Fat Boy Copper Smoothie - IT LIVES!!

What do you do with 3 "C" cells, a length of 1" Type L Copper Pipe, a 1" Copper cap, a 1" Copper sleeve, a 1/2" PVC coupling, a 1/2" Copper coupling, a plastic bolt, a Knob, a chunk of aluminum heatsink (Chicago X made the Heatsink for me, but he said he's holding on to it till FebruaryCry He's just kidding, of course), and various small components lying around?
Well, you make a flashlight, of course!


I am going to make a Copper Smoothie. That's the name for this all copper (mostly all copper), flashlight.

The idea of this light is to do it from scratch, using parts that I can find locally. The only parts that I can't make is the emitter & the circuit board. It will be either an XP-E or an XP-G in the 4,000k - 4,500k range. I want a useable light, not a monster.

I really love working with Copper. I like the looks of it, the feel of it and the ease of working with it, when using hand tools. I will say right away that I have no power tools other than a standard 1/2" drill. I use Files, Hacksaws, Sandpaper and assorted hand tools. For me, it's all about trying to craft something with my hands and my eyes. I don't do a lot of measuring, it's more just visualizing the finished piece and then trying to find a way to make it. I got back into Copper due to Match's Mod Here. I had given up on the Copper monster light I designed a few years ago, but Match's mod made me start thinking about Copper again.

This light will be using 3 "C" batteries. I am testing with Alkaline, because I don't want to buy C Nimh batteries. I will be selling the light after it's done. That is how I am able to keep going with the hobby. I sell 'em to cover the costs of the materials. Sometimes they don't sell, but that's life...

There's a lot to do with this build. A crenulated bezel, a hood that slides, to adjust the beam diameter. (No reflector will be used. I want what I feel is the "perfect beam". No hot spot, no dim spill, but a perfect circle of light, even from center to outside). The switch will be a twist style located on the end of the Copper cap. There may be a textured section on the body. I have not decided yet. I will use a circuit board with three modes, H/M/L and that is the other item I had to go outside my area to purchase.

Here's a couple shots of a failed attempt of the end cap switch. I have revised the workings, but you can get the idea, even though this one is scrapped.


I will be working on this particular light only a couple hours a day, so it will take some time. I will post as I make progress, with photos and a little detail, as I go.

Since the DX parts haven't left Hong Kong yet, my 2D Mag project is in limbo, so I might as well work on this one.

I haven't gotten much time to play with this build, but I did do a little work on making the switch.

This switch is (I guess), sort of like a light switch in a household lamp. It twists on and off and there are low spots that let the contacts touch, as you turn the switch.

I'm working on what would be the bottom contact, which will be soldered to the inside of the copper end cap. What I need to do is fit this 1/2" copper coupling into this 1/2" PVC coupling, but it doesn't fit. So I need to modify the copper coupling, by making it smaller. I do that by splitting it and filing it down, so that when it is put back together, it fits snug in the PVC. A hacksaw makes the split and a file makes the split larger. Then I close it back up and solder it together.

sw1 The couplings

sw2The Split

sw3The Finished solder job. Can you see a solder ling running up and down the length? I can't either! I got to say, that's one of the best solder jobs I have ever done. Every once in a while things work out.

sw4 Now I have made the notches in the PVC where the upper contact will fall in. 2 notches for on and two for off. I notched the copper as well, so when the upper contact is in the off position, there's no way it can touch the lower contact.

Lots more to do, but I'm out of time for today!


Christmas Day and I'm out here working on the light. What an exciting life I lead!

I have been working more with the switch. In the photo below, you can see that the center contact (1/2" copper coupling) is soldered into the end cap and the outer PVC sleeve has been press fit in place. The arrows point to the contacts, which are raised above the PVC grooves and the other PVC grooves are isolated, so there is an on and an off position.


In order to put the center in place, I had to install the brass pins which will lock into the body. Here's a couple shots of the pins.



The last shots are of the slots in the body and the end cap fit in place.



There is lots more to do and I haven't done any final sinishing or polishing. That will be one of the last steps. I'm moving forward slowly, but it's cold here (for Texans) and my unheated garage isn't as much fun to work in when it's cold. Brrrrrr.


I had time to get the switch together, so you could see how it works. I still have a lot of fine tuning and cleaning up, but you can get the idea.


While I am waiting for parts, I have been doing a little polishing and forming of the body. Here's a photo of the light as it is right now, with the Crenulated bezel, hood and tailcap in place.


Here's a closer shot of the front. The hood is just there right now. I will be positioning ti later, but it will be able to slide forward, to close down the beam pattern, for flood to spot.



Parts are here from Chicago X. Here is the Heat Sink for the Copper Smoothie.



An aluminum Heat Sink with a recess for the Circuit Board. Looks like it will fit perfectly!

Thanks Chicago X, for making this custom Heat Sink!

P.S. - Chicago has a Lathe - Good work and reasonable prices!

I managed to get the Circuit board ready. It's a Shingbeam 1.4A 7135 board.


I threw one board out because I ruined it with soldering. I am not good at tiny boards like this. I just shake too much to solder on something like this.


I found that the body was about a 1/4" longer than I needed, so instead of messing it all up, I just made a 1/4" long copper comtact and soldered it to the board. It's a copper spring (homemade), and a piece of flat copper. This is the positive contact for the batteries.

I did not have a good day today. Woke up with back spasms and could not get out of bed for several hours. The day was bad from then on. Ruined one board and lost the XP-G emitter that was supposed to go in this light. It will now be next week, because I have to reorder from Mouser! Hell, by the time this light is finished I might as well give it away, it's going to be so costly that no one would ever buy it......

That's all for now...............


