Maglite 3C mod - old school style (picture heavy)

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Cula's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 11/14/2014 - 02:04
Posts: 367
Location: Croatia
Maglite 3C mod - old school style (picture heavy)

Got this old banged up Maglite as a gift long time ago. Bought all supplies for modding and left them on a shelf. There it was sitting for a couple of years and this winter I decided to wake up my modding mojo and give new life to this forgotten gem.

Lots of stuff happened during these few years regarding flashlights. They got cheaper and more powerful and it became very hard to build something that you cant buy in a store with a click of a mouse.
I hope there are still members here who can appreciate this kind of work and love and effort that is put in this build. Me personally, I enjoyed every hour spent building my Maglite.

Let’s start:

Project supplies:
Maglite – gift
4xNichia 219C SM403 – 90 cri 4000K – $18 (got these from a group buy here on BLF in 2016)
LD-2 driver 12 Amps – $12
50mm Ledil Melody 4M Medium angle beam optics – $12
4x Noctigon XP MCPCB’s – $10
AR coated Lenses – $2 (from Kaidomain)
Other supplies (wires, copper, sand paper etc) – $5

1. Here is how it all starts. Old and banged up Maglite, ready to be transformed into something different. I removed anno from tailcap and bezel few years ago when I was experimenting with caustic soda.

2. First Cut. Hope my plan works.

3. 26650 didn’t fit inside. Aluminum pipe wrapped in 80 grit sand paper is used to sand the inside of the battery tube.

4. Took me an hour and a half of sanding to make it wide enough. Problem solved.

5. Removed anno.

6. Second cut. Part of the battery tube that goes inside the flashlights head will be a driver holder and a place for all the wires.

7. Made a aluminum ring to fit inside a tube and used a 17mm brass driver ring bought from Kaidomain. Everything is press fitted.

8. Like this. Two rings are going to be brazed from the inside. That will provide strength, electrical and thermal conductivity for small LD-2 driver.

9. Made a fiberglass shelf for a small electronic switch. Glued it with a drop of locktite.

10. Tailcap mod. Big old spring is going to be replaced with smaller one sitting on a copper circle.

11. 18 AWG wire brazed inside a tailcap, finished spring on a copper circle ready to be glued. No electrical resistance here.

12. Tailcap mod done.

13. Three part body polished and ready.

14. Copper pipe prepared for soldering. I’ll join these two parts.

15. Copper soldered, time to clean this mess.

16. Lots of sanding ahead of me.

17. Getting there. Smaller copper part on top of the pipe is sanded flat.

18. Made a 12mm switch hole.

19. Sanded and polished.

20. Battery tube parts all done.

21. Made a 50×1.5mm copper circle and three 50×2mm aluminum circles joined with arctic alumina epoxy.

22. Four 1.5mm copper washers to hold the optics in place. Had to get very creative to make these small parts.

23. A glimpse of a finished head. There is still lots of work ahead of me.

24. Finished heatsink parts.

25. Plenty of mass and surface to sink the heat from little Nichias.

26. Inside the head.

27. Optic washers glued with locktite.

28. Perfect fit, everything centered.

29. Nichias centered and screwed down using 2mm screws. Took a lot of patience to drill and thread all holes.

30. Inside the flashlight head.

31. Looking good.

32. All wired. Made a mistake here, I should have wired the driver first and Nichias last. I had to de solder everything and start from the driver.

33. Driver wired. Ground wire is going to be bolted to the body of the flashlight.

34. Driver press fitted in his shelf. This part of the battery tube is epoxied to the flashlights head using arctic alumina.

35. Ground wire bolted, time to solder rest of the wires.

36. Testing phase, it works. Nichias perfectly centered using a custom made centering ring. But will it deliver all 12 Amps?

37. All done! Switch is covered with a leftover button from one of my previous builds (From Shadow JM35).

38. Love the looks.

39. Men size flashlight, that’s for sure.

40. To get the perspective of the size: Maglite, Brynite B158 and Convoy S2.

41. Nichias firing. Everything works. Job done!

42. Tailcap measurements. Bit disapointed with Vappower 26650 batteries. They couldn’t deliver 12 Amps, not even a 10. But Samsung 25R, that’s a different story. 12 Amps without a sweat.

I’ll test this puppy thoroughly in a next few days and get back with my thoughts.

Did you like my mod? Please comment.

Cheers Beer

Edited by: Cula on 02/27/2019 - 06:00
Lightbringer's picture
Last seen: 3 hours 45 min ago
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Posts: 17528
Location: nyc

Holy Cats!

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

MascaratumB's picture
Last seen: 28 min 10 sec ago
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Location: Portugal

Shocked Shocked Shocked
Me likes!!! Awesome work Wink
Love the mod and the description!!
Now a beamshot is required Wink

Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/10/2012 - 15:55
Posts: 796
Location: Ohio

A little sloppy, but I suppose it’ll do Wink
Jk, beautiful work! Love the polished copper.

Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 01/07/2013 - 14:13
Posts: 1336

Ol’ Lumens would be proud. Craftsmanship & Ingenuity.

