For anyone that’s browsed some of our DIY vape resources, it’s well-known that we don’t generally recommend that brand-new vapers dive right into DIY rebuildable vapes. But with a solid foundation of vape experience, plus a thorough understanding of DIY vape safety and techniques, customizing and rebuilding vapes can be an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
Does this mean that you should start experimenting with homemade coils, vape hacks, and other DIY projects without learning how to build a vape? Definitely not. Odds are, you’ll end up wasting money on some seriously disappointing builds – and potentially exposing yourself to unnecessary risks.
But don’t worry, because we have you covered. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know about DIY rebuildable vapes for beginners, including:
- Benefits of rebuildable vapes
- Different types of rebuildable atomizers
- Rebuildable dripper atomizers (RDAs)
- Rebuildable tank atomizers (RTAs)
- Supplies for rebuildable vapes
- How to build a vape
With this guide in hand, you’re ready to elevate your vape experience to a whole new level – so let’s get started.
Advantages of DIY Rebuildable Vapes
Vapers that prioritize convenience above all might not be interested in DIY vapes, and that’s totally understandable. But for the vaper that wants a different kind of vape experience, a DIY rebuildable vape atomizer is a great option.
Some of the perks of a rebuildable include:
- Impressive customization capabilities: Do you enjoy making precision-level adjustments to your device in order to perfect your vape session? Standard vapes offer various options that allow you to dial in your desired settings, including temperature, voltage, and more. But when you’re working with a rebuildable vape, customization is possible from the very beginning.
- Premium quality: Rebuildables can be a good way to enjoy a first-class vape that you’ve made your own. Aside from overall quality, many DIY vapes also deliver improved flavor and cloud production – which is always a win.
- An initial investment that segues into long-term savings: If you have a very limited vape budget, you might be hesitant about purchasing all of the supplies needed for rebuildable vapes. However, it’s helpful to know that the initial cost can be expected to pay off in future savings. Instead of having to purchase replacement coils on a regular basis, you’ll already have the supplies on hand to make your own.
- A fun hobby: Many vape enthusiasts find that DIY vapes end up being a hobby, not a chore. If you like creating things, building, or even just learning new skills, a rebuildable combines those interests with vaping.
Disadvantages of DIY Rebuildable Vapes
In terms of downsides, rebuildable atomizers really don’t have many.
Depending on your preferences, these so-called drawbacks might not really matter:
- There’s a learning curve: In order to craft a top-performing DIY vape, you’re going to need to spend some time learning basic rebuilding skills. If you’re not someone that has that time (or you just don’t want to spend your time studying up on vaping), rebuildables might not be for you.
- It’s not the same as “plug and play” vaping: When you use pre-made parts, replacing a coil is as simple as taking out the old one and putting in the new one. But rebuildable coils do take some time to assemble and prepare. Granted, a rebuildable only requires about 5-10 minutes (once you’re experienced), but it’s something to keep in mind.
You might be thinking that these DIY vape disadvantages don’t really sound like negatives at all. In that case, a rebuildable is probably a perfect option for you.
Types of Rebuildable Atomizers
Before you can start building your own vape, you’re going to need to buy the basic supplies. And the very first – and most important – component is a rebuildable atomizer.
What is a Rebuildable Atomizer (RBA)?
A rebuildable atomizer (“RBA” for short) is a vape atomizer specifically designed to be used with DIY vape coils.
Rather than using the “drop-in” (pre-made) coils, you can purchase from your favorite vape shop, you’ll literally be building your own coil. Once you’ve finished wrapping a coil, you’ll then attach it to the RBA system and add your selected wick.
Think of RBAs as a general category of atomizers. There are two main types of RBAs: Rebuildable dripper atomizers (RDAs) and rebuildable tank atomizers (RTAs).
What is a Rebuildable Dripper Atomizer (RDA)?
RDAs are typically a favorite among vapers that consider themselves to be “cloud chasers.” In their pursuit of the biggest, most voluminous vapor clouds, these vapers often turn to RDAs.
An RDA has two key components:
- A build deck
- A top cap
There is no e-liquid reservoir on RDAs because you will be manually dripping your e-liquid onto the wick (via the drip tip) every two to three puffs. To some, this might seem like a complicated method of vaping, but to others, it’s the ultimate cloud creator. As squonking makes a major comeback, RDAs have seen a resurgence in popularity once again.
The majority of RDAs are made using a squonk 510 pin (also called a “BF pin”). This pin is constructed with a hollow pass-through, where e-liquid can be pumped through. It can be paired with a specialized squonking box mod, which has a built-in reservoir and internal e-liquid bottle. You simply squeeze the bottle to saturate the wick with e-liquid to use a squonk RDA.
According to RDA devotees, the positives of an RDA include:
- Unparalleled vapor production
- The option to easily change up flavors/e-juices
Some vapers might consider the downsides of RDAs to be:
- The constant need to manually drip e-liquid during a vape session
- Having to carry around an e-liquid bottle in addition to a vape device
What is a Rebuildable Tank Atomizer (RTA)?
Rebuildable tank atomizers (RTAs) are generally the most popular option as a whole, mainly because they are a tried-and-true design.
