Coil Building for Beginners
If you're looking to chase enormous clouds, this guide's for you!
Vaping is such a deep rabbit hole. Because it is a very personal experience, many vapers experiment their way to get the best hit, sensation or vapor out of their devices. If you’ve just started vaping, you’re probably already happy with what your disposable cigalike or vape pen can offer you. But as you work your way more into this kind of hobby, you’ll find that tinkering around with coils could bring you a more personalized satisfaction.
Building your own coil is an inevitable destiny for serious vapers. If you have considered experimenting with your own e-liquid at one point, then there’s a good chance that you’d pretty soon look for coil building kits or start purchasing materials so you can blow big clouds or get your preferred hits. It is actually a fun and rewarding hobby, but coil for building is not everyone and especially not for beginners. But if you’re at that point where you’re ready to learn more about what coil building can bring you and you have familiarized yourself with all the safety precautions, then you should be good to go.
Why Would You Build Your Own Coils
For the uninitiated, building your own coils may seem like a total waste of time and money. After all, why would you want to build your own coils when you can purchase ready-made ones, right? Those products should already allow you to vape without going through hoops and loops of coil building.
But the thing is, going through hoops and loops is what makes it a fun and rewarding activity. Most vapers who DIY their coils agree that building your own coils will allow you to:
- Produce bigger, fluffier vapor – building coils at lower resistance (sub ohm vaping) will allow you to produce bigger and fluffier clouds. These coils are often specifically designed for cloud chasing.
- Customize the device to your vaping style – the built of your coil can have profound impact to your vaping experience. You can customize your coils so you can enjoy specific hits and sensation while vaping.
- Save more as building your own coils is less expensive than atomizer systems – purchasing coil building materials will allow you to build numerous coils out of it, therefore proving to be a more cost-effective option if you’re likely to be building more coils in the future.
What do you need to build your own coils?
You can get most of the required materials for coil building from your local vape shop or order them through Amazon. Furthermore, there are stores that carry coil building kits that contain the essential items to complete this activity. However, you will need the following to be able to start building your own coils.
- Your preferred RDA
- Preferred wicking material (organic cotton, Ekowool, silica, stainless steel mesh, stainless steel cable) – we are using organic cotton for this example
- Resistance wire (eg. Kanthal wire, Bakero Wire, Nichrome) – we are using Kanthal resistance wire for this example
- Ohm’s reader
- Butane/propane torch
- Ceramic-tipped tweezers or forceps
- 2mm screwdriver or drill bit
- Preferred e-juice
Now that you have all the required materials, you should be ready to start building your own coils. But before you proceed, you need to understand that coil building is not for the faint of heart and especially not for those who pretend to know everything. This is a serious matter and it can be potentially dangerous especially if you don’t have an Ohm’s reader to check the resistance of your coils and the suitable batteries in your device. If you go beyond the operating safety limits of your device, you run the risk of having a vape that could potentially explode in your hands or face or cause damage to your property. Please be properly guided when you’re building your own coils for the first time (and for the subsequent times). Safety can’t be overstated. Please don’t take it for granted.
Steps to Making Your Own Coils
Given that you’ve already acquired the materials and took note of the safety precautions, you are now ready to proceed and build your first vaping coils.
Oxidizing the Wire
Oxidizing the wire is the process wherein you heat the wire to reduce its springiness and allow the wire to become more flexible and conducive for wrapping. The first thing that you’ll have to do is cut the appropriate length out of your wire. Most experts would readily cut at 3 inches, but as beginner, you’d want to give more room so you can hold the wire better. Cutting at 4-5 inches should work for you.
Hold the wire at one end with your ceramic-tipped tweezers. Light up the torch and carefully and slowly run the wire through torch until it glows. Hold the wire at the other end and repeat the process. After which, you should find the wire to be less springy than when it was not heated.
Types of Resistance Wires
Kanthal Resistance Wires - now, there are different types of resistance wires, but the most commonly used is the Kanthal wire. Kanthal wire has also become the gold standard for most vapers because of its resistance and ability to tolerate heat.
Bakero Resistance Wires – these wires are newcomers to the vaping scene and they can get very expensive. However, a lot of vapers who have used Bakero resistance wires swear by its quality.
Nichrome Resistance Wires - while Nichrome wires are less elastic, they’re also a lot easier to wrap and work around with. Vapers who use nichrome resistance wires swear by its ability to quickly produce flavor and bigger vapor.
Wrapping the coil
The next step is to wrap the coil. There are two ways to do this: one with the help of tools like the 2mm screwdriver or drill bit and another is by using a Kuro Coiler.
