The anatomy of a rebuildable atomiser


The rebuildable (or repairable) atomiser is a system that allows you to remake the coils yourself. Rebuildable atomisers are generally associated with electronic or mechanical mods.

The rebuildable atomiser can accommodate 3 types of assemblies :

  • The first, and most simple one, is an assembly with silica fibre that, when twisted or braided, looks like a white curtain cord.
  • The second one is an assembly of Genesis-type that demands more patience and is made with mesh (or steel fabric).
  • The cotton-type assembly is becoming more wide-spread
Clearomiser tip that is placed in the mouth in order to vape. Upper part of the atomiser to which the drip tip is clipped on. Allows storage of the e-liquid. In the case of drippers, there is no reservoir. A central tube in which the vapour rises up to your mouth on inhalation. Compartment in which the vapour is formed. The more its size is reduced, the denser is the vapour with a more concentrated flavour. Plate on which your coil is fixed. Allows you to electrically power the atomiser by screwing it on a MOD.
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What is a rebuildable and repairable atomiser?

The rebuildable (or repairable) atomiser is a system that allows you to remake the coils yourself.

Rebuildable atomisers are generally associated with electronic or mechanical mods.

The rebuildable atomiser can accommodate 3 types of assemblies:

  • The first, and most simple one, is an assembly with silica fibre that, when twisted or braided, looks like a white curtain cord. The silica fibre is easy to handle and is therefore recommended for beginners.
  • A Genesis-type assembly requires more patience. It is realised with Mesh (or steel fabric).
  • Cotton-type assembly is becoming more widespread with the development of new types of cotton such as Fiber Freaks or Coton Bacon.

2 main components: the tank and the dripper

There are 2 major types of rebuildable atomisers:

  • The rebuildable Tank atomiser:

As its name indicates, Tank refers to a reservoir. The rebuildable atomiser has an e-liquid reservoir that holds up to 4-6ml.

  • The rebuildable Dripper atomiser:

The Dripper is a repairable atomiser that has no reservoir. It is therefore smaller in size than tank-type atomisers and simply consists of a "tube" in which we find the connectors to assemble the coil (wick + resistance wire). The filling is done by directly soaking the coil with a few drops of e-liquid.

The Dripper is often used to try an e-liquid. The advantage is that you can get an idea with just a few drops, as opposed to filling a reservoir. Some people believe that it provides a better restitution of flavours...

What you need to do you own assembly

  • resistance (and, in the case of a genesis assembly, non-resistance) wire
  • a wick
  • material

Resistance and non-resistance wire

Resistance wire:

To make a coil for a rebuildable atomiser, you need a part that heats up which is called the resistance wire. It causes the e-liquid on the wick to evaporate.

There are several types of resistance wires (Kanthal, stainless steel, Nichrome ...) with varying diameters, sold as reels. Wire diameters are generally between 0.15 mm and 0.35 mm, of which the most popular are 0.2 mm.

The thicker the resistance wire, the lower is its resistivity (close to 0Ω). It heats more quickly and more significantly than a thinner wire.

The resistivity of a resistance wire is measured in Ω/m (ohms/meter). Take the example of a Kanthal A1. Kanthal A1 - 0.3mm = approx. 20 Ω/m Kanthal A1 - 0.2mm = approx. 45 Ω/m.

The alloy used also plays an important role for the resistivity. A 0.20 Kanthal-type wire will not give the same resistivity as a wire of stainless steel or Nichrome. Inox 316L - 0.20mm = approx. 22.5 Ω/m stainless steel 316L - 0.15mm = approx. 43.5 Ω/m. Stainless steel of 0.15 is almost equivalent to Kanthal of 0.20, just as stainless steel of 0.20 is comparable to Kanthal of 0.30mm...

Note that the 316L stainless steel is more fragile than the Kanthal resistance wire, and may not necessarily be appropriate for your first assemblies. Also, the thicker the wire, the more difficult it is to work and the spirals around your wick will thus be harder to obtain. In short, the thicker the diameter of the wire, the more adapted it is for low-resistance assemblies.

Non-resistance wire:

The non-resistance wire (in Nickel) may be considered as a simple junction; it is not meant to heat up and is rarely used. The non-resistance wire conducts the current all the way to the resistance wire (on certain rebuildable atomisers) to avoid hot spots.

