In going back through my various wires and mod parts and thinking about the past few years I have spent learning more about vaping, I came across my 18350 batteries. I remember experimenting with them and choosing not to use them, because they simply do not perform near enough to 18650 35A IMR vaping batteries. However, I thought up a decent idea for a stabilized wood mod and thought it would be a fun little device to create, even if I planned to use a small coil (28 guage Ni80, 12 wraps spread a mm apart) with its final construction. It would work similar to an e-cig, yet it would have adorable looks. After a couple of weeks of work on this project, the final result is in the photo below. There are thirteen more photos within this post. I hope you enjoy seeing the project in detail, as I enjoyed creating the little mod.
Below is a photo of the schematics I drew and re-drew four or five times, deciding on how to do what I wanted to do. At first, I was planning to use two small copper plates, a handmade connection button, and a stabilized wood rda, made by me. In the schematics, you can see the drawing for the original idea. I chose not to go with the notion, in the end, because the last time I used copper plates for battery connections a static spark shocked an IMR, changing its ‘polarity,’ somehow. It read NiCad on the charger, so I had to through it out. Couldn’t risk that happening again, so I went with a modified battery sled, a 510 connection made for wooden mods, and a replacement S1 button for a hex-ohm mod. In the end, it all came together.
Below is the birdseye maple wood I used to make the mod before I stabilized it, along with the sled, some 18350 IMRs, 510, S1, and a Low-Pro rda clone I received just in time for the project. Remember, when using smaller batteries, be sure to do your research for coils’ ohms readings, especially for mechanical mod projects.
Below is the wood after it was stabilized. For a wood I thought was a ‘harder’ wood, the solution actually saturated close to 97% of the wood. I used the epoxy available for stabilization from woodcraft, which is also where I obtained the wood, last year. I measured those little planks down to .5 mm of accuracy and sawed them out of a 1/4″ plank with a hand saw. I also used a coarse grit sand paper (gator 220 grit from Home Depot, I think) to make the edges square. I wanted flat surfaces for the superglue, still am bent on using it instead of actual wood glue, for now, and it works great.
In the photo above, the wood has already been stabilized, as stated. I would also like to mention that it was sanded before the photo, though. When I stabilized it, I submersed the wood into a big pickle jar with a weight. I used my vacuum pump from Harbor Freight and the vacuum reached 26 lbs for over twenty minutes. Those little holes could function great for battery cooling if it was ever possibly necessary, yet they are really there because I ran a steel hobby wire through the wood and twisted it around a weight (chunk of metal I found on the road, used it for months) to hold the wood under the surface of the solution with velvet dye in it.
In regards to the stabilization process, I was pleasantly surprised. Over 90% of the bubbles came out of the wood in well under twenty minutes. I’ve seen wood bubble under vacuum for close to an hour before it sinks with little-to-no bubbles, so I imagine the phenomenon was due to the thickness of the wood. I did let the wood stay in solution over night, even though, usually, most hobbyists allow around six days for the process to fully occur. I wrapped the wood planks in foil and baked them at 200°f for forty minutes and let them cool for a day. Upon removing them I sanded them and they looked like what you see in the photo. That is to say the wood had excess hardened plastic on its surface. I imagine one could make some neat stuff that way with special molds. For now, that is out of my level of skill.
The photo below is of the mod after it was mostly assembled. I think the copper wire is 22 guage. I was very careful to get the battery sled appropriately positioned. I did solder the connections, even though it may have been able to work with no solder. Better to play it safe; no one wants to hear electronic popping sparks from inside of a mechanical. Its one design flaw, which ended up being not too big of a deal as I did not re-wire the 510, is the length of the positive connection from the 510 to the sled. You can see it is about an inch longer than it has to be. Because of the size of what I was working with, I left some ‘safety space’ for the wiring. Playing it safe included leaving length on the wire that came on the 510 from the manufacturer. You may notice there are no washers on the 510 or the S1 (button). That is so I could have a better connection on the negative of the 510, and also because I simply glued the 510 and S1 into the wood. No washers were necessary. The battery in the photo is an eFest 18530 IMR, 800 mAh, and fits snug into the glued sled.
The photo below is of the safest (or best idea) coil I could imagine for an 18350 IMR battery. It is wound on a number three coil rod, has twelve wraps, and is 28 guage Ni80. The RDA is the infamous Low-Pro rda, a perfect fit for this project. I used a GeekVape ohms reader to test out the coil for safety. You can see it reads 1.57 ohms, a safe reading for the batteries meant to be used in the mod.
The next two photos are of the mod nearly completed. I, of course, wanted to do some additional work on its exterior for looks/size/functionality reasons, yet I took the photos to preserve its looks before I performed the work. The Low-Pro installed fine, and the spring in the 510 still works even after soldering the circuit together. Anyone who has made one of these is probably aware of the ease in which the spacer in the 510 can melt due to heat. I was careful with the construction and am glad it came out with little-to-no flaw. These photos are also what the mod looked like before I installed the lid magnets. I got the rda, sled, and button from fasttech.com. The nickle is in the photo to show the mods size. For battery safety information for coil building, check out spinfuel.com’s articles on battery safety and double-check the info with various vaping forums on the web. There are plenty of experts, and a second opinion is well worth the time. You would Never want to install a .1 ohm, 22 guage coil with such a little battery, especially on a mechanical, lest you risk over-heating the battery.
The next four photos are of the mod after I sanded it with both coarse and fine sandpaper. I started out sawing the edges, yet found it safer and more efficient to sand the edges instead. You can see I also installed magnets (also obtained from fasttech) in the mod. I put the two in the top in there like that to make sure I could get the edges as round as I wanted to. I ended up using more than one width of drill head for the 510 installation, and even used carver’s tools to smooth it out some around its base. It may not look as perfect as it would had I perfected the technique, before, yet it is fine and holds the character it does. Even after sanding the edges round, it can still stand upright and for that I am happy. The button works fine, and I was even able to line the magnets up correctly.
Of course, simply sanding the edges smooth did not make the wood look as nice as it could. You can see on the round edges how the stabilization solution actually permeated into the maple. Still new to these techniques, I was impressed with the outcome. As I have yet to require more skill with polishing, I simply sanded the surface with a fine sand paper and coated the it with clear-coat polyurethane. The clear coat was still drying in the photo, yet it looks the same, now that it is dried. I must add that I re-coated the surface with the epoxy-dye solution and let it dry for a day before applying the final coat of poly. It is not a dark purple, yet I still like it. Anything darker may require a mold or re-stabilization, and even then in order to see the wood grains well one would need to sand off the excess plastic.
All in all this was a fun project. The mod works great, is sort of cute, and makes little flavor-packed clouds. I probably won’t use it very often. I wouldn’t mind selling it, though I imagine I’ll probably just keep it. Stabilized wood mods are almost always expensive, yet they usually come with a chip configuration of sorts. Making one with the DNA 250 chip would be a fun idea, an idea I’ll consider at another time. This mod would cost less because it is a mechanical, even though it takes a deal of time to construct and the epoxy is not cheap. One way or another, I am happy to have finished a successful project.
Thank you for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it.