DIY Coil Building? Here’s Every Tool You’ll Need!

Last fact-checked 7 December 2020 | Report a factual error on this article

We love building our own DIY coils! Rebuildable vape coils give you complete and precise control over the ramp-up time, surface area and electrical resistance of the heating element in your e-cigarette. With DIY vape coils, you’re in charge of the metal type, the number of turns in each coil, even the way the wire is wrapped. 

Rebuildable coils are not really suitable for beginners, but you don’t need a lot of advanced kit to build great coils yourself from home. In this guide, we’ll give you a definitive list of everything you’ll need to build your own vape coil. We’ll show you what each piece of equipment looks like and explain what every bit of equipment actually does!



Equipment Needed To Build Your Own Coils:


1: Coil Wire

vape coil wire spool

Most DIY coil builders buy a standard spool of unwrapped single-core wire, but if you like clapton, multi-core or ribbon-wrapped coils, you can get these, too (learn more about the different wire types on our coil buyer’s dictionary).

Once you have your wire, you’ll have to shape it into a coil, snip it, test it, stuff it and prime it all by yourself … but that’s the joy of DIY coil building!


2: Vaping Scissors and Wire Clippers

vape scissors and clippers

small cutting tools when you’re working on DIY coils, so it’s worth investing a small amount of money in a good scissors and clippers. 

Clippers are handy for snipping a workable length of wire from your main spool; they’re also great for trimming the excess wire from either end of your finished coil. The blade of your wire clippers needs to be strong enough to cut cleanly through kanthal, nichrome and stainless steel wires. 

When you stuff your coil with a cotton or silica wick, you’ll often need to trim the excess fluff from either end. A vaping scissors is a great tool to have here, as it has a small, narrow point that lets you get in close and cut off exactly the right amount. If you have narrow-pointed nail scissors in your home, just make sure that the blades are sharp and tight enough to give a clean edge to your wick ends.


3: Coil Winding Rods

coil winding pins

Winding rods come in a range of diameters — typically anywhere from 1.5mm to 4mm. The thickness of your winding rod, if you wind your coil properly, should match the interior diameter of your heating coil. It’s important to make a note of this, as it will help you calculate the electrical resistance of your coil if you don’t have an Ohm Meter.

 


4: Coil Jig

coil jig

If you’re a beginner coil builder you might not want to invest in a coil jig, but in our experience it’s well worth the money. Jigs aren’t that expensive and they make it simple to create even, tight-wrapped coils. Even the most experienced DIY coil makers use jigs, we can assure you!

Most coil builder’s tool kits will include a coil jig — search vape tool kits to see what’s in stock at the moment


5: Ohm Meter

vape ohm meter

A separate purpose-built ohm meter sits flat on your table. You screw your atomiser’s build deck directly into the top face of the meter so that it’s ‘clamped’ in an upright position, and then you’re free to work away without any unexpected movements. 

You can calculate the resistance of your DIY coil with pen and paper (you need to know the resistance and gauge of the wire you’re using, the internal diameter of your coil and the number of turns in your coil), but it’s so much easier with an ohm meter. You just install the wire on your build deck, push the button and read the numbers. 


6: Ceramic Tweezers

ceramic tweezers for vaping coils

When you fire your vape, the whole surface of your heating coil should glow red-hot. You shouldn’t have hot and cold patches anywhere. If you test your coil and find that it’s heating unevenly, you need the ability to nudge individual wires in the coil so that the current can flow smoothly across the coil and generate an even amount of heat. This is where ceramic tweezers come in!

Ceramic tweezers are insulated to protect you from burns and shocks. They’re also small and fine-pointed, which is important when you’re delicately brushing and nudging individual loops of wire in your coil. Tweezers are also great for tucking wicking material into place!


7: Screwdrivers 

vape size screwdrivers

Take the time to pick a screwdriver that matches the screw heads of your build deck properly. These screws are tiny, so even a small amount of wear on the head can cause you problems down the line. 

You don’t have to buy a fleet of individual screwdrivers — most coil building kits will include the most popular types. 


8: Wicking Material

vape wick cotton

You thread your wicking through the coil, then snip either end. You shouldn’t snip too close to the coil; wicking needs to poke out on either side and connect to wherever the juice is coming from so that it can stay moist and give you lots of e-liquid to evaporate. If you’re using an RDA, you should still have wicking on either side of the coil — just tuck the excess wicking material down towards the floor of the build deck so that it soaks up any excess juice.


...or you can buy a vape tool kit!

If you’re new to coil building, or if you don’t have a toolbox with a lot of this stuff already in your home, the most cost-effective option will be to buy a vape coil building toolkit like the Coil Master DIY Mini Kit V2. or the larger Coil Master Kit V3 (which includes an ohm meter). 

Most coil kits will come with everything you need in a neat case or zippable neoprene pouch. The up-front cost of a vape tool kit is higher than a single pack of replaceable coils, but if you’re a frequent vaper, you’ll be glad you made the investment. 

You’ll also develop a richer understanding of how your vape device works, and you’ll become a more confident, safer, vaper over time. 


Alternatives to spooled DIY coil wire

You can save a lot of money when you ‘roll your own’ coils from spooled wire. A pack of 5 rebuildable coils typically costs around £9.99, whereas a spool of premium kanthal wire costs less than 20 pence per foot — significantly cheaper than replacement coils footnote 1. That said, it’s still a fiddly procedure, and for some vapers, it’s more hassle than it’s worth. 

If you’re not comfortable building your own coils, you can still vape on a rebuildable atomiser — you just need to buy pre-built coils. Pre-built (or pre-made) coils are heating coils that have already been rolled to a specific diameter. With a pre-built coil you don’t need winding rods or a coil jig, as the ‘metal bending’ part of the process has already been taken care of. All you need to do is install either end of the heating coil into your rebuildable atomiser (using a small screwdriver), then test your deck (using an Ohm meter) and stuff the coil(s) with wicking material. 


I hope this illustrated guide has given you enough information to at least have a go at building your own coils. I personally love DIY coil building. I love bending and twisting the wire myself, I love calculating the power settings, and I really love evaporating e-liquid on a coil that I made with my own two hands — it’s thrilling. 

DIY coil building isn’t for everyone — it takes a lot of time and it can be fiddly — but if you like using your hands and building things yourself, then it’s certainly worth a go! Just make sure you’ve got everything on this list before you get started, and get in touch with us if you need any help. 

Stay safe and happy vaping!

 

John Boughey


Links & Citations

Typical coil prices are taken from our own site on Friday 4th December 2020 and are subject to change. For up-to-date prices and availability, please visit our Vape Coils Department

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