A hot spot is the enemy of a rebuildable atomiser. It appears when part of the resistor overheats. It can be detected where part of the resistance wire is not touching the wick, or when your resistance wire is "dry" (between the end of the wick and the connectors). Detecting a hot spot is relatively easy: the part of the resistance wire that is affected will be fiery red, or simply red when the wick is soaked in e-liquid. In "production" mode, i.e., when the rebuildable atomiser is primed with e-liquid and ready to be vaped, no part of the resistance wire should glow red, especially not at any one particular point. On the other hand, it is normal for the wire to glow uniformly red when the wick is dry! A hot spot on your coil may cause bad taste. The objective of a non-resistance wire is to remove the distance between your connector and the first (and last) turn around your wick. It is simply a conductor when the Kanthal is "hanging dry"! 

The wick for a rebuildable atomiser 

The wick is the part of a rebuildable atomiser that ensures that the coil is fed with e-liquid. It absorbs the e-liquid and enables evaporation when a resistance wire is twisted around it.

There are 3 main types of wicks for atomisers:

The cotton wick:

The cotton wick has "average" capillarity and is often used for micro-coil assemblies: small tight turns touching each other. Its malleability lets you position the cotton in small spaces. It is sometimes possible to change the wick without having to rebuild your micro-coil. A "dry-burn*" is unfortunately not possible in this system. Cotton has the disadvantage of burning under the effect of heat. The advantage of using cotton is an improved restitution of flavours as compared to a fibre wick or mesh*... Dry-burning implies heating the coil when dry to burn off all the deposits and residues that may have accumulated on it.

Silica fibre wick:

Silica fibre is twisted or possibly braided to give the appearance of a "white curtain cord", similar to what you see in clearomisers. Contrary to fibreglass, silica fibre has the advantage of not burning when heated and you can therefore choose to do a "dry-burn" in order to clean your wick. You can simply tell apart a good fibre from a bad one by heating it with a blowtorch; a good fibre will not blacken! Silica fibre is defined by its diameter (in mm). The most common size is 2mm but you can also find 1mm or 3.5mm. It is common to put two strands together to create a wick. One then simply twists the wire around the 2 strands once stacked. The silica fibre wick is very versatile and easy to handle. This method is recommended for those who are new to rebuildable atomisers. Your Kanthal turns can be re-spaced without risk of harming the silica wick.

Mesh wick:

Mesh is a 316L stainless steel fabric, generally sold in sheets (A4 - A5 or A6 format...).

It is reputed for its high capillarity and robustness. The mesh is measured in terms of its number of fibres per inch.

For example, the indication #200 represents 200 fibres per inch. There is also #325 Mesh, #400 Mesh or even #500 Mesh. As the Mesh is made of stainless steel, dry-burning is possible without risk!

A mesh wick assembly is known as a Genesis-type assembly. In short, a Genesis-type assembly consists in tightly rolling up the Mesh to form a compact stainless steel tube.

The Genesis-type assembly stands out for its robustness but is difficult to create as hot spots can be a regular problem!

Material for rebuildable atomisers

To facilitate the assembly, we recommend the following material:

Nail clippers (large size): to cut resistance wire and fibre.

Scissors: to cut the Mesh and possibly the wire and fibre.

An ohmmeter: to measure the resistance values before putting your coils onto your Mod or battery but also to detect possible short circuits.

Micro-coil calculator

Are you new to rebuildable atomisers? This calculator will let you know the number of turns you need, depending on the diameter of the kanthal used, in order to get a resistance in ohms that corresponds to what you want.

How to obtain a microcoil cotton assembly

Example with a repairable LEMO atomiser.

1) Disassemble your atomiser 

1) Unscrew the reservoir.

2) Remove the chimney.

3) Once the plate is free, slightly loosen the screws to facilitate the assembly.

2) Create your first micro-coil

1) Twist your kanthal around a template with the selected diameter.

2) Adjust the legs of your coil under the two screws and tighten.

3) After heating the coil, release the switch and tighten the coil.

3) Prepare the wick

1) Roll the cotton and place it in the micro-coil.

2) Continue up the base of the chimney and cut off the excess cotton.

3) Push the cotton in the grooves, making sure to close the supply hole for the liquid.

4) Soak the wick

1) Soak the wick completely.

2) Make sure the cotton has absorbed the liquid.

5) Fill the LEMO.

1) Remove the screw.

2) Fill the LEMO.

3) Put the screw back.

6) Reassemble your LEMO.

1) Reassemble the clearomiser on its base.

2) Start vaping!