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Author Topic: Tofty's 3D Printed Silver Torches  (Read 4429 times)

Offline Tofty

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Tofty's 3D Printed Silver Torches
« on: July 22, 2012, 06:13:53 PM »
I'll explain the title in a bit but first the premise;

Recently i've been working on a potentially commercial project which required some complex plastic parts that would either need to be cast or 3D printed.
I got quotes back that stated minimum order quantities of around 500 units with costs of well over £1000, this was untenable as i still don't really know if there is a demand, so i'd rather given up on it.

That is until i found a company called 'Shapeways' who specialise on one-offs and small quantity 3D printing in a variety of plastics, metals and ceramics at what i would consider a very good price for this service.
I've ordered the prototype parts i needed but then started thinking about what else i had designed that would benefit from being 3D printed.

3D printing has some serious limitations over machining but does allow an amazing variety of shapes unachievable by any other method.
Although not stretching 3D printings true potential, i entered a modified model of my brass AAA torch to see how much it would cost in the different material choices but the only suitable material for a torch body offered is sterling silver as the stainless steel option doesn't allow the fine detail to make threads.
The cost of making these parts out of sterling silver comes to $220 or £150 approx but since my original brass AAA torch was built around the internals of the $3 MXDL 3W torch i'm struggling to see any merit to it (i'm still going to order one to see what it's like but i can't pretend it's a good idea).
This is what it would look like:





The over exaggerated lip is due to the need to maintain the necessary minimum wall thickness.

This got me thinking however that torches could be made with this process and if it was impressive enough it could warrant the cost of being made from silver.
I was thinking along the lines of the gatlights skeletonised body but without the need for it to be screwed together, the whole body section can be cast as one single piece.
Also since silver is the best is the best thermal and electrical conductor of any metal a rather impressive lumen output could be included.

I would recommend having a look at some of the designs on the Shapeways website as some of them are impressively complex to the point of disbelief.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 01:56:03 PM by Gareth »


Pictures of most of my work can be found on my Facebook Page.
Also have a look at my Shapeways Shop and SW Torch Shop for 3D printed items.

Offline nuphoria

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2012, 08:19:18 PM »
I've been gawking at Shapeways for quite a while now - it really is an amazing concept and there's a lot of incredibly creative work going on there.

Way beyond my skills to do the 3D design bit, but I'm sure you would get something very cool out of it :D
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Offline NutSAK

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2012, 03:55:15 PM »
Neat idea!  I'm not sure the benefits of silver's excellent thermal and electrical conductivity outweigh its propensity to oxidize, however; at least when compared to other metals with good electrical & thermal conductivity that do not so readily oxidize.
- Terry

Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me...

Offline sparky415

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2012, 08:12:05 PM »
Cool!  :drool:

I think your question should be, would anyone pay $200 for an exclusive one off (or maybe a small numbered run) unique flashlight? 
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Offline Tofty

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2012, 09:00:05 PM »
I suppose it should, well?
The great thing about the site is that as soon as i make the models available anyone can buy them, i get a bit of money and most importantly i don't end up cutting my hands to ribbons on the lathe and mill and wasting many hours.
The only issue is of tolerance adjustment; i think the square threads i designed into it needs to have more gap due to the probable irregular surface. So i have to order a prototype before i release the design.
My real hope is that in the future many more material choices will be available so the most appropriate can be chosen for the application.

For now since silver is the only flashlight-suitable material offered for 3D printing i'm going to have a bit of fun with it anyway.
I am aware that silver will oxidise if exposed to ozone or hydogen sulfide, so just like copper, brass and uncoated aluminium care must be taken not to expose them to the wrong environments . Even 400 stainless steel rusts in a marine environment as my old sideclip is testament.
An ozidised layer on silver is easily removed with dilute hydrochloric acid and silver can be plated with gold to give improved oxidation protection. No metal is perfect but i'm looking forward to exploiting silvers beneficial properties in this field.

I think the correct term is "Art Light"; it will fulfill the function it's named for but it's true purpose is to exist because it can. If you ask that Argentinian bloke who tarts up leathermans with silver and gold scales why he does it his answer won't be because it makes them better tools but perhaps because it makes them better things.

I've started drawing up a 16340 powered light but it's really hard trying to design something that doesn't have to  conform to standard machining practices, it doesn't have to be round and there doesn't have to be any straight edges. Shapes can be positively organic but now i'm fighting years of well established convention.
One of the properties of silver is it's high density which when incorporated into a small-ish light gives a nice positive feel to it and means it's effective when thrown at people who annoy you.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 09:15:15 PM by Tofty »
Pictures of most of my work can be found on my Facebook Page.
Also have a look at my Shapeways Shop and SW Torch Shop for 3D printed items.

