Old-Lumens contest rules discussion

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The_OL_Contest
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Old-Lumens contest rules discussion

Okay so anybody that’s been following the competition is probably aware there has been discussion surrounding categories and rules. This thread is to try and compile the sentiments of what should be acceptable in the fine print. For example should the use of pills be accepted in handmade? Should we make a new category for outsourcing actual construction of the light or components? Or a new category for builds under $50 ? If it entices more participation it’s worth considering. So if you have some input would like to re-write the rule book have a comment about the competition let’s hear it Smile

I’ll post the current rules below for reference.

Hand Made:
Your light must be made from scratch.
You must make a build thread, show images, give explanation of the build progress.
Remember we can only judge on what you show us in your thread.
No outside services are allowed.
Single or multiple emitter, driver and alternate power configurations are allowed.
Should be a portable and battery operated light such as lanterns, headlamps and similar devices.
All small hand tools are acceptable, as well as these power tools:
Soldering gun/ station
Electric Drill/ Drill Press
Dremel style Rotary Tool
Electric Saws
Disc or Belt Sander

You may use some manufactured components related to flashlights such as reflectors, drivers, LEDs, O-rings, switches, lenses, opics and clips.

You may not use manufactured flashlight parts such as a bezel, body, tail cap, head or pill. Basically anything originally designed specifically for a flashlight host.

Machine Made:
Your light must be made from scratch.
You must make a build thread, show images, give explanation of the build progress.
Remember we can only judge on what you show us in your thread.
No outside services are allowed.
Single or multiple emitter, driver and alternate power configurations are allowed.
Should be a portable and battery operated light such as lanterns, headlamps and similar devices.
All machine shop tools are allowed, such as: Lathe, End Mill, Programmed Automated machines, Standard 3D Printers
Plus all small hand tools

You may use some manufactured flashlight related components such as reflectors, drivers, LEDs, O-rings, switches, lenses, optics and clips.

You may not use manufactured flashlight parts such as a bezel, body, tail cap, head or pill. Basically anything originally designed specifically for a flashlight host.

Modified Light Category:
Enter this category with a light you have modified or something you have modified for or into a light.
You must show us something that was modified by you and how it was done.
You can make a new thread or link to a mod you have posted on BLF within the stated timeframe.
You can build or modify by any means at your disposal and your mod can also be some form of self built flashlight attachment(s), clips, lanyards, paracord wraps, pouch or other related paraphernalia.

…and the most important rule that Justin came up with – Above all, have fun with this.

The_OL_Contest
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Rdubya18
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Perhaps a Rube Goldberg type category . My build seems to be going that way . Facepalm

G0OSE
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Yeah pills are pretty easy to make really, I made 3 so far for mine lol!
At simplest you need some copper brass tube and some flat sheet.
I just used bits of brass I had laying round from other projects.
The easiest pill you can assemble is using brass gas plumbing bits.
These bits are cheap and easily available.
1/4 brass female socket plus 1/4” brass nipple, solder slice of copper for the top of the nipple, saw the bottom off and you have a pill and a nice threaded head.
Ideal for a 10mm led board, or if you want bigger, buy bigger fittings, all easily drilled out by hand with a step drill, well easy ish lol!

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Hmm… I thought this thread might have a little more action than this.

If we’re going to talk about how stuff is made i can jump on that too. All sorts of things can be made even with a dremel.

https://budgetlightforum.com/node/8179

The video that’s missing in that thread is still up –

Old-Lumens inspired me to do stuff beyond my limit too. I didn’t always have a lathe…

  

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Well the crickets seem to be enjoying this discussion LOL

Oh well, if nobody wants to change the rules I think I can make it happen LOL Big Smile

  

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Well , I enjoyed watching the video . As far as rule changes , I can’t say I have any ideas . The 3D printer subject and its uses in different categories is what I was figuring I’d see being discussed.

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I feel like this started when I put my entry and then went back due to the pill! Despite there were, eventually other cases, in similar situation as mine,

Well, I won’t probably add much to this discussion on the rules.
I will admit that I don’t have at my disposition some tools or spaces to work (living in an appartment…), and I also don’t have some types of materials, as local stores with specific stuff for our builds are sometimes hard to find.

Also, I don’t have many of the skills or know-how that many folks here have, and in this case I will refer to specifically to “hand made” contestants and modders all over the forum.

So, some items – such as pills, heatsinks or others, that imply metal work and more tools/conditions, or even big pieces of wood that need to be cut straight – are harder for me to build. This doesn’t mean, however, that rules should change for those categories.
I will need to adapt my ideas if that is the case, as I needed to do in my entry. I felt like it was a build, but it needed to become a modification instead.

