Expecting a leisure hobbyist to share their findings is one thing but expecting businesses to share their secrets is communist ideology. Communism does not work in the real world.
No one expects him to but there’s no reason you can’t prefer people who do. There are plenty of businesses that do not rely on trade secrets and as far as i can tell he gets a lot of help from Richard for his own driver so he probably couldnt share some things even if he wanted to.
Either way a lot of what we do is just best practice type things people share and apply it to their own ideas.
If one person has there opinion and another is trying to tell him to change his opinion that seems more like communism to me.
I’m I not allowed to have one?
Once upon a time, when D26 drop-ins ruled the earth, I used to make bespoke lights for people. Nothing fancy, just simple drop-ins. Let them pick the host, the emitter, the driver/modes, and that was pretty much it. You wanted a 1-mode light with 7C, simple 1.4A driver, essentially mimicking a (much brighter) hotwire light, you got it.
Here’s the thing, just the parts would go for 25-30bux back then, and that wasn’t counting my time at all. I’d be doing that as a favor, “selling” them the lights at cost. For my time and aggravation (and implied “warranty”, even if someone uses it as an improvised glass broker or brick smaher, har…), I would’ve wanted to charge at least 50bux total. But who’s gonna pay 50bux for “just a flashlight”?
He wants to make a living doing that kind of thing? Great work if you can find it. I wouldn’t want to get saddled doing that.
Well from what I understand he quit his engineering job and went full-time in this business.
THAT took a pair of big fat harry kiwis.
You clearly already know about him and his lights. It sure seems like another thread created to stir things up…
I knew sorta about him and a little bit about his lights. Now I know a lot more about both.
So watt is this some kind of a thread crime?
Not a crime just making sure you notta whack job
Maker’s Mark is good stuff isn’t it?
Obviously at least to me he loves watt he’s doing. That’s watt it takes.
LOVE. And maybe making some pretty good money helps too when the inevitable HATE starts to creep in.
A buddy just pointed me to this thread. I have not been on BLF for a long time. I skimmed the last 3 pages of posts and its quite interesting to see all of the responses. I am not sure why but I feel I should stop in and say a few words. But first let me do a test post to see if this works as I just reset my login. BRB
Good to see you here again! I remember hearing you pushing the GT to past 1.5KCD, that must have been a feat.
Hi vinh good to hear from you!
I love lists/bullets as its simple and easy to follow. So lets try that here:
1) I do not have any trade secrets. If you send me email asking how I do something I will tell you how I do it. I don’t post about them all because frankly I don’t do anything revolutionary that I think people would care about. I answer all emails by typing in red next to the question. I keep it short and precise because if I don’t I will never get through my daily share of emails.
2) Although I am extremely passionate about what I do my skills and knowledge are average at best. There is no doubt that there are countless way more skilled individuals in this field. Especially here on BLF. If anything about me that stand out I think it’s likely the after sale customer service. I don’t scam or mislead anyone. I also don’t take accusations lightly. I am open to feedbacks and usually super chilled.
3) My lights are expensive. But pick any light and I will explain why it’s priced the way it is. Actually let’s try a ridiculously expensive one. Let’s start with the ToolVN copper. Sky Lumen’s best seller. The most expensive version with the Oslon Flat Black (Just recently updated to the flat white 1mm^2 which I call W1). Priced at $175.
4) I buy the Lumintop tool copper in bulk for around $20 Each, Custom copper internal HS $12, W1 LED + Copper MCPCB $8, Custom Driver $15, Misc costs such as wires, thermal adhesive, utilities, tax & license, insurance, attorney fees, and warranty ~$5, shipping & packaging $10. Total: $70 give or take. $175-$70= $105 Labor/profit. Here are the steps it takes
• Remove light pill from head with a heat gun and custom needle nose pliers.
• Remove original LED & Driver from pill.
• Clean pill with a strong solvent
• Thermal Adhere copper HS to pill internal
• Mount LED on MCPCB and thermal adhere to pill as centered as possible
• Use custom clamps to hold copper HS and LED mcpcb in place for secure curing
• Use drill to open up reflector hole slightly and trim sharp edges with Xacto
• Sand down reflector with wheel grinder to exact height for proper beam focus
• Solder Teflon wires at extra long length to LED and run it through pill for beam tuning
• Fix pill onto a custom vise that hold the pill to shine onto ceiling
• Add small amount of gorilla super glue to reflector and center the LED in the reflector while adding minimal current to LED to see beam on the ceiling. Adjust until perfect beam is tuned. Let glue cured. Too much current & heat will make glue fume. Be careful. I recently went to the emergency room as too much fume got in my eyes.
• 1 hour later add much more glue around the base of the reflector so the reflector is fixed in place on top of the LED and the pill.
