I needed a small battery-powered fog machine for an upcoming project. Mains-powered foggers are not at all expensive (~$40). But a battery powered portable one is, for reasons I don't really understand, a whopping $800 (or even $1850!). There are various wimpy fog machines like the Wizard Stick (kid's toy) and the Dragon Puffer (same device, repurposed for draft-testing), that don't generate much fog and need to be held upright. But I wanted a battery-powered fog machine that was silent, had variable output from a few wisps to a dense cloud, and could be waved around. This ruled out any commercial fog machine I could find, so I designed and made one myself using an electronic cigarette, a small fan and a 3D printed enclosure. Just the thing for your Halloween costume, product staging, or party.

Step 1: Parts and Design Rationale

You will need to acquire the following:

- electronic cigarette kit (I advise buying extra emitters). I used a TW INTU E-cig kit, with a 5000 mAh battery, variable power up to 80 W, and a 4 ml tank.
- battery holder for 3 AAA batteries
- 3 AAA batteries
- 40 mm 5 V computer fan
- a rocker switch
- a 3D printed enclosure (see next step)

Total cost <$100 if you have access to a 3D printer.

You can find other e cigarette fog machine hacks online, but I experimented with them and found them noisier and less foggy than I'd like (e.g. this one that uses an aquarium pump). Hence the new design.

Step 2: 3D Printed Enclosure

The enclosure is 3D printed, and the STL file is attached to this step. It was designed with Fusion360. It can be printed with any material you have on hand. It needs supports to print, but you could chop the file up, print each piece separately and glue it together (E6000 works well I've found) if you'd prefer. If you want to tinker with the file yourself, it is available freely online. This might be handy if you want to adapt it for an electronic cigarette you already own, for example. Just move the walls around.

NOTE (23 November 2016): I will be publishing a new enclosure for this soon that uses a rechargeable battery. Stay tuned!

Step 3: Electronic Cigarette

Follow the instructions for assembling the e cigarette: it all screws together pretty logically and the fluid goes in the glass chamber. Charge the battery, add some fluid, and set the wattage fairly low (say 20 W; this unit goes up to 80 W, which will make it get hot and splutter, generate a ton of fog, but burn through your fluid really fast).

As far as I know, nicotine-free vaping fluid is essentially the same as the fluid that gets put into fog machines, except it is flavored. Obviously, just buying regular fog fluid is going to be vastly cheaper than buying the vaping stuff 10 ml at a time.

Step 4: Assemble

You will have to do a little wiring - I soldered the connections and added heat-shrink tubing. If you don't have access to a soldering iron, you could simply twist the wires together and secure with electrical tape, but your connections will likely be weak. Small connectors would work, too.

Add 3 batteries to the battery pack, thread the wires through the switch hole, and install the pack in the enclosure. Do the same thing with the fan. Wire the red wires to each other, and the black wires to each pole of the switch (I removed the wires from the switch and soldered the wires directly to the switch). Put all the wires into the central cavity and press-fit the switch into the slot in the 3D print. That's all there is to it!

Step 5: Use

To use the smoke machine, fill the fluid reservoir in the e cigarette, restore the cap, and insert into the 3D printed enclosure. Start the e cigarette by pressing the large button quickly five times. Start the fan. Use the +/- buttons to set the wattage. 10 W will provide a small amount of fog but will be sustainable for a much longer period than say 60 W, which will pump out a big cloud of fog but will make the e cigarette get hot and burn through your fog fluid quickly. It's easy to tune for whatever volume of fog you need. All the pictures in the instructable were obtained at a setting of 30 W.

The e cigarette will not allow continuous operation for more than 10 seconds without depressing the button again (a safety precaution to avoid overheating).

To check the fluid level, either slide the e cigarette out or switch on the fan and look through the blades with a light behind you. More generally: if no smoke is generated when the fan and e cig are on, you're out of fluid!

If you make one of these, post a picture and I'll send you a premium membership to instructables.com.

