A while back Fireflies “found” some old stock of the Enogear Stainless Steel AA and started selling it with several emitter options, including the 219B sw45k. I picked one up and really enjoy the weight, feel, and appearance of the flashlight itself (and, yes, the emitter, too).
Now, I haven’t been around the forum very long, but the rage nowadays seems to be Titanium, Copper, and Brass. Stainless Steel doesn’t seem to get any love. I have to admit that copper and brass both look amazing, but I can’t get around the fact that they will patina. And titanium just seems like an expensive replacement for stainless steel. A nice weight reduction, but lose the thermal advantage and at a much higher cost. I’ve seen examples of SS lights on BLF that were in production over the last 10 years, but, no longer.
I guess all of this is just a long way of asking: are there still any stainless steel lights being made? Why do you think manufacturers (apparently) stopped working with the metal almost altogether?
I like them shiny!
Not all of them below are SS (see the list here)! I feel that the heat management on SS lights is probably the least good (if compared with Ti or Cu). At least my Amutorch lights with an 14500 get hot as hell!
Stainless is nice. I only have three non aluminum lights, and they are aaa and aa in SS and 18650 in SS+Cu. I’d prefer Ti over SS if they were price competitive, but honestly prefer the practicality of Al in most cases. The S41 sits on a shelf 99.99% of the time. Very pretty to look at though. I think it mostly has a place (and maybe should be more popular) on keychain sized lights.
SS bezels (on the tail too!) — smooth or just very subtle crenulations — are great for impact resistance.
On anything larger than a super compact 18650, I just don’t see a point for anything other that Al, unless you want a shelf queen.
On the alloy topic, I wish 7075 Al was more popular. It’s noticeably harder and stands up to EDC abuse 100% better in my experience. I made my ‘conversion bezel’ for my FW3A to accept an S21a reflector out of 7075 and I have EDCed this light exclusively for a year or so. There aren’t any dents on the bezel, but the tail cap has many flat spots from drops.
In fact, the elastic resilience of 7075-T6 is actually on par (~90) with the toughest versions 304 or 316 SS. Combine that with it being 3/8 the density, and that on a light like the FW3A where the loaded mass of the SS=156g and Al=109g, then you’ll actually see ~30 better resilience with 7075 in a drop test from any given height.
After I bought the Enogear stainless AA, it struck me what a good material SS is for small lights. Unfortunately by that time the Amutorch SS light was discontinued, which is a shame because I really like how it looks. I did recently order the Kdomain SS host, but I’m afraid it’s too big to be a real contender for me.
I have a Tool AA Titanium with a sliced LH351D and 15VP driver that is just about perfect, but I can’t help thinking that I’d rather it be SS than Ti…
Nowadays. I have Mostly Aluminium body’s.
After the plastic ones faded out.
But must admit to liking the Copper and Stainless ones.
Especially the faded, mottled, Copper. (Astrolux S41, S.S and Copper my Fave’s.)
Up to 18650 Battery size fine.
Shiny copper is unnatural looking on the best of days.
I have the AAA BLF 346 light, whatever it was, single level, brushed steel, very pretty.
But a single AAA light is already un-heavy, and the battery can;t generate a lot of energy to overheat.
Since steel is stronger per pound, the walls can be thinner.
Copper is great for heat, but for weight it sucks, again an AAA light in copper is about as heavy as I can stand.
Anything brighter almost has to be aluminum, in my book.
Which is light, has good heat dissipation, is cheap, and looks nice [esp if anodized]
Usually the walls are twice as thick as steel though.
To me it is the best compromise.
I carry this little guy a lot. I don’t mind the weight. Lets me know it’s clipped on my pocket and is always there. Now mind you, I am always carrying a full sized steel framed pistol so, the extra weight of the flashlight doesn’t bother me at all. I like a larger knife when I am in jeans so that adds a bit of weight to my other pocket. Doesn’t bother me at all. Guess I am just use to it now.
Does stainless steel have any significant thermal advantage over titanium? Personally I’d rather have the weight savings of titanium. Pricier? Of course but I’ll accept that trade off. Also ti is a beautiful metal particularly when heat or electrically anodized.
And if I really need cheap and good thermals then I’d just settle on aluminum anyways.
I agree, stainless steel can make for a very attractive-looking light!
But because of its poor heat-dissipation and cost, I can see why manufacturers aren’t using it in their increasingly high-powered lights. Not a lot of profit to be gained compared to mass-market aluminum lights…
I’ve been buying piles of stainless steel SingFire SF-348 lights (the base light for the BLF-348) to practice modding with.
They’re cheap, and they’re a much more stylish light to give as a gift than yet another black-anodized aluminum flashlight.