Building Your Own Vape Coils

What exactly is coil building? Bradley Norris, Assistant Manager of Vapestore Chichester, reveals all in this beginners guide to coil building, perfect for those who want to pick up the skill of building coils for vaping but don’t know where to start.

If you’re into vaping, the chances are you’ve heard the term ‘coil building’ but for many cloud chasers, coil building can seem like a dark and mysterious art. Fear not — we will unveil all in the following informative coil building guide and video!¹

Over to you, Bradley.

“The first thing you may ask is “why would you want to spend time building a coil when a tank has them prebuilt?”My answer to that would be why would you drive a manual car when an automatic version is available? Building a coil is something you might want to do to have more control over your vaping experience, giving you a more customised feel to your daily E-Cig. Doing so can also make it that much more enjoyable!

If you enjoy casually tinkering with things, then coil building will become a very quick, easy and fun hobby for you. Some coils can be created to retain a higher battery life, some can be made for pure flavour, some for BIG vapour, and then a mixture of these!

“Still, why build a coil?”Aside from the fact it’s extremely fun and customizable, you get a great feeling when you get a perfect build up and running and also if you build simple coils, it can cost you far less than buying prebuilt coils for say, a Uwell Crown tank.

A Uwell Crown costs approximately £8.99 for a pack of coils (The cheapest tank to run that’s enjoyable in my experience) and this pack contains 4 coils at the resistance of your choice.

A spool of A1 grade kanthal will cost you £3.99 for 30 feet and in most cases and this can produce roughly 20–30 standard coils and wicking cotton alongside that would cost you £2.99 for 10 sheets.

That’s a lot of coils for a combined total of just under £7! Building a coil can be much cheaper unless you look into playing around a bit more...

“What do you mean play around with coils more, aren’t they standard?”Technically yes, a coil of any design will give the same end result which is create vapour. You can look into doing more intricate builds such as a Clapton coil which, if you think of the top (thickest) string on a guitar, has a strand of wire with a thinner strand of wire wrapped around the outside for protection.

Well if you create your own Clapton coil (don’t use a guitar string) this will give you more flavour and more vapour.

The outside gauge (GA) of wire would be thinner thus heating up a lot quicker while the inside core of the wire will heat up slower giving you a large dense punchy cloud with an amazingly warm flavour.

You can also move on into the world of Fused Claptons, where the inside core is fused together with the outside GA of wire — pretty simple right?

Then there are Staged builds where you would have a specific wire (in this case a Clapton) and you would wrap the wire with an extra piece of kanthal next to it, this is also known as a Parallel or Staged coil. You would have created a staged Clapton or staged fused Clapton depending on what wire you have used.

There are also more intricate builds like Stapled Claptons, Twisted Claptons, Braided Wire, and all the crazy stuff you see floating around on Instagram. Professional coil builders can really make some crazy coils with a bunch of different wires and colours.

“Different wire and different colours?”With coil building, there is way more to use than basic kanthal in different gauges. Just to note if you don’t know already, the higherthe gauge the thinnerthe wire! You have access to an array of devices, RDAs (Rebuildable deck atomizer) and wire.

Certain types of wire can be used in Temperature Control mode which allows you to get a more personal vape, adjusting the temperature vaped at, rather than the wattage. Temperature controlled wires will be listed below with TC next to the name:

  • Kanthal A1 (Currently not TC)
  • Ti – Titanium TC
  • SS – Stainless Steel TC
  • SS316L – A purer stainless steel TC
  • Ni80 80% nickel TC
  • Ni200 Pure nickel TC
  • NiChrome (Nickel Chromium)

These are different types of wire available with different structures and compounds making them Hotter/Colder, Softer/Harder or are a much lower resistance. Some wire even goes a really pretty bunch of colours when you play around with them, stainless steel when you pulse them at a low heat tends to glow a very dark purple green and blue, amazing!

“I saw your build video and the coils weren’t as pretty as the ones I can buy”This is true. The video is intended as a quick demo on wrapping coils and it’s aimed at complete beginners. For my own builds, I have a build kit from UD which has everything I need inside to allow me to really make the coil look on-point. You’re likely to see this, and some prettier coils I’ve been able to really take my time on, in a video that delves into coil building on a more advanced level.

When you make your own coils you will be able to really take the time to make them look pretty if you so wish or simply leave them as they are wrapped, you will see the benefits first hand of making them nice and even.

“I’ve built a coil but what next?”So you’ve built a coil, nicely wrapped and sat in the RDA right? Providing you have clipped the excess wire off and there are no shortages, plus it reads well on an ohms reader, then you can pop it onto your device and start playing with it.

Set your wattage low so you can pulse the coil slightly and with your ceramic tweezers you can start to pinch them lightly (but don’t make contact with the tweezers while you’re pressing the button). As they pulse up and get warm you will be able to correct any imperfections in the coil here. Play around until the coil is heating up evenly both sides, and from the inside–out.

Then you only have to pop some cotton in! As a guide, I tend to use the standard Muji pads, available in store, and cut off a small section and then cut the tip at a slant, twist the slant and then feed through the coil, pop some juice on and it's ready to go.

Experiment with your build and which wattage you may need it on to run perfectly to your taste!

“What build do you have and what device and why?”Okay, I’m going to show off a little here as I do enjoy vaping a lot. I have multiple devices, I can use both regulated and unregulated but my favourite set up today (12th July 2016) is the Dotbox200 from Dotmod alongside a Petri V2 with a pair of staged fused Claptons reading about 0.1 Ohms running at 130watts. I have found these run at a low voltage (3.9-4) so a long battery life plus the vapour and ramp up speed on these are crazy — very warm and an instant vape which I haven’t personally found beaten yet in any other build.

I have also been using a simple 24GA build – 12Wrap parallel around a 3mm jig, in a Doge V3 by Congrevape sat on top of a Hexohm V2.1 with the voltage turned up ¾ of the way. This is my daily driver alongside the Dotbox.

So there you have it! This is a brief overview of why I build and why you may want to start building alongside some useful information.

“Where can I get all the items discussed?”Vapestore has everything you will need to start building of even for existing builders. If you’re new, I’d recommend a Doge V3 with a UD coil mate build kit and some 24GA kanthal. Watch the video below on how to create a parallel 24GA coil as this is a great start to vaping!

¹DISCLAIMER: Anything read in this article is for educational purposes only. If you decide to attempt any of the techniques listed below then you are doing so at your own risk. Always use a reliable Ohms Reader before putting a new build onto a device and make sure it corresponds with the lowest possible resistance. The ohms readout on a regulated box mod may not be entirely accurate, so please, think safety first!