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DIY questions, multiple

Discussion in 'DIY E-Liquid' started by Merlin 9, Jan 13, 2019.

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  1. Merlin 9

    Merlin 9 Full Member

    Aug 10, 2018
    Quite a few questions. A bit of history, I am mostly trying to cut back on regular cigs. For now am using 220v mods (but am considering pod systems.) I do want to mix my own juices.

    1. First of all the nicotine specs. Can buy nicotine VG/PG bases. From what I see PURE nic is 1000mg? So if I buy a nicotine mixture that is 100mg it's really 10% correct? And if buying premixed juices they are rated in mg, not percent correct? So a premixed juice that is 10mg nic is really 1% nicotine? Just want to make sure, I think I have that one down.

    2. Now mixing DIY for the sub ohm mods, when buying nic can get regular nic base or salts? I've seen many different views on this, some say do not use salts in sub ohm mods at all, some say it's ok. From what I see about salts they have a much longer shelf life but if should not use in mods maybe not a good idea?

    3. Flavoring concentrates, there seem to be so many. Even oils. Which are the "best" to use, can essential oils be diluted with VG/PG and used in mods? Or just the "food" type concentrates? What are the concentrates being sold diluted with, VG/PG, water or something else? Not what I would dilute them with (obviously PG/VG), the way they are actually sold? Maybe differs by company selling/manufacturing? If I want to make a menthol concentrate using actual menthol crystals how to, just add crystals to VG/PG until they stop dissolving?

    4. I am definitely considering "pod" type systems also since probably more practical for cutting back on actual cigs. But definitely want one that is easily refillable (and as cheap as possible for replacement refillable pods). I've heard the nic SALTS are better for pod systems. So for DIY I'd probably want nic salt base if using for a pod? What is best for trying to cut back on real cigs, salts seem to have different types, some for throat hit? I'd guess the throat hit type best for someone trying to cut back/quit smoking? What pod systems do people here recommend for someone who wants to DIY refillable pods?

    5. My preferred flavor is some sort of cinnamon/menthol/mint type mix. However if I do try the pod systems might want to try some tobacco type "juices" since trying to replace regular cigs. So what are some good DIY recipes for tobacco flavor that have helped people cut back on smoking? I'm assuming nic salt based for pods? But can you use regular nic type bases also?

    So that's about it for now, recommendation for good REFILLABLE pod systems (cheapest long term cost), nic types (regular and salts) and what they can be used in (sub ohm mods and pods), flavoring concentrates/oils etc,
     
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  2. Hawise

    Hawise Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 25, 2013
    AB, Canada
    I can answer a few of your questions, so here goes:

    1. Almost. The only correction I'd make is to note that nicotine concentration is usually measured in mg/ml, not mg, although some lazy and irresponsible manufacturers leave off the ml and just write mg. The rest is correct. Pure nicotine is 1000 mg/ml, so the commonly used concentration of 3 mg/ml could also be described as 0.3%.

    2. The original purpose of nic salts was to provide a way to vape higher concentrations of nicotine. Some pods use up to 50 mg/ml of nicotine. Freebase nic at that concentration would have too much throat hit to vape, so nic salts were developed to overcome that problem. The point: nic salts usually have less throat hit than freebase nicotine, although they can have more or less depending on the type of nic salt.

    Another key point is that you can use either type of nicotine in any device. Pods tend to be lower-powered, so they usually use higher concentrations of nicotine which therefore tends to be in the form of nic salts. Sub-ohm devices are more powerful, therefore using lower concentrations of nicotine which tend to be freebase. Want to use freebase in a pod or salts when sub-ohming? Go ahead - if it works for you there's no problem.

    A note about selection - There hasn't been much research about freebase nicotine, but even less is known about nic salts. As freebase is plain nicotine without other components, it's probably better to use freebase if you can get it to work for you. Nic salts involve more unknowns at this time.

