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Homemade Brass Zebralight SC52---my first complete flashlight build

Discussion in 'Do-It-Yourself & Gear Modifications' started by Dafabricata, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. Dafabricata

    Dafabricata Loaded Pockets

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    Recently I saw pictures of a JHanko titanium gunner grip EX11.2 that blew me away..[​IMG] I emailed the source where they were being sold and found I was a bit shy of being able to aquire it.[​IMG] In the days to follow I couldn't stop looking at the pictures and thinking about how cool that grip must feel. So I have to thank Jeff for helping to motivate me to make my own PD gunner grip light. However, my machining skills are crap compared to the masterpieces he makes. Gotta start somewhere...

    About two weeks ago I chucked up my Zebralight SC52 in the mill vise and started removing material away from the light to access the driver. Considering they use press in rings to secure the bezel and switch, I figured this was the only way to preserve the components I was after without ruining them. The driver/emitter board/ window/ retaining ring/ reflector were all successfully removed to be reused. The Zebralight UI is one of my favorites.
    The SC52 uses a small momentary switch to turn on/off and switch levels/program. I planned on using a PD style switch in place of the side switch. Admittedly the side switch seems a little difficult for my first build and I didn't want to risk screwing it up.


    I had zero plans when I started this. I simply wanted a PD based light with the gunner grip and a zebralight UI...so I started cutting metal.
    Brass seemed like a good place to start since bare aluminum just seems kinda..blah..compared to brass, titanium, copper..
    Brass would be nice to my cutters/end mills and not cost me too much if I mess up other than a hard lesson.
    Well I did learn a few lessons along the way but, all in all I'm happy with the way it turned out for my first complete build.[​IMG]


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    This picture shows the last 3 remaining gunner grip rows toward the tail are not done. This was a huge lesson in proper set-up. I didn't have enough stock exposed to allow the end mill to cut to fit in between the rotary table and the mill head. It was a pain trying to keep the bar centered in the chuck perfectly as I pulled it out to better expose it to the cutter. Once that was done, the tailstock needed to be reset, chuck tightened and everything dialed back in...no fun and lesson learned.

    [​IMG]

    Darn trit slots took longer than the gunner grip!

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    The heatsink needed to be milled to allow clearance for the components on the bottom of the board to fit. The holes are for the power wire, switch wires, and for the screw to hold the heatsink and isolation plug in place.

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    Last edited by Dafabricata, Nov 22, 2013
  2. amacman
    • In Omnia Paratus

    amacman Loaded Pockets

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    In Cred Ibel! WOW.

    Great attention to detail and dedication. I have to ask though, there really isn't another emitter/driver combo you'd be happy with without going to such lengths?
     
  3. Legend

    Legend Loaded Pockets

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    Holy God! :D
     
  4. Dafabricata

    Dafabricata Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks guys.

    amacman, I did indeed bore the back of the head to accept a press fit 17mm driver in case something went wrong....gotta have a back up plan!
    I'm just not totally happy with any other available driver. I could have made due but...

    To answer your question: No. The zebralight UI is probably my favorite so I just HAD to have it in this light.
    Taking the easy way out has never been an option when I have my mind set on something.
    A GDup driver cost $50+ and doesn't come with an emitter, so I consider the offset in dollars to make up for itself with a light that I will completely enjoy using due to the awesome zebralight UI.
     
  5. AK Adventurer

    AK Adventurer Ice, Ice, Tigre

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    :eek:
    Its Ugly, mail it to me and I'll dispose of it properly.
    :p

    Serriously, Fantastic work!
    I am somewhat speechless... Just so cool!

    And now, I am wondering if I could pull off something similar, I have a 1"x12" chunk of brass rod that I bought to mill beads from... Hmmm... :unsure:
     
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  6. Xiii
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    Xiii Loaded Pockets

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    Great work I'll look forward to futre project from you.
    Xiii
     
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  7. twoisone
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    twoisone EDC Junkie!!!

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    Awesome job!
     
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  8. Grinch

    Grinch Banned

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    A work of art that everyone will want . Fantastic craftsmanship !!!!!:cool:
     
  9. Syclone

    Syclone Loaded Pockets

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    Amazing. Now make me a copper one. :D
     
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  10. rsitter

    rsitter EDC Junkie!!!!!

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    how do you turn it on?
     
  11. ScarsRemain94

    ScarsRemain94 Loaded Pockets

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    Wow! That is amazing. I'm extremely jealous!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  12. Dafabricata

    Dafabricata Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks for all the positive feedback!:)

    Here's a brass host I made last night for a Nitecore EX10.
    There's still work to be done before it's finished but, the overall design is done.
    I have a feeling that I'm going to be selling some lights to buy more tools to make more lights....[​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  13. KODIAKman

    KODIAKman EDC Junkie

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    You have skills brother!!! Those are sick.
     
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  14. Kripto

    Kripto Evil Sid

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    Very nicely done.. Not sure if you've ever been to illumination supply but he sells drivers and LEDs, so you could build some nice customs with just about any LED you like. For example, I'm a huge fan of the Nichia 219 LED, the color of the light is SO nice compared to the zebralight and nitecores.
     
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  15. Dafabricata

    Dafabricata Loaded Pockets

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    Hello Kripto, I've been buying my drivers/emitters/batteries/...from IlluminationSupply since Craig first opened his website. Great service, prices, and selection.
    I too like the 219 and will likely be using one in the EX10 host. I currently have 4-5 lights with the 219.
    While it sucks to have to destroy a nice zebralight flashlight body, I have yet to find a better UI....only problem being that the emitter isn't easily swapped. I'm afraid the other components will move or fall off if I try to reflow solder. I'd like to remove the XM-L and just solder wire leads to a 219 or XP-G2. I'm not sure the 219 could handle the current on high though. The 3 mode drivers that are readily available don't have a low enough low.
    I guess I'd rather spend a bit more for the UI that I enjoy using rather than one that works but won't get as much use due to not be satisfied in it's abilities.
     
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  16. Blaklader Pockets

    Blaklader Pockets Loaded Pockets

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    Nice. You should have told us you carved it by hand :)
     
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  17. Lorenzo

    Lorenzo Loaded Pockets

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    I've been wanting a lathe with proper tools and materials since.... since school I guess.
    Cutting the "gunner grips" with a spiral bit was an eye-opener. Never learned that deep.
     
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  18. Roger

    Roger Loaded Pockets

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    Awesome job Fab!
     
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  19. BarksAtCats
    • In Omnia Paratus

    BarksAtCats Loaded Pockets

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    LOL!!!:rofl:
     
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  20. BarksAtCats
    • In Omnia Paratus

    BarksAtCats Loaded Pockets

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    Hi Dafab, please forgive my innocence in this, but have you tried contacting Zebralight and seeing if they would sell you just their UI? Realistically, you are going to use theirs one way or the other so perhaps they could work out a price that would make the situation win-win? Heck, if you show them your work, they may even want to start a collaboration project; that is some gorgeous work you've done!
     
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