Beagle Mk. I Electric Torch

Posted by Enrique Muyshondt on

The Beagle is the most electromechanically sophisticated Electric Torch ever released by Muyshondt, and has been designed to offer two beam types in a single, small package. In close quarters, you are provided with a smooth wash of light at all intensity levels. When you need to illuminate something at a longer distance, the fourth and fifth intensities have a higher output LED behind a parabolic reflector that will reach out farther. It is designed as a go-anywhere, do-anything tool that will give you both the type and amount of light output you need for any situation.

Continuing in the tradition of the Flieger, the Beagle can run on CR123s, RCR123s, and 18350 cells, and was designed around the MPC-18350I cell, allowing for multiple power plants.

 

The Calibre 1116 Light Engine developed for the Beagle regulates output to the LEDs without use of Pulse Width Modulation, which can cause a disorienting strobe-like effect, and does so with a simple, easy to use interface: Click on, half press to cycle between the five light intensities, click off.

 

There are a whole slew of superior features that have been designed into this light, from the new Darkwell and Relic finishes, to a titanium pushbutton, milled pyramidal knurling, a titanium clip, among several other features, all well detailed on the product pages. It’s available at preorder pricing of $50 off retail through the end of June 2017, and is estimated to be completed by August/September 2017.

 

The specifications listed on each product page are the expected features in production, based on prototype testing – the only “visible” change to the design from the listed photos will be a stonewashed clip. No further visible changes are anticipated, and the Beagles will be retested for output and runtime at production.

Updates to the project will be posted regularly the Muyshondt Electric Torches Facebook Group, and sent out periodically by e-mail.

 

The Beagle was designed to function well in a wide variety of circumstances, and to do so without compromises. It produces a generous amount of light, in two beam arrangements, for a long time, without overheating, in a small package, off of multiple primary or rechargeable battery types, with a simple and intuitive user interface, a functional and elegant design, and a focus on quality in every little detail (that was a mouthful).

In short, we’re very excited to be bringing the Beagle to production after nearly a year of development, and doubly excited to see what adventures you take them on soon!

 

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"Branding"

Posted by Enrique Muyshondt on

Someone related a story to me once about a watchmaker and his apprentice. While putting together a watch, the watchmaker was intricately finishing a part that went inside the movement - he made sure everything was perfect, signed his initials, only to put it in the movement and cover it up with another part, completely hiding it from view. 

"Why did you go through so much trouble putting that part together, when you were just going to cover it up anyway and nobody will see it?" asked the apprentice. 

"It doesn't matter if anyone else will ever see it - God will see it." replied the watchmaker. 

The point isn't so much a religious anecdote; it's that doing things right means doing them right even when no one is looking. I've written about design, quality, and what goes into products before, and this post continues an exploration on related thoughts. 

Over the last several years I have expended a substantial amount of effort to create new products that are better than anything I have ever released before. I have pushed to make inroads into creating a product of higher quality, of better design, and better general impression. I work to push the limits forward in some way every time against prior releases - to create something that is worthy of being made in the first place, and worthy of your attention.

I think that by any measure, these efforts have borne fruit which has resulted in some of the most popular and well received products I have ever released.

With that said, I’d like to discuss “branding” – something that has a variety of connotations, both positive and negative, depending on a person’s point of view (and their opinions or assumptions about any given “brand”).

At the end up the day, branding is just the story you tell your customers about your company and your products – mine is pretty simple: Quality. It’s what I have chosen to focus on in every aspect of the business. And by quality, I mean it pervasively, in everything that’s done – the products themselves, and everything that touches them.

I want every interaction that someone has with my products – from the moment they visit the website all the way to when they open the box and experience the item for the first time, to be exceptional, and as well done as I can make it be.

I built this website myself. I wrote every word on nearly every page here. I’ve written every post on this blog (at the time of this writing, in any case). Each certificate that comes with my torches was written by me, signed by hand individually, with paper stock selected specifically for quality and feel in person, and inks and pens tested to find the one that wrote best on the best paper. Each paper is embossed instead of merely digitally printed, because it’s better.

I designed the packaging experience on each torch to be worthy of the item it contains inside, because if I make something good, and can’t be bothered to care enough about how it’s presented to you, why should you care about the product? You shouldn’t. It’s disrespectful to my own work, and disrespectful to the customer. The notion that this is somehow even remotely acceptable, because “all the money went into the product itself”, is wholly false. It’s a poor excuse for someone simply leaving the job unfinished.

I work with an artist to create beautiful artwork from ideas and sketches that I make, because I like art, and it matters. I am a huge fan of art deco, and love the bold lines, colors, and manner of expression that it allows for some of the ideas that go into these torches. You see it on my boxes, on posters, on product descriptions, because it gives me an opportunity to express ideas in visual metaphor instead of just text alone.

This, of course, is all merely supplementary and tangent to the most important part of it all: the product itself. I’ve written about details when it comes to that here.

