Abhi Chatterjee Talks With Spinfuel – The Chillum Vapor Interview
Before I get to my (Tom McBride) interview with Abhi, I’d like to take a few minutes and tell you all about the word Chillum. Abhi’s company name, Chillum Vapor, does not refer to some play on the word, “Chilling”, as in kicking back and chilling out. It wasn’t chosen at random either. Not that it has a lot to do with the Tantra mod, but the history of Chillum is, well, fascinating.
Paraphrased by what I found in Wikipedia and other sources…
A chillum, sometimes known as chilam, is a pipe, a straight conical pipe with an end-to-end channel traditionally made with clay and has been used since the eighteenth century by wandering Hindu monks, known as sadhus in India.
The Chillum was invented in India. The culture of owning and smoking in a chillum has since spread from India outward to the rest of the world ever since the mid-1960s.
Used often for smoking marijuana, Africans have used chillum-like pipes for smoking pot, and later, the more frequent alternative, tobacco. Since the ’60s fancy, engraved bamboo chillum pipes has become an American folk art form. Handmade and sold by the artists on street corners in places like the Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco and Greenwich Village in New York City, chillums were all the rage, and to some extent, still are.
Modern ‘smoking’ pipes call to mind traditionally decorated bamboo pipes from Borneo, however, the American carved bamboo designs often employs a brass lighting fixture as bowl.
So, chillums have a long history, and are associated with lots of cultures and, well, smoking pot. In the case of Chillum Vapor however, there is no association with smoking dope with a Tantra mod, but I thought it would be interesting to know a bit of the history of the word. Now that you know, don’t you feel you learned a little extra today?
Enough history, enjoy the interview!
Spinfuel – Welcome to the pages of Spinfuel eMagazine. To start things off, can you tell our audience who you are and what your position is with Chillum Vapor?
Chillum Vapor – I would like to thank Spinfuel eMagazine for this interview. This is Abhi Chatterjee. I am the co-founder of Chillum Vapor.
Spinfuel – Nice to meet you Abji. Tell us something about the background of your company. I understand you company is involved with high precision engineering projects. Can you tell us what types of products or projects you’ve worked on?
Chillum Vapor – Our company has been a precision CNC manufacturing facility for many years now. We have a highly skilled workforce capable of manufacturing extremely complex parts. Some of our past projects include parts for SpaceX, Yamaha, Kawasaki and etc. Aside from the aerospace and automotive industries we also manufacture parts for the UTV industry. We make a wide range of products from harnesses, side mirrors, and heavy-duty radius rods to many more.
Spinfuel – That’s some resume! How long has Chillum Vapor been in business? Particularly, how long have you been making mods?
Chillum Vapor – Chillum Vapor was founded in February of 2014. We have had our mods in the market for about 8 months now.
Spinfuel – 8 months. Well, it does take a while to design and make a great mod. Is the Tantra Mod your first device?
Chillum Vapor – Yes it is.
Spinfuel – The Tantra, it is such a marvel of design, especially its precision and simplicity, how long did it take to design this specific mod?
Chillum Vapor – Thank you. It took several months to complete the design and then it took about 8 prototypes to finally go into production.
Spinfuel – 8 prototypes, that’s a lot of testing. You know, I’m wondering, when it comes to making mechanical mods what is the single most important part of a great mod?
Chillum Vapor – The single most important aspect of a great mech mod is usability. It can be really frustrating when mods are designed not keeping in mind best practices. I would say a great mod is something that hits really hard and is easy to work with.
Spinfuel – I can tell you now, the Tantra hits hard, that’s for sure, and it is definitely easy to work with. Because we continue, what are the official “specs” of the Tantra mod, and how does the Tantra stack up against its competitors?
Chillum Vapor – The Tantra Mod features all of the follow:
304 Stainless Steel
Fully Adjustable Copper or Naval Brass Contacts
One twist locking mechanism
Vent hole for safety
One pound pressure firing button
Wafer or disk spring technology
Lifetime premium warranty
Low voltage drop
Price: $130 – $170
Chillum Vapor – In comparison to its competitors I think The Tantra is one of the best mods out there. Our customers can buy with confidence knowing that the mod will perform as claimed. Also, we offer a premium warranty that covers accidents/damages. After spending $170 on a device, it would be unfortunate to not be able to use it just because it was dropped.
Spinfuel – When you think about it, that shows a lot of confidence in your products. It’s also something you don’t see from any other maker, not that I know of anyway. Accident insurance is something you don’t expect to see on a mod.