Justin’s video, the work of CRX in som many mods and builds, and many other ideas and productions all over the forum show that things can be done, so maybe lowering expectations/requirements about one can do is not the best option.

Whenever I can’t get something done, I will change my building methods or my category.

Being in this contest was something I never thought I would do when I joined BLF. 4 years later, I am doing it, I’m having (stupid) ideas and opening my horizons, and it surely continue that way!
Thanks for all sharing your work! Even when it is a small mod, that opens new perspectives, so thanks!

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Thanks guys.  I do appreciate comments.  Good bad critical or general.  

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I think accessibility is important to the contest. For that reason, I think the modified light category is a really important one.

As far as the rules in the hand- and machine-made categories, I think they do need to stay strict. It would make my build extremely simple to be able to use a Convoy S2+ pill, even if I did modify it (but especially if I didn’t have to). And I think, for a lot of these challenges, that’s part of the point – if I were building this light just to build it normally, I’d almost certainly adapt someone else’s pill, be it a stock Convoy version or a kiriba-ru pill. Taking the effort to stop and figure out how to make the light work without that is, to me, the spirit of the contest.

I understand completely that it’s difficult to enter this contest. When I lived in an apartment, it was nearly unthinkable. I barely had space to work (my workspace was my computer desk, so I had to clear everything off – and make the PC inaccessible – to do even minor modding work), and I definitely didn’t have room for much tools. I could barely store the one toolbox with my soldering equipment in it. Now that I’ve got a house, I also have a bunch of tools, and more space for things. I’ve even got a semi-dedicated workspace on my fold-down Ikea Bjursta desk!

I’ve definitely noticed that there are a few “modified light” category entries that are… well, they are quite something. On the one hand, I think they deserve credit for that in the judging of the competition. On the other hand, I fear that it may be off-putting for those who have more limited capabilities and yet are still entering the same category.

As for the 3D printing issue, I can see some potential issues. With 3D printing, so much of the build is the design itself, and it’s difficult to know for sure if that’s been outsourced. With a hand-made light, the design could also be outsourced, but it’s really a far less significant portion of the effort. I also have some issues with outsourcing the printing. I don’t think it would be fair to have someone else CNC or manually machine parts for a machine-made entry, so I don’t really see this being different. At the same time, one need not necessarily own the printer, just be the one to actually operate it. Similarly, one might have access to a lathe or CNC mill they don’t own, but have permission to use it (at work, or a friend/relative’s, etc.), and I don’t see that as an issue.

It’s exciting to see the new ways people have to participate in this hobby, and I definitely want them to be able to be included in the Old Lumens contest. I think we should really work, collectively, to figure out how we can fairly include as many people as possible. Because that’s what makes the contest (and the hobby as a whole) great: as many people as possible being able to participate in as many different, creative ways as possible. (also, people liking different things: the extreme CRI fans vs. max lumens flooder fans vs. max candela thrower fans vs. practical EDC fans all coexisting)

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I did some thinking... since the borders between categories are not always clear (for example if I took an old light an completely changed all electronics, optics and modified the body, is it modified or hand made?) maybe just don't spilt into categories and only run a one general category with different prizes for example:
1. Innovation prize - for the built with best refreshing new ideas.
2. Team player prize - for the competitor that support and helped others.
3. Against all odds prize - for the one who solved many problems 
etc...
All prizes can of course can have 1st, 2nd and 3rd places 

My FW repository

My BLF/OL contest entries: 7th 8th 9th 

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Scallywag wrote:
I think we should really work, collectively, to figure out how we can fairly include as many people as possible. Because that’s what makes the contest (and the hobby as a whole) great: as many people as possible being able to participate in as many different, creative ways as possible.

Well said.  That is the goal we are aiming for  <img src=


 


YuvalS wrote:

I did some thinking… since the borders between categories are not always clear (for example if I took an old light an completely changed all electronics, optics and modified the body, is it modified or hand made?) maybe just don’t split into categories and only run a one general category with different prizes for example:
1. Innovation prize – for the built with best refreshing new ideas.
2. Team player prize – for the competitor that support and helped others.
3. Against all odds prize – for the one who solved many problems 
etc…
All prizes can of course can have 1st, 2nd and 3rd places 



 


Thanks YuvalS  <img src=   I like that idea.  It keeps things simple and easy for people to enter as they won't need to decide "what category should i enter...???"  and "what rules do i need to follow for this category?" 