Ok, I finally got the Emitter in and the light working. I had to redo the board so here's a couple photos and a video.





I put up a video here, to show the Copper Smoothie working:

I have a few minor things left, but essentially the light is working and working well. No POOF with this one, as it's regulated!

I will do a night shot video after I get home from work.


2AM, very windy and cold. Poor video, but that's the best it gets.

This is strictly a flood light, no spot at all, just a large even flood of light.

Also a couple of pics of the lens and the stop for the sliding hood.




I'm done...

A couple of tiny things to do, but it's finished and I will post it for sale for a few days. I don't expect it will sell, as it is not a budget light, but I thought I should offer it here first before somewhere else.

Looks like an impressive start.

Are you planning to polish the copper then lacquer it? I love polished copper but with only hand tools that sounds like a huge amount of work.

I will polish to a point, but with hand polish, it's hard, as you say. I will use up to 2,000 grit paper, then #0000 steel wool and then Metal Polish. I do not know if I will use a finish. If I do, it will be Acrylic, since that's the least reactive with copper, but with the front sleeve and the end cap being moveable, a finish will not work well. Metal polish does protect to an extent and so would a polymer based car polish.

i saw a thread (cpf?) on a manufactured copper light where they posted pics showing the progression of tarnish. I think natural patina has a nice look, but if you find a way to keep it shiny, that'd look awesome.

In acidic atmospheres (i.e., every city not in a desert) everywhere), copper turns bright green as it forms a surface coating of copper carbonate. With handling it turns a nasty muddy greenish brown.

Hence my asking about coating it.

i like how it looks in most of these photos, but it could get ugly if you got something on it and you didn't handle it for awhile

shiny would definitely be sweet.

i have a gallon of this universal clear. I've used on outboards, gun stocks and a couple small projects. it is as tough as you'll find for the money (it is expensive, but you can pay WAY more), but I don't see it sticking to polished metal well, especially with heating/cooling. http://www.southernpolyurethanes.com/Product%20lines.htm

I've used penetrol to preserve bare steel w/ great success. It will stick to anything, including polished metal, glass and plastic. Available at home depot ($9/quart), ace hardware and glidden (cheapest, $20 gallon) around here. It is not perfectly clear...think tung oil...

If you get some and don't like it for the project there are many other uses. I put it on tools, steel fasteners, inside my truck frame, etc and it slows rust much better than any paint. It is a great primer for some paints but lacquer and enamel will lift it.

It takes a very long time to dry though. It varies w/ environment, like anything, but I wait 24hrs to handle and a week before use or it will pick up dirt.

I've done lots of reading about protecting Copper over the last few months. It amounts to the fact that Copper is going to turn no matter what is put on it. It will not last forever. So if I put a permanent finish on the light, what happens when that finish peels or the Copper turns under it? The light is useless (as far as I am concerned), so..... I think that in the long run, it's easier to polish, then use MAAS, then use Caranuba wax. No it will not last, but when it tarnishes, it can be cleaned easily again with MAAS and Caranuba. Might take a few minutes to do, but it can be done. If I use a clearcoat, then who wants to strip that off in 6 months to a year? It's either that, or use a Clear Acrylic and then paint over that with a black, so no one knows it is Copper.

Anyhow, I'm not too worried about just using MAAS and Caranuba on it.

i think you're absolutely correct, especially since you're selling it. buyer can coat if they like...

I have the same philosophy on my old aluminum boat (except the polishing part)

More photos in Post #1. It's moving slowly along.

Added a video of the switch assembly in post#1

The switch vid is very cool. Excellent implementation of the momentary function.


I love what you have done. Wish I had the skills / patience to do it.

Most of the time I don't have any patience. Especially since the stroke. I get upset at everything, but somehow when I sit down to do this stuff, I calm down and I can sit with it for hours. I guess it's therapy of some sort, or more likely it makes me feel like I'm productive, like I used to be, in the old days.

As far as skills, I don't know if it is skills. I have always been a fix it. When I was very little, I learned that since we had no money, we either did without or we made it ourselves. I call that Old School. The lost art of doing sometihng with nothing. I always fixed my own cars, furniture, appliances, etc. I guess it was second nature and it really is not skill, it is common sense. That's all it amounts to. Being able to look at something and see how it works or visualize how it could work. I never made a switch before, but I have taken apart light switches in lamps and the rotary principle is the same. High and low spots when the switch is turned.

I do not think of myself as skilled. My skill was in Injection molded plastics, 26+ years worth of that. This is just looking at something and figuring out how it works. That's why I have so much of a problem with electronics, like circuit boards. I simply for the life of me cannot figure out how they work. The math and the science is beyond me. I graduated High School with 1yr of Basic Math and 1yr of basic science. More than that wasn't required and I didn't want to do it, so I didn't take it. Instead I took 3yrs of shop classes. Hey, it was a farm community. We didn't need all that to fix cars and tractors.Smile

I've always had a short fuse, ever since I was born. I'm the same way-building a light can be very meditative for me and I work in long stretches. Cheap therapy. I've always had excellent fine motor skills with small stuff. But don't ask me to work on cars or do woodwork, both of which I hate. One slip of a wrench or skin a knuckle and I'm screaming and cussing. No thanks.

I was trying to fix a stool last night-working with white glue and clamps-two more holes in the wall and stool smashed to bits. Never again.

Anxious to see this new light!


More photos in the first (build) post.

More photos added in the first post.

Hey, don't throw that board out! I'd take it-I could use the 7135's off it.


PM me with your address.

A video in Post # 2 shows the light working.

I have a few minor things left, but essentially the light is working and working well. No POOF with this one, as it's regulated!

I will do a night shot video after I get home from work.