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Following up from the previous article in rebuilding, this article will cover the essential equipment/material required to make a beginner level rebuilder's tool kit.
I will not look at the whole arsenal of tools available for rebuilding, but rather the required essentials to get you started.
One of the most essential materials required to rebuild is wires. Your coils will be made with this wire.
Generally the most common type of wire used in atomizers is Kanthal. Kanthal comes in different gauges (diameter), generally referred to by AWG.
The higher the number before the gauge, the thinner the wire is and higher the resistance. For eg: 28 AWG wire is thinner than 24 AWG wire and has a higher resistance.
The most commonly used one is 28 AWG. It's relatively easy to work with and has a decent resistance when coiled.
So what should you get first? If your using Protanks or Evods or other bottom coil head type tanks, then 30 AWG is your friend. If you have true rebuildable devices such as Kayfuns and Taifuns, then 28 AWG is better. If your mostly into RDA types, thicker wire is best (26 AWG or lower).
These are my personal preferences and you have to experiment with different gauges to decide which fits your requirements better. Given the cheap price of a spool of Kanthal, I recommend getting a few spools in different gauges.
For starters, invest on a 28 AWG spool first. It will never go to waste!
Before the days of cotton, silica was the preferred material for wicking. As the vaping game has progressed, the popularity of silica has also reduced... only to be replaced by a material far superior: organic cotton.
In my experience and from what I've read online, organic cotton provides a good rendition of flavors in your juice. The flavor is crisp and saturated and hands down ages ahead compared to silica.
For a beginner tool kit, this is the second most important material. Organic cotton also has many variations to it.
Some are just marketed in weird names and brands with a high price tag promising all sorts of miracles. Make sure to stay away from these and go for a good packet of organic Japanese cotton. A pack of about 200 sheets should run you about $10 and should last you for a long, long time.
Organic Japanese cotton may appear to have brown spots on it, but fear not. It only means that it has not been bleached with any chemicals which otherwise makes it pure white.
Tools - coil building rods
From here on, it will be the tools that you need to rebuild - the basic tools.
A coil building rod is basically a small metal rod, around 2-4mm in diameter. You use this to wrap your wire to make your coils. They also make it easy to hold your coils while you mount them on your atomizer.
These usually come in kits and can be purchased fairly cheap. In a kit, you'll get a series of rods in different diameters so you can make all sorts of different sized coils.
These aren't essential as you can easily use a small precision screwdriver to match the diameter you want your coil to be.
There are even jigs that allow making perfect coils such as the Kuro coiler. But as I stated earlier, a small screw driver would be sufficient to get you started. Nowadays, you would anyway receive a tiny screwdriver with many rebuildable atomizers so spending extra for rods isn't absolutely necessary at this point.
If you are in a crunch to invest some time on rebuilding your coils, get a coil building jig such as the Kuro coiler as these will allow you to make perfect coils, with less effort in the shortest possible time.
I personally don’t use these jig as I strongly feel it takes away the joy of manually building a coil.
The wire cutters are for trimming your wires, especially when you’re done mounting your coils on to the atomizer. You will also use them to cut the wire from the main spool to length.
Like the rods, these aren’t also super essential, but having a dedicated tool for the task is always a plus in my books. The clippers are fairly cheap and can be picked up from many electrical stores for less than $2.
The alternative to this is your friendly household nail clippers. Like wire clippers, they allow precision trimming of wire easily, but you might find that at times its difficult to reach those tiny corners for the perfect trim.
Super sharp scissors
These I feel are super important. The reason being, once you wick your coil, you are required to make precise cuts away from your wick so that your rebuild job is neat and tidy.
I have seen many times where people use crappy scissors and find it difficult to make a one-pass cut from the excess wick. Eventually, it ends up messing up the placement of the wick through the coil.
If you don’t have one at home, invest in one. It should cost you less than a doller :) Go for a smaller one so that you will be able to reach those tight spots for a precision cut. Also ensure you use it only for cutting off excess wick as using it on other things (especially wire) would make it blunt pretty soon.
These are again not super essential, but a pair of Phillips and flat head precision screwdrivers will make your life a lot easier! And the best part is that they are very, very cheap.
You will need these while you are mounting the coil on your atomizer. Even though most vendors include a small screwdriver (matching the type of screws used in your atomizer) they are usually very small and at times difficult to work with, especially if you’ve got fat fingers.
You will use these mostly for building your coils as well, if you don’t have a coil wrapping rod set. I have been using these for a while now and have not had the requirement to purchase a wrapping rod set. I also use them to tuck in the wick materials into the deck of my atomizers and also to make fine adjustments to the final coil.
Resistance meter (aka. Ohm meter)
This has got to be the most important tool of it all! If you’re an experienced builder or just starting out and you don’t have one of these yet, go out and get one of these!
If you know how to use a multi meter, you could use one to check the resistance of the coil you just built. But it’s a bit messy as the coils you would be working with are usually small.
There is plenty of ohm meters specially built for vapers and they cost around $10 or less. These allow you to check the resistance of the coils you build, after you mount them on your atomizers. So, before you plug your atomizers on your mods, you know exactly what resistance your coils are at. These little things will also give you an indication if your connections are secure or not, as they would not show a reading if the connections are not right, giving you an early indication that you need to get back into that atomizer and fix something!
In terms of safety and peace of mind, I strongly recommend investing in one of these. As you get experience building, you will know exactly how many wraps will give you what resistance, but still having an ohm meter will be an added safety net for any possible connection issue that you may not foresee.
This will obviously not eliminate all risks of shorts, so make sure you do enough research before going crazy with your builds.
As you can see, you could start a great rebuilding kit with an initial investment of around $30 or less. These things you acquire from this money will last you ages and provide you with endless options to customize your vape experience.
Thanks for taking the time to read through and I hope you were able to pick up something useful from this article.