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Blog

Keep up with the latest sales, discounts, news, product releases, and projects here on our blog. 

Project - Hasselblad XPan Lens Shade

Silent Thunder Ordnance

 Hasselblad XPan with our reproduction lens shade. Note the original lens cap function remains unaffected. 

Hasselblad XPan with our reproduction lens shade. Note the original lens cap function remains unaffected. 

For those not already aware, Hasselblad are the makers of some of the finest film cameras ever made. The XPan is a discontinued panoramic 35mm film camera, which is to say it uses the standard, or at least what used to be the standard, 35mm film however takes non-standard exceptionally wide (panoramic) exposures on it. In an era when 35mm film cameras are falling in value like rocks (take the Nikon F5 for example, arguably the finest pro 35mm film camera body ever made, they were over 3000$ in the 1990s and now can be had for an order of magnitude less), unusual gems such as the Hasselblad XPan are skyrocketing in price. 

 Hasselblad XPan with our reproduction lens shade.

Hasselblad XPan with our reproduction lens shade.

A friend of the company, and lucky owner of a few Hasselblads, came to us with an issue. The 45 and 90 mm lenses for the XPan each came with an usual lens shade. To my knowledge, the number of lens shades produced matched the number of lenses, they were never sold as after-market. Unfortunately the design was rather delicate and prone to cracking over time. Broken ones now are expensive, pristine ones even more so, and that is if you're lucky enough to even be able to find one. Could we precisely replicate the design? 

 The lens shade alone. Here you can see on the bottom left an embossed indexing mark for installation alignment. (same positioning as the original) 

The lens shade alone. Here you can see on the bottom left an embossed indexing mark for installation alignment. (same positioning as the original) 

It took a few tries, but as you may have guessed from the images the answer is obviously yes. We did up a couple, both in full opacity black polymer, using ABS for some and Polycarbonate Alloy for others. The shade matches the original design profile and style, and attaches via the original bayonet mount indexing off a small mark. Use of the original cap is even preserved. Why the two materials though? A function of lens shades isn't just to protect the lens from flare, but to protect the objective and the entire camera from bumps, scratches, and god forbid a drop. ABS offers a great finish, good impact resistance, and good durability. Polycarbonate Alloy however has EXCEPTIONAL impact properties and elongation at break. This makes for a lens shade even better able to mop up the odd bump and keep running. In both cases the bayonet mount on the shade is intended to, in the event of a catastrophic drop, act as a mechanical fuse, sacrificing the shade to absorb energy rather than transmit it to the camera mounts potentially breaking them. 

 Bayonet mount at the base of the lens shade. 

Bayonet mount at the base of the lens shade. 

And there you have it. Lens shade for an exotic antique irreplaceable film camera? DONE!

Scalpeldashi - Product Introduction

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 Our Scalpeldashi, seen here with copper or bronze composite handles. 

Our Scalpeldashi, seen here with copper or bronze composite handles. 

The unholy union between a scalpel and a kiridashi, the Scalpeldashi is a long running concept we've been slowly simmering. All sorts of different production technologies have been experimented with, the end goal being to keep the design beautiful and exotic but the price reasonable. This production run is available in an exotic copper and bronze composite. 

Schwag intro

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 STO arc lighter, custom scalpeldashi in copper w/ carbon fiber sheath, Eye of Sekhmet, 1858 black powder .44 caliber revolver

STO arc lighter, custom scalpeldashi in copper w/ carbon fiber sheath, Eye of Sekhmet, 1858 black powder .44 caliber revolver

Schwag, AKA branded merchandise. The world seems to be filling up with everyone's branded T-shirts, sweatshirts, beanies, socks, etc. We wanted to do something a little more gadget/EDC specific, a little more STO. Enter these two types of lighters. A fire source is an important part of any good EDC lineup. We offer not one, but two, different styles. Both are brass and offer a good sense of weight in the hand. 

The first is an arc lighter AKA Tesla lighter. This particular model offers dual arcs in an X shape. These things are fantastic because they charge off micro USB, and produce an extremely hot ignition source. To use simply flip it open, and depress the glowing blue button. 

 STO arc lighter

STO arc lighter

For those more traditionally inclined, we offer a kerosene (lighter fluid) based option as well. Initially we wanted Zippo brand lighters, the American classic, however we stumbled across these which we like a lot better. Instead of a thin stamped case and spot welded hinge, each half is machined from a solid brass billet. The hinge is integral, milled right in there with it. A small rubber gasket seals the lighter when closed, minimizing gas leakage, which is another major design improvement. 

 solid CNC machined brass STO lighter, custom FDE Convoy S2+, custom copper scalpeldashi w/ carbon fiber sheath

solid CNC machined brass STO lighter, custom FDE Convoy S2+, custom copper scalpeldashi w/ carbon fiber sheath

Lance of Ra vs. BLF Giga Thrower

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 Lance of Ra vs. BLF GT. Here you can see just how much heavier the GT is, sinking into the snowbank. 

