What you get in an Alpha Custom
Right now there are a LOT people on the BL wait-list, and this is one of the main reasons I'm switching over to the Alpha Custom. My hope is that I'll be able to deliver these on a more consistent basis since I don't have to do the machining or spend the (countless) tedious hours on fancy finishes. I know this is going to make some people upset and others really happy, but this is what we've got to work with :) I'm very aware that some of the appeal with Blue-Label lights is the 100% hands on approach and the fancy finishes, but my current workload just doesn't permit me to make those and get anything else done. My humble apologies to everyone who has been waiting a long time to get their hands on a Blue Label. There is only one of me and I'm doing the best that I can.
Quality-wise, the Ready Made bodies are every bit as good as the Blue Label. In fact, they might be better. They are machined by a guy who has been making chips longer than I've been alive. As a testament to his skill and talent, the Ready-Made shells are plated exactly in the condition they come off the machine. If I put fancy finishes on top of his perfect machining, it would be tantamount to disrespect.
The only real difference between the Blue Label and Alpha Custom (besides appearance) is the thread fit. I make the Blue Label threads to the tightest tolerance in the industry, which is more about showing off than performance. My personal light (that I carry everyday) is a Ready Made "because it's everything you need and nothing you don't." I stole that line from Nissan. I firmly believe that the Alpha Custom will fully represent my intention to build the best flashlights on earth. These will be serialized as Blue-Label lights, come with an individual report card, and be eligible for the "lifetime upgrade program" where you can upgrade your light to the most current version (if possible) for a reduced cost.
You might be wondering what you get for your money:
I've been working on this driver for over two years. It's simple, powerful, and full of features even the most demanding flashlight enthusiasts will appreciate. A maximum current of 3.4 Amps delivers class-leading power and an advanced software platform lets you make Icarus a reflection of your unique preferences by programming it any way you like...
This driver is 100% designed, programmed, and manufactured (in the USA) just for me. Until now, I've been limited by "what is available," but Icarus is the realization of a long standing goal. No expense is spared, no shortcuts taken, no compromise accepted. I'm proud to put the Prometheus stamp on this driver as the crowning jewel of the Alpha platform. Enough talk, let's get to the details.
Click the image above for more details about Icarus on the product page.
I Made This...
I do design, assembly, prototyping, quality control, marketing, advertising, photography, web development, shipping, receiving, floor sweeping, light bulb changing, toilet cleaning, window washing, getting cut, getting burned, sweating, crying, bleeding, and the occasional flower arranging. The only thing I don't do is the actual machining.
LIfetime Upgrade Program
Every Alpha is covered by a limited lifetime warranty; however, Blue-Label (and Alpha Custom) lights are additionally supported by my lifetime upgrade program. When I come out with a new feature or component that can be installed into an existing light, you can upgrade.
To be honest, I'm not exactly sure how this will work, but you'll get some smokin' deal like "pay the shipping only" or "pay cost of parts + shipping" or "50% off retail." You get the idea. I'll make this policy more clear as I come out with upgrades and get feedback from customers. The whole purpose of this is to give you an awesome experience that goes far beyond your initial purchase. I also want to prevent "Apple Syndrome" where you just bought the newest thing and found out that next month it will be newer.
>>> This does not apply to voluntary LED swaps (flat fee of $75.00). It also does not apply to accessories that accompany the light (chargers, batteries, etc.) or optional upgrade parts. <<<
The photo above is a prototype, not an actual product, for McClicky V2...and tentatively possible in the distant future. Tentatively! Distant! However, Alpha Custom owners will get to upgrade for a cost far less than retail "if" it goes into production.
If you are saying to yourself, "really? I don't believe you'll follow through." I've already given all of my pre-production owners the option to upgrade their tailcap switches to the current version which involved a complete replacement of the tailcap and all of the internals...for free...because it was a permanent design change. They only had to pay for the shipping, and there was no agreement (expressed or implied) that I should do so. I just thought it seemed like the right thing to do.
Compact AC Adapter
All Alpha Custom lights ship with a compact AC adapter instead of a standard (larger) adapter. This is basically the same as the Apple adapter and is compatible with Apple products as well, so it's a great travel companion.
Every Alpha is coated with a medium-phosphorus Electroless Nickel (EN) plate:
I use EN plate on every Alpha because it's the ideal engineering solution, not because it's pretty.It's worth mentioning because no one else in the flashlight industry takes this approach to the design/engineering of a flashlight.