Offline NutSAK

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2012, 11:35:17 PM »

For now since silver is the only flashlight-suitable material offered for 3D printing i'm going to have a bit of fun with it anyway.

I didn't realize that.  Ignore what I said above and carry on then!  :salute:
- Terry

Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me...

Offline sparky415

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2012, 10:33:16 AM »

An ozidised layer on silver is easily removed with dilute hydrochloric acid and silver can be plated with gold to give improved oxidation protection. No metal is perfect but i'm looking forward to exploiting silvers beneficial properties in this field.


We should all read this bit again  :ahhh

 :D
 
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Offline Tofty

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2012, 11:13:23 PM »
@ NutSAK: Your original post was certainly valid as the difference in thermal and electrical conductivity between silver and copper is only about 5% and silver is only around 70% better than aluminium.
I will have to study silver's tendency  to oxidise although i could go the whole hog and purposefully blacken the parts just as some jewellers do.

@ Sparky: I worry that the only people who would want such a thing would be rappers.
For some reason Shapeways offer gold plating on stainless steel parts but not on silver ones.

My design is that of gold plated stainless bezel and tail rings with a silver main body and tail.
I should have it all finished and rendered for friday.
Pictures of most of my work can be found on my Facebook Page.
Also have a look at my Shapeways Shop and SW Torch Shop for 3D printed items.

Offline Essexman

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2012, 10:06:13 PM »
One of the properties of silver is it's high density which when incorporated into a small-ish light gives a nice positive feel to it and means it's effective when thrown at people who annoy you.

OK so my task when I next meet you is to annoy the hell out of you !

Great project, if I had the money I would buy one, but unless I win the lottery I won't have that amount to spend on a torch, ever!

Forget the inside of the £3 light. All you need are good parts, which you know you can buy online. LED, driver, spring, wire, what else?

Looking forward to seeing how the Tofty Ag turns out.

Offline Tofty

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2012, 12:58:31 AM »
How the hell did you know it's name?
Am i that predictable?

Anyway this is it:



 

The cut-outs need tweeking but overall it's close to how i wanted it.


In the AAA light there is a fair amount of space for a different LED/driver/lens setup, if only i knew of a good small 4.2V driver board but i suppose with a 10440 the LED could be driven directly.

Alas i probably won't be able to get the funds together for either of these lights by the time we next meet, i'll just have to ensure i have something else of good weight to hand, perhaps some tungsten.
Pictures of most of my work can be found on my Facebook Page.
Also have a look at my Shapeways Shop and SW Torch Shop for 3D printed items.

Offline sparky415

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2012, 08:53:14 AM »
Pimps and rappers will be drooling over that one  >:D

But seriously if it looks anything like the drawing it will be amazing!  :drool:
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Offline NutSAK

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2012, 05:24:03 PM »
Damn, that looks awesome Tofty!
- Terry

Burn the land and boil the sea, you can't take the sky from me...

Online Gareth

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2012, 07:23:59 PM »
that's very cool looking mate.  If I said it had a more Star Trek vibe rather than a Star Wars one, would that make sense?

Offline Tofty

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2012, 11:51:43 PM »
Yes Gareth i think i know wht you mean but i can't quite put my finger on what it is about it.

Anyway after some more messing about i've ordered a few small things in sterling silver to try out the process: A whistle and the barrel of my mini brass pen with the bolt action.
The whistle is perfect for rapid prototyping as the core doesn't have to be a seperate piece like most of the fancy titanium whistles available which can fall out as it's only press fitted in.
I'll show them off when they get delivered, which won't be for a while.

I've also been designing some tritium beads that couldn't be made any other way than 3D printing but there's still alot of work to do there.

The really good news though is that 3D printing isn't even as constrained as i had first thought; Shapeways may only have a limited material choice but some of the other sites like Kraftwurx or i.materialise offer printing in brass, gold and even titanium, along with dozens of different plastics and resins.
The only downside is that these other companies seem to charge about twice as much for the same model in the same material so for printing in silver Shapeways seems like a bargain.

I now think that the two end rings on the Ag torch should be made from brass (which i.materialise gold plate as standard) instead of stainless steel which probably couldn't achieve the level of detail needed for the threads. I was worried that this could stop the torch being viable but now there doesn't seem to be anything other than the cost that should be an obstacle.

I think since silver has such impressive heat characteristics that this torch needs something impressive for the LED; led-tech.de offer an XM-L U2 mounted on a 16mm copper PCB which can't be far off being the most efficient set-up possible for heat transfer.