Lance of Ra vs. BLF GT. Here you can see just how much heavier the GT is, sinking into the snowbank. 

We've gotten the question several times now: how does the Lance of Ra compare to the BLF Giga Thrower? Well our sample of the GT is finally in, so we can answer!

Performance: 
The BLF GT is about half the output of the Lance, our sample meters at slightly less than half the standard 2.6million of the Lance.

 BLF GT vs. Lance of Ra

BLF GT vs. Lance of Ra

Size: 
The short version is that the GT actually a pretty similar length and head diameter to the Lance. The Lance is slightly longer, however you can separate the battery tubes and use a pair of 18350s in the Lance to make it a hair shorter than the BLF GT if that is your thing.

 Very similar frontal surface areas between the two lights. Here you can see though that the reflector on the GT isn't perfect, it has a bit of an orange-peel texture to it. This probably contributes to why it has less than half the Lance's throw performance. 

Very similar frontal surface areas between the two lights. Here you can see though that the reflector on the GT isn't perfect, it has a bit of an orange-peel texture to it. This probably contributes to why it has less than half the Lance's throw performance. 

Weight: 
This is the killer here with the BLF GT. Without batteries a Lance is 1.165 kilos, thanks mostly to the hybrid head that houses an internal heatsink, but isn't entirely metal. The BLF GT is 1.775 kilos without batteries. If you figure an 18650 weighs about 45 grams, that makes the Lance 1.255 to the BLF GT's 2.135 kilos fully loaded. Almost twice the weight for not quite half the throw.

 With all those batteries, we're thinking a lumen-throw combo upgrade is in this GT's future......

With all those batteries, we're thinking a lumen-throw combo upgrade is in this GT's future......

And all this leads into our only major gripe with the GT. The tube diameter is a bit too large and tube a bit too slick to comfortably and securely wield such a heavy light. The battery numbers are also a little comical, if you figure 15$ per protected cell a full matched set of batteries for the GT cost as much as the pre-order price of the light itself, but that seems to be in keeping with the light's intentionally comical nature.

All in all, we think the GT has real potential as a host. All that power on tap, it seems like it is just begging for a major lumens upgrade. As an aside, the GT fits nicely in our large Hard Case.

*edit* 
For those who interpreted this post in a negative way, please understand we didn't intend it that way. We like the GT as it offers a lot of performance at a very modest price (about 1/5th the price of a Lance at its pre-order price, and about 1/2 the price of a Lance at its projected retail price). That huge battery capacity and thermal mass also mean it has massive potential as a host. We have plans for the GT. So fear not. We bought one, we know many of our customers who purchased Lances also got one. So far we think it is a great light, and that it is going places.

Storm of Ra Hard Case

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These are solid cases, robust, well padded, and weather tight. Each is filled with two tiers of pluck-able foam, and can easily fit a Storm of Ra with room to spare for batteries and a handgun, other optics, or whatever else you may want. The case is actually so generous it can, on the diagonal, accommodate a whole Lance of Ra, or horizontally accommodate an LoR with the battery tube unscrewed to half-length. The lid and latches open to firm detents, so stay open while you work with the contents. There is a pressure purge valve should you ever move from high to low altitude and wish to open the case. 

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Project - CZ455/KRG mag well

Silent Thunder Ordnance

 What did you think we were kidding when we said we were serious about precision shooting? 

What did you think we were kidding when we said we were serious about precision shooting? 

So we're big on precision here at STO, and this goes well beyond just lights. All of us shoot, and in the realm of shooting precision is also king. CZ, if you didn't know, isn't just one of the best values in firearms going, they're flat out just one of the best. In part, this is because they make their own cold hammer forged barrels last I checked. The result is an absolute tack driver of a system, but in this case let down by the factory stock. This gun started life as a CZ455 Suppressor Ready. The original American style stock was not well suited for precision shooting, both in its lack of consistency, and in its lack of adjustability for LOP and cheek weld. In the factory configuration, the gun hovered around or just over 1MOA factory at 100 yards. Some was the original stock, some was the little quirks/difficulties of shooting it like the original trigger. 

 CZ455 in a KRG chassis. With Lapua ammunition, the gun is effortlessly sub MOA. 

CZ455 in a KRG chassis. With Lapua ammunition, the gun is effortlessly sub MOA. 

A trigger job made delivering consistency easier, but really what the rifle needed was a proper chassis. Now here comes the disclaimer: everyone has their own preference for chassis systems. I personally prefer XLR Industries Evolution/Carbon over all the other options out there. Unfortunately, they didn't have a CZ455 inlet available, really there was just one option: Kinetic Research Group. Now I have the odd gripe about this chassis, but they do still have it where it counts: ACCURACY! After install, the gun went down to a consistent .5-.75MOA 5-10 round shooter at 100 yards. A real tack driver. Ever try to cold-bore an egg at >200 yards with no more than 10 shots on a .22? This gun makes people think it is easy... until they try it on their own rimfire. 

