An Absolute Beginners Over the Shoulder Look at Building a Basic Coil
To be honest I saw the whole coil building thing as more than a little daunting and spent an age looking at You Tube instructional videos.
Anyway I eventually ‘did it’ with my first ‘build’ on the VaporFi Venom.
As I said in the review I had no tools at all but had invested in a small packet of pre-made coils that had cost me a couple of pounds.
Indeed the fact I had no tools of any kind [not a real man lol] meant I had to snip the ‘legs’ off my first ever build with my trusty old nail clippers.
Luckily I was able to get my hands on a Coil Master V3 Kit and since then things have got a whole lot better.
So as a complete and utter newbie to coil building here’s my over the shoulder guide to building your own coils.
My apologies in advance to any coil building professionals or purists out there – this is a complete beginners guide but please do chip in with comments below with any hints – tips or criticisms.
Why Build Your Own Coils?
Building your own coils will not only save you money in the long term but many vapers say it will also give you a far better vaping experience.
Think of it like bread – shop bought is OK but nothing beats home baked.
And as I know from experience it’s also extremely therapeutic as well as rewarding.
Sounds daft but I find the whole process of coil building extremely relaxing almost hypnotic and my mind [usually far too busy] goes quiet – quite Zen really.
And it is indeed rewarding as in you feel almost liberated from the need to feed your tank like a hungry baby bird but instead of worms an endless supply of expensive stock coils!
The other reward is the flavour and vapour.
You will not believe the difference between a stock coil inside a tank and a self-built coil inside a dripper or RTA – it really will blow your mind.
Coil Building Tools
You don’t need to rush out and buy a complete kit – though the Coil Master V3 is highly recommended – but you will need some basics to get the job done well and more importantly – safely.
To make things a whole lot easier you’ll need these:
- Wire snips
- Ceramic Tweezers
- Pen Style Screwdriver Philips/Flat-head
Most RDAs and RTAs come with that ‘little blue screwdriver’ or hex tool but it’s always useful to have a few more 😉
Some folks say you need a ohm reader and of course if you can afford it get one – if not you can of course use your mod to check the coils.
There’s a big difference between the stock coils for your average tank and stock coils for drippers and RTA’s.
You’ll find most vape shops – online and bricks and mortar – sell them in their various guises.
You’ll also find them for sale on social media – twitter for example is a great place to hunt out the very best pre-made coils with @chris1grimes a guy who seems particularly popular with some of the reviewers out there.
And whilst some ‘purists’ will say that coils supplied with RTAs and RDAs are not so good – the fact is it’s a great way for you to see if this style of vaping is for you.
Take the much loved Aspire Cleito for instance the original and indeed the 120 – Aspire offers a compatible RTA as an extra with a ready-made pair of Clapton coils included.
I just got my Cleito RTA kit – as I adore that tank – and can honestly say the included coils are superb and have breathed new life into my vaping experience.
I’m definitely looking forward to stepping up to the Cleito 120 in the near future.
What’s a Clapton coil I hear you say?
Before we do a quick build your own basic coil run through – let’s look at the incredible amount of coils available to us lucky vapers.
Complete Guide to Coils and Vaping
First up the various wires:
- Stainless Steel – Longer lasting with good overall performance. Can be used in both wattage and TC modes (The latter on compatible mods)
- Kanthal – The perfect choice for beginners being easy to work with and only used in wattage mode.
- NiChrome – Again only to be used in wattage mode – apparently it has a quicker ramp up time meaning it heats up quicker.
- Ni200 or Nickel – Heats extremely quickly. For temp control vaping only.
- Titanium – Apparently gives the best flavour as it heats quickly and cools fast. Again for TC vaping.
What Is The Best Wire For Building Coils?
- Clapton: a round wire which is wrapped with a higher gauge wire
- Fused Clapton: a Clapton but with more than one core
- Staggered Fused Clapton: this is two spaced Claptons held together with another wrap
- Staple Coil: up to 10 ribbon wires stacked together before being wrapped with a higher gauge
- Tiger Wire: a round wire which is twisted with ribbon wire
- Alien coils: quite a confusing one this lol – it’s like a fused Clapton but with the weaving effect created by using a pre-made Clapton! Yeah I know confusing to you and to me – but they sure look pretty.