Beautiful work.

Thumbs Up

“In many things in order to truly understand the small picture you have to understand the big picture first.”

True Color Rendition (TCR)/Simplified Definition: “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest rating, a TCR will equate to what true colors you see in sunlight vs the same object’s colors you see when illuminated with a flashlight. The closer the two are, the higher the TCR rating will be.”

The TCR Reference Standard is the Walmart Ozark Trail OT 50L , Model No. 6103.
It has a TCR rating of ‘10’. $1.00 including batteries.

moderator007's picture
Last seen: 10 hours 57 min ago
Joined: 12/23/2012 - 04:47
Posts: 3792
Location: North Carolina

Very nice work Cula Thumbs Up .
I use to build several of these mag modes. Lots of work but nothing else like it.
I never built a mag quad though, great job.
Some serious hand tool skills you got there, I especially like the copper addition. Wink
Good to see some of these old school (OL) mods here. Thanks for sharing!

djmcconn's picture
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Posts: 501
Location: North Carolina

Beautiful work and thanks for sharing!

KawiBoy1428's picture
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WOW Shocked Beer Now that is incredible, what a beauty, this is innovation at it’s Finest! Love Thumbs Up

KB1428 “Live Life WOT

djozz's picture
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Location: Amsterdam

Yes, another incredible and shiny Cula build!! I especially like the copper section screwed in place Love .
Thanks for showing it all to us with beautiful pictures!

ChibiM's picture
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Very impressive!!

Venom's picture
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Great work and great looking light.

maukka's picture
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Wow! That’s a lot of manual work and a beautiful end result.

USA's picture
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Nice mod! Or more like an entire creation. I remember your post from the Shadow mod, which was equally stunning.

jacktheclipper's picture
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Grad Beer

What I do


Last seen: 1 year 2 weeks ago
Joined: 02/03/2013 - 14:51
Posts: 7935
Location: SC

Gorgeous creation!  So refreshing to see this build and with details. So many great modding ideas/tips in it.

I have to admit that availability of off-the-shelf, high-performance lights has dampened my enthusiasm for flashlight modding.  But this build helped remind me that there is still joy in handcrafting an entirely unique light.  Congrats Cula!

MRsDNF's picture
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Location: A light beam away from the missus in the land of Aus.

Did I like your mod? No.
I loved your mod. Love
Orsm effort and I have to agree with everyone else’s comments here. Well done. Beer


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".

Old-Lumens. Highly admired and cherished member of Budget Light Forum. 11.5.2011 - 20.12.16. RIP.


Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
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Very cool, enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing!

CRX's picture
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Nice work Thumbs Up

Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
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Mr. Old – Lumens looking down from above giving props and blessings for a great MOD man.

Last seen: 1 year 2 weeks ago
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Location: California

wonderful and inspiring project!

Cula's picture
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Location: Croatia

Thank you guys for your kind comments Beer

Didn’t get a chance to test this Maglite thoroughly yet but as soon as I do I’ll post my observations.

Hoop's picture
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Location: Spokane, WA

Nice work Cula. Looks real good. Thumbs Up Love mag mods!

Cula's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 11/14/2014 - 02:04
Posts: 367
Location: Croatia

Tested it thoroughly during a last few days and it meets all of my expectations LOL . Left it at the full throttle for 3 min and then stopped (at room temperature, no air flow), didn’t want to push it any longer. It can handle the heat coming from the emitters, like all of my builds. It is basically a flodder with a very smooth beam (at white wall).
Failed miserably at making a photos of the beam, like I always do Facepalm .

Thanks again for your comments.

I’ll probably sell this one soon and start a new project. It would be a shame to let this Maglite sit on a shelf unused. That happens to most of my flashlights.

Cheers Beer

Last seen: 1 day 12 hours ago
Joined: 08/18/2013 - 19:19
Posts: 19
Location: England

Really nice mod, always have a soft spot for magmods i must get round to making some of my old maglites mine a little bit better too Smile

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Welcome back Cula! Awesome work as usual. Thumbs Up Beer

FS : SFT70 20mm DTP 6V 6500k / BLF A6

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Awesome build! I somehow missed this one. The buyer is gonna have fun with this beautiful work of art!

The Cycle of Goodness: “No one prospers without rendering benefit to others”
- The YKK Philosophy

Hugh Johnson
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DB Custom
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Looks very nice, feels good to get results after all that hand work doesn’t it? Wink

Marc E
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Location: South West UK

Much respect both for your skills and your decision to see it through, and while money might buy better performance it can’t buy the sense of accomplishment i hope you feel with this build.

DB Custom
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Just curious, did you use the Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive to glue the threads between the head and driver section? If someone tries to turn the head off it will twist the wires….

Cula's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 11/14/2014 - 02:04
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Location: Croatia

Thanks again for your comments Beer

DB Custom wrote:
Just curious, did you use the Arctic Alumina Thermal Adhesive to glue the threads between the head and driver section? If someone tries to turn the head off it will twist the wires….

Yes, Epoxied permanently (arctic alumina).