The TKO — Anodized Ti RCR123 Flashlight

I started work on this light years ago–coming up with a design that I kept tweaking from time to time. Finally, I found some tooling that would enable me to actually machine the Titanium to achieve my design. The only problem is that the TKO has some rather deep grooves in it–and that meant that I had to approach the final depth of cut by taking many, many shallow cuts, both along the axis of the light, as well as around the circumference of the light.

V-KO-Slant View

Here’s an early test piece that I cut in aluminum–a piece of cake compared to Titanium.


The resulting square ‘islands’ after the undercut grooves were in place.


Then the islands were chamfered, both to present a smoother surface when the light was done and to open up the view into the deep grooves.

The entire light, when completely machined in Titanium would be anodized and then a skim cut would be taken on the outer surface of the light, leaving the silver islands to float above a sea of blue-green. At least that’s what I hoped to achieve.

Once I was satisfied with the aluminum test piece, I then proceeded to machine the pieces in Titanium. The head was made first–a rather complicated piece as it required two sets of internal threads–one for the light engine and one for the threads of the battery tube.

TKO WIP_800px-Head Close-Up

The exterior grooves and most of the exterior bevels/chamfers are in place with just the threads to cut.

TKO WIP_800px-Head Threads

The far set of grooves are for the light engine, i.e., the LED attached to its heatsink. The threads closer to the end of the head are for the battery tube to screw into.

TKO WIP_800px-Threaded together

Both pieces are fairly complete and screwed together. A welcome sight.


Close-up of the islands.

TKO Ano'ed_WIP-1

The light after anodizing, but before being turned down to expose the bare silver islands.

TKO Ano'ed_WIP-8

And after the anodizing was removed, we see the islands floating in the blue-green sea below. 🙂

TKO Ano'ed_WIP-4

And the tail end even has its own island–along with a sea urchin lurking in the water. JK

TKO Ano'ed_WIP-3

Alas, there was a machining mistake made–clearly visible in this shot of the front of the light. BTW, the purple color is also anodizing, just that the solution didn’t penetrate during the anodizing process, so it is doesn’t match the blue-green. Of course, the interior color is irrelevant, since it won’t show.

The final steps were to make the light engine and the custom reflector, as well as to put a final nice smooth surface on the silver islands, but without polishing it–since polishing would remove the coloring on the chamfers–so only sanding was used to achieve a smooth surface.

Final version–with a three levels of light output, O-ring seals,  2mm thick mineral glass lens and an AW RCR123 battery:




It was certainly the most challenging-to-machine flashlight that I’ve done. And even with its flaws, I’m pleased with how it came out.

If you’d like to see more about the build of this light, you can follow the WIP thread that I have on CandlePower Forums.

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