Making an Atomizer Coil 101 (Actual Working Methods Only)
IMHO a thread like this has been a long time needed for those wanting to replace, repair or make a new atomizer coil.
There is a ton of good information on the forum, but it many and most times is buried in a thread where the subject isn't in the thread topic line. Some threads are huge and it is hard to read through the whole thread just to see if what you are looking for might be there. If you find good information in another thread, please include a link to it. Include the post # please.
This thread should address ONLY coil making. Materials, methods, links to material/tool sources and concerns. It's fine to state "this is how I made a new atty coil for my Model "X". Different models have different coil lengths, diameters, resistance values, nichrome wire sizes, core or wicking materials, tools used and such.
Experimental projects should have thier own thread and a link placed to them is welcomed. Let's keep this thread on what actually works.
Be considerate if/when criticizing. Many here will be at the bare basic level and some rebuild thiers regularly.
Remember this, Just because your method may work doesn't make it the "right or only way", it just means that it works. There is usually room for improvement or difference somewhere. Even if it is in the technique you use, some are easier for others due to available tools and skill levels.
PLEASE, do not ask "how do I get my Model "X" apart to replace it?" There are threads that address this and if you can't find one, START ONE, please. If you have a working method for atomizer disassembly and reassembly, Start a new thread on it! I don't think that is asking to much. Once you have attached new wires to the coil and its ready to install or show a pic indicating how you connected it to the existing wires of the atomizer it should be considered complete. Expect questions to be asked for clairification.
If this thread is of interest to you and you want to follow it, click "Thread Tools" at the top of the page, "Subscribe to this Thread" and select "Instant Email Notification". You will receive an email everytime a new post occurs and it will have a clickable link in the email.
If this method is followed this thread can be a wealth of "on topic" information, easy to find, and work as a hub to all of the the great information that already exists.
The reason to start this thread came from this:
New Atomizer Coil Shape
Might as well start out tools and supplies.
Silver Solder (lead free) 96/4 Radio Shack - Lead-Free Solder (0.5 Oz.) - RadioShack.com
Soldering Iron - 35watt works well.
Silica "fire wick", get Option 3 or 4. As of 8-1-2010. If you choose anything else it will be fiberglass , much lower working temperature. This may change so be sure it's silica. McMaster-Carr
Some use the rope from hardware store woodstove door kits. Silica is rated for 2300*.
Nichrome wire: 36ga (27ohm per ft) $2 for 10' free shipping from:
Jacobs Online Nichrome Wire
Soldering paste with Zinc Chloride works well for nichrome wire.
I use Ruby Flux found at my local hardware store.
Assorted sewing needles 1mm or smaller for forming the coil.
Learning to solder - http://www.e-cigarette-forum.com/for...der-video.html
Last edited by Lightgeoduck; 08-24-2010 at 12:48 PM.
Reason: OP's request
I'll post my method in a day or so here.
Please feel free to get this going.
Last edited by rbonie; 01-25-2010 at 04:33 AM.
Ok....lets start making an atomizer coil.
First thing you need to do is determine what value of ohms you want.
You need to know the ohms per foot of the gage of nichrome wire you are using.
I prefer to use 36ga which is 27 ohms per foot. (Most factory wire is thinner 38ga.)
At 27 ohms per foot, 1" of wire is 2.25ohms per inch.( 27/12=2.25)
1/2" would be 1.125 ohms (2.25/2=1.25), 1/4" would be .56 ohms (1.25/2=.56)
and lastly 1/8" would be .28 ohms (.56/2=.28)
This math will work with any gage wire if you know the ohms per foot.
Let's do an example. I want a 3.2-3.4ohm coil. A normal factory ohm value.
1" = 2.25 ohms
1/2" = 1.25 ohms
Total = 3.5 ohms
1 1/2" is very close to what I want, but it will end up much lower when completed !
It will be about 3ohms. Not critical and you may like the extra heat. The lower
the ohms the higher the current draw and more heat produced (watts).
Power = Watts (heat) and here is a free online calculator to do the work for you to
test examples. Simply enter the voltage and resistance(ohms) and the rest is calculated for you.
Online Conversion - Ohm's Law Calculator
I measure the length of wire I want for the total ohms and then add 1/4".
The extra 1/4" is for the U hook I put on each end, about a 1/16" "U". The smaller the
better, but you have to be able to squeeze it closed. Tweezers work well here.
I do the same with the lead wires and squeeze all 4 closed making a good
physical connection. (Described below.)
This extra length brings it back to the original ohms desired after soldering.
Anywhere the solder covers the nichrome wire the resistance of the nichrome wire
doesn't count. The solder is much lower resistance and electricity follows the path of
least resistance first.
I usually wind all the nichrome on the 1mm wire form, carbon fiber rod or sewing
needle. (No wick yet.) It can be done if the core wire is stiff , very thin and the
wick tied on each end.
Next hold one end of the coil, on the form, and finish tiding up the end of
the coil wire. Flip it and do the same to the other end. Now we have a nice coil on the
You can use your finger nails to slide it tight, to get evenly spaced
windings and then stretch it if needed to the length you want.
The coil wraps cannot touch or overlap each other.
Next use a pair of good tweezers to make the 1/16" "U" bend on each end. Don't
worry if they aren't lined up.
