well as get some preliminary beamshots worked out for side by side style results. Wink

I don’t know about a powder coat, seems to me that would be counter-productive. I have had excellent polishing results using Mother’s Billet Metal Polish, so if it’s raw aluminum I can always polish it.

This is really fantastic! I really appreciate it Buck, will do everything within my powers to document it to it’s fullest extent.

The baked Raysoon F13

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Bucket wrote:
I will bevel the remaining height from where the parabolic ends at some angle…
Pardon me for interrupting, but wouldn’t you want the paraboloid to extend to the edges of the head? What would the bevel do?

I’d be interested in a relatively deeper P60 reflector, cut for XM-L, as well as a relatively shallower one for the same drop-in…

No, I’m not asking. I know what tooling that would require & can’t afford to fund it.

But you seem to be in a position to illustrate the beam differences in scaling your paraboloid to fit a certain size lens, but taking a different “cut”.
EDIT: I found a picture which illustrates (if you cut both lines at the x axis line) what I’m trying to say:

But you probably already know all that, & have worked on it already…

I’ll go back to reading now…

Dim

“There is no darkness but ignorance.”

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