It all Started with the Qzark...

The original Qzark flashlight with two of the latest design of the Lumenite 21700 and the Tiny Tank 18650.
The original Qzark (middle) with the current Lumenite 21700 and Tiny Nugget 18650.

Born in the darkness of 2008, we sold other folk’s flashlights with marginal success.  Paul quickly had a vision – create a very simple, yet extremely durable light that could compete with the high end lights at the time.

Slinging some acetyl chips
Machining early prototypes

And so it begins…

Early prototype featuring cork as an insulator

Prototypes started in 2010, mostly consisting of hardware store parts. Paul set to work learning about LED types, drivers, incandescent bulbs, battery chemistry. 

Many trips were made to Radio Shack, many LEDs were fried. 

Quantum Tunneling Composite (QTC) had been discussed at length due to its simplicity, despite its fragility. The flashlights utilizing this smart material around the time (2011) had a design that caused damage to both the battery as well as the QTC. 

The Big E - an early prototype

There had to be another way.

The last Qzark prototype made on the manual lathe and mill, anodized by us.

After a benchtop mill and lathe arrived, prototypes became a bit more refined. Drawings were still on paper, but the design was taking shape – it seemed possible for us to make a flashlight here in the USA.

It would be unlike any on the market.

By June of 2013,  paperwork was filed to officially become Fraz Labs as well as the first patent (Number 10,121,576 Pressure based, mechanical amperage control engine for an electronic device). Rounds were made to most local machine shops, and we even dropped in at the Haas Outlet here in Little Rock for some advice.

Early prototypes of The Big Nugget 26650 and 26350

We finally got a machine shop to produce our first flashlight!

A Crash Course In CNC Machine Maintenance
A Crash Course In CNC Machine Maintenance

The Qzark was born and officially manufactured here in Arkansas in 2014. By 2015, it was clear the two of us needed to figure out how to make the flashlights ourselves. We sat out to talk to anyone we could in an attempt to gain insight, including multiple business incubators and accelerators. No one offered any helpful advice. 

Finally, in 2018 we caught our lucky break.

Standing nervously in front of a Tormach CNC lathe and mill owned by a program called A-State Innovate, we started our journey of manufacturing the most complex simple flashlight ourselves (in a shop two hours away from home).

A-State Innovate Garage, circa 2019

Fueled by the words of those who thought we would never succeed, along with copious amounts of energy drinks, we pressed onward.

A few scrap parts with the Tiny Nugget 18650

A quick Google search taught us how to turn on these machines. Over the next few years it taught us feeds, speeds, tooling, coolant, chip gall, CAD, CAM, tool holders, fixturing, tool pathing, machine maintenance, along with LED technology, reflow soldering, PCB design, and electrical pathing. 

We failed a lot. It taught us to fail better. 

Major modification followed, with multiple new prototypes being created each trip. Instead of fixing problems with more parts, we chose less. When something broke, it became over-engineered. Instead of embracing things like ‘soldered wires’, they were eliminated. This led to another patent, as well as the current design still seen today. 

Look Ma, no wires!
The world's first 'wireless' flashlight.

Planned obsolescence isn’t in our plan. Ever. 

From raw materials to functional parts, this is what we make here in Arkansas

Our vision remains very clear – we want to make the most durable, most functional, yet simplest light on the market. One that will offer any brightness level the user needs, while being passed down through the generations. Better yet, we want to make it here in the United States. So far, the two of us have been able to make this happen with lean manufacturing and constant innovation. 

We truly hope you enjoy the products of our persistence.