• Be careful to not let reflector short out LED leads and sit parallel to MCPCB for correct focus.
• Wait until the next day to install driver
• Glue Driver to pill
• Clean lens with micro fiber
• Insert light engine to head. Put on body and test for operation. If all OK remove body and add glue to body and lude oring and put head back on. Observe that the glass is not crushing the green Oring.
• Test run several hot turbo cycles
• Remove pocket clip and polish light
• Fill out Warranty card, Sign light and or Test for lumen and throw if option is ordered.
• Package and ship.
If all of that went well and assuming the light continue to operate flawlessly in the hands of the customer then I just made $105 for my labor. If an issue arise such as getting glue into reflector then you can imagine the extra trouble and headache. If the light has issues later down the road I usually repair/replace free or at very little costs even if extended warranty wasn’t purchased. I feel the $105 is fair for the labor involved thus I priced the light as such.
If you look at my other relatively less intensive mods such as the newly release Acebeam X70vn then the margin is MUCH less and risk much higher. I sell the X70vn at $600. Retail this light is $550. Let’s assume that you can score a great deal for this light at $500 which makes my light $100 more expensive. But for $100 you get 3 different options to config the perimeter floods. For $25 more gets your choice of XHP35 center LED or $65 if you fancy a 70.2 center LED. On top of all this you get my Sky Lumen Warranty. Should the light fail for any reason you don’t have to send it to China. Acebeam do not sell to me as they no longer want me to mod their lights so I purchase at very close to retail in high quantity. X70 is not a cheap light to stock. Acebeam is strict with MAP so most are getting this light stock for $550… At that point you are only paying $50 for the extra service and peace of mind going with X70vn. It is worth it? Only you can make that call.
My other extremely expensive mods includes the CFT90 LEDs. As it stands I lose money overall on all projects involving this LEDs. I have here 5 dead CFT90 and several super expensive buck drivers (~$750) that sacrificed for the purpose of extreme throw. I was determined to break 2Mcd…
I can go on and on but at the end of the day I am just barely an average modder who is able to provide a service for those that are willing to pay for it who rather enjoy the lights more than getting into modding. I recently paid premium for “just” ECU tune for my F150 Ecoboost (should have gotten the 5.0 ). As with all services we pay what we consider fair.
5) Here are the reasons why I think Sky Lumen exist. A) I had a early start in 2008 while I was in college B) Help from 3 benefactors: Richard at mountain electronics, Craig @ Illumn, and employee Alice at Acebeam. C) Consistency in customers service. D) Last and likely least, fulfilling a niche/demand
6) I am extremely lucky to be paying bills with my passion. If I have cancer and laying in my death bed now I would be at peace because I have little regrets and have attained most that I wanted in life. The most important is Love from my family and wife. I consider all additional things I attain now a blessed bonus.
7) I am currently the only one working in a family of 4. So I better work hard to stay relevant. I spent 2-4 hours daily just answering emails. The rest I spend on fulfilling orders and development. I barely have enough time to post on my own subforum over at CPF. I love posting and sharing too but time is definitely limited. I got married last December and time is even more scare now.
I hope to be welcome here so I can stop by every now and then to share my findings as well as learn from everyone. Thank you All! Vinh
I made this post on CPF 2 days ago and I do feel it’s somewhat related to the topic of our discussion so I will share it below.
New business tips?
Every now and then I get an email about tips on starting a new business…IMO there is no one system that will work for all. But here are the quickies that seems to works for a newbie like me. Let’s start with the 5 W questions from elementary.
Who are you selling to? You have to know your target buyers very well! Generally people are willing to pay if your products is cheap or exquisite. If you are starting pick one or the other. Accommodating both criteria is for the professionals.
What are you selling that is so desirable? Demands higher than supply obvious from the get go gives a good running start. Otherwise be brave, cautious, and armed.
When will this products sells? Now and in the future? We can’t for see it all but research and outreach helps.
Where are your demands and how will you deliver your products? Sounds simple but it’s not. A mentor once told me: “Everyone is smart. There are no shortage of smart people. Difference is, some are smart in a corner while others are smart where it counts.” So…How will you deliver yourself?
Why do you want to do this? If the drive is solely money you might be bartering with the devil and your soul is collateral. If its passion then work becomes play, jobs becomes careers and luck becomes opportunities. Usually anyways. J
Most importantly be human…We are human being afterall
A picture of my lab just for kicks
Long story short, from way back when in the P60 days, he does great work. Moreover, he backs it to the extreme, in some cases even if it wasn’t his fault, and ships it back on his dime. I can say for sure that he is honest, and has integrity, in a world where those two qualities don’t always exist.
from your friend