Now hang the lead wires with the same 1/16" "U" bend on one end and squeeze both
"U'"s so the wire cannot fall off. This makes a good physical connection and if the
solder softens from heat the wires will stay attached until it cools.
Apply a small dab of Zinc Chloride paste to both crimped U's.
Clean the soldering iron tip with a damp sponge or wet towel, touch it to the tin of flux
and then solder the coil end connections. Heat the wires for 2-3 seconds and feed a very small amount of silver solder where the iron and wires meet. The solder should flow over both "U"'s.
Let it cool 10 seconds, don't blow it. Do the same to the other coil end.
The lead wires may not be lined up parallel still, but that's ok. A light twist will allow
them to be inserted into the ceramic cup holes after the wick is in place.
Slide the coil off the form. Using a very small sewing needle with about 1 foot
of fine thread on it, feed it through the coil.
Pull it far enough through so you can now put it right back through the coil
on the same side it just came out leaving about a 3" thread loop.
Next takes a little practice to determine how much wick is needed. I take a
length about 3", any extra can be trimmed off later.
The longer the better as it actually saves in wasting wicking material. This
becomes evident later.
Twist the wick length tight spinning it between your thumb and 1st finger.
You can now easily see if it's to large to be pulled through the coil. The
strand from the unbraided rope will need some of the wick removed as you can
see. It will also be folded over when pulled through the coil so it will be close
to 1/2 of what looks right when twisted tight.
When you have removed and twisted what looks like will fit through the coil,
if folded over, you are ready to try and pull it through the coil.
Put the wick in the thread loop, holding the coil between the thumb and 1st
finger and gently start pulling the thread.
The wick will fold as it enters the 1st coil loop. If it slides through very
easily it will need to be thicker. This is a trial and error thing that comes with practice.
You can pull the wick back out and add more and try again. I like to feel it
"pop or click" passing through the 1st loop. The rest will pull pretty easily
until you have pulled it through the coil and you have about 1/4" wick loop
sticking out of the coil.
Now you can remove the thread and are ready to install!
Feed your leads down through the cup, putting the coil in position, and tuck
the 1/4" wick loop in the bottom of the ceramic cup. This will help soak up any
excess juice during use preventing flooding.
The other end of the coil now has 2 free wick ends coming out of it. Trim
one end off about 1/4" from the coil and trim the other to about 1 - 1/2"
long. Tuck the 1/4" one in the cup.
The longer wick should be placed under the metal mesh of the bridge between
the mesh and the metal bridge itself. This allow the mesh to feed the wick
from the cart so it doesn't dry out easily.
If you removed all the mesh for the rebuild, just lay the long wick end on
the metal bridge and place the bridge mesh on it squeezing it between them.
The bridge mesh is normally rolled a little around the metal bridge to hold
it in place.
If you did not remove the mesh for the rebuild, loosen one side of the
bridge mesh and tuck the wick in between and trim any excess off.
Squeeze the mesh edge back around the metal bridge. Finger pressure is all that's normally
required as you do not want to crush the porous foam metal. Crushing an edge
isn't critical as long as the wide flat area is ok.
Finish the wires and lastly check the coil for position. It can be moved
some if needed to center it over the feed holes. If the coil is sitting to
high, it can be carefully pushed down. I use a small thin flat plastic tool
for this from a Mc D's coffee stirrers.
Always check with a meter to make sure you don't have a short somewhere prior to
testing, rinse with water, shake it out and dry prior to using. A hair dryer can speed things up.
A little practice is all that's needed. Each one gets better and so do you at doing it.
Ok, I had to include what to do with the long piece of wick to reinstall. I've seen many come apart and the "feed wick" was gone, broken, not noticed or destroyed on disassembly, whatever reason.
That needed to be clairified as to where the "feed wick" of the coil goes or it runs dryer, hotter, less vapor and doesn't last as long. It wasn't on many earlier model attys.
You are more than welcome. You mentioned cartomizers and they appear to have a round coil. I'd start off making any replacement round, single core form, till the airflow path can be identified. An oval may be partially out of the airflow and over heat on one side, taste burnt, fail quickly and so on. Work first on replacing what the original is. Better if possible.
Then study it and experiment!
Now I can work on some pics to show what I tried to describe!
crazyhorse originally posted (AFAIK) a program I used for yrs and never though about posting since I hadn't used it for so long. It is loaded with info on nichrome wire, the gages and what resistance each gage is per foot. If you decide to make coils heavier duty or considering an odd size wire you found, this program will give you the info needed to use in the online calculator I listed at the begining of the thread.
Nichrome Wire Resistance Program & more
Online Conversion - Ohm's Law Calculator
A great find crazyhorse.
Vaporer, May the Vapor Gods bless you!
Last edited by rbonie; 05-22-2010 at 12:54 AM.
The cartomizer is making a nice rigid holder. The red wire looks larger than in other attys I've stripped, but as long as you can wrap it, as the original was, without distorting the coil you should be fine.
When feeding the wick thru, if the coils do compress and touch each other, you can always use something thin to space them back apart.
You may or may not need to hold the coil itself between the themb and forefinger when feeding the wick through. doing that will help hold the coils in position, at least on a free coil.
Carry on and good job!