There are of course very many weird and wonderful variations on these themes which the extremely skillful make themselves.
Where Can I Buy Pre-built Coils?
For the record I was able to buy this handy little set from GearBest which was great value for money and included such coils as tank track and hive!
Building Your Own Coil from Scratch
OK and for this over the shoulder piece I’m going to assume you have at least a Coil Master kit.
Remember this is just a simple coil – no frills and no fancy stuff and we’re looking at a 7 wrap coil.
So out of the Coil Master V3 kit you will need the:
- 24 gauge kanthal wire
- The 30mm coil jig – black with the corresponding number on the end
- The matching 30mm coil rod – out of the red block
- The coil master base
- Wire nips
- Ceramic tweezers
- Ohm reader
I generally snip off about 10inches of wire – as you get more proficient you’ll know how much to use.
You need to unscrew the top cap off the Coil Master base – thread the steel rod through the top and then screw back on.
Thread a couple of inches of the wire through the hole at the top so that it threads through the larger holes on the side.
Wrap the wire around the steel pole about a half turn and then stick on the 30mm coil jig.
At this point I like to hold the part we’ve threaded with my thumb and then begin the turns – in this case seven times.
Once the amount of turns you have chosen have finished give the freshly made coil a squeeze before removing the jig.
Trim the legs – leave one longer as this helps with adding the coil to your deck.
And there’s your coil!
Easy peasy – repeat as often as you like and experiment with number of wraps – size of the wire etc etc.
Using the Coil Master Ohm Reader
OK at this stage you’ll need to attach your coil to whichever deck you are building on.
I find the Coil Master ohm reader is a fantastic build base.
For the purpose of this ‘over the shoulder’ I’m using the Serpent Mini which is a single coil deck.
I find single coil decks so much easier to build on and wick and find they also give awesome flavour.
BTW if you’re interested in learning about ‘wicking’ your coils – I have to be honest and say I struggle with that aspect of ‘building your own’.
Therefore I throw the challenge out to one of the more experienced vapers among us to show you wicking techniques for a range of decks [phew!].
OK once you have your coil on your base – in my case it’s a simple velocity style deck.
I simply unscrew the little hex screws – insert the legs of our fresh coil through the post holes – then screw back down.
Once the coil is screwed in firmly you can use the matching coil rod [in this case the 30mm] to move the coil so it is directly over the airflow inlet.
It’s then a simple matter of screwing your build onto the ohm reader.
First check your resistance [click switch to the left] and in this case I’m getting 0.53 ohms which is a nice safe build.
What we’re looking for is a coil that glows from the inside out.
Switch the ohm reader to fire and begin ‘pulsing’ the fire button with gentle little presses – just two or three at first.
If the coil is glowing unevenly now is the time to grab your ceramic tweezers – use the ceramic as you may ‘short’ the coil whilst pinching and scraping.
As I’ve alluded to should you see hot spots or your coil isn’t glowing inside to out give it a pinch and a scrape and pulse until you’re happy.
Once you’re satisfied it’s time to wick that bad boy.
Pinch and Roll that Cotton
There’s a ton of different cotton out there including the one inside the Coil Master kit. Just make sure you use organic, unbleached cotton.
Cut a thin strip – pinch and roll gently and then crimp one end to allow it to pass through the coil as if you were threading a needle.
What you’re looking for is the cotton to move through the coil with just a tiny amount of resistance.
As a rule of thumb you trim each end enough to allow the cotton to rest just above the base of the deck.
However wicking is an art form and each and every type of deck has a slightly different way of ‘doing it right’.
And that as they say is pretty much that!
No more shelling out for stock coils – a completely different vaping experience and when done right the flavour and clouds are outstanding.
It took me four years to have a go at making my own coils and I have to say I dunno what I was worrying about.
I would like to thank MBKVaper from YouTube it was his brilliantly simple ‘How To’ video was the one that finally got me building – well worth watching [below].
Hope this extremely basic and simplified ‘How To’ piece has maybe inspired you to begin building your own coils – if I can do it trust me anyone can!