The One Where We Build The SubTank...or, So It Begins.
Kangertech SubTank Mini RBA Build
So, we decided to move up the first tutorial. Mainly because our marketing manager needed an atomizer to vape and didn't feel like rebuilding any of his tanks. Get used to this if you become a coil builder. All of your friends that don't know how to build [or don't feel like building] will definitely start hanging around more often...dropping hints and leaving atomizers around for you to work on.
Figured that we would start off with the foundation and get a nice, simple kanthal micro-coil ready to install in the RBA base of the Kangertech Subtank Mini. First things first, get all of your supplies together [you got your supplies, right?], and find a good space to set up and get to work.
Take your RDA base, and if there's already a build in there, get rid of it. Once that's done give everything a good cleaning. An ultra-sonic heated cleaner is fantastic, but a coffee cup of hot water and an old toothbrush will get you to the same result. Here we have all of the parts: the tank section, the RBA deck, the barrel/chimney, and the chimney cap. Regardless of which sub-ohm tank you are using, they all have these same basic pieces.
Take your kanthal, and cut a 6-8" length. That's longer than what we will need, but the longer length will make it much easier to wrap the coil and to mount onto the deck. It never hurts to wipe the wire down once you've cut it just to ensure that there isn't any grease or dirt on it.
WRAPPING THE COIL
Take your precision screwdriver. I recommend using the second biggest one [usually measures out to somewhere around a 2.4mm diameter]. Lay part of your wire along the handle. This will allow you to maintain a good grip on the wire as you begin to wrap. Just fold it over the edge of the handle and begin to wrap it around the driver portion. I used 28awg kanthal A1, the 2.4mm driver, and 8 wraps. You want to lay each wrap as close together as possible without over lapping. That's why I like to have the longer length of wire to work with. It helps to maintain a good grip and tension on the wire as I wrap. This makes it much easier to keep the wraps clean and tight.
[A brief note here on the coiling tool. I'm not a fan. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using one, I just don't like them. They are amazing at doing one thing and one thing only - wrapping a basic micro-coil. Can't use them for most claptons, fused, aliens, staples, and even simple parallel builds. I will use one in these posts wherever it is feasible, as a bonus. Once we move out of the basics, it will probably never be spoken of again. But if you have dexterity issues, or only want to build a few basic micros? Get a set of them! That's what they excel at.
Here's the basic process of using the coiler tool: cut your wire to length, insert the diameter rod that you want to wrap your coil on, and drop the wire through the small angled hole next to the rod. Keep a hold of that portion of the wire, holding it tight against the handle. Fold the other end over, and place the top part of the coiling tool onto the rod. Begin to turn the top portion, which will cause the wire to catch against the screw and wrap the wire into a coil. Do not press down because this will cause the wire to begin to overlap. Just keep steady, consistent tension on the wire and turn the coiler in a smooth motion until you reach your desired amount of wraps.
Now, look at your RBA deck. Where are the positive and negative connections for the wire ends? On the SubTank deck, they are opposite of each other. I will need my coil to have the ends coming out on opposite sides. Simply leave your coil on the driver and either wrap another partial rotation or pull one off to get the legs headed in the directions that you need.
The next question is how to mount the coil. Take a look at your atomizer. Where is the airflow going to come from? Where will the wick go? On this RBA, the air flows from directly underneath of the coil and the wick fits into the chimney base. You do not want any part of your coil to touch any other part of your atomizer except for where the legs are connected to the positive and negative terminals by the screws. If it touches anywhere else it could short, which at a minimum will taste terrible, and at maximum, could cause serious danger to the battery or mod. Always double check your coils for shorts after install, and before you begin to vape on them. I want to have the legs coming off of the bottom side ofthe coil for this particular RBA deck, it will give me the room I need to position the coil where I want for optimal airflow and wick placement.
With the coil still on the driver, I place it where I want, and get the legs under the screws that will hold it in place. I then bend the wires around in order to help it stay still, as I tighten down the screws. Once tight, you can move the coil around to place it where you want. Remove the driver and clip the coil legs as close to the connections as possible. This is one of the many reasons why I insisted on the flush cutters for your build kit as they allow you to get into very tight and cramped spaces and cut cleanly very close to the terminals.
Very important! Check your resistance! I used the basic resistance tester that we have laying around the shop to ensure that the coil I built will operate within the safe parameters of the battery/mod that I am using. If you have a regulated device that reads accurately, you can use that. First, TURN YOUR WATTAGE AS FAR DOWN AS POSSIBLE. I know you are not going to vape it at 5 watts, but we just want to make sure that the coil is going to be within the limits of safety. This measured out to a 1.3 which is perfect for the DNA 40 device that it will be running on.
...wait, what? 1.3 ohms? Huh? I want clouds, man!
Easy there, tiger. Crawl before you walk. We're getting into ohm's law and voltage vs wattage next time. This is just getting a good build in a tank, that's going to vape lovely, sip juice, and be easy on the battery life. Seriously, 1 ohm and above if you're under 40 watts. Really. You should try it.
Sorry for the digression. So now you can pulse the coil. Low power. Maybe bump the watts up a bit, pulse a bit. Grab the tweezers and give the coils a little pinch, real gentle-like. You have ceramic tweezers? Nice, you can fire and pinch at the same time. You have some plain metal tweezers? No worries, just let off of the fire button before you pinch. Heat the coil up, see it start to glow, let go, apply the metal tweezers. We just want to work out any hot spots on the coil and get it to glow nice and evenly. After a few times of heating and pinching, check the screws that are holding down the coil legs. The heat fluctuation and electrical current may have caused them to back out a touch. Just tighten them down again and continue until your coil looks like this.
I'm using a pad of organic Japanese cotton because that's what we had here with us. Find the grain of the cotton and cut a strip a little wider than the coil. WITH THE GRAIN. Sorry for yelling, but it's important. Now strip the very outside layer off of the bit you cut. You can take that tougher layer off of both sides if you wish, but we were in a bit of a rush. Now take that nice strip of soft, inner cotton and roll up one end into a point. Use a little water if needed. Feed that through your coil being careful to not move or distort the coil itself. When using cotton, you want to have just enough that you can just move the cotton back and forth through your coil without moving the coil or the atomizer/mod it's attached to. I'll usually pull it back and forth a few times, just to get it nice and centered. Not too tight, not too loose.
Now hold the cotton tails straight up and drop the barrel/chimney base down onto the deck and secure it in place. I trim the tails to just a few millimeter above the barrel and then use my tweezers or a screwdriver to push the remaining cotton back down. You want to make sure you are not covering the airflow at all and that your wicks are against the holes/channels in the RBA that you are using.
TOPPING HER OFF
Saturate the cotton and coil with the juice that you are going to use in the tank. [I recommend Charlie Noble, so you should probably order some, since you've made it this far.] You want to make sure that you give it enough time to soak in fully before using. Once you have burned your cotton there is no getting rid of the taste without re-wicking. Re-wicking means emptying the tank, disassembling the deck, removing the wick, inserting new wick, and starting over. So get some juice on there and let it marinate. Let the wick and juice get to know each other a little bit before you try and start the party up.
Fill the tank and screw that deck into it. Attach it to the mod of your choice. Make sure your wattage is set lower, rather than higher. Why? Because it's easy to raise the wattage to get the vape you want, but if you start too high and singe your wick, you're going to have to start all over. We're right here at the finish line, so just go nice and easy. I don't want to have to watch you do all of this over again.