April 2016

Mad Wiener Mods brings art to mod building

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By COREY NOLES

For Zac Daab of St. Louis, Mo., maker of Mad Wiener Mods, the road from early plastic box mods to high-end stabilized wood mods has been one of art and hobby.

Mad Weiner Mods, named for Daab’s dachshund, Harold, are all Evolv Inc. DNA200-powered and sold only via private auction on Facebook. Each individual mod is one-of-a-kind and made from personally selected pieces of exotic woods stabilized with tinted Alumalite (a two-part epoxy resin) giving them an almost galactic appearance.

And unique is the way he likes it.

“I really have no desire to just crank out hundreds of the same box over and over,” he said. “I like working with the wood and being able to always look at it more as an artist than as an electrician. Wood is never the same, it’s more free to work with.”

An early enthusiast of the DNA200, Daab began putting them in devices in early June 2015 — with prototypes a bit earlier.

“I was impressed with its info, its power and the fact that it had a built-in balancing charger for a lipo battery,” Daab said. “Evolv also has excellent customer service. The EScribe software for the DNA200 makes it very customizable and unique to the industry.”

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“Sure, I could mass produce and make a lot more money, but for me this is about the enjoyment of the process,” he said. “I love watching a rough block of wood grow into a beautiful piece of technology.”

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As the DNA200 rose to popularity, so did the value of Daab’s Mad Weiner mods. Today his boxes are selling at auction for as little as $400 or as much as $1,200. All are auctioned through a private Facebook group with about 850 members.

Daab was first introduced to electronic cigarettes by his girlfriend, who is now his wife, in mid-2013 when she heard of “this Blu thing.” The couple visited a kiosk in a St. Louis where they purchased one to try out.

Never having been a heavy smoker, Daab wasn’t sure about the technology, but found it fascinating. Being an artistic individual with a passion for learning how things work, it was no time before mod building grew a hobby, then a business.

It was a clear plastic mod with LED lights using 14500 batteries that got him hooked.

“I saw them selling on eBay and thought, well, I could build those,” he said. “I built one pretty quick and it took off from there. I’ve never bought a device or even owned a tank.”

In November 2013, Daab launched Mad Wiener Mods, beginning with plastic enclosure parallel boxes. In a short time, he transitioned to making simple wooden mechanical mods. He enjoyed working with the wood, but an everchanging industry led him another direction.

“What people want in the vapor industry changes so fast,” Daab said. That’s when he began playing with aluminum enclosures, eventually building a line of parallel and series boxes that were sold through a handful of local shops.

Around that period builders were using a variety of chips in their mods. Daab researched a number of chips, but settled on the 120 watt Naos Raptor chip. The chip is similar to the 110 watt OKL2 used in HexOhm mods, he said.

The Mad Weiner 120 grew to be his most popular production model — and his last.

As time went on and Daab bored with making the same mod again, he discovered stabilized woods. He began learning about the process and looking for pieces to use in the future.

“Sure, I could mass produce and make a lot more money, but for me this is about the enjoyment of the process,” he said. “I love watching a rough block of wood grow into a beautiful piece of technology.”

For that reason, the stabilized wood mods became a labor of love for Daab. With 10-plus hours in hands-on labor in each device, he said he’s as attached to them as a painter would be to their own work.

“I wish I could keep them all on a shelf, but it’s not a cheap hobby,” he said, noting that the specialty wood often costs $100 or more on it’s own.

Such a hobby can also lead to many failures along the way. In 2014, Daab developed a 120 watt regulated box that ran dual tanks. He worked it for a while but decided not to move forward with it as a production model.

“I run the hell out of my prototypes — several never made the cut,” he said. “I like to have some time to work out the bugs before I make a decision like that.”

As far as what the future holds for Mad Weiner Mods, it’s still up in the air. Daab said he’s always looking for the next cool idea and to see what people are into throughout the industry.

“It’s always changing and everyone wants to be the innovator — like Henry Ford and car,” he said. “But, it’s about that time.”

For more information, check out Mad Wiener Mods on Facebook.


What’s he vaping?

Mad Weiner Mods DNA200 #1
CNC aluminum G+ enclosure
1300mah 35c 11.1v lipo

Velocity

Dual 22g coils at .31 at 90 watts
Vevo by Ritual and Lana by Pinup Vapors