My point is that a story is not just a story. A product is not just a product. A single resistor or capacitor does not make a light engine, nor does a light engine by itself make an Electric Torch. The entirety of execution is a sea of little details that each require attention to get right, and the more that are attended to and polished correctly elevates things to a level otherwise unattainable. It isn’t easy, it takes a certain level of dedication; the inconsequential is always consequential; everything matters.

This is all part of the story, this is all part of the product. It’s part of the engineering, it’s part of the industrial design. It’s part of every word written on every page, and it’s part of the art, photos, and everything else. This is the Muyshondt “brand”. There are no contrivances, pretenses, or substitutes - simply one thing:

Quality.

 

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Quality & Manufacturing

Posted by Enrique Muyshondt on

Quality is rare, and must be very carefully cultivated and maintained for it to be done right consistently. We have travelled all over the world looking for it, and spent years building and supporting it where ever we could find it.

The culmination of these efforts is a product that is a truly global effort, combining the best materials and parts from the world over, along with the best talent and craftsmanship, to create a truly superior product, with suppliers in the United States, China, Japan, and several other countries working together under our direction to bring forth the best product possible.

As a matter of principle, we only work with people who are willing to work as hard as we do; who are willing to match our devotion to our craft, and are fundamentally deserving of our business. We work hard to make sure our designs are crafted with excellence and to the utmost highest standards, and push the limits with each new release forwards every time. These people are rare, and when we find them, wherever they may be, we forge strong relationships with them to create better together.

There is no substitute for a Muyshondt product, and there is no substitute for working with the best – the best materials; the best design; the best people.

Our responsibility is to deliver to you the best products on Earth, and to that end, we’re working with great diligence to bringing you some amazing new designs in 2017, and look forward to having the honor of one of our products entering your service.

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Flieger Production Closing Notes

Posted by Enrique Muyshondt on

Thanks so much to all of you who pre-ordered a Flieger and who have been waiting patiently for the arrival of my latest Electric Torch. Now that things have wrapped on production, and that torches will start shipping next week, I’d like to take a moment (before I disappear into the Horrible Cave of Shipping for a few days!) to go over what the final production specifications and runtimes ended up working out as. 

The Flieger has five intensities: 1, 25, 100, 500, and a 720 Lumen Turbo Mode.

First and foremost, about Turbo Mode:

At prototyping I had originally said that this was a 900 lumen torch based on integrating sphere testing I had commissioned at the time, and the production units have come out at 720 lumens. The output is the same between the two versions, but the measurements at prototyping were incorrect. As it turns out, the light sensor in the integrating sphere had trouble with the output level on turbo mode, and over-measured the output. It was recalibrated for testing the production units, yielding the correct (lower) results.

What material impact does this have on the performance of the Flieger in practice? Not much of one. The human eye does not react linearly to light output, and the difference between 500 and 900 lumens, despite being nearly 2x on paper, does not greatly change the perceived intensity, and the difference between 720 and 900 lumens would be nearly imperceptible, even with two lights of such output levels placed side by side.

This very effect is what allows the Maus, at 60 lumens, to rival a much larger torch in usable output despite its comparatively small size and output numbers, and why I’m able to squeeze as much performance and general functionality out of all of my torches by managing the effect properly and catering to real world performance. It’s also why I have no inclination to pad my numbers by using inferior LEDs that are brighter on paper, but less useful in practice, and also do not pursue brightness at all costs – including making inferior drivers that turn more electricity into heat than necessary (with their concordant lower runtime, and lower product lifespan as a result), as well as driving LEDs too hard with insufficient thermal mass to sink that heat (the three of these being necessary for higher output, and the three of them each significantly nerfing the actual performance in use). 

Nonetheless, 720 lumens is not 900 lumens. I apologize for this discrepancy, and steps have been put in place to prevent it from ever happening again. If this is any way an issue for you, please send me an email at vcc@muyshondt.net, and I’d be happy to discuss the matter with you further to make sure the torch is a good fit for your uses, and if it is not, I’d be happy to give you a full refund of your purchase price.

Without further ado, I’d like to present to you the runtimes on each intensity level of the Flieger, tested on an MPC-18650P Power Cell. Runtime on 2xCR123s, 2x18350s will vary, as will your use of different brand cells of any type. 

First Intensity
1 Lumen
400 Hours 

Second Intensity
25 Lumens
43 Hours 

Third Intensity
100 Lumens
15:45

Fourth Intensity (High Mode)
500 Lumens
2:10

Fifth Intensity (Turbo Mode)
720 Lumens
2:00

These are regulated runtimes – the Flieger will run for a while longer than the above numbers after falling out of regulation, so it won’t leave you in the dark, but once the light falls out of regulation you should discontinue use as soon as possible and recharge or replace the batteries.

Turbo Mode runs with a 720 lumen burst which automatically throttles back down to 500 lumens after about 3 minutes to prevent thermal overload. This is done to allow you an extra amount of light to illuminate longer distance objects effectively, but prevents the light from overheating. The Flieger gets warm on high mode, and would overheat if left running on turbo mode continuously, causing damage to the LED and electronics, and being capable of burning the end user 

Regulation on each light intensity level is pretty flat, and performance when paired with the MPC-18650P is exceptional, yielding extremely generous runtimes at each level.

