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Thread: First DIY mod

  1. #1
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    First DIY mod

    After taking apart my Vmax and replacing the PCB with a Zmax board I got to thinking about building a mod from scratch. I read lots, asked lots of questions and then set about coming up with something I could do within the bounds of the tools I had access to.
    I’ve built lots of things in my life from event décor, to fire twirling props, to a mudbrick house so I am reasonable confident with taking on a challenge but I’ve never played with wiring and electronics before. This is my first attempt at building a mod. Before I started I looked around at lots of different designs and construction methods. In the end the limiting factor was the tools I had access to; a basic set of tools used in building, a Dremelike and a drill press.

    The materials I used – a scrap piece of Tasmanian Blackwood, a sheet of 0.6mm thick brass, a Vamo PCB, a momentary switch some plumbing fittings and a 510 connector.

    materials.jpg

    First step was to cut the bit of blackwood in two an laminate them together. Once dry I cut the piece into rough shape I wanted.

    block.jpg

    Using a drill press, a couple of spade bits, I bored out the battery chute, holes for the button and 510 connector. Then using the drill press and a few chisels and a dremelike I made the hole to put the PCB and wiring in. Once I was happy with that I shaped the block using a coarse file, the trusty Dremelike and some sandpaper.

    2.jpg3.jpg4.jpg
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  2. #2
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    Next was working out an aesthetically pleasing and functional way to access the battery. I searched about online for solutions in brass but nothing was right. I went for a wander through the plumbing section at the local and wallah! A solution at the bargain cost of $3.10 for the cap and sleeve. I put these in a lathe at work, turned the hex off them then drilled a breather hole and cut a coin slot with the trusty Dremelike.

    machined_polished.jpgPlumbing_bits.jpg

    As the bottom cap will have a spring in it forcing that battery up I wanted to make sure that the positive end would stay in place as once this is all together pulling it apart to glue a contact back into place would be near impossible. I found an old lamp in the shed that had a 22mm tube as the stand. By chance it was exactly the right diameter for the task at hand. Cut a piece off to length and then butchered a battery box and attached the positive end to the tube with Araldite then filed it down so it was flush with the outside of the tube.

    battery tube mounted.jpgbattery_tube_top.jpgbattery_tube.jpg

  3. #3
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    Looking good dalmas, nice craftsmanship
    http://sincemylastcigarette.com/bann...12_default.png
    So far only about $1200 spent on vapeing

  4. #4
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    Very nice Dalmas, keep at it mate, you've got a very nice mod developing.

  5. #5
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    Next I made the brass bottom plate and top plate with some tinsnips & drill press and finished them off with a file.
    brass_ends.jpg

    Next I roughed up the back side of the bottom plate and applied some araldite and carefully clamped it to dry. Once dry I filed the 1mm edge I left on there to be flush with the body, rubbed out the couple of scratches with 1500 wet and dry .

    Brass bottom tube.jpgtop view.jpg
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  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    Next I tweaked the 510 connector. As this is all going to be glued into position I wanted to make sure the flimsy silicon insulator wasn’t going to be eventually crushed and render the mod useless. First step was to pop out the center pin, solder the positive wire in the hole and then tin the hole to seal it. Then I put a short piece of 3mm heat shrink over the base of the pin to act as an insulator. Then I put a 2mm x 1mm Nitrile rubber o-ring over the pin to replace the silicone ring. I then soldered 2 negative wires to the inside of the 510 connector. One to go to the negative wire on the PCB and one to go to the negative contact on the battery. With the center pin back in I attached an atty to hold it in position and then put a short piece of 6mm heat shrink over the three wires to hold them in place during assembly. To make it easier to ensure the top of the connector was square and didn’t move while epoxy dried I glued it to the top plate first as I felt it would be easier to clamp the flat brass plate to the top of the mod.

    510_profile.jpg510_top_down.JPGconnector_with_oring.jpg

    Next thing to do was put the battery tube and door in. I pushed the tube with the positive connector into the hole then pushed it up the rest of the way with the brass tube/thread to ensure the cap was flush with the bottom and then pulled out the brass tube to mount the battery chute. It’s a snug fit but I still used Araldite to secure it in place and ensure it stayed there. Next I soldered a negative wire to the brass tube/thread, made sure the 18650 would still fit through and then applied some Araldite to the outside of the tube and carefully slid it into the hole making sure the negative wire didn’t get crushed. Once the epoxy dried I put the battery in and hooked up the PCB, 510 connector and button to test it all still worked. Fortunately it did.


    Next I gave the wooden part a final sand and a couple of coats of polyurethane to protect it from stains during assembly. Using Araldite I then glued the top plate and 510 connector and wiring into place and clamped it while the epoxy dried. Once the glue dried I cleaned up the edges of the top plate and gave it a bit of a buff with the Dremelike.

    The next bit was the most difficult for me as my soldering skills leave a lot to be desired and there really wasn’t much room to work. After a lot of cursing and squinting I got the wiring soldered together and put some heat shrink over the joins to avoid any nasty shorts. Next I cut a few small bits of foam rubber (the stuff vivi novas are packed in) to put behind the board and keep it stable, used a couple of long pins to hold it in position and glued it in and left it to dry.

    PCB mounted.jpg
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  8. #8
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    Now to make the face plate to cover the PCB and the tiny buttons. The faceplate was more of the brass sheet, cut to size with a LCD window and some holes for the buttons. For the window I chopped up mini dv tape cases to make the screen and glued it on. Next I made the pesky little buttons. I just used a couple of brass bolts that I filed down to suit. To keep them in place I chopped some little bits of latex from a dishwashing glove and glued them on the back over the flat part of the button. Once happy with the fit and confident the buttons wouldn’t travel too far I glued the faceplate into position.

    faceplate_mounted.jpgfaceplate.jpglittle buttons.jpg
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  9. #9
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    Almost there! Just needs a go button now. I wanted a solid brass button but the best I could find was a chrome plated brass one. I removed the chrome with some wet and dry and gave it a buff but unfortunately the ball head of the button was stainless. Connected the terminals and glued it into position. It was a petty tight fit and I had to force it a little. Unfortunately this damaged one of the wires and I had to pry it all apart to find the fault. Once I found it I resoldered the culprit and reassembled the unit.

    big button.jpgbottom_finished.jpggo button mounted.jpgtop down finished.jpg


    There are a few things in the finish I wasn’t 100% happy with but overall, I really enjoyed the process and I learnt a few things along the journey.

    Next project on the drawing board is a Churchwarden pipe, most likely vamo powered. Lots of thinking to be done first.
    ckane, margyb, mathsguy and 5 others like this.

  10. #10
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    what chip are you using in this mod?
    http://sincemylastcigarette.com/bann...12_default.png
    So far only about $1200 spent on vapeing

 

 
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