Mech Mods 101: What Are Mechanical Mods?
You’ve seen all the photos, maybe a few videos or maybe even one of your friends have made what seems to be a cumulus cloud appear in your own living room. Or he’s told you how much better the flavor of his e-liquid is from his mech mod, it all looks amazing and has you wondering if you could do the same. We are here to tell you that you definitely can get into it, the advanced world of vaping that is.
You just need to know though, that there will be a lot of research that you need to do and a lot of it is for your own safety. If this is your first time getting into vaping, this post isn’t for you—yet. You should first start with something a little simpler and with built in safety switches, because what we are about to introduce to you is not for the inexperienced.
So check out our introduction into the high-tech scene of mechanical mod building.
First things first, What Is A Mech Mod?
A mech mod in the easiest terms is an e-cig in its simplest form. Now don’t get this confused with it being an easy setup, mech mods are for advanced users. It is simple in the fact of what it is composed of—a metal tube, no wires, no circuitry, no chipset, etc. It is really just a tube that holds a replaceable battery that has a firing button (normally on the bottom), which when pressed makes contact with the battery and completes the electrical circuit that fires the tank or the atomizer.
The advantage of this simple make-up is that you as the user are able to setup your system to your own specifications. You build your mod and your coils and by doing so you tell it exactly how much power you want to draw from the battery you have inside of it. Without that regulatory chipset, you can have as much power or as little as you want.
You can design your build to give you the hardiest of throat hit, or giant clouds of vapor, or even the tastiest flavor and all of this control is in your hands. But of course, it cannot be stressed enough that you must do your research before attempting your first build.
What Makes Up A Mech Mod?
As mentioned above, a mechanical mod is a fairly simple personal vaporizer device. It is a metal tube that holds a battery with a button that completes a basic circuit when it is activated. This is an unregulated current as the device has no wiring, soldering, chipset or any other electronics.
VOLCANO's Mechanical Mod Collection:
Like with any electronic cigarette, the atomizer is the part of the device that vaporizes the e-liquid into the vapor that all vapers enjoy. For mechanical mods atomizers fall under the name of rebuildable atomizer or RBA, but there are different styles of RBA’s that will be listed below.
RDA – Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer
Has a short, 510 base, has enough room for a coil and wick build with a small juice well to drip juice from the drip tip. This build has the most flavor production and is popular for sub-ohm vaping. It is called a “dripper” for short and is the most common type of RBA that is used. It has no tank to hold extra liquid, the e-liquid is held by the wick and coil build.
VOLCANO's Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers:
Genesis Style RBA
A variation of an RDA, a genesis-style RBA has a build deck that is placed above a tank. The genesis style usually always has a wick that is made from steel mesh or rope and feed the e-liquid via capillary action.
RTA – Rebuildable Tank Atomizer
These types of RBAs have a build deck like RDA’s and also has a tank to hold extra e-liquid. This type of setup allows a user to vape all day without having to refill constantly just like a regular clearomizer type of tank.
RDTA – Rebuildable Dripping Tank Atomizer
This rebuildable has a tank on top of its dripping build deck and allows the user to drip continuously onto the wick/coil, usually by pressing down on the drip tip.
One of the most important parts of your build is the battery, since it is what powers your atomizer, which will then vaporize your e-liquid. Common choices available to users now are lithium IMR (most used as they are the safest), protected ICR Li-Ion and hybrid batteries (new class of battery type).
High-quality IMRs are the most recommended above protected ICR Li-Ion due to their more stable chemistry.
IMR (Li-Mn) are the safest batteries recommended for use with vaping. They are composed of a safer chemistry and so do not need a built-in protective circuit like ICRs. They have a better tolerance to stress and though they may vent during failure, they are less likely to be as dramatic as an ICR battery (which can vent flames if the safety circuitry fails).
It's important that you know what Ohm's Law is & how it relates to your batteries. Read this before your first build:
VOLCANO's LAVACELL Battery Collection:
There are many different wicking materials that can be used for builds, each has its own characteristic like wicking speed, flavor, and how easy it is to use and rebuild with. Each type will also produce a different type of vape. Some can also influence the flavor of your e-liquid and others may need some more prepping than other types before you can build with it.
A. Japanese Organic Cotton Wick:
This is organic cotton imported from Japan with the most popular brand being Koh Gen Do. This cotton has not been dyed, bleached or treated with chemicals in any way.
Ekowool works great in high temperature environments so the wick itself does not catch fire easily and avoids a burnt taste. The form of the fibers, a hollow tube shape allows for better saturation of the e-liquid. Ekowool is also non-toxic and inexpensive, though not as cheap as organic cotton.
C. Stainless Steel Mesh
Steel mesh is most commonly used in Genesis style tank systems, and because it is conductive it is not a good idea to use it in rebuildable dripping atomizers. You have to oxidize the mesh with a torch in order for it to bring out crisp flavors and works well with thicker e-liquids that have higher VG to PG ratios.
D. CelluCotton Rayon Fibers
Quickly becoming a favorite amongst rebuilders, cellucotton rayon fibers are said to have the great properties of regular cotton (the great absorption and quick wicking) but without the flavor of cotton. But some argue that vaping at a high temperature with these fibers may cause it to burn.
E. Silica Cord:
Silica wick is the most commonly used e-cigarette wick, it is most commonly used in standard e-cig cartomizers and replacement coils that aren’t rebuildable. It works well, but most coil builders find that it isn’t the best wick for flavor or quick absorption.
New types of wires are being tested by vapers everyday, but the most commonly used wires are NiChrome, Nickel and Kanthal. Each type of wire has its different characteristics, which can affect the type of vape that a mechanical mod can produce.
A. Kanthal Wire:
Kanthal wire is now becoming the most popularly used coil in builds, it is a ferritic iron-chromium-aluminum alloy. It has a higher melting point, stronger and more flexible than nichrome. It also takes a little longer to heat up compared to nichrome but will last longer in a build.
B. NiChrome Wire:
Is a common metal alloy made up of 80% nickel and 20% chromium, it was the most commonly used wire but is now being trumped by kanthal. Nichrome heats up much faster, which is why many sub-ohm cloudchasers prefer this wire type over kanthal. There are different composites of this wire and vapers have said that 60% nickel tends to have more of a metallic taste over the 80%.
C. Pure Nickel Wire:
Not one of the most popular wires for modders as it is flimsy on its own and does not hold its shape too well. It also has low resistance and its temperature can be kept down (affected) by the e-liquid that it is soaked in. Its resistance also changes as its temperature changes, so much so that it has a known “temperature coefficient”. This is why pure nickel wires are the only wires that can be used to gauge the temperature of a coil build by measuring its resistance. By constantly measuring the resistance of a build when a user fires their device, is how the new DNA40 chip is able to calculate a coil’s temperature.
Mechanical mods and rebuildable atomizers are for advanced vapers only. They should not be used by anybody without the proper knowledge and research conducted on how to rebuild in a safe manner. All buildable atomizers and mechanical mods should always be tested carefully with a multimeter or ohmmeter before being used. Please build and use at your own risk.