Possible issues that I can think of -



  •  ‘hand made style’ will likely disappear

  • Some people might (still) be reluctant to enter if they are not segregated from experienced modders/builders


Of course, i could be wrong on both accounts.  However I still think it’s a good idea.  Appreciate you suggesting it  <img src=

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That’s the way forward imo, 1 compo, no categories, anything goes so long as a flashlight comes out the butt end.
There are simply not enough entrants to be picky around the whys and wherefores of how it was made. The judging/voting will sort that out and rules really are not needed.
The luxuries of many categories and lots of rules is fine if you have maybe 50 entering…but clearly this is not the case.
The write up is just as daunting I think – a lot of people don’t like having to do it, I know I’m not looking forward to it Sad
Anyway, last bit arrived today….. off to the shed. Wink

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The_OL_Contest wrote:

 

Possible issues that I can think of -

  •  'hand made style' will likely disappear
  • Some people might (still) be reluctant to enter if they are not segregated from experienced modders/builders

Of course, i could be wrong on both accounts.  However I still think it's a good idea.  Appreciate you suggesting it "



You can set a "best first time build" for beginners.
Not sure why you think that hand made builds will disappear since people whiteout machines has no other option
For any action/value you wish to promote just set a dedicated prize  

My FW repository

My BLF/OL contest entries: 7th 8th 9th 

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You’re a smart man YuvalS. I’m learning from you Grad

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This year I entered the OL-Lumen Contest prepared with an idea, parts, and a plan to show what is possible to make by hand with few tools. After starting the build thread and looking at it, I was concerned it may discourage members from entering the competition. So I edited the build thread and removed what I was making in hope it would help not to deter anyone. I replaced it a few weeks later after a few members joined the contest.
.
I Love a challenge making things from raw material and a Blue Print. Been doing this for a job since High school.
Still a newbie here in many ways just having fun here at BLF learning and sharing with friends.
So after I joined BLF the OL-Lumen Contest was something I wanted to do. But I was afraid because everything was new and unfamiliar.
.
I think it would be a good idea to ask the members thru a poll or question list just who are interested in the contest, entry level, intermediate level, skilled level. If no response, then no need for changes. The goal is to Have Fun Competing and to get as many contributing as possible.
.
Also I feel it necessary for the experienced guys to want to compete. Guess I’m not much help. Facepalm

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I haven’t said much on this as I am more or less content with the status quo. But I can adapt to change.

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There is a bit of an intimidation factor when contemplating entering . There are a lot of very talented people here making some beautiful stuff . I have been watching builds on this site for a few years and am just in awe and all starry- eyed , and think I’d like to make something too . But I know I am not even close to the caliber and expertise of some of the people here . The spirit of this competition , to honor Old Lumens , a guy who liked to make things , to try new things and not worry what anyone thought of his creations , is why I got the nerve to enter . That and I spent a chunk of money on a lathe , but it was this push that finally got me to make an attempt at it . It’s hard to take the plunge . I’m not sure changing the rules will help encourage more participants to enter . I’m glad its here and hope it continues because … if it just helps one kid…

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CNCman wrote:
I think it would be a good idea to ask the members thru a poll or question list just who are interested in the contest, entry level, intermediate level, skilled level.
I have considered a poll and will probably do it at a later date. Your suggested titles are a great starting point.
MtnDon wrote:
I haven't said much on this as I am more or less content with the status quo. But I can adapt to change.
Thanks MtnDon. I appreciate the comment even if there's no strong opinion one way or the other.
Rdubya18 wrote:
There is a bit of an intimidation factor when contemplating entering . There are a lot of very talented people here making some beautiful stuff . I have been watching builds on this site for a few years and am just in awe and all starry- eyed , and think I’d like to make something too . But I know I am not even close to the caliber and expertise of some of the people here . The spirit of this competition , to honor Old Lumens , a guy who liked to make things , to try new things and not worry what anyone thought of his creations , is why I got the nerve to enter . That and I spent a chunk of money on a lathe , but it was this push that finally got me to make an attempt at it . It’s hard to take the plunge . I’m not sure changing the rules will help encourage more participants to enter . I’m glad its here and hope it continues because ... if it just helps one kid...
The way i read your comment is you weren't comfortable enough to enter until you bought a lathe. I'm sure there are others that feel the same. If we could convince these types to enter without the heavy tools and machinery then that'd be great. Up until last year's contest there was only 2 categories - hand made and machine made. Either way you pretty much needed to be good with your hands, have the space to work and access to the tools you need etc... On top of that you needed the motivation to do such a thing and then the willingness to present the workings to the forum. Last year CRX had the brilliant idea of introducing the modified category. To enter that category you didn't 'need' a whole lot of tools and expertise. So in theory - if the tools and expertise was the restricting factor then this category should have had the largest pool of entries. The number of finished lights in that category however were much the same as the first two categories. Overall we did have some of the largest numbers in last years competition but not excessively large. So I don't think the tooling and expertise issue is the problem. When you look around at the build threads and other additional threads pertaining to the OL comp (such as this one) you might notice the vast majority of comments are by the contestants. A relatively low number of non-contestants make comments in any of the threads. This says to me that the average enthusiast is not interested and we are a niche group within a niche group. As much as i love BLF it seems like this platform is probably not the best since the majority of members don't seem interested. I'm not suggesting to move the comp elsewhere or anything like that, just making observations.
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The_OL_Contest wrote:
we are a niche group within a niche group.

