November 2013

3 Steps to Rebuilding Atomizers

By Joshua Workman

Once you’ve been around the vaping community long enough you’re bound to hear about rebuildable atomizers (RBA’s). When I first heard of them I scratched my head. I never thought I would have the need for such a seemingly complex piece of equipment. I thought that rebuildables only were for vaping pros. There is nothing more confusing to a new vaper then reading a forum post about rebuildables—indeed I believe that all the talk about the different methods of rebuilding actually may scare some of the newcomers away. However, once I took the time to build my first coil I realized how easy it is. Yes, you heard me right. It is very easy— especially if you are using something like a rebuildable dripping atomizer (RDA).

There are definite benefits to rebuilding, and it would be a shame if new vapers missed out on them. The flavor is amazing; I get more throat hit then I ever have before, and as I mentioned earlier they are very easy to manage. So, this article will focus on simplifying the process of rebuilding for new vapers.

I have broken rebuilding down into three easy steps for you. Remember that this is not an advanced build. Once you have built your first couple of coils and realize how simple it is you can start to tweak your build to your liking. First, we need a little prep work. Get everything on this list and lay it out in front of you. Do this on a table or surface that has plenty of room for you to work.

  • rebuildable atomizer (of course!)
  • pair of nail clippers
  • pair of pliers. Needle nose pliers work great.
  • paper clip, safety pin or nail
  • two-inch length of whatever gauge Kanthal wire you prefer. 32 gauge is a good place to start.
  • two-inch length of wick. Silica wick is good, but you can use cotton wick if you prefer.
  • screwdriver that fits your post screws. The small screwdrivers made to tighten eye glasses work really well.
We are going to jump right into wrapping a coil. Don't overthink the process. For this tutorial, we will be making a coil with four to five wraps of Kanthal wire. That should produce a coil with sufficient resistance. Take your wick and fold it in half.

Then take your safety pin and place it right next to the wick. This gives you something hard and stable to help you wrap your wire into a tighter coil. Take your wire and tightly wrap it around four to five times. Make sure to leave some wire on either end of your coil so you can attach it to your atomizer. Once the coil is wrapped to your liking, pull the safety pin out from the middle of your coil and pull the coil a little tighter around your wick, using the pliers if needed. Make sure each wrap in the coil is generally the same size (emphasis on generally!) and the spacing between them is even.

Next, attach the coil to the posts of your atomizer. Unscrew the posts of your atomizer and wrap one end of your coil around one post and tighten it down.

Then, do the same with the other end. One trick that might help you secure them is to start wrapping with the direction that the post screws back in. When you start to screw in your posts you will notice that it will pull the coil tight against them. You do not want excess space between your posts and your coil. Also, it does not matter if you have extra wire sticking out. Once both ends are secured on the posts you can clip the excess wire using the nail clippers. Some people like to wait until after they test fire it to clip the ends. This gives them a little extra coil to adjust with if needed. However, since you can clip your wick to any length you wish—this really is just a matter of personal preference.

The last step is to test fire and tweak your coil. If you have an ohm reader this coil should be roughly 2.0 ohms, depending on what wire you used and how tightly you wrapped it. Don't worry if yours is off—as long as you are close to that mark it’s going to be fine.

Now screw your RBA onto your mod and fire it at a medium or low voltage. You should see the coil heat up and turn red. This is expected, however do not hold your fire button down for too long. You only want to hold it down long enough to verify that it is firing properly. Also pay attention to how the coil is heating. You know you have wrapped a decent coil when the coil starts to turn red in the middle and then radiates outward toward the posts.

If your coil is turning red somewhere else along the wire then you may not have wrapped that section evenly or one side may be looser on the posts than the other. If that is the case then all you have to do is gently tug the coil with your pliers until it is even begins to heat from the middle outward. If your coil is not heating then the coil is either not making contact with both posts, or the resistance of your coil is too low for your device. Either secure your coil to your posts again or add another wrap to your coil. More wraps equals more resistance. Last but not least, pick up your favorite juice, fill or drip, and you are now ready to vape!

That wasn't too hard was it? Most vapers that use rebuildables start with simple coils that get the job done. Once you get comfortable with wrapping coils like this you can look at building some more advanced coils. There are as many ways to wrap a coil as there are people out there wrapping them. So go wild—and while you’re at it, don't forget that any technique that you grow to love is worth sharing with others. I personally love trying new builds and seeing how it improves my vape experience. But don't forget that new vapers need a simple place to start.

Try not to scare them away from the fun and rewarding world of rebuildables with too much complexity right off the bat. Let everyone start where they want to, and remember to be available as a source of knowledge and insight to those who want to move forward a little bit faster and further than the rest.