The Gap

Usually a few times a week, I'll have ideas for something new and exciting.

If only I could push a button and turn those things into products directly from my mind life would be so sweet.

Even with something as seemingly simple as the HF Tiny below (development in progress), there are a myriad of little things that need to be worked out before a product is ready for the big time.


There's drawings to be made, specifications to be decided, prototypes to be tested and all these things take time and whilst I was thinking about it recently, in my mind I labelled it "The Gap".


There is most definitely a gap between the time it takes to conceive a product and the time it takes to make it a reality.

Without consciously calling it the gap, I've been working on reducing it in the last few months and now I'm laser focused on shrinking it as much as possible.


The initial design phase is perhaps the fastest part but everything after that can take time as there are many tasks that require specialised knowledge. The ultimate way to totally speed things up would be to have all the experts in a room, present the concept to them, and have each of them give a 15min rundown on the viability and whats involved, then each coming back the following day with all the details needed.

Better still, understanding every single part of the process and technology required myself could be more efficient still, so that this process could all happen inside my head, whilst I'm asleep (unlikely) but...that might not scale very well.

3D printing, rapid prototyping, fast turnaround PCBs.... been making use of them all and they sure do help and I imagine these kinds of tools and services will continue to get better, easier to use and faster too.

Circuit/PCB development (the complex ones) however seems to be taking the most time as it requires using 3rd party IC (chips) and parts and some limitations are hard to test with certainty until they are on a physical PCB. Of course if size was not a restriction, this part of the development process would be so much easier though much like the motor of a car, the R&D cost of making huge gains to create a smaller, lighter, more powerful one, etc,  tends to increase somewhat logarithmically.

Eg. a 10% improvement may cost X, but a 20% improvement may cost 10X (and take 10 times as long to achieve)

The bright side is with so many steps in the process, there are many many opportunities to improve/optimise it, to shrink the gap and perhaps get nearer to the ever elusive "push a button and presto, the product is ready" scenario and its thanks to these opportunities that I expect the gap, will continue its shrinking trend, alongside the next generation of MBI products.



Thanks for reading,



Guy said on January 28, 2014:

Steve >
Thanks very much for your support.

Jonas >
Thank you and appreciate you posting your HF-R story.
I’ll admit that two of mine have been through the wash and survived just fine too :)

Steve said on January 27, 2014:

What I can say. You put so much energy and time in your work. This is awesome. Also your support is the best one what I have ever experienced. I am tensely what still during the next years everything comes from you. Your fans will support you. Continue in such a way.
Best Regards from Germany

Jonas said on January 27, 2014:

Just wanted to say I’m happy to see you have this news section, as I don’t have much time these days to read CPF. I’ll be reading all your posts, and already have money saved away for the Zeus and the HF Tiny!

Oh, while I’m at it I have a good story. I have an HF-R that I got back last April. Well, about a month after that I thought I lost it. 3 days later I found I had accidentally put it in the washing machine and I found it sitting in the crack of the door in a pool of water! I unscrewed it and it was full of water. So, I shook the water out, screwed it back together (still wet!) and turned it on and it powered up no problem! I then dried it out properly and its been working fine ever since! Thanks again for making a great flashlight. Keep the lumens coming.

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