Bingo!

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Well, I don’t think a lathe is needed, but it makes certain things easier for sure. Don’t forget there are levels of skill on all tools, and though I can use a lathe, I cannot use it to anywhere near the level of some on here. partly to do with my very old antique lathe (but I love it)
I’ve never entered before partly due to the same reasons you raise, but you know, once I started doing it I forgot all that and just enjoyed it.
I enjoyed it so much I’m sad I’ve just finished mine (pics coming) but I am going to make some more, maybe to sell.

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Consider allowing the outsourcing of coatings (anodize, gold plate, nickel plate, powder coat, etc.) in the “machine made” category, or if nothing else: aluminum anodization. Machine shops typically outsource these processes.

Another consideration would be whether or not unfinished entries from previous years can be resumed as entries in the latest competition.

Also:
“All machine shop tools are allowed, such as: Lathe, End Mill, Programmed Automated machines, Standard 3D Printers”

“End Mill” should be “milling machine.”

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No , the lathe just let me do machine made . I’m much more comfortable with hand made . My point was that I was apprehensive from a lack of skill and lack of fully understanding the components compared to the levels of others . I don’t doubt there are others feeling the same .

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Why compare yourself to others? Every self help guru/predator in existence advises not to do that, because there’s always someone younger or richer or more skilled or prettier or whatever, so you’ll just never end up doing anything if you do that. And, this is no longer a “contest,” it’s a “challenge.” A challenge to build something. Anything. And there are usually more prizes than entrants, which is a plus.

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The_OL_Contest wrote:
When you look around at the build threads and other additional threads pertaining to the OL comp (such as this one) you might notice the vast majority of comments are by the contestants. A relatively low number of non-contestants make comments in any of the threads. This says to me that the average enthusiast is not interested and we are a niche group within a niche group. As much as i love BLF it seems like this platform is probably not the best since the majority of members don’t seem interested. I’m not suggesting to move the comp elsewhere or anything like that, just making observations.

I don’t think it’s fair to say that people aren’t interested. Take a peek at the right-hand column here. I just picked a random thread from this year, and last year’s main contest thread:

That said, the participation is lower than I’m sure we’d all like to see. But I think that kind of goes hand-in-hand with those participating in the contest itself: We’re more probably more likely to participate in general, whether in the contest or the contest threads/discussion. There’s probably other factors involved as well; if you look around the forum there’s definite trends about things. Some members are much more active/participatory in general. Some may feel they don’t have anything to contribute if they aren’t participants (though I cannot stress enough how much that is not the case), or that there’s no way they could have a better idea than the legendary CRX about something (again – not only wrong, but I know for a fact CRX wants to hear what people think!). I myself have felt similarly in the past, and it’s not because anyone here is really doing anything wrong.

As far as the platform, I agree that we do represent a niche within a niche. However, BLF is not just one of the only places where something like this could happen, IMO it is the best of those few places for it to happen. This thread itself is proof that we care about the contest, we care about making it accessible, and we continue to encourage people to participate in whatever ways we can.