 The CZ455 Suppressor Ready with its factory stock and trigger. (optics and suppressor obviously not factory) 

The CZ455 Suppressor Ready with its factory stock and trigger. (optics and suppressor obviously not factory) 

So KRG it was. One of the major gripes though, and the subject of this post, was the magazine well. You'd expect it to use its own magazine system or interface seamlessly with the stock CZ magwell. Instead there was a frigging monstrous hole in the bottom of the rifle. When you want to insert a new magazine you either have to fumble around like a virgin in the dark, bumping into all the wrong things in a desperate attempt to get it in, or flip the gun over to change mags. This is slow, annoying, inelegant, and if you bang the nose of the top round into something hard with a corner you just got a flier. This is a problem that needed solving, clearly. 

 KRG chassis magazine well as they expect you to use it from the factory. As you might imagine, achieving insertion with this setup is every virgin's nightmare. 

KRG chassis magazine well as they expect you to use it from the factory. As you might imagine, achieving insertion with this setup is every virgin's nightmare. 

Just about everything starts with an idea, progresses to a CAD model, goes through a few prototype iterations, and then reaches its final phase. Why should this be any different? 

 Prototype of our flared magazine well insert. The white ABS shows every rub, scuff, and apprentice mark necessary to get it to fit which, while ugly, makes design adjustments for the next round vastly easier. 

Prototype of our flared magazine well insert. The white ABS shows every rub, scuff, and apprentice mark necessary to get it to fit which, while ugly, makes design adjustments for the next round vastly easier. 

We prototype with 3D prints all the time, this isn't news to anyone, but our reasoning for using white filament may be less obvious. You see, any time you're trying to fit something, there will be interference. Using white ABS means that, wherever something rubs, it becomes very obvious. Similar principal as to why you don't wear a nice white shirt in the shop. Turns out the front corners needed a little trim in order to fit. No problem.

 The final part, seen here in 20% carbon fiber reinforced nylon. The nylon has excellent chemical resistance, while the carbon does technically increase rigidity however in this application it really is just for sex appeal since the part isn't particularly structural. 

The final part, seen here in 20% carbon fiber reinforced nylon. The nylon has excellent chemical resistance, while the carbon does technically increase rigidity however in this application it really is just for sex appeal since the part isn't particularly structural. 

The corners tweaked, it was time to move to the final version. The issue becomes chemical resistance. ABS has somewhat poor chemical resistance, and firearms are notorious for having various aggressive chemicals used on them for cleaning and protecting. We went with 20% carbon fiber reinforced nylon, the nylon for its exceptional chemical resistance and the carbon fiber just because we can.

 Magazine well installed. Much much better. Note the front action screw is still accessible, a deliberate design choice. 

Magazine well installed. Much much better. Note the front action screw is still accessible, a deliberate design choice. 

And there it is, all grown up, so proud. The results so far have been excellent. The part is actually half friction half mechanical fit, no adhesives or screws required, just a little coaxing with something flat and your hand or a small hammer to tap-tap-tap it into place. The rear hooks under the trigger guard and the front rotates down and wedges in place. Mag insertion is now effortless, simply justify the rear of the magazine against the real edge of the magwell, allow the flare to guild the magazine into place, and slide until it clicks. 

 Magazine well seen here with magazine inserted. 

Magazine well seen here with magazine inserted. 

Have one of these CZ455-KRG setups and are suffering from the same problem? Send us a message, we can manufacture one for you. 

 And complete! What a joy this rifle is to shoot. While that can on the end may look large, it is a special design we developed in-house to be flow-through which significantly reduces backpressure keeping both gun (in semi-autos) and suppressor much cleaner, yet unlike OSS designs it doesn't make major concessions in volume. On this gun it is absolutely hollywood quiet, considerably quieter than SCO Octane45 or Omega. It was manufactured on an ATF Form1. 

And complete! What a joy this rifle is to shoot. While that can on the end may look large, it is a special design we developed in-house to be flow-through which significantly reduces backpressure keeping both gun (in semi-autos) and suppressor much cleaner, yet unlike OSS designs it doesn't make major concessions in volume. On this gun it is absolutely hollywood quiet, considerably quieter than SCO Octane45 or Omega. It was manufactured on an ATF Form1. 

Lance of Ra Soft Case

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 Lance of Ra, >2,600,000 Candela, and a beautifully fitting lens case. 

Lance of Ra, >2,600,000 Candela, and a beautifully fitting lens case. 