    3. Never use any form of oil for vaping. That includes oil bases and essential oils. Lungs do not like oils.

    Use only flavours sold with vaping in mind. They aren't absolutely safe because they haven't been thoroughly tested and researched, but they do minimize your risk by avoiding a number of things we know are problems. Like oil.

    Flavours used in DIY are usually PG-based but can be VG-based.

    I don't know how to use menthol crystals, but I know it's done and you can find directions around here somewhere.

    4. I'd suggest getting small amounts of freebase and any salt nic you're interested in and trying it out in your preferred set up. The 'right' type of nic is whatever works for you, though, as I said above, it's probably for the best if you can work with freebase.

    Pod suggestions I'll leave to someone more knowledgeable in that area.

    5. Check the DIY forum for recipes and recipe resources. As for preferred flavours, I can almost guarantee you'd be better off sticking to what you like than trying to replicate a cigarette. Many of us have tried to reproduce cigarettes, and virtually all have failed. A more successful strategy is seeking out new flavours that appeal.

    Good luck!
     
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  3. IDJoel

    IDJoel Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 20, 2015
    Boise, ID
    Yes; your statements are correct.

    ECF encourages posts to use the "Xmg/mL" format; specifically to avoid this type of confusion.

    And, only so you are aware; forum rules prohibit nicotine discussion higher than 200mg/mL.;)
    For the purposes of DIYing; nicotine salts is treated exactly like "regular" (freebase) nicotine. The mixer uses them at a 1:1 substitution.

    The caution, to avoid salts, in sub-ohm devices; comes mostly from the fact that the majority of ready-to-vape salt-based e-liquids, are 25-50mg/mL strength. DTL vaping at this high levels (regardless of freebase, or salt, nic), can lead easily to nic sickness.

    If someone is DTLing 3-6mg/mL freebase nic; there is no reason one couldn't DTL 3-6mg/mL nic salts.

    As for stability; yes, nic salts are less prone to oxidizing. So, this can aid shelf life.
    However, with proper handling (freezer storage), there is no reason not to expect freebase to last 5 years and beyond... with minimal degradation.
    I would recommend staying with the known brands routinely used for DIY (and commercial) mixing. Vendors like Flavour Art (FA), Capella (CAP), The Perfumer's Apprentice/The Flavor Apprentice (TFA, TPA), Flavor West (FW), Flavorah (FLV), and Inawera (INW, INA). There are at least another couple of dozen smaller manufacturers I didn't list; but those are the most commonly used, and should be plenty to get started.
    The primary benefit of nic salts; is that it can be (comfortably) vaped at higher levels... such as those required by many pod systems (to get a satisfying vape). Most people, would find freebase nic, to be too harsh at those same levels.

    Throat hit is mostly a matter of personal preference. As ex-smokers, or folks trying to quit; we each have different triggers, that make us want a cigarette. For some, it is needing to find a replacement/substitution, for the irritation we experience inhaling smoke from combusting tobacco.

    Nic salts are naturally smoother than traditional freebase nic. "Hit" types of nic salts offer a less smooth alternative.
    An in-house made mint e-liquid is what got me off cigarettes. It was neutral enough (kind of like chewing gum, or breath mints) that it didn't overwhelm my taste buds. And, I could vape it for nearly two years without getting tired of it.

    I had tried various fruits, and custards, and candies; and none tasted "real" enough to be satisfying.

    Tobacco e-liquids were actually the one flavor profile that made me want to smoke. So, I had to steer clear of those. (Now, I enjoy a tobacco vape occasionally. But, it was about 3½ years, before I felt like I was not in danger of falling off the wagon.)

