The history of dripping

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Vaping Master
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Sep 24, 2009
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The fastest, easiest, cheapest way to get into dripping is with an eGo, a 1.5 to 2.2 ohm 510 atomiser, and a driptip.

Dripping has always been a popular mode of use. With something like a 510 atomiser it's also the quickest way to test new refill liquids.

It gets personal
Dripping is an intensely personal thing since it is probably impossible to find any two vapers who agree on everything related to dripping. For that reason you can treat the info below as one version, and most likely different from *your* version.

Cleaning a 510 atomiser
You can clean out a 510 atty, between testing or using different refills, with any alcohol such as vodka or rum and/or plain glycerine. Alcohol is a useful, cheap, harmless, easily-available solvent; and glycerine, while a less capable solvent, provides the vapable base needed to complete the cleaning process. To speed up the process you can use a 50-50 mix of vodka and glycerine. Drip plenty in then blow it through onto paper towel - then vape it - and repeat until the vape is flavourless. If you use alcohol only and dry-burn, with a 510, then the atty tends to lose some character as the treatment is a bit harsh.

The history of dripping
Here is a list of the hardware in existence at a particular time, and how it was used. Dripping the refill directly on to the atomiser coil was probably used from Day 1 of vaping, but we'll start a little way down the road, in 2008.

2008 and earlier: all that existed at this time were mini ecigs such as the 901. The cart (cartridge) was removed from the atomiser, liquid dripped in, and the rig was then stovepiped (suck directly on the atty), as there were no driptips at that time - or an empty cart could be used as a driptip.

2009: Most vapers still used mini ecigs, and dripped on the atty, though driptips were now available for the adventurous.
Assorted DIY mods such as the copper pipe design + atty & driptip were made and used by those who wanted a bigger battery device.
Also the Screwdriver - first commercial mod, not counting short-lived products that lasted a month or so, + atty + driptip.
901 atties were big back then (also the 401, 306 etc).
Later, the 510 came in.
6 volt tubemods with series cells + HR atties became very popular, at the beginning of the search for a better vape than could be proved by minis and 3.7 volt mods.

2010: Still using minis with atty & driptip (all kinds of weird mini models that are history now).
Penstyles were now widely used, and these provided a new kind of dripper experience with the 801 atty + driptip. The 801 is probably the best regular atomiser ever made as it is bigger and the connector system is much better than the 510.
5 volt APVs with stacked batts and dropper resistor such as the GLV were popular, and often used for dripping.
5 volt regulated boxmods + 510 atty + driptip - the first electronic dripper rig.

2011: eGo + 510 atty + driptip.
VV APVs + 510 atty or other model with adapter got peoples' attention now, and this was where the action was. VV mods were invented by the ECF modders and popularised here first. The voltage on electronic units could now be varied; although the first units were crude devices with internal pots (potentiometer wheel-type resistors that were turned to vary the voltage up or down). There was no digital readout on VV units at this time, you turned the pot and hoped.
Soon, commercial builders picked up on the move to VV units, and started to build and market them.
VW APVs came in such as the Darwin, these provided a variable power unit for dripper fans.

2012: eGo + 510 atty + driptip.
Vapers who preferred dripping saw the new RBAs, which were all rebuildable tank atties (RTAs) then, but dripped on them instead of filling the tank.

2013: RBA drippers on mechmods started to be made for the dripping community, these are RDAs (rebuildable dripping atomisers). Previously, virtually all rebuildables were RTAs - tanks.

RDA drippers are major league now. Big choice of rebuilding wire and wicks. Multiple methods of coil building.
In 2014, only the oldtimers remember that dripping or cart mods were the first kinds of modding, and originated about 2007 / 2008 - people may think that dripping has just been invented but like the mechmod, it's been around a long time.

Dripper rigs
Modernised trad dripper rig: use a VV unit, a 510 atty of any resistance, and a driptip.
Adjust the voltage up or down to suit your taste - you can get a 0.1v step with a VV device, which is why it's better than a VW device, once you know where you are with this stuff - the VW rigs can often only step in 0.5 watt jumps. A VV unit usually has 30 steps between 3v and 6v; a VW unit only has 7 steps.
You can use any 510 atty variant including the 357 or the 306, which has the same thread.
Drip 4 drops to load it, then 3 drops as needed.