So you purchased one of our Lance of Ra lights. Congratulations, the longest throwing LED light on the market is quite the machine. But it isn't exactly small, how do you lug it around? One of our customers, James Abadi (who gave us permission to credit him by name), came to us with the perfect solution: a lens bag or more specifically THIS lens bag. 

We wanted to test it for ourselves before handing out this recommendation, and we're pleased to say that it is an excellent fit for both the original LoR and the current internal bezel style Lance (1.0 and 1.3 respectively). 

PROJECT - fixed blade EDC

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 Spyderco South Fork w/ customized IWB carry solution. 

Spyderco South Fork w/ customized IWB carry solution. 

We're big on EDC here, and big on cutlery, two things which should surprise nobody. The issue at hand is how to discretely carry a nice fixed blade such that it can be carried comfortably and drawn/sheathed quickly, easily, and without a risk of slicing anything. 

Simple enough concept. Fixed blades in their common kydex (or comparable) sheaths are a pain to carry IWB. And this is odd, because firearms in my humble opinion, are far and away the easiest to carry IWB. Knives though are just uncomfortable, difficult to re-sheathe, and you're always at risk of slicing one of those sexy love-muffins you have hanging over your belt from a few too many cheeseburgers. 

 All the hardware needed to mount a kydex sheath on an Aliengear backer. 

All the hardware needed to mount a kydex sheath on an Aliengear backer. 

So enter our idea of making a hybrid sheath carry system. We could have scratch-built this, but Aliengear stuff is so cheap and convenient we decided to start there. One hardware pack, two clips, and a large backer. For this grand experiment I'll use a personal favorite of mine, and one of the best screaming deals in the cutlery industry, the Spyderco - Phil Wilson collab: the South Fork. 

 Conveniently one of the mount holes for the Spyderco G-clip matches, so secure that first, adjust cant to your preferences, and prepare to drill the second mount hole. 

Conveniently one of the mount holes for the Spyderco G-clip matches, so secure that first, adjust cant to your preferences, and prepare to drill the second mount hole. 

Step one was easy. The existing "shell" mounts were in the correct alignment, and the sheath already had a mounting hole in a good location from it's use of the G-clip, so I started there. Now to make another hole to fit the other mounting screw and alien-green standoff spacer. Those standoffs are critical here because they allow you to space the knife up off the sheath. This gives you that critical distance you need to not only avoid muffin-slicing, but allow for easy re-sheathing of the knife even with your belt pressing it inward. 

 Pilot hole is drilled with an under-sized bit through the fastener hole from the back. This assures correct alignment. 

Pilot hole is drilled with an under-sized bit through the fastener hole from the back. This assures correct alignment. 

Positioned the sheath at the angle I wanted, and made sure the hole would clear the blade, before drilling a pilot hole from the back.

 Pilot hole has been drilled, and will act as a center for a larger bit that'll open the hole up to its final diameter. 

Pilot hole has been drilled, and will act as a center for a larger bit that'll open the hole up to its final diameter. 

Pilot hole from the back down, now use that as a center to drill the correct size hole in the front. 

 Full diameter hole has been drilled. 

Full diameter hole has been drilled. 

Tada, done. Just add another standoff and screw and it is ready to go. 

 Mounted. Knife on IWB backer? Done!

Mounted. Knife on IWB backer? Done!

Done. Seems like all that extra space on the side is just begging for a mount for a spare magazine. Either way though, I'm calling this project a success. Now the knife is comfy to carry IWB and can easily be inserted or removed form the sheath. The standoffs add a little thickness, and the extra leather above separates those love-muffins from the blade path. Took less than 15 minutes. You'll note I didn't trim the excess leather below. My thought is that this could be fairly modular. Instead of having a backer for every knife, as long as I have mounting holes in the sheath I can swap any knife I want onto the backer. Perhaps it wouldn't quite accommodate a Busse Battle Mistress, but a quick look suggests it'll happily fit an ASH1. Wouldn't that be a thing to add to the EDC lineup? 

 Looks to me like it is just begging for a mag carrier combo. 

Looks to me like it is just begging for a mag carrier combo. 

 Spyderco South Fork w/ customized IWB carry solution. 

Spyderco South Fork w/ customized IWB carry solution. 

Happy thanksgiving!

Silent Thunder Ordnance

 Storm of Ra >600,000 candela, 8000 emitter lumens, 6000 BEAM LUMENS, 4000K, translucent blue accents. 

Storm of Ra >600,000 candela, 8000 emitter lumens, 6000 BEAM LUMENS, 4000K, translucent blue accents. 

Happy thanksgiving everyone! From now through Monday we're offering a 15% discount site-wide. Enter the code ODDH88J at checkout!

Storm of Ra models have been restocked, warmer tints are now available, as are translucent blue accents (pictured below) which look absolutely killer at night. The last run sold through in a week, so get these while they're hot.