    A side note regarding tobacco concentrates:
    Because there is no combustion; it is virtually impossible to replicate the taste of a burning cigarette. All of the tobacco concentrates I have personally experimented with, at best, replicate the taste/aroma of the fresh (unlit) tobacco. In other words; envision the aroma, of a freshly opened pack of cigarettes, a freshly unwrapped cigar, or pouch of pipe tobacco... and that is the flavor of most tobacco e-liquids. At least; for me it is.:)

    I don't know what tobacco profile (cigarette, pipe, cigar) you are looking for. But, for me; I found a pipe recipe that remains my go-to tobacco. It is simply 3.5% Inawera Am4a, mixed with vaper's choice of PG, VG, and nic. It is ready to vape in just 3 days. And, it reminds me of all my pipe-smoking relatives. :D


    I have only recently experimented with 2 pod systems; so I will leave recommendations to others. You may also want to peruse the pod discussions that already exist here:
    Vape Pod Systems
     
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  4. Merlin 9

    Merlin 9 Full Member

    Aug 10, 2018
    Some great detailed info, thanks :) I will probably order some freebase nic, maybe a small amount of nic salt, and some recommended brand flavors I like. No oils. Still looking for advice on pod system, maybe another forum for that question (will check the above link.) Have never used a "pod", assuming none have replaceable batteries so have to replace the whole unit eventually, not sure how coils and tanks/pods work.
     
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  5. IDJoel

    IDJoel Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Feb 20, 2015
    Boise, ID
    Hardware questions are best asked in the appropriate hardware forum. I say "best," in that you are likely going to reach a more appropriate audience, that can provide more helpful/current answers.:)

    You placed this in almost the right spot for your DIY questions (there is actually a DIY E-Liquid sub-forum that would be even better). But, you might want to post a new thread in the pod forum (I previously linked) asking for pod recommendations. :)

    TIP: If you ever feel like you posted in the wrong area; you can use the "Report" button, found at the bottom of every post.
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    Clicking on this will open a dialog box that goes directly to the administration. Just briefly describe your concern, and they will help you out. They can move, delete, and edit posts; in ways that are not available to us as regular members.
     
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  6. classwife

    classwife Admin
    Asst Classifieds Mgr
    Ask The Vets Mgr
    Admin Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Moved to DIY E-Liquid from General E-Liquid Discussion
     
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  7. Merlin 9

    Merlin 9 Full Member

    Aug 10, 2018
    Have another question about DIY flavors, specifically the cinnamon flavors from The Flavor Apprentice. Seems most TFA flavors are diluted with PG. BUT the cinnamon flavors, some are diluted with PG but some similar TFA cinnamon use ethyl alcohol. I assume to be safe would get the ones diluted with PG but I ordered some from 3rd party that were just listed as TFA "cinnamon", did not say if it was the PG or alcohol version. Basically if it turns out to be the alcohol version would it be safe to use, not sure how much alcohol especially after diluting the flavor but hey, ethyl alcohol is flammable right?
     
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  8. JCinFLA

    JCinFLA Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 21, 2015
    Using flavorings in your DIY eliquids that contain ethyl alcohol is OK. However, many people recommend letting the ethyl alcohol evaporate off before vaping the eliquid. It's not good for the lungs. Just shake the batch you've made really well, and let it breathe (sit with dropper tip and cap off) for awhile before vaping it. How long it may take to evaporate depends on how much flavoring was used that contained ethyl alcohol and the size batch you made.
     
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  9. Merlin 9

    Merlin 9 Full Member

    Aug 10, 2018
    Excellent answer, makes sense, thanks.
     
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  10. Merlin 9

    Merlin 9 Full Member

    Aug 10, 2018
    Another question, freebase nic (and I suppose salt also). I've been looking at some of the "legitimate" sites for buying some, probably try a liter. seems cost effective. But where it is manufactured................... One of the "good" sites, 3 types/brands, all China or India. Have tried searching for US produced, have found some but not many and the ones I found quite a bit more expensive, almost double in some cases. Any recommendations, obviously the cheaper cost wise the better, but am not sure how this stuff is regulated. I'd ASSUME the legitimate sites in the US selling Nic from China or India or wherever would be ok but not ABSOLUTELY sure, do they have test reports on file or anything like that? Heck China, I've bought batteries that were less than 1/4 the capacity they are labeled at, even FLINTS for a Zippo, have to strike 3-5 times to get a spark sometimes, fake FLINTS??? ;) No way a consumer could test something like Nic solutions...................
     