Uprated trad rig: as above, but use a solid 510-to-510 adapter* below the atty and add a dripshield, which slides on over the top and all the way down. Drip 5 drops to load it, then 3 drops as needed.
You have to use an adapter when using a dripshield, as the bottom O-ring of the dripshield needs to sit on an adapter below the 510 threading (otherwise, it would all leak and not be a dripshield). The dripshield is used with the ring of airholes at the top.
Note that this dripper does not leak and cannot leak. If yours leaks, you've assembled it wrong (maybe without an adapter below the atty?).
What the dripshield does in practice: it converts a bottom air-feed atty into a top air-feed atty.

* some people prefer a long 510-to-510; some a solid 510-to-510; some a thru-way 510-to-510; some an eGo-to-510. Try them all and pick one, though the solid adapter is the only one that won't leak. A good version for APV use is a solid 510-to-510; then screw that on to an eGo-to-510 adapter, which always stays with the APV: the eGo-to-510 becomes a permanent part of the APV and is never unscrewed. This avoids connector problems as the device thread is never worn or stressed, or the centre pin depressed, as it's never used.

Trad dripper, ultra version: as above, but add 2 bonuts in the atty. This is the ultimate 510 dripper rig and gives the most creamy, moist vape it's possible to get from anything. The atty is working semi-submerged and so this is a different type of vape to RBAs etc. The vape is much more moist, although you get bigger clouds with the drier vape from an RBA.
Drip 10 drops to load it, then 4 drops as needed.

Modern drippers: need big clouds? In that case, mechmod + RDA, rebuildable dripping atty.
Bigger clouds tends to equal a drier vape, if you don't mind that.

Bottom feeders
You could rightly claim that bottom feeders are a kind of dripper rig. They are generally boxmods with a mini bottle inside, a feeder pipe that runs up to the 510 connector, and a squonk hole in the box. This is a finger-size hole that you press the bottle with: a quick 'squonk' gets you a squirt of refill up into the atty. A bottom feeder is a good way to drip without having to squirt liquid in from the top.

Bottom feeder boxmods come in two basic types: mechmod or basic electrical (stock 3.7 volts), and regulated (VV or VW). There are many variants such as 5 volt B/F boxmods.

Odd notes
De-wicked or bridgeless atomisers: in the old days before VV or even big batts, the system voltage was too low to get a decent vape out of a regular 510-type atty on a mini ecig (which was about all we had at the time). There weren't even LR atties around when de-bridging first started - all we had were 2.2 ohm 510s and 3 ohm 901s etc.

As a result the vape was way too cool and low volume, most of the time. To counter this, a way to get a bit more heat in the vape was needed since all we had was a 2.2 to 3 ohm atty on a mini or penstyle battery.

Someone came up with the de-wicked bridge atty (at this time, some bridges had a wick in them), and then the bridgeless atty. This was modding 2008 / 2009-style. It kind of worked, sort of.

Now we can use an atty of even 3 ohms, with as much SS mesh in there as you like, and get a vape as warm as you like and with as much vapour volume as you like. It's called VV and VW. So de-wicking and de-bridging are completely redundant in the modern era. Absolutely pointless. In fact, if you like a moist vape from your 510 dripper rig (of any heat or volume you like) then the trick is to add more SS mesh in the form of bonuts (SS mesh rings made from pipe screens) - not remove it. The reason for removing the mesh no longer exists.

Atomiser cleaning: you will need to clean a 510 atty if you run it at low voltage and/or with dark refills, as it will get coated with carbon deposits and gradually lose power. If you run it hot and with clear refills, a good 510 atty will last several months and die before it needs cleaning. In other words if you use a 5 volt boxmod or a VV rig running at say 4.8v and up, and vape clear liquids, then the atty will just go on and on, and atty cleaning (and therefore killing the atty early) will be something other people do.

