Instructables
I drew inspiration from the sweet custom Mag builds made by members of CandlePowerForums.com and BudgetLightForum.com.  Some of the lights they build really make mine look workmanlike in comparison.  I encourage you head over to those forums and look around...heck, maybe even take your coat off, introduce yourself, and stay a while. 

If you're not so sure about building one yourself, but the idea of a custom Mag floats your boat, you'll want to check out Jayrob's XM-L Maglite sales thread on CPF!  Jayrob wasn't the first to modify Maglites with 10+ Watt LEDs, but he'll build you one exactly the way you want it.  Jayrob has impeccable feedback because he backs up what he sells 110% and he goes over every detail with you so you'll make an informed choice.  He has options for custom battery voltage monitors, superior reflectors, even a cut-down 1D stubby version--check it out!

Now, you budding flashoholic, you.   I bet you're thinking, "the good old Maglite is decent: they're made in USA, tough as nails, and they are fairly inexpensive here in the States."  Well, I would have to agree with you.  I practically guarantee this Mag build will put a grin on your face if you've ever owned or used what is the quintessential flashlight to so many.

With a modicum of skill, resourcefulness, and patience you can modify your incandescent or LED Mag with a Cree XM-L LED, turning it into a powerhouse flashlight capable of 1000+ emitter lumens, regulated output, and multiple brightness levels.  The great thing is it retains the familiar Maglite styling.  A majority of high-output flashlights these days try to sell tacticool features and hyper-militant styling and simply look tacky (pocket-shredding "assault crown bezels?").  The Mag design is timeless, practical, and the body makes it a great mod host (it's a big mass of aluminum).

Below: six-thousand word essay on real-world performance
 
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Hey, OminWrench8000, I did basically the same project over the course of the summer and posted a instructable on this project too! I look forward to seeing how yours turns out. I used an aspherical lens so I could achieve the "direct projection" effect of the LED Die. Check out my instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-Maglite-CREE-XM-L-Modification/
dchall82 years ago
Great start. I await the final product. Do you do anything to the original reflector so the LED will focus the beam better?
OmniWrench8000 (author)  dchall82 years ago
Thank you! I'll upload and annotate photos documenting the rest of the build shortly.

The original smooth incandescent reflector does a pretty good job once you cut off the cam so the LED can be focused, and it requires a slightly raised pedestal (~8 or so millimeters) so the LED can be properly focused. In my experience the incandescent reflector works much better with cool white tints than it does with neutral and warm white tints. A warmer tint XM-L (5000K or less) in this kind of reflector results in a flat yellow hotspot that does not resemble a Planckian black-body radiator (imagine the color of French's Mustard...).

The above beamshots feature a warm white XM-L. However, I used Mag's deep LED reflector for that particular build. It blends the warmer tint emitted at wider angles and the cooler light emitted elsewhere from the die. The tint is consistent throughout the beam and bears strong resemblance to an incandescent light source (~3000K), which is what my friend wanted. The deep reflector does not require much if any kind of raised pedestal for the emitter in order to focus properly; the focal point is approximately at the lip of the opening.

Hope that helps, but let me know if you have any other questions or if my explanations require clarification. Some ideas are difficult to summarize succinctly!