Vaping is not all about the latest stock coils tanks that are released, sometimes you just want a little bit more from your vape that the stock coil cannot provide. You may be ready to move onto something a little bit more advanced, or you just want the best possible flavour from your Eliquid. No matter the reason, there is an answer, making your own vaping coils.
The first question you may ask is why make your own coils? After all, stock coils are so much easier to use, which you will be right in saying. Why go through all the trouble when you can just pop a new coil out of the packet and carry on vaping. The answer to that question is highly dependant on what you are after from your vape, but there are some very good reasons as to why people use their own coils rather than stock.
Why Make your Own Coils?
It is Cheaper
Straight away the price is a huge benefit to making your own coils. The price of a spool of wire and a bag of cotton is so much more economically better than buying stock coils every month. Considering an average price of a pack of coils is around £10-£15 depending on which type, that 6-8 weeks of vaping time could be as cheap as only a few pence.
Another very simple one , for all the types of coils that can be built, it gives you plenty of choice as to how you want to vape. You can use wire that gives you huge clouds, others are great with flavour, perhaps you want something low powered and long lasting, making your own coils gives you that choice and more.
This one is dependant on your own personality but many vapers who build their own coils find it more a hobby than anything else. Being able to practice and experiment, finding out which one works best, learn new things about coil types, all part of the experience. You can go as deep down the rabbit hole as you would like, the possibilities are endless.
Easier to maintain
Another huge plus point in making coils is that they are much easier to maintain over the long term, separating the cotton from the coil. Compare to a stock coil tank, once the cotton burns out, you have to change the coil entirely. With your own coils, this can be as easy as replacing the cotton. If you want to use high sweetened Eliquid that would normally be devastating on a stock coil, feel free to use it on your own coil. Once it gunks up, swap the cotton and away.
What is a vape coil?
A Vape coil is the metal that heats up when your mod is firing to vaporise the Eliquid on the cotton. The coil is essentially that, coiled metal much like a spring (without any of the elasticity) and is found in the base of your tank. When you fire the mod, the coil heats up, glowing red and the Eliquid soaked cotton then produces vapour, which you then inhale
The potential of the coil is measured in a unit called ohms, which is the resistance of the coil. The lower the resistance, the more power generally has to be used to heat the coil up. There are exceptions depending on what coils you use but generally that is the difference between MTL vaping and Sub Ohm (under 1 ohm) vaping. Sub ohm coils are less than the 1 ohm measurement and anything higher than 1 ohm is considered more suited to MTL.
The thickness is determined by the AWG (or American Wire Gauge) which is key to building exactly what type of coil you are after. The lower the AWG rating, the thicker the wire is going to be.
It is both the ohm rating and the AWG that determine what type of coil you are making.
Types of Coil Metal
This is the most common form of vaping coil on the market due to its versatility and easy to use nature. Most stock coil tanks will use kanthal as a material and it has been a mainstay in the industry since the birth of vaping. It is only to be used in Wattage modes which makes it somewhat limited. However this is the perfect first metal to use as you are learning how to build.
Another wattage only coil, Nichrome is quite popular with vapers who just want an easy build. It is similar to kanthal in that it is easy to build with and great for cloud production. The difference between the two is that it is harder to use nichrome and the resistance is much lower, meaning it has a quicker heat up rate because it does not hold its shape as effective. It means it is much easier to dry hit or burn cotton when not properly used.
The very first temperature control coil, Nickel is very straight forward to use and it has the fastest heat up time than any other coil commonly used. It is easy to build with and quite accurate when used in temperature control. The downside to using this type is that it is harder to keep shape and in rare instances, people found to have a slight allergy leaving them with a sore throat. However Nickel is the perfect beginners coil type if you are looking at temperature control only.
What was once used as a temperature control metal is now being widely used across the board. Stainless Steel (SS) is proving to be rather versatile with plenty of benefits. It heats up quickly, has great performance, cleaner vapes and easy to build with. It can be used in both temp and wattage modes making it a great all round coil.
The downsides to using it is the low resistance meaning that it is easy to build a resistance that can require a lot of power through it, so understanding is a must when using this type of coil.
The final metal on the list is the most diversive one due to the potential risk involved. Titanium is growing in popularity and even some stock coils are using it as it is ideal in both Temp and wattage type vaping. It is easy to build with, performs well and gives good flavour, everything you could want from a coil.
However the downside is that at high temperatures it has been found to form titanium oxide, which can be dangerous to inhale as you would expect. So a big word of warning with titanium, expert level knowledge is required to safely use this material.
The next thing you need to understand before you begin is something called Ohms Law. Ohms law is what will govern what exactly you are building and more importantly what the capability of your coil will be be. To begin, you need to know the following;
This is the resistance of the electrical current in your coil. Putting it simply, the lower the resistance, the quicker it will heat up and the higher the coil will go in terms of power.
The resistance determines the level of power that will be required to pass through. With this, you have to ensure that the resistance is not lower than what your battery is capable of producing to power it. If the resistance is too low, then the battery will struggle to match the required output and that could lead to some disastrous consequence.
Measured in volts , this is the difference in electrical potential between two points. Increase the voltage between those two points and you gain a higher energy output without using any extra power/charge.
The current, much like any other circuit is the flow of power through a given start and end point. The more current that passes through, the higher the power will be. This is measured in Amps, something you may have seen with your batteries.
In Maths, the ohms law equation is as follows
V=I x R
Or to explain a little better, Voltage = Amps x Resistance. This is the formula you will use to determine the coil you build and how capable your device will be at running the coil safely. It is always recommended to test your coils before using them so you can determine the right figures and keep yourself safe, especially when using a mechanical mod. Regulated mods have safety features built in which will prevent a coil firing if a problem is detected, so that makes them ideal for first time builders.
