Machined T6 vs. Cast Brass?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Eden Lights, Feb 22, 2008.

  1. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 805

    While I understand if your in a coastal environment the need for brass, but for us inland guys I don't see any advantage? Please educate me? I just can't seem to get excited about all this cast Brass/Bronze product when there are such beautiful machined T6 units available for even less cost. When I have a client with a taste and a budget for something better I prefer machined aluminum over cast brass myself, am I missing something? All the fixture features I like come with machined fixtures: sealed stems, glare control, infinite knuckle adjustments, and etc. I would love to keep brands out of this debate, but if you guys want to go there we can.
     
  2. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    while I am technically far enough inland to use Allum I do tend to favor brass and copper fixtures. I have seen some really stunning machined t6 and also machined brass latley but the price is higher than a casted fixture. I have on my desk a billet brass light that is like a surgical instrument but in my area its a hard sell.

    Eddie I will email you some other specifics.
     
  3. Chris J

    Chris J LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,808

    I will admit that that the majority of my installations have been of the marine grade aluminum nature even though I live in a coastal environment. This was mainly due to my lack of knowledge in the beginning years, and the non existence of a brass line from Kichler when I started out with them. I will say that now that I have the needed experience in coastal environments, brass is a much better option. The marine grade aluminum will last for an abundant time frame depending on several factors, but it will eventually start to bubble and oxidize after several years. On the other hand, it depends on how you want to look at it. Even though the finish may be oxidized a bit after 10 years or so, the guts of the luminary itself are the same as they will be in the brass model. As long as the lamp and the socket are in tact, then there is not a problem. The effect of the portrait will still be the same, and the luminaries will be hidden in most cases.
     
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    I have a "sample" allum fixture here... after 3 weeks in the yard with what i assume is a fair dousing of my lab Rangers golden shower the finish is already blistering. I think this fails my tests and will be discarded with the coke cans. I will take pics of it before it gets tossed
     
  5. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    Other than cost what are the benfits to aluminum?? That would be my question. Aluminum is not as corrosion resistant and does not have the value attached to it as brass and copper does. When you buy soemthing brass and copper you know it is going to be with you forever. There is also percieved value there. I just see no reason to buy aluminum other than you are putting in a cheaper product to help save you or your client money initially. Unfortunalty they will end up sepnding more to replace it over time. This is not something I see you doing eden, I am sure the T6 aluminum product you buy is of high quality, it is how you sell it. Guys are pushing crap aluminum all day to customers who belive they are buying "quality lighting products"
     
  6. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 805

    Thanks for the post Joey, There are a whole list of benefits of the quality machined T6 fixture lines over the cast products in a non-corrosive environment. I will post more when I get in tonight, but I have yet to see a quality cast brass product in the market, the Kichler 15384 probably has about the best tolerances that I have seen, but you can't get away with just using the 384 due to glare control issues. The cost is about the same for a quality machined T6 fixture vs. the mass produced brass fixtures out there once you add in a quality stake and etc. Joey I like the Unique line, but I just think it's a little overpriced when compared to a Quality machined T6 fixture. I look at your line a little different than most since I don't use the cheap pars to get the overall price down with the brass mixed in here and there. In my mind to sell a all Unique job, I have to use all brass Unique product and I also have to supplement your line with machined brass fixtures with glare control anywhere multiple viewing angles exist and when it all shakes out a all machined T6 fixture package is just as good for my environment and in my mind is of higher quality. I would still ask the original question? and I already posted some of the benefits of the machined T6 lines in the original post, do you really need more?
     
  7. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,933

    well I find it hard to belive there is not a quality cast brass product in the market. Maybe there isnt a cast brass product that has the glare control features you so desire but I can tell you it is hard to argue that our product is not quality. It is far supperior to Aluminum in many ways. I think you would need to use our line extensilvly before making the claim that you cannot produce very good designs with 360 angles. We do it everyday as do hundreds of customers around the country and world. That is why we provide lenses and hex louvers with just about all of our products, as well as fully adjustable angle cut shrouds. Sure sometimes you have to sacrifice one view over another but thats lighting design.

    Comparing price with my brass light and an aluminum light is like comparing apples to oranges, do those fixtures carry lifetime warranties, do they come with lenses in the box, quality lamps, wire leads pre crinmped, mounting options in the box, are you sure they will not corrode over time? It is hard to compare my lights to any aluminum light out there. But I do understand each person has different needs and has different taste and views. But I also know it is hard to generate a real true honest opinion of ones product line without really using it and giving it a real go with your best foot forward. And if cost is a concern why not look at our Copper Knights line or even our new Brass Knights line. Some would say that copper is better than brass and we make a very competitivly priced copper line with all the same benefits minus the life time warranty and the lens packs. Same goes for our spun brass line. But you still get great lamps, mounting hardware and stakes,as well as wire leads and high quality sockets.

    But this thread isnt about Unique it is about aluminum (T6) and its value and benefits and really I dont see many companies out there makeing a high end aluminum light for the average landscape lighting contractor. Maybe for the high end specifaction market but not for the average Joe. We try to cater to both and I think we have a pretty darn good product to accomplish this without needing to drop down to a less expensive and highly corrosive aluminum line.
     
  8. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Joey I know the line Eddie is speaking of. It is VERY nice for alluminum and I would not hesitate to use it when the situation calls for it. There is a bullet with a 360 shroud in there that is low profile and very clean looking. Its also avalible in brass. It is spec grade and it is priced in line with your brass but you spec the options you want.

    I do really like the unique line so dont get me wrong here but the line Eddie is speaking of is most definatly spec grade and of high quality. The price of it is on par with your quality products as well. T6 and your copper knights is pretty close but minus the leads... the brass and your brass is not far off either but again minus all the bells and whistles but you can spec thoes as needed or install on site.
     
  9. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 805

    Let's just talk about this because it is where most lines really fail us. Joey you know that no one around the country has a magic wand to take a fixture with a convex lens above the shroud as with your Pulsar and produce acceptable results it doesn't matter if you stack a dozen hexcell louvers in there the lens still causes unacceptable glare when viewed from all angles. I am not picking on Unique your just the only one here, but the spec grade world of machine grade fixture manufactures is kicking all the big boys tails in the catergory of fixture designs, how long is going to take for Kichler, Cast, Unique, Hadco, and etc. to provide the equipment that is necessary to follow the design principles that they all preach. As far as sacrificing one view for another I hope my competitors keep on believing the same as you because it is a walk in the park to educate a customer about good and bad lighting design.
     
  10. Eden Lights

    Eden Lights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 805

    Vision3, HK, BK, Kim, Lumiere, FXL, Hevi-Lite, and others all have a fixtures with a focus on various glare control options to completely eliminate design destroying glare.

    Even Vista has the new 2220 LS as a cast option for just a few pennies.
     

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