For such a high quality mechanical, one made in the US at that, the Tantra is less expensive than I expected. There are mods on the market that cost more, a lot more, and I’ve used plenty of them. The Tantra is up there with the best of the best, and yet is still under $200, the stainless steel being way under, at $130. How in the world were you able to produce such a great mod and still be competitive with mods made overseas where labor is so much less expensive?
Chillum Vapor – We had planned to keep the price point more affordable by using smart manufacturing methods and sourcing materials from established contacts. We reduced and optimized machining time by intentionally designing the mod keeping the price point in mind.
Spinfuel – What is it about “Naval Brass” that makes it different than normal brass?
Chillum Vapor – Naval Brass is a superior material. It is preferable perhaps because of its nature of being “lead free”. Now technically it contains less than 3% lead for it to be considered “lead free”, but it is still a superior metal. Since people are in contact with their mods for prolonged periods of time – it is preferable to use a device that contains less lead. Besides, Naval Brass looks like white gold. It has a distinct luster that is unmatched and in my experience it maintains its non-saturated, tarnish-free form for a lot longer than other brass.
Spinfuel – White gold… now that I think about it, that’s an apt description. Another thing I would like our audience to know about is that much has been written about your 20×1 threading. How is this important to potential customers? What does this threading do, how does it help? You know what I mean?
Chillum Vapor – It is important because if the threads are too tight there are higher chances of them getting damaged. The threads of the Tantra Mod are silky and endure better. Accumulated unwanted dust particles are more likely to damage the threads if the threads are at a closer ratio.
Spinfuel – Silker is right, screwing on and unscrewing the parts are like butter. While using the Tantra myself I found that every RBA and RDA I used performed exceptionally well. Have you found this to be the case as well, and do you have a favorite RDA for your Tantra?
Chillum Vapor – I have not yet had a bad experience with any RBA or RDA. Currently I’m really enjoying the derringer and the mutationX.
Spinfuel – Excellent drippers! I’ve been using the MutationX myself quite a bit, though I haven’t used the derringer yet. Let’s discuss batteries for the Tantra. Can you ‘spec out’ the best battery that our readers should use with their Tantra? What are the requirements for the battery in order to achieve an optimal vape?
Chillum Vapor – I have tried several batteries and notice myself using the Sony US18650 VCT5 – 2600 mAh – 30 A. The VTC5 has a desirable lifespan and the 30 A maximum continuous discharge in opinion is great. They also feature hybrid chemistry so it is considered safer and long lasting. I would really recommend all readers to really research best practices and understand ohms law before venturing out into Sub-ohm builds. Using a battery that is bigger and more capable is definitely recommended that way it is unlikely that you reach the limit.
Spinfuel – You can’t be more right! We recently updated our Knowledge Base with a lot of solid information about batteries, and ohms law, including a Ohms Law Calculator that Keyur (our full time php coder) wrote for us. What was is like to see the Tantra fully realized as the mechanical mod that would ship out to customers? Were you nervous, excited, perhaps worried? Or were you confident that you had gotten it right, that the Tantra would not disappoint?
Chillum Vapor – The nervousness vanished with the many prototypes we built. Once we were ready to get the mods out in the market – I was extremely confident that the mods would not disappoint. It is truly an amazing feeling to see your ideas come to life.
Spinfuel – I bet it is. In all honesty, I love the way the Tantra performs, and even the minimal design features, the elegance of it, and the precision of each part creating the overall device, it truly is a magnificent mod. Where can our readers buy a Tantra? How many vape shops carry them?
Chillum Vapor – The Tantra Mod can be purchased at www.chillum.la There are also many vape shops that carry our mod. Currently the mods are being sold in Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Taiwan and all around the United States.
Spinfuel – That’s great! Chances are you might find one at your local vape shop, but if they don’t have it, anyone that wants one can go to your website and buy it there.
Spinfuel is fortunate in that there are many vape shop owners, and vendors, that read us daily, if they were interested in selling the Tantra in their shop or online, how would they go about becoming a reseller for the Tantra and maybe future products from Chillum Vapor?
Chillum Vapor – I would recommend reaching out to us at [email protected] for any wholesale inquiries.
Spinfuel – I think after seeing Nick’s review they just might be reaching out. The Tantra offers so much, and its American made with an awesome warranty, what more could any mech mod user want?
Well, this is the point in our interview where I turn it over to you; is there anything you would like to say directly to our readers?
Chillum Vapor – I would like to thank all the people that support Chillum Vapor. We strive to consistently create unique and reliable vaping gear. “Chillums” were personal smoking devices used by many during the 18th century – We are trying to reminiscence this early culture by offering state of the art vape mods today. We have many special editions and giveaways coming up in the near future. Follow us on instagram – @chillumvapor to stay informed.