Types of Coil Builds
The next part in the journey is to consider what types of coil build there are. Over the years there have been many different types of builds that have been made popular, you have probably seen the pictures on social media. So even though we are looking at a simple build in this guide, let us take a moment to look at what different types of builds are out there.
This is the most common style of coil, otherwise known as a chimney build. It is essentially a vertical coil in your base that has proven to be very popular with stock coil tanks due to the improved airflow and wicking ease that it has. You can double up depending on your build deck but even a single coil will give good flavour and airflow. The downside to using this method is that you can get spit-back if not built with that in mind, meaning liquid spitting from the cotton.
What would be now considered the older method, horizontal coils are, as the name suggests coils that sit flat on the deck in a horizontal fashion. This was the staple build for years and it can still serve you very well due to the simplicity and the compatibility this style has with most rebuildable atomisers on the market.
Macro / Micro Coil
A Macro coil has an inner diameter of more than 2mm whereas a micro coil has a diameter of less than 2 mm. These are considered contact coils, tightly wrapped and varying on the size. T
Both Macro and Micro are forms of ‘contact’ coils, which basically mean they’re tightly wrapped, with each coil wrap touching those on either side of it.
How to build Coils
When first starting building, it is always advisable to fully understand what you are building with and taking into account all the resistance, coil type, gauge and ohms. Therefore it is ideal to use a calculator to work out the ins and outs of what coil you are making.
You’ll need the following tools:
- A length of Kanthal vape coil wire
- Atomiser of your choice
- A regulated mod
- A Coil Jig
- Needle nose pliers
- Wire cutters
- Ohm’s reader
- Small screwdriver (these are usually included as part of your atomiser kit)
It is worth noting that a mod that detects resistance can be used over an Ohms reader and a screwdriver over a coil jig, but for first time builders it is good practice to use the recommended items.
So the following will be a 1,2 ohm Macro kanthal coil, however if you want to build something different then the basic steps will be easy to follow with your desired coil type.
Step by Step
Cut the Kanthal wire to a nice length, ideally around 3 inches but a little extra can be cut off afterwards giving you a little leg room to build with.
Line up the wire on your Coil jig to the desired size, for example 2.5mm and press down to prevent the wire from slipping before you start making it. Then wrap the coil around the measurement keeping the wire tight as you wrap it around. Wrap it for a total of 6 wraps in total making sure that none of the wraps overlap with each other. Then using the pliers, give it a little pull to tighten it up further and to even the coil up a little bit more.
The next step is to loosen the screws in your pots on the base of your atomiser. Each post is connected via screws and list up each post once loosened.
Once you have done that, put each end of your coil into each post making sure to not have the coil touching itself. The posts work in the way of a positive and negative style, so the power will flow through the coil from one post to the other making the circuit that the current can flow through.
Once snugly in the posts, take a screwdriver again and tighten the posts down to ensure that the coil is tightly in place. Do not over tighten the coil as this can snap the wire much like your cutters would do. With the coil still in the coil jog, you can position the coil to the perfect place before you tighten the screws down.
Once you have tightened the screws down, remove the coil from the jig and you are done with the tricky side of building.
Next, put the base of your atomiser onto your ohms reader (or decent mod) and test the resistance of the coil. Hopefully it will be showing as the correct resistance, if not then you can always have another try building.
If the resistance is fluctuating then it may be a case of the posts not being tightly screwed down. Just give the posts another little tighten and test again.
Finally, once you have the resistance you require and everything is good to go then place it on your mod and fire it up. You will see the coil start to glow red as the current passes through the coil. Keep doing this until the whole coil glows, as you keep heating and cooling the coil, use the pliers to tighten the coil again as the coil is easier to manipulated as it heats up.
Finally once you have done that, it is time to wick the coil. Using your desired method, put the cotton into the coil making sure it is even and enough to suit the atomiser.
For more information on wicking then check out our wicking guide.
And just like that you have built your very first coil. It is as easy as that, nothing to it right?
Sometimes something doesn’t work as intended and it can be frustrating to see something go wrong with no idea on how to fix it. Especially if you are new to coil building, you have done everything right but still there is a problem. Not to worry, here are a few of the most common problems in building and hopefully, how to fix them as well.
Mod not Firing
Ok so you have got ready to start vaping and the mod refuses to fire the coil. Chances are this will be a short in the circuit, due to a very small issue that perhaps was overlooked earlier. Check the coil to ensure it is fully connected and not touching either side or the build deck. Trim the wire if need be or reposition it.
This is not the only cause of shorts but it is the most common.
The ohms on your mod are jumping about despite the lack of movement of the atomiser on top. It can be frustrating to see but again there is an easy fix. Simply tighten down the posts to make sure the connection is as secure as possible. This is a simple cause because the deck of the atomiser is getting different levels of current due to the surface area of the coil changing as it moves within the post.
You are getting no atomiser messages from your mod and cant figure out what the issue is? The chances are your atomiser is not making a proper connection to the mod. Clean everything, make sure everything is tightened down and try again. It can be as simple as something not being tight enough!
And there you have it, a simple guide on how to build your own coil. This list is not a absolute guide as different builds / resistances will vary what you build and what with. There is plenty more ways you can build coils but one step at a time. You have successfully built and fired your first home made coil, you should be proud!
Remember to always keep both safe and knowledgeable when it comes to making your own coils. Always test prior to firing and most importantly, don’t move onto a mech mod before you are fully capable of building coils. Here at Driphacks your safety is always our priority so always double check everything and remember to enjoy your new DIY hobb