Last Updated on February 14, 2016 by

I talk to many people in the vape community who are interested in learning how to rebuild atomizers as another step in their enjoyment of the hobby of vaping. Although they are enjoying the hobby now and are satisfied with whatever hardware and e-liquid they currently use, they feel that learning to rebuild an atomizer would enhance the vaping experience. And they are right, it would. The only thing stopping them is the same thing that stops most people from doing anything new; fear of failure.

So I thought I would interrupt my series on various brands for new vapers for a day or so and talk to those of you that also share this desire to know more about rebuilding atomizers. If you have no interest in such things, that’s fine, I’ll return on Saturday with some new brands to talk about.

Rebuilding Atomizers is No. Big. Deal.

There, I said it. There is no talent involved in wrapping a coil or preparing stainless steel mesh, or rolling up that prepared SS mesh into wicks. It is simply a learned skill. Anyone can do it. Well, most anyone. If your hands are riddled with arthritis you might have some problems, but if your hands work normally there isn’t anything magical about rebuilding atomizers.


A few people, every week, send me links to various forums in the vape community where some obsessed Vaper is trying to convince someone who has never attempted to wrap a coil to basically stay away from it. I don’t know if this person is afraid that if everyone learns how to wrap a coil or oxidize SS mesh that he or she will somehow become less of a person, or if perhaps should more people learn how to do it then he or she would have nothing to lord over the newbies, and frankly I don’t care. Anyone that wants to learn how to wrap a coil, test that coil, or any other part of the process of rebuilding an atomizer should be able to learn without being afraid. Knowledge is power, and the more knowledge you acquire about all these different aspects of the hobby of vaping is good for you and good for the community. If you’re visiting a forum where you’re being bullied into not doing something, you’re visiting the wrong forum.

An Atomizer is an Atomizer is an Atomizer

Atomizers may look different, they may even have slightly different internal parts, but all atomizers work on the same principle. They all perform the same job. And they are all pretty damn simple.

An atomizer, whether it’s the tiny part of a 3-piece e-cigarette, or built into the lowly cartomizer, or some 14-ounce monstrosity with a glass tank and heavy chrome-plated steel, they have the same goal; to turn e-liquid into vapor. That’s it.

Can’t Be Any Simpler Than This…

In every cartomizer there sits inside a small atomizer. Sitting atop that atomizer is a wad of absorbent material into which e-liquid is applied until fully saturated. If the battery that is attached to the cartomizer is an automatic battery then the moment you inhale from the cartomizer an electric current is sent to the atomizer, it heats up and vaporizes the e-liquid. The vapor is then sent streaming into your mouth and lungs as you inhale. If the battery is a manual battery then the moment you press down on the button the electrical current is sent to the atomizer in order to vaporize the e-liquid. Of course, if you don’t inhale as the button is pressed then the e-liquid vapor gathers in the cartomizer and the atomizer gets hotter and hotter until it begins to burn the absorbent material sitting on top. But the principle is the same no matter what size the atomizer. That’s as simple as I can say it.The Z-Atty Pro by ProVape/House of Hybrids - Spinfuel

The Rebuildables

The reason why rebuildable atomizers exist is two-fold. One, its a way to expand the hobby of vaping and make more money for the Chinese manufactures. Two, by correctly using a rebuildable atomizer you gain more control over the amount of energy reaching the e-liquid, thus giving you somewhat more control over the vaping experience you have.

Most importantly however, it doesn’t matter what brand, what “style”, or how much you paid for the atomizer, the vaping experience is not that much different than using a variable voltage battery and a clearomizer. It just isn’t.

The majority of the supposed ‘exponentially’ better vaping experience is an illusion. It will not make a lousy e-liquid into a great one, it will not get nicotine into your bloodstream faster, and it will not be physically more enjoyable than using a Joyetech eVic and a Kanger ProTank. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise because if they do they’re trying to justify their own existence more than anything else.

So Why Do It Then?

I said above that the “physical” part of the vape experience is no different. Even with the most expensive, most complicated, and heaviest atomizer you will not physically enjoy the experience anymore than you would with the eVic and the ProTank. But on a mental level? Now there will have something.

There are several steps involved when you get into rebuilding atomizers. They are all necessary, but they can also be rituals. From the moment someone gathers up all the materials and the tools, sits down and prepares the workstation, to the moment when the e-liquid is injected into the chamber, to the moment when the battery activator button is pushed and the lungs begin to inhale the vapor…it the emotional gratification that can be enormous.

Whether someone learns how to rebuild atomizers because they love to tinker with things, or even if someone has particularly low self-esteem, or if someone just wants to fit in with the cool kids, the satisfaction of having built a perfectly tuned coil can be a great high all by itself. Sometimes the very act of doing something is all the satisfaction one needs to do it in the first place.

For me learning how to rebuild atomizers came with the job. I wasn’t very interested in them at the time, but I learned to do it and I can now wrap a coil and get it to within .1ohms of the target every time. It didn’t take long, and it certainly doesn’t take much brainpower, but it is a nice skill to learn and I’m glad I did it. In fact, I enjoy showing others how to do wrap a nice coil, or oxidize SS mesh, or just take one a part and put it back together again. I enjoy it now, and chances are you will too.

When do we begin?

That depends on you. My position is that there are enough Spinfuel readers out there who are interested in learning how to do this, I hear from many of them. But is there really? That we don’t know, but we can find out.

Our IT guy Dave Foster gives all of us a daily breakdown on which articles are being read, how many times they are being read, and a whole bunch of other information he gleans every morning. So, what we’ve decided to do is to see how many people read this article in the next 7 days and if it is in the Top 5 then that shows us there is enough of an interest for me to continue.

What To Expect

If I do wind up continuing this series I will go over the various gauges of wires and why you use them and what effect it will have on the coil. I’ll cover “annealing” your wire, oxidizing your SS mesh, the act of wrapping and how to make sure they are evenly spaced. I’ll talk about testing your coils, and how to get them accurate every time. Together we will go through every step.

Why Not YouTube?

People write to me and tell me over and over how they try to watch YouTube videos on rebuilding atomizers and they wind up get lost quickly. Even after repeated viewings they still don’t get what’s going on. YouTube is a great way to passively watch someone review something, but as a way to learn a skill most videos are just poorly situated for skill building.

I believe that reading is more effective when learning a skill, along with some illustrations of course. If you agree it will show up in the daily briefing.

Just keep in my mind what I said in the beginning. This should be fun. You should want to do it for no other reason that your desire to expand your hobby, to enjoy your hobby, and not to lord it over someone’s head as though you’re now somehow special. Leave that to the people that chase away new vapers in those sad forums. Vaping is about fun. As my boss would say; “If you’re not having fun then you’re doing it wrong.”

Tom McBride