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  11. JCinFLA

    JCinFLA Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 21, 2015
    @Merlin 9- These are some of the US vendors that DIYers on ECF have bought their nic base from. Many people have their preferences for a particular one or several of them, but all are safe reputable vendors to buy from, and they have quality nic base that meets requirements to be sold in the US. You can sort through and compare price, the different price grades and versions they sell, etc. The first 3 are more expensive than most of the rest, IIRC.


    Carolina Extracts
    Nude Nicotine
    Wizard Labs
    Heartland Vapes
    Nicotine Giant (formerly RTS Vapes)
    Liquid Nicotine Wholesalers
    Nicotine River
    My Freedom Smokes
    Ecig Express
     
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  12. Merlin 9

    Merlin 9 Full Member

    Aug 10, 2018
    Thanks, definitely some on the list I had not found. One of the top 3 I had, they are double what one of the lower 3 cost. But the one of the lower 3, they were one of the ones with all China and India. It's just a bit scary, as I said batteries, if you have a good tester/charger you can test capacity. Electronics will work or not work (though I guess some could catch fire if unsafe or malfunction sooner). Most other things will just break sooner if not good quality. But a liquid only a chemist can REALLY test, I would hope there is some process you have to go through to sell it in the US, some sort of certificate for each batch or something. No going back on something you take into your lungs.
     
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  13. Merlin 9

    Merlin 9 Full Member

    Aug 10, 2018
    An observation, it seems some of the "retailers" mix their own, guess they get nic from somewhere, mix it and label it with their own brand. But some sell different "brands", I'm guessing those are purchased by them premixed? The PG/VG most likely not an issue, just good to know where the nic itself is coming from if possible? One of the US MANUFACTURING (not a retailer) sites for nic mentions no DDT, says some offshore nic manufacturing is not subject to the same manufacturing standards. Personally I would like to see more regulation in the case of vaping (at least the chemicals used), costs would probably go up but could be a bit more sure of safety ;)
     
  14. JCinFLA

    JCinFLA Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 21, 2015
    ALL of the above sell nic base that meets or exceeds US requirements. You could buy from any of them, IMO, and be fine.

    My own nic stash for the longterm is comprised of 100mg/mL liters from Heartland Vapes, Nicotine Giant, and Liquid Nicotine Wholesalers. Also have about 3/4 L from Wizard Labs that's 60mg/mL. IMO, it's all excellent quality from those vendors. I also bought 120mL of 100mg/mL nic base from Nude Nicotine in the past, and it was also excellent quality, IMO. For the price difference though, when comparing the Nude Nicotine to the first 3 (HV, NG, and LNW)...I personally couldn't tell a difference, to warrant spending the higher amount of $ to buy 4-5 Liters from Nude Nicotine.
     
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  15. Merlin 9

    Merlin 9 Full Member

    Aug 10, 2018
    Really good info, thanks. I'm thinking like you I believe, 1 liter bottles of 100mg/mL. $50-60 range is nice (one was $45), even better the ones that have free shipping over $50. One has a "super premium" mixture available also, $85 a liter for 100mg/ml. Might be fun to get a small bottle of that, get all my recipies/mixtures figured out, then try them with the standard mixture and the super premium mixture, see if I can tell the difference :) Again great info, I'm feeling pretty good about ordering now.
     
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  16. JCinFLA

    JCinFLA Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 21, 2015
    I'm glad you feel that way now. :)

    I bought my Liters 2 at a time, for longterm freezer storage, from Heartland Vapes and Nicotine Giant, when they each had a sale. The price for them then, was even less than their regular already reasonable price...and I got Free S/H, too. I also bought 2L from LNW during a sale and got Free S/H, but 1L of that was for a local friend who does DIY, too. The Liter of Wizard Labs 60mg/mL was bought when they had a super 50% off sale on the 500mL bottles of it. Apparently they had too many, so they marked them way down. The date on them was only 2 weeks before they went on sale though, so they weren't "old".