EN is specified when electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, deposition uniformity, corrosion resistance, lubricity, and wear resistance are primary engineering requirements. EN is used in aerospace, marine, automotive, medical, and electronics applications. Unlike anodizing, EN coats every inch of the light, inside and out, with an even layer of super-hard nickel. EN is just as durable as anodizing.
You will not find any bare aluminum on the Alpha, like you see with anodized lights. Why does this matter? The only place it's important to have a protective coating (from an engineering standpoint) is on the threads. The body of the light is just a shell, but the threads play the critical role of conducting electricity. Ever wonder why anodized lights have bare metal threads? Anodize is an electrical insulator so it must be removed for the light to function. Bare aluminum threads will wear out over time and corrode when exposed to air, reducing your lights useful life span and decreasing its performance.
Hand-Stamped Prometheus Logo
Alpha Customs are stamped with the Prometheus logo, not my Maker's Mark, but they are still 100% assembled in-house with the same components that go into my custom lights. This stamp was custom made for me by Infinity Stamps outside of Los Angeles. It has a curved face to match the curve on the outside of the light and produce a mark with even depth.
Fluorosilicone o-rings (standard)
Alpha Custom lights ship with blue Mil-Spec fluorosilicone o-rings that are 10x the cost of standard black Nitrile o-rings. Fluorosilicone is petroleum resistant and specified for use on aircraft fuel lines. Unlike Nitrile, fluorosilicone has an "unlimited" shelf life which means they should not dry out and crack over time. The body and head use AS size #019 and the tailcap uses #017.
Fluorosilicone o-rings are genuine Mil-Spec parts and the military doesn't care what color they are, which means every batch of o-rings I buy has a slightly different hue. They are blue to indicate to aircraft mecanics that the o-rings are fluorosilicone and not some other material.
UTS Class II Thread Fit
Thread fit is one thing that sets my lights apart. My threads adhere strictly to Unified Tread Standard (UNS) tolerances set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This ensures reliable compatibility between production runs.
Blue-Label lights feature a Class III thread fit. This is the ONLY major engineering diffrence between the shell of the Ready Made light and the lights I machine in-house.
Alpha Custom lights use a Class II thread fit. This is the most common class of fit and specified to ensure that parts are compatible without high percentage (costly) inspection. The slightly looser threads are also more tolerant of contamination when used in dusty or sandy conditions.
Choose the color that best suits your personality or select the Journeyman package and get all 4 button colors included. I'll install the color you select during checkout. The blue buttons are a brand new option as of June 2012. I have a limited supply and may (or may not) be able to get any more after this batch. Choose wisely (Indiana Jones reference).
Solid Copper Driver Mount
The copper isn't absolutely necessary from an engineering standpoint but it adds a nice touch and a little bit of weight to enhance that tasty feeling of quality in your hand. It also draws heat out of the driver to help it run at maximum power for longer.
Choose From 5 Different LED Options
As far as I know this is the best selection of LED options of any custom light. Get the MCE or XML in cool or neutral white, or select the High CRI Nichia 219 for 92+ color rendering. Have some other LED you want to use? Send me one and I'll install it in your light.
In the past I've charged for this service, but I've decided to include three character stamping for free, if you want to personalize your light. I use "low stress" letter and number stamps to mark the head of the Alpha with...letters and numbers. $5 per character beyond the first three, up to 5 characters total. This only works on heads that have enough smooth area to mark of course.
Like most things Alpha, these are marked by hand so you should not expect "machine" perfection in depth and alignment.
Alpha Report Card
Every Alpha Custom comes with an individual report card so you know exactly what you are paying for. Each light is tested for output in my certified laboratory-grade integrating sphere. I used to use a home made sphere, but in an effort to deliver the best, I ponied up for a lab-grade sphere and a fully certified "forward flux standard" to calibrate the sphere. Total cost for these two instruments is north of $5,000 and I'm the only flashlight maker (that I'm aware of) that uses a certified and calibrated lab sphere.
Titanium (6Al/4V) Pocket Clip
Pocket clips now come standard with Alpha Custom lights. I used to sell them as a $25 accessory. Clips can be mounted and de-mounted without tools. The clip is also designed without screws, so if you want to run clip-less you don't have a couple of ugly threaded holes in your light. When the clip is removed, there is no gap because the cap and the body still close flush.
All my clips are manufactured from genuine ASTM Certified 6Al/4V (Grade 5) titanium. I'm also the only maker on earth that uses certified material, because I make no compromises. Certified Ti is 50% more expensive than generic. Don't be fooled by claims of "aerospace grade" materials...if it's not Certified, it's not aerospace grade.