For the first method, get a 2mm screwdriver or drill bit and using a tweezer, hold the wire near the handle of the screwdriver or drill bit. Hold the tip of the wire with your thumb and slowly wrap the wire around the drill bit. Continue to do this until you’ve reached 8 loops in total, while making sure that the loops stay close and tight next to each other and none of which are overlapping. Do not remove the drill bit from the coil.
The second method is where you use a Kuro Coiler. Using a 2mm Kuro Coiler, begin with inserting one end of the wire into the hole of handle, leaving around ½ inch to hold with. Bring the loose end of the wire around the coiler’s shaft and turn the top winding piece so that the wire begins to wrap. Count up to 8 loops. Be gentle when wrapping as too much pressure may cause for the loops to overlap. When you have done all 8 loops, gently remove the take out the top winding piece. Straighten the ends of the wire and remove the coiler and slide the coil into the drill bit or screwdriver.
Installing the Coils
Remove the build deck of your atomizer by loosening and taking out some screws. We don’t suggest taking out all of the screws as it’s very easy to lose them. Now get your wrapped coil and position and wrap one end to the positive post and the other end to the negative post. Position the coil into the center of the atomizer. After which, you can remove the screwdriver or drill bit. Return the screws and cut the lose end near the posts.
Testing the Coils
You are now ready to test your RDA and check for possible shorts. Screw the device to the Ohm’s reader. The reading should measure up to 0.2 Ohms of your target resistance. If it doesn’t display the target resistance (with 0.2 Ohms in allowance) or is not showing a reading at all, check the entire device for issues. It’s possible that post screws are loose; coils are in contact with the posts or deck or the atomizer isn’t screwed correctly to the reader. When these issues are resolved you should get the target reading.
Test Firing the Coils
After getting shorts out of the picture, you can now place your RDA into your mod. After which, you need to test fire the coils. Using the butane/propane torch, dry fire the coils, working your way from the center and outwards. When the coil glows, use a tweezer or pliers and compress the coil, applying just gentle pressure. Make sure you’re not holding the power button as you’re squeezing the coils. Repeat the process until the entire coil heats evenly.
The next step is to install the wicking material into your coils. While there are several wicks to choose from, most beginners use organic cotton. You’d want to take just the right amount of cotton so that it passes through the coil easily. It also helps to get the tip of the cotton wet to make the process easier and faster. However, if you don’t have enough cotton, only a small amount of e-juice could be absorbed and this could easily result to burnt sensation and dry hits. Cut the ends of the cotton at the right measurement (long enough to fold onto the deck). Drop a small amount of e-juice to wet your wicks and your device is ready for another testing.
Type of Wicking Material
Cotton – this is the most common and readily-available wicking material there is. It performs well with absorbency and is relatively easier to thread through the coils. Organic unbleached cotton is most recommended if you opt for cotton as your wicking material.
Silica – spun and twisted quartz, available in various lengths and diameters. Silica is glass and it does not ignite with a torch. Since silica is twisted, it can also be more prone to fraying.
Ekowool – this is silica that has been braided instead of twisted. There’s a hollow at the center of the braids. Some Ekowool come with cotton at that hollow center of the braid which helps facilitate wicking. It’s also believed that Ekowool frays less than silica.
Stainless steel mesh – these wicks are often used by vapers who use Genesis-style atomizers. It is composed of finely woven threads of stainless steel. While great, some vapers are concerned of this wick in producing shorts with their devices.
Stainless steel cable – this is a less popular option is often found in Genesis-style RBAs. While it wicks well, it can also be prone to fraying. And since steel is a conductive material, it may also produce shorts and hot spots in your device.
Test it Again
Installing the wicking material might have caused your coils to move so make sure to check that screws are tightly placed before proceeding with the testing. If there are no issues, attach the mod with the Ohm’s reader and check for resistance. It is expected to see slight changes in resistance (at +0.2 ohms or -0.2 ohms) but that’s a given. If the device registers the right resistance, you could now proceed with the most awaited part.
Put e-juice into your RDA, put the cap on and vape.
Once Again, Consider Safety!
As you can see, building your own coils is quite easy if you know a thing or two about electrical wiring, you understand the Ohm’s law and your device is built for the required resistance. However, don’t forget your own safety. As much as possible, educate yourself with the different techniques of coil building, learn from the experts and watch tutorials. Also make sure that you’re using all the right materials. Don’t forget to test! Testing is a very important of the process as it ensures your coils are built to the right resistance. Always proceed with caution.
Overall, many experienced vapers derive great pleasure in building their own coils. These coils represent their personality and style. But you have to bank on more experience and know-how before you attempt coil building just to be on the safe side. But once you get those covered, you should be able to build your own coils that produce just the right hit, sensation, vapor and flavors that fit your tastes. And all of these make coil-building worthwhile, and vaping, an overall pleasing experience.