Who are you?
My name is Íñigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
Who am I?
For some 10 years now I’ve been making LED torches in some capacity or another. I built my first light when I was five years old, out of a yogurt tube, a light bulb, and a battery – the switch was made out of two paper fasteners and a paper clip, the light bulb from Radio Shack, the reflector from construction paper with aluminum foil glued to it, and the lens cut from a plastic package. The inside of the light was stuffed with cotton swabs after wiring to keep everything from bouncing around.
It worked. It was dim, and perhaps a bit crude, but I was five years old and it worked.
Fast forward many years, and I was looking to build a lightsaber from Star Wars. I started researching “super bright” LEDs, and bought the top of the line from the now-defunct lsdiodes.com.
They weren’t very bright.
I kept on working at it, though, and soon found the Luxeon series of LEDs – which were the first true “power” LEDs, producing a staggering (at the time) 20+ lumens light output, which actually illuminated a tube quite nicely, and did a much better job than the standard back then of using electroluminescent wire.
I was the first to ever do this back in 2003. The “standard” for lightsaber blades is now similar what I had created then (developed independently by many others afterwards). Also, Lightsabers From the Big Yellow Box was an awesome website. (Warning: The archive host for that site has a ridiculous amount of ads – make sure your ad blocker is on.)
While I was working on my lightsaber, I came across companies and hobbyists building LED torches using Luxeon LEDs. I was bitten by this bug and started modifying flashlights, and things kind of went from there. What started out as a project and like of lights when I was a kid was re-awakened as a nice hobby.
In 2006, this company was created, and the CR2 Ion – the predecessor to the Aeon and Nautilus series – was made. It was similar in styling to the Aeon Mk. I and II, produced a retina-searing 30 lumens or so on high mode, in a flood beam pattern, and had long runtimes. It was the first torch to ever use a Cree LED in the world, and the CR2 Ion XT was the first to ever use the Cree XR-E. Since then, Cree has become the de facto market leader for brightness gains in LED lighting.
The CR2 Ion gave way to the Nautilus – a CR123 light that had a Cree XR-E, parabolic reflector, and a redesigned driver, providing long runtimes in a decently small package.
From the Nautilus, the Aeon was created a few years later, optimizing again for size and runtime, and moving to a sapphire crystal lens. Several iterations of the Aeon have been made, the Mk. I with the XR-E, the Mk. II with a Nichia 219 or Cree XP-G2 (same for the Nautilus Mk. II).
Along the way the Mako and Mako Mk. II made their debuts – the original lights starting off with two modes: low, and lower, intended to function as extremely long runtime backup lights with nice beam colors, instead of the blue-yellow amalgamations prevalent to 5mm LEDs. As technology improved, so did the capabilities of the Mako, and with the Mk. II model a true high and low mode was implemented, using LEDs capable of withstanding higher current to produce higher light output, while still maintaining nice beam color and quality.
The Spinner was born from the Mako Mk. II, and has achieved the title as the ultimate backup light for runtime – with slightly higher output than the Mako Mk. II and a AA power plant.
That’s the primary story of how Muyshondt came to be. But who am I?
I am an electrical engineer by trade. I have a BS in Electrical Engineering with specialization in microdevice fabrication. I have actually gone through the process of creating functional circuits in silicon. I am familiar with electrical hardware design, with particular experience and interest in efficient and tiny DC/DC power supplies.
In addition to torches, I have spent many years working on 3D printing technology, and have designed and built an entire 3D printer from scratch, designing all of the electrical and mechanical hardware, as well as architecting the software and firmware features needed for its operation. There are many unique challenges in 3D printing, both in the methodology itself, in how you print a model proper, how you slice a 3D model and generate printer instructions, as well as the electronics themselves, in how you manage large amounts of power for all the motors, heaters, and other systems, while keeping electrical noise to a minimum to maintain control and communication signal integrity. This is nothing to say about actually creating the physical model of the machine, to create an accurate acceleration profile, deal with extrusion temperatures, rates, thicknesses, etc. etc.
In short: Lots, and lots of math. Lots of banging your head against a wall. Lots of testing. Lots of frustration. And ultimately – lots of satisfaction from having been able to create a machine that in turn creates new things.
These are my areas of expertise.
Outside of that, there’s little to know. I like technology. I like quality. I like well-made products.
With these torches, I strive to create a tool that has a high degree of technology in it, but where that technology is transparent, and entirely secondary to the actual use of the torch; where performance and quality meet in such a way that it ensures longevity and reliability, while being pleasing and simple to use. To that end, I hope that a Muyshondt torch has the honor of earning a place in your line up of tools, and that it’s there to illuminate the path in front of you.
Thanks for reading,