Written by Josh Smith
Alright, I am back with part two of my DIY series. In this part of the series, we will be discussing equipment. Before we get into the actual equipment, if you have not read part one of the series please take the time to. Also, while explaining equipment, there are three main mixing styles that will also be explained. Each has its own pros and cons and I will explain the basics, this will allow more research on your part (I know, this is worse than school. Second class and I’m already giving homework).
First thing we will discuss is a great argument among DIYers across this vast internet, Bottles. When it comes down to it, it is all a personal preference. Glass is nice, plastic is a bit cheaper. Both are relatively durable, the edge going to plastic for its drop resistance. Glass has great heat resistance, a lot of plastic will warp if overheated (PET is notorious for this; It will warp as low as 180 degrees). Glass is great for long term storage; plastic has a tendency to let air in through the bottle. Either way, enough of the pros and cons of the types, the key is to have plenty of bottles on hand. When you think you have ordered enough, throw an extra ten on the order. Sizes are completely up to you; personally I use 10ml for test mixing. 30ml bottles are reserved for good juices, but not something that you would vape all day. 50ml are reserved for my ADV juices.
Another couple pieces of equipment that are universal are the safety equipment I discussed in part one. Safety glasses and gloves are a must! Another suggestion for safety equipment that was provided to me through Google + was a knee length lab coat or smock, this will help prevent getting the various chemicals used on your clothing. While on the topic (I am going to sound like a broken record) but great care needs to be taken when handling nicotine. Clean up any spills, keep it out of reach of children and pets, and take great care in measuring and dispensing it.
Now that I am off my soapbox about safety, we can dive into the first mixing style. Drop mixing is the most basic method of mixing available. The hardest part of mixing in this manner, is figuring out how many drops per ml each type of bottle you are using for dispensing. THIS IS NOT A METHOD TO DISPENSE NICOTINE! Nicotine should be dispensed by a syringe just to ensure accuracy of the final mg content. This method should be reserved for flavorings and dilution liquids. The only equipment investment required would be bottles, a syringe, and safety equipment. This method can only be as accurate as your measurements of drops per ml. More on this method of mixing in the next part of the series.
The second method provides excellent accuracy, but is also equipment intensive. Syringe/pipette mixing is more accurate than the dropper method. Pipettes are relatively cheap in comparison to syringes, but in this cost savings some accuracy is sacrificed. A 3ml pipette will generally be marked at either .25ml or .1ml. A 1ml syringe will allow accuracy down to .01ml. As mentioned above, this is also an equipment intensive method. Having syringes in sizes of 20ml, 10ml, 5ml, 3ml, and 1ml are suggested. A lot of DIYers keep a dedicated syringes for each flavoring, I personally just rinse the syringe inside and out with distilled water in between flavors. Dispensing needles are also needed for this method, 18ga or 20ga blunt tip needles for flavorings and 14ga for PG/VG/Nicotine. Also as stated before, safety equipment is needed. More on this method of mixing, again, in the next part of the series.
The final method also provides some of the best accuracy, but again, at the cost of equipment needed. Scale mixing utilizes a grams scale to measure ingredients by weight. An average grams scale will easily measure down to .01 gram, producing outstanding accuracy. Again, pipettes or syringes will be needed for dispensing, but all measuring is focused on the scale. More on the process of this method in the next series.
Finally, everyone is now wondering about beakers, graduated cylinders, and other mixing equipment found in a mad scientists lab. While that equipment is nice to have, especially if you are planning on mixing up large batches of specific juices, but are not really required. In an average week, I personally mix anywhere between 200ml and 350ml, but that is also three 50ml (1 of each of the 3) bottles of my ADV’s, and various other experiments or clone attempts done in 10ml bottles. If I was making 100+ml of a single flavor, I would invest in either a set of beakers or a large graduated cylinder.
As said above, equipment needed is actually dependent on the style of mixing that you choose. If you are unsure if you are going to stick with DIY, start off with the drop method and you can always purchase other equipment later on. The bottles that you choose are completely a personal preference. Glass is nice but expensive, plastic can be a cheaper option and more durable under certain circumstances. This week I learned how much .5% or .05ml per 10ml can change a flavor profile, but this will be discussed more in detail in an upcoming installment. If any of the readers of this have any questions that they would like to see touched on, please do not hesitate to shoot me a message on Google +. Questions can also be put in posts about one of these articles, and I will answer them directly there, or include them at the end of the next installment. The next installment will dig deeper into each of the methods of mixing touched on in this installment.