The main body section of the Ag torch has a volume of just under 10cm qubed and would cost about £200 with the total printed material cost of the torch being just under £400 + about £50 for LED, driver, TIR, switch, 16340 battery, tail spring, etc (and another £30 for the tritium vials 2x6mm x 6).
Seems alot but consider the only labour needed would be setting the LED/driver, soldering the connections and simple assembly......oh yeah and setting the tritium (if that were to remain a feature) so overall for a very special light it's no more than the cost of a McGizmo Haiku or similar high end torch.

It's staggering though how many of the projects i've shelved over the years can now be completed with the possibilities of 3D printing.
Hobbyists rejoice!
Pictures of most of my work can be found on my Facebook Page.
Also have a look at my Shapeways Shop and SW Torch Shop for 3D printed items.

Offline sparky415

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2012, 11:59:09 PM »
 
        :dd:

Remind me to buy a lottery ticket tomorrow  :salute:
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Offline Tofty

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2012, 12:09:11 AM »
If you won the euromillions you could get one for every day of the week......plus a few other things. Good Luck!
« Last Edit: August 03, 2012, 12:11:03 AM by Tofty »
Pictures of most of my work can be found on my Facebook Page.
Also have a look at my Shapeways Shop and SW Torch Shop for 3D printed items.

Offline Tofty

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2012, 06:43:40 PM »
Right, a bit more of an update;
I've hopefully completely finished the modelling of my Ag Torch with changed triangulation and with thread profiles added.
I have therefore ordered from i.materialise: the main body made in plastic and the end rings in gold plated brass (in final spec). The threads are 20tpi throughout (thats a pitch of 1.27mm) with a .2mm gap between the male and female profiles. Will this work? i have no idea , it's all trial and error.

The good news is that by spruing the silver parts together the overall cost comes down by about £50.

Anyway pictures:





Pictures of most of my work can be found on my Facebook Page.
Also have a look at my Shapeways Shop and SW Torch Shop for 3D printed items.

Offline Tofty

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2012, 07:36:30 PM »
Realness:







 

Now all i have to do is work out by what factor the silver casting will shrink and increase the size of the digital model by that amount.
Pictures of most of my work can be found on my Facebook Page.
Also have a look at my Shapeways Shop and SW Torch Shop for 3D printed items.

Online Gareth

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2012, 08:25:37 PM »
oooh, very interesting mate.  Happy with the look?

Offline Tofty

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2012, 09:14:57 PM »
i was until you said that! but seriously i'm not entirely happy with the body cut-outs but i still want to see it finished so i'm going to press on with it, i fear the more i tweek the design the greater chance of making it worse.
I wanted to take advantage of the chance to make something with a random look to it as machining is so orderly (if done right) but version 2 will have a more orderly yet complex design instead.
I must say though that the bezel and tail rings look much better than the photos show.
Pictures of most of my work can be found on my Facebook Page.
Also have a look at my Shapeways Shop and SW Torch Shop for 3D printed items.

Online Gareth

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2012, 10:10:58 PM »
Please don't take the question as a criticism  ;), I agree that it's very interesting to see such a 'random' look to a torch.   Definitely don't change it IMO. :tu:

Offline Tofty

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2012, 10:50:03 PM »
I was only messing Gareth as well you know.

i'll order the main silver parts at the start of mext month but in the meantime another parcel arrived today:






And last but not least......



A plastic version of the original silver torch.



Not the prettiest thing ever and the detail resolution on the basic shapeways plastic isn't good enough for this design but it does have a party piece......



It actually works.






I'm amazed the threads are useable at 1mm pitch (square profile) but they are as good as i could have hoped for.
I've ordered a couple more of these from a UK 3D printers in a high detail durable resin which should do the detailing more justice, should arrive in a few days......
Pictures of most of my work can be found on my Facebook Page.
Also have a look at my Shapeways Shop and SW Torch Shop for 3D printed items.

Offline sparky415

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2012, 10:54:58 PM »

Very Very Cool!  :drool:
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Online Gareth

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2012, 11:35:46 PM »

Offline Tofty

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Re: Would anyone pay over $200 for a $3 light?
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2012, 09:29:27 PM »
Thanks guys,
I bit of progress, the plastic torch printed in higher detail plastic:










Looks a little tidier than the original but the one thing this exercise has shown is that this torch isn't worth making out of silver.
The problem is that i still really want a silver AAA torch so i was left with only one option; back to the drawing board and this is what i came up with......












Not only does it look a fair bit nicer and more elegant but it's cheaper;
The original silver torch from post 1 would cost £129 to have made but this new one will only cost £113.

I'm looking forward to ordering this light but it won't be my first silver torch, the parts for the Ag torch should be arriving in a week or so and if all goes to plan; working not long after.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2012, 09:37:35 PM by Tofty »
Pictures of most of my work can be found on my Facebook Page.
Also have a look at my Shapeways Shop and SW Torch Shop for 3D printed items.

 

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