If you want to spend time messing around cleaning 510 atties (and have them die early), then vape at less than 4.5 volts, and use dark liquids. Your wish will be fulfilled.

Atty flushing: to clean an atty out for a new, different flavour, a 50-50 mix of vodka and glycerine works well. Drip 6 drips in then blow it out.

The most powerful way of 'blowing it out' is to use a centrifuge - we used to use these a lot back in the day. Not lab centrifuges of course - DIY ones made with a 'sock' of material on 18" of string, whizzed around.

Failing that, the next strongest method is to pour in your choice of solvent, insert a driptip, and using the driptip to blow into, blow it out on to paper towel. Close your eyes when you blow! There's a lot of splashback as this is much more powerful than blowing on the bare tube, whichever end. (Many people blow it reverse, from the connector end; but perhaps they never tried the centrifuge method or the driptip method.)

Of all the various methods, the reverse centrifuge method is probably the most effective. If you carefully tested all these methods in a lab, then that way will get the lowest end weight in nanogrammes of refill left in the atty. 'Reverse centrifuge' means to centrifuge it with the open end of the atomiser pointing outward.

If using a lab centrifuge, with the reverse centrifuge method, you will eventually break the atty coil due to the centripetal force, although that is probably TMI. In real life we probably only need what is easy and works enough; and that is the 50-50 alcohol/glycerine driptip blowthrough method. You also get the benefit of being able to vape it immediately to test for successful flavour removal.

Dripping with a KR808
The KR8 system uses cartos, not atties, so it's impossible to drip unless you do some mods. (Dripping requires an atomiser and there is no KR8 atty.)

Get hold of a KR8 threaded BCC (bottom coil carto). What you need is a KR8 cartomiser, but with the BC bottom coil format not the regular VC vertical coil.

First gently prise out the top disk or disks from the top of the carto, using a tiny screwdriver or something similar, inserted into the centre airhole, and used as a lever. Then, carefully remove all the internal wadding - it comes out like a Swiss roll. If you get it right, then you'll see a tiny atomiser arrangement at the bottom of the carto. You now have a bridgeless atty. Try dripping 3 drops onto it, insert a driptip, then vape. A 510 driptip fits perfectly.

Dry burns
Atomisers will need cleaning when the performance begins to die away. The vapour volume decreases, as does every other factor. Clean it by use of any method you prefer.

You will only need to dry burn it if no amount of cleaning fixes the problem. You would only need to dry burn if you run a 510 atty too cold and/or with dark liquids.

You know if you need to dry burn it when, after a really thorough cleaning, the atty still doesn't work a fraction as well as it used to. Then it's a case of chucking the atty or reviving it with a dry burn - if it works; it's a 50-50 shot you'll wreck it by either burning the wick or melting the coil joints, though.

Here's the safest way: after cleaning the atty multiple times and it still performs poorly, we are going to assume it's gunked up with carbon. Go into a dark room. That's a room with no light. If there is any light, you'll wreck the atty because you won't be able to see the instant the atty goes red. Pulse it on and off using the following method: with a full battery, operate the switch while wearing specs or safety glasses and looking closely at the open end of the atty (with no driptip in and no liquid). At the instant it starts to turn red, let go of the switch. Wait 4 seconds and go again. Do it 4 times. Then clean the atty - this clean is where you are probably better off blowing the gunk UP the atty and out, blowing from the connector end. Now try it out. If you are lucky then it's fixed. If not, you have either no atty (broken), or a nasty burnt taste that is impossible to shift no matter what (you've burnt the silica wick), or no difference (the atty was dying anyway, maybe due to an HR in the connectors or whatever). Gesundheit!

There are almost as many opinions about all these issues as there are vapers, and there has been 'intense debate' (i.e. furious argument) about all aspects of dripping, or cleaning atties, since 2008. There is no 'right' way to do these things - only the way that works for you. Whatever way you choose to do any of these things, there will be someone who tells you it's wrong. C'est la vie.

The methods above are just an opinion. You'll find your own way.
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