An RTA is a rebuildable atomizer that has a build deck situated inside its tank. It is used with rebuildable coils, which you wrap yourself. You don’t need a special box mod to use an RTA, and there isn’t any manual e-liquid dripping involved. Instead, you’ll have an integrated e-liquid reservoir at your disposal. In most cases, RTAs offer a fairly modest capacity; many models fall somewhere around 5-8 mL capacity, but there are mega models that can hold up to 30 mL.
No RTAs are exactly the same, so proper wicking can take some practice.
Fans of RTAs rave about RTA benefits such as:
- Exceptional flavor
- The convenience of an e-liquid reservoir
Drawbacks of an RDA might include:
- A small difference in performance quality when compared to an RDA (minimal if at all)
- Slightly more complicated to build, since there are more parts involved
What Supplies are Needed for Rebuildable Vapes?
Are you ready to dive into the world of DIY rebuildable vapes? Get ready to learn a lot and totally transform the way you think about vaping – but first, let’s get you set up with all the supplies.
Some of these rebuildable vape supplies are essential, while others are optional add-ons that can make the process easier or offer a better final product. So, depending on your preferences and budget, shop accordingly.
First and foremost, you’re going to need vape coil wires. There are a virtually endless variety of wire options to choose from, which is both a benefit and a challenge. It allows you to select your favorite material, but it can be a bit overwhelming for a new vape builder.
Types of vape wire include:
- Nichrome (Ni80)
- Stainless steel (SS316 or SS316L)
Kanthal tends to be considered the all-around “workhorse,” though some vapers feel it slightly alters flavor quality. If you have a nickel allergy, you’re going to want to stay away from nichrome and stainless steel – just a heads up.
The best metal type for vape wires is a matter of personal preference. In general, Ni80 wires are a good option for power modes; stainless steel is ideal for temperature-control box mods. Your budget will also be a factor.
Start small with a roll of 24-26g wire, so that you aren’t spending too much on a wire size that might not be your favorite. Once you figure out what you like (and what you don’t), you can stock up if you want.
Cotton will serve as the wicking material for your DIY vape, and you have no shortage of options available. Organic wicking cotton is usually the preferred option. Try not to overthink your selection too much, because finding one you love will be mostly trial and error. Although each product has some key characteristics, the general performance of each is very similar.
A small pair of angled wire cutters are ideal for a rebuildable because they let you easily access wire on the build deck without hassle.
These aren’t a necessity, but they are definitely a plus. You’ll use ceramic tweezers to form even, neat coils and remove any hotspots. Some vape tweezers included a special section that makes it simple to grip a lodged atomizer without causing any damage.
Again, this isn’t a required item – but most vapers would say it might as well be essential. You can use other methods for forming a coil, but a coil jig kit is going to make rebuilding much easier and more efficient.
Many regulated mods already detect and display the ohms/resistance, but a meter can still be a handy tool to have on hand. They are designed to read coil resistance, and some models have the ability to fire a new build to find any potential hotspots.
Rebuildable Vape Kits
There are also full kits that are designed to equip you with all of the basic tools and supplies. These kits can offer a good value for your money, and save you some time and effort.
How to Build a DIY Vape
You have all your tools and supplies, so now it’s time to build and install your coils.
- Preparation is Key.
Collect all of your supplies, and set them up on your work surface. Clean your RDA using warm water, then dry it. Get it screwed into the ohmmeter (it should be turned off), remove the top cap and post screws (set them aside in a safe spot).
- Build the Vape Coil.
A good guideline for your first DIY coil is to make 6-7 wraps around a standard, 3 mm coil jig. This will work for most RDAs.
Use your wire cutters to snip a single wrap of coil wire from the spool, which should be just the right amount for the building. Assemble the coil jig using the 3 mm rod, then place one end of the wire inside the jig’s hole. Make sure you have some extra wire coming out of the hole on the other side. Replace the top cap, then rotate it 6-7 times. Remove the top piece and gently remove the coil, flipping it around and using your jig to straighten it as needed.
The position of your leads (on opposite sides or on the same side) should match your RDA’s requirements. You’ll notice that most single-coil RDAs require leads on opposite ends, but be sure to double-check yours.
- Install the Coil.
Now, insert the leads into the RDA’s post terminal holes. Shorten them if needed, leaving the coil on the jig’s rod to maintain its shape. Then, screw in the post screws to create a secure connection, and trim any excess wire from each lead. Once you’re sure the coil is even, you can remove the bar.
- Check for Hotspots.
Using your ohmmeter and ceramic tweezers, fire the coil until it glows red/orange. Gently strum the wire to eliminate any hotspots.
- Cooldown the Coil and Add Your Wicking Material.
Allow the coil to cool, then get your wicking cotton ready. Roll it up between your fingers to firm a point, then put that pointed end through the coil. “Floss” is back and forth to make sure it’s secure, but not too tight. Finally, fluff up the cotton and trim off any excess for a clean fit. Tuck the ends in (tweezers are perfect for the task).
Now, saturate your cotton wick so you can give your vape a try. Fire it up and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Get Your Vape Necessities from DIRECTVAPOR
Whether you want to venture into a DIY rebuildable vape atomizer or stick to your trust box mod, DIRECTVAPOR has the top-quality products and leading vape brands you want and need. Shop our website to find all your favorite vape products today!
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