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Scallywag wrote:
The_OL_Contest wrote:
When you look around at the build threads and other additional threads pertaining to the OL comp (such as this one) you might notice the vast majority of comments are by the contestants. A relatively low number of non-contestants make comments in any of the threads. This says to me that the average enthusiast is not interested and we are a niche group within a niche group. As much as i love BLF it seems like this platform is probably not the best since the majority of members don’t seem interested. I’m not suggesting to move the comp elsewhere or anything like that, just making observations.
I don’t think it’s fair to say that people aren’t interested. Take a peek at the right-hand column here. I just picked a random thread from this year, and last year’s main contest thread: That said, the participation is lower than I’m sure we’d all like to see. But I think that kind of goes hand-in-hand with those participating in the contest itself: We’re more probably more likely to participate in general, whether in the contest or the contest threads/discussion. There’s probably other factors involved as well; if you look around the forum there’s definite trends about things. Some members are much more active/participatory in general. Some may feel they don’t have anything to contribute if they aren’t participants (though I cannot stress enough how much that is not the case), or that there’s no way they could have a better idea than the legendary CRX about something (again – not only wrong, but I know for a fact CRX wants to hear what people think!). I myself have felt similarly in the past, and it’s not because anyone here is really doing anything wrong. As far as the platform, I agree that we do represent a niche within a niche. However, BLF is not just one of the only places where something like this could happen, IMO it is the best of those few places for it to happen. This thread itself is proof that we care about the contest, we care about making it accessible, and we continue to encourage people to participate in whatever ways we can.

That’s some interesting comment. I’m curious to know about the views counted. Is that counting each individual view? i.e. MtnDon’s thread has 3138 views. Is that 3138 individuals or roughly 300 people looking at it 10 times each? Out of all those views only 4% have made a reply (134/3138=0.043).

In regard to the platform I don’t think the challenge would ever leave BLF , and I probably shouldn’t have mentioned it. I think it was more the fact that making, creating, crafting and producing something is only a small aspect of this hobby.

It’s safe to say CRX is in the same boat as us and he’d love to see more participation. It might be an idea to not put him on a pedestal though.

I think this thread has been somewhat productive. If nothing else it’s a bit clearer in my own head. At a later date i’ll open a pole to see if we keep or change the current format. If a new format is adopted i’m guessing most of the regulars will likely enter no matter what the format is. After participating in this challenge I personally find the rules, prizes etc… secondary to actually participating. Once I realised I didn’t have to make the brightest , most technical , newest/freshest idea it became much easier and much more fun. All i had to do was produce a light and show my build.

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Hoop wrote:
Consider allowing the outsourcing of coatings (anodize, gold plate, nickel plate, powder coat, etc.) in the “machine made” category, or if nothing else: aluminum anodization. Machine shops typically outsource these processes. Another consideration would be whether or not unfinished entries from previous years can be resumed as entries in the latest competition. Also: “All machine shop tools are allowed, such as: Lathe, End Mill, Programmed Automated machines, Standard 3D Printers” “End Mill” should be “milling machine.”

If we allow outsourcing i think YuvalS ‘s approach of minimal rules should be adopted. Outsourcing for one category only is not a good fit e.g. why not let modified category do some anodising? It also opens the discussion again about outsourcing- exactly what type of outsourcing is acceptable. I think a very small change to the rules like allowing outsourcing of anodising to machine made will have a negligible effect on numbers entering the challenge. Also good point about calling it a ‘challenge’ , I should adopt that word instead of contest/competition because it gives off the wrong vibe.
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I don’t think we should eat that one

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Big Smile
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Some thoughts.

I do not often comment in OL competition build threads, I even do not take the time to have a look at them for weeks, but I appreciate the competition a lot and at least I feel guilty not following all the build threads as closely as they deserve.

What I mean is that the OL competition is one of the things that make BLF special (I think, I’m not aware of what happens in other hobby forums) and it should stay if possible, and a discussion about how to upgrade the rules to make the competition more accessable is a good idea.

The modified lights category is a nice new addition I think, even if it does not attract the loads of entrances that were hoped for. It does make entering possible for people without extensive workshops, like me (two square meters behind the cupboard).

Btw, I like build threads of lights that are not revolutionary or are even clumpsy very much, every modder, sophisticated or not, has been there and will recognise himself (herself?) in those threads Smile . I hope people with limited skills continu to enter the competition.

This year I entered the competition with a build that I would have also done without the competition, but the competion did cause that I finally started it (could have been another two years without the pressure of a competition), and the competition caused that I went the extra mile documenting the build well, and that I added more features and did more finishing touches.

What I was not prepared to do is squeezing my build into the rules of the handbuild category, in which case I would have to handbuild parts that would turn out uglier and less practical than using a few parts of an existing light that was spare and at hand. I simply wanted to build it the best way I could. Maybe I should not have entered the competition for that reason, but the competition did give me that extra motivation to make it better and show it in a thread. This is not to suggest any rule changes, it is just how it worked for me.

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