Another post will follow this one after all pre-orders have shipped, going into full detail on the features of the light, along with new photos 

Thanks to all of you for your support, and I’m looking forward to getting these torches out to you shortly!

Enrique

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Products Have Souls

Posted by Enrique Muyshondt on

Not in the literal sense, of course, but there is more to a product than its mere existence. There’s a certain elegance in the creation of something good, a certain care and quality, that goes into a creative effort that gives life to a work well made.

There is nothing quite like creating a product – to have an idea in your head; this abstract concept rolling around that over weeks and months that becomes a clearer and clearer idea; that starts taking physical form in sketches, drawings, and revisions; that progressively becomes thought expressed rigorously such that it is able to take physical form in front of you.

This is a special kind of creative outlet; giving actual, physical expression to ideas. To do this well, I feel, requires a great deal of respect for the process of creating something – to do otherwise is to fail. By this I mean is that what a person chooses to create, and the manner in which they create it is very much indicative of how they approach life – as a physical expression of an idea, it is a window into the mind of the designer, an analogue into their mind to be able to see for yourself what was, once, truly only inside another’s head.

If a product is made poorly, it reflects directly on the person who designed it.

If a product is made well, it shows the highest order of creative power a human is capable of.

When I design something, I spend a great deal of time thinking, often many months, before I ever sketch any designs. Only after so long a time does an idea have enough form inside my head to be able to be expressed even crudely visually. From that point there’s progressive refinement through sketches that moves quickly to CAD (computer aided design) software where the idea finally takes a three-dimensional form and starts being polished. If I’m lucky, I get the basic design right the first time. If I’m not, the design is scrapped, and I start over again, most often from scratch, before a final mechanical form is settled on.

But, there’s more to this than simply this “crude matter” (to channel Yoda). It’s more than just physical expression of an idea in my head, even though that in and of itself is compelling. The process that goes into it is far more intensive than that. Those months spent thinking draw on a lifetime’s worth of experiences, both those related directly to over a decade’s work designing electric torches, but also to a breadth of tangential experiences and influences that directly color the designs that I ultimately come up with.

There are trips around the world that have given me exposure to a variety of designs, modern and ancient, from cultures that have created distinct means of expression for themselves unique from all others. Beautiful, ornate items, and simple, subtle shapes used to create a breadth of things throughout history that have given expression to the thoughts and minds of others and served as a spark to create something new.

When I am designing something I might be thinking about the tessellations of a roofline from Tuscany, or a machine that fabricates pucks, or the design of a cathedral window, or natural shapes in plants, mountains, or glaciers, and taking elements from these pieces, and applying them to my work. (And I have, in fact, thought about all these things specifically when coming up with new ways of doing things)

The point being that, in effect, each design choice that is made gives to you a tiny piece of my life that allowed for that choice to have been made to begin with – the ultimately effect of my experiences pulled together to make the item you now hold.

Thusly, I try to design things that are worthy of this exercise, and worthy of your attention. I try to come up with new forms, and new ways of doing things; to make products that have details done right even where no one is looking, simply because it’s the right way of doing things. I work hard with my suppliers to execute on my designs in such a way that it meets my standards – that the product is crafted in such a way that it’s deserving of being created; that every material and component is properly selected and handled; that every cut is done as I intended it; that the finish and quality are done in such a way that most directly replicates the thought that spawned the item’s creation.

This applies to the item itself, to its packaging, it’s shipping box, the artwork, the website, and everything else that relates to it as well; none of it is by chance, all of it was designed to my direct specification, and none of it existed before it was made specifically for its project.

I’m an electrical engineer by training; I have created actual, functional components in silicon and designed complex electromechanical systems from scratch as my trade.

When I design a product, it becomes my direct responsibility to know how to make things – to understand how they work, and strive to create the best possible result. I understand how every electrical system in my designs works on an atomic level, because I have actually built functional semiconductors by hand and studied the physics behind them extensively in my free time and during my schooling. I thusly have a great respect for every component used to take electricity and turn it into light, from the constituent parts of my light engines through to the LED itself.

With all of this in mind, a product that is made well becomes the sum of the life of the person who brought it into being, and also brings together tiny pieces of every other person who worked towards its creation – in the engineers who designed each component that goes into the light engine; in the people who manufacture those components; in the machinists who make my parts; the people who forge the metals I use; those who mine the ores; those who make the boxes; those who ship every piece every step of the way through production and unto you across the world; And so on into each individual involved in the creation of every part of production. This is more than merely a simple labor to be forgotten, or the simple sum of parts – it is the culmination of a small microcosm of lives that have gone through a truly extraordinary degree of effort to create something where once there was nothing, bringing together the best from the world over to properly bring to life an idea and create a superior product.

I am greatly honored by each of you who have chosen a Muyshondt product to help light your path, and am looking forward to having the opportunity to share more of my designs and products with you – both electric torches and otherwise – during 2017 and onwards.

Warmest wishes,

Enrique

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