| >> REVIEWED @ Layman's Lights: by Dave Wise
"... this is actually my first experience with a [neutral white MCE] LED and I am suddenly finding myself understanding better what I have been missing....the Alpha emits such a pleasing flood of creamy warm light that I am wishing I had tried this sooner. " -- Layman's Lights
A lot of people write to ask what I would recommend in a light. So, I've combined my personal experience with 18 months of user research and the result is the Alpha Ready-Made.
These lights are machined at Hirsch Machine in Santa Clara instead of in my own shop. Gilbert is the shop's head-man and he personally did all the work. I spent several days down there watching him work and getting things dialed in, checking samples right as they came off the machine. He's been cutting metal almost longer that I've been alive...if quality is at all in question.
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.
Ready-Mades are stamped with the Prometheus logo, not my Maker's Mark, but they are still 100% assembled by me 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.
The only ornament on the surface is a subtle shift in texture accomplished through changing how fast the tool is fed as it makes the final cut. The coarse area is actually a 65 pitch thread cut with a blunt tool .003" deep. The smooth areas are Gilbert's "standard" machined finish. Honestly, the best finish I've seen anywhere. Watching Gilbert work is insane. He runs the CNC keypad with both hands like he's typing on a keyboard at 100 words a minute. I hunt and peck.
One requirement I had was for the lights to be plated in a "raw" as-machined state. This means the machining has to be absolutely flawless to look good. When you look at the finish of the Alpha you are looking at 30 years of experience and some serious white-glove handling. When I asked the owner if it would be possible to maintain that quality, he paused a long moment and then followed through. A lot of people think you just put metal bars into a CNC and the parts just fly out the other end. Machinists always have a good laugh about that.
One small difference from the custom lights is the use of a nickel plated aluminum driver mount instead of copper. This makes the Alpha Ready-Made a little bit lighter. Another small difference is the use of Class II thread fit instead of Class III fit. Class II is the "standard" for mass production threads while Class III is only used for things like scientific instrumentation because of the difficulty and higher cost. A Class II thread has some play between the threads, but a Class III has virtually no play.
The business end features the Cree MCE in 4500K Neutral White. The most common feedback I get with this combination (I'm paraphrasing), "This is the best looking beam I've ever seen in any flashlight." Yep, that's the idea.
You might think I'm cheaping out by using a slightly older LED technology but the MCE costs 3x more than the newest and excessively popular XML. No one will ever say an XML light produces the best beam they have ever seen, only the brightest.
Another small difference is that Ready-Made lights use industry standard Nitrile o-rings instead of the Military Spec fluorosilicone o-rings that go into my customs.
Here you can see the coarse 65 pitch texture applied to the entire body of the light to enhance both grip and visual appeal. I spent about an hour running samples with Gilbert to get the texture just right. Enough to feel grippy but smooth enough that it won't abrade your pocket.
Every Ready-Made comes standard with a 6Al/4V titanium alloy pocket clip.
Ready-Made lights are pre-assembled and ready to ship so they are not customizable. However, that does mean you won't have to wait 1-2 weeks for your light. The photo above shows the Apprentice Package that comes with an AW 2900mAh battery and the XTAR-MP1S charger. I also include a 1cc bottle of Nano-Oil and two spare o-rings...unless you pick the Journeyman package that already comes with the full maintenance kit.