    Your idea about comparing some of the higher priced nic to the other nics...is what many other DIYers have done, too. You just need to make sure that the comparison eliquids are the same in every way...except for the particular brand of nic used in them.

    I found that the easiest way for me to do that, was to start making my recipe in just 1 bottle or other type of container. I put the recipe required amounts of the flavorings, the plain PG, and the plain VG only in it. I shook those ingredients really well, and then equally divided the mixture in half. Then I added 1/2 of the amount of nic base the recipe called for...(using 1 of the nic bases)...to 1 portion of the mixture. I did the same with the other portion of the mixture...using my 2nd nic base. I shook them each really well and then let them sit for a day or 2 before I vaped them. I used my recipe for NannerBerry eliquid when I did the test.

    I'm sure other people have used various methods to do the same sort of thing though. The above is just what worked well for me.
     
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  17. Merlin 9

    Merlin 9 Full Member

    Aug 10, 2018
    I checked that Nude Nicotine also. They are actually reasonably priced now, $60 a liter for 100mg/mL What I like is they test and have a certificate for EVERY batch. $10-15 more than I'd pay elsewhere, the only problem is you have to spend $100 for free shipping. Since they don't sell flavors/equipment etc a bit hard to reach the $100. I would not mind spending $10-15 more from them but if I have to add another $10 for shipping maybe a bit too much more. I do like the business model though.
     
  18. dc99

    dc99 Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Aug 17, 2014
    earth
    Even thou I have nic stored from a few of those places I buy most from NR now. There salts are made without benzoic acid. They are extremely smooth. Just my preference but I have used nic from Plenty of other places and most a really comparable. To be honest, most are probably sourced from just a couple of places
     
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  19. Merlin 9

    Merlin 9 Full Member

    Aug 10, 2018
    Heartland, so far they seem the best "overall" for me, free shipping over $50, they have the flavors I want (most sites do not sell TFA Cinnamon spice which is one of my choices), the freebase nic is cheap and 3 choices. The salt is a bit more expensive than some but I'm probably going to try a small amount only, for comparison to freebase. Also their PG/VG seems almost unbelievably cheap, $18 a gallon for VG, $20 a gallon for PG? Most places $30 or so a gallon, have you tried Heartlands VG/PG? What gauge needles do you use, I see mostly 14/16/18 being sold? I know printer ink needles don't work, I've tried them.

    I see people mentioning coupons/discounts for some of the sites. Myself would be interested in DIY type coupons of course, nic/flavors/PG/VG. Does anyone post discounts/coupons for these sites in this group, maybe a sub forum for something like that?
     
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  20. JCinFLA

    JCinFLA Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oct 21, 2015
    I haven't tried Heartland Vapes PG or VG because I buy all of mine from Bulk Apothecary. It's $18+change for a gallon of PG and $13 +change for a gallon of VG. During a sale it's even less, usually between 10-15% off and sometimes they'll send a coupon code for $10 off any order of $29 or more. Doing a total price comparison (items + S/H) showed me several years ago that they're the lowest of the top 3 usually recommended on here. However...if you're going to buy nic base and flavorings there, and you'll meet the Free S/H requirement...I'd go ahead and get your PG & VG from them this time. It can ride along for Free!

    I bought a couple each of the 14ga, 16ga, and 18ga blunt needle tips when I first started DIY. I found that the 14ga were my preferred ones, so I then bought them in quantity, because I also share some with local new DIYers and friends, too.

    Most websites have an email newsletter that you can subscribe to. They'll send you info on sales, special offerings, new products, etc. Many people sign up for those.

    OH Yes, there's a special place that discounts and coupon codes for DIY "stuff" are posted...right here in the DIY Forum, near the top of the page:

    DIY : Good Deals and Sales !
     
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