<p>Can I use AA battery bracket instead of AAA? Would it make much difference?</p>
<p>Sure. It would just be a bit bulkier.</p>
<p>What would be needed to wire this into a 24v electric wheel chair? I have a potential idea for my wife's power chair.</p>
<p>A 24 V fan or something to step the voltage down</p>
what is the voltage required for the project? i am looking at some things at amazon to reduce the voltage.
<p>Great idea for a Hookah Machine using Vape oil...What would happen if you just put distilled or de-ionized water in it without the oils that are in Vaping solutions? I've tried vaping but the &quot;smoke&quot; bothered my lungs as much as or more than cig smoke... (asthma ) I've always wondered what just water and nicotine or with a flavoring would feel like to my lungs...Might be a long term solution for smoking sub for cigs...</p>
I know people who have reactions to the PG in the vape solution. Pg is used as a carrier for flavors and nicotine and VG is more for fog. Mostly industry fog machines use just PG
<p>Hi DonA50</p><p>You shouldn't inhale vaporised water, water is (or hopefully was) only in cheap liquids as a cheap filler ingredient, Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerin (VG) are used to make e juice as well as food safe flavours and nicotine between 0.15 and 1.8%. vapeing is much better on my asthmatic lungs than smoking ever was but you have to give your lungs time to adapt (remember your first Analogue I bet you coughed up a lung like the rest of us), also you may have a slight allergy to ether PG or VG, PG it is the most common and high VG juice is readily available hope you don't see this as a rant haha </p>
Boy are you working hard to keep smoking! Maybe nicotine patches and just water in your hookah.
<p>Thank you for creating this project! I also fell down this research path and was dumbfounded as to why battery operated fog machines are so extravagantly expensive. I had given up on the idea of integrating fog into a project I have in the queue, but this has given me new hope! Horray!</p>
They are expensive because they are a small market. Fog machines function differently than vapes. They don't use wicks, they have a dense high output, large storage capacity.
<p>You're welcome. Feel free to borrow it sometime if you want to try it out. I think Mike wants one too.</p>
Great design. I do Special Effects professionally. The mini fogger we use, industry wide, is the Look Solutions Tiny Fogger. Your machine appears to be similar in size and output at a fraction of the cost! Look makes a fog fluid specifically for their machine that i think would work perfectly in yours...
<p>This is great, I love it, can you tell us more on how you took the E cigarette apart.</p><p>I have got one and kinda struggling on that. </p>
<p>Maybe you should patent the thing?</p>
<p>I didn't. You don't have to.</p>
<p>i dont can do nothing</p>
<p>Great workmanship! Compact design. Nice work!</p>
<p>Nice simple work.. (but why using AA batteries if have powerfull Li-ion (Li-Mn) cells aviable ? Have thinking about build the vape source self? myabe think about using a serversupply fan.. (they have up to 8800rpm and are verry smal but strong enough.. they required 12V but its not a problem with dc/dc step up module..) aslso maybe add a led light inside.. for light the smoke.. (or a laser)</p><p>(FLASH video file from my STM32 OLEDselfmade electrical (!rainbow) cigarette.. in addon.. or in my google+ collection documentation and other stuff.. https://plus.google.com/u/0/collection/AXBhqB myabe you get some cute ideas..) its not a good idea to use a electrical ciragett for this.. the &quot;normal you can buy are made for short running and big breaks (they are running verry hot if juse permanetly).. (also the dont hea't after pressing the taster 10sek until press again.. ) =^.^=</p>
<p>To power the fan, I think.</p>
<p>for example.. a server fan (60mm) <a href="http://www.ebay.de/itm/Non-Redundant-Fan-Delta-Electronics-PFC0612DE-60mm-for-Intel-Servers-/222280232264" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.de/itm/Non-Redundant-Fan-Delta-Ele...</a> need up to 1.68A on 12V (pc fans only have 0.16 to 0.2A) but be carefull this power is kind of dangerouse.. and for drive it with your AA batteries or li-ion you need something like this </p><p><a href="http://www.ebay.de/itm/LED-DC-DC-Digital-Step-up-Voltage-Converter-Modul-LM2577-3V-34V-to-5V-35V-12V-3A-/191998982914?hash=item2cb407fb02:g:CBoAAOSwy5ZXC39a" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.de/itm/LED-DC-DC-Digital-Step-up-V...</a> (there are cheap ones but i do not trust them <a href="http://www.ebay.de/itm/DC-DC-Step-up-Boost-Power-Supply-Adjustable-Voltage-Regler-3-3v-5v-9v-12v-2A-/122204872350" rel="nofollow">http://www.ebay.de/itm/DC-DC-Step-up-Boost-Power-S...</a> ) the electrocal cigarete produce much bmore smoke than your fan blow out.. have fun =^.^=</p>
<p>Perhaps becausbad things happen when Li-ion batteries overheat:</p><p>http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1608478</p>
<p>can you use Halloween fog juice?</p>
<p>Please be wary of a possible overheating scenario!</p><p>http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1608478</p>
<p>(if using lithium ion batteries)</p>
An e-cig? Does'nt that emit nicotine into the air?
<p>Only if you're using nicotine-containing fluid</p>
<p>Are there non-nicotine fluids that I can buy?</p>
Glycerin from your local drug store (including Walmart in the US). It is the base liquid for vaporizers and cheap to buy. Also called Vegetable Glycerin or VG
<p><a href="http://amzn.to/2eLEAr3">fog fluid</a></p>
<p>looks great. But now I cant help but wonder what the original use of that INTU e-cig kit is. Why would anybody buy that if he isnt making a fog machine</p>
<p>For vaping e-liquid. It's actually the number one way to quit smoking and allows you to gradually decrease nicotine content from cigarette levels to zero. Even after hitting zero nicotine, many vapers (including myself) continue to enjoy it as there are many flavors of vapor out there. You can effectively get the sensation of smoking with none of the health issues.</p>
<p>thanks. I know the use of e-cigarettes, but never seen <br>vaporizers like this. Learn something new every day :-)</p>
<p>Ha! For this sort of thing, I think:</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/gifs/comments/4ixsad/we_get_it_you_vape/">https://www.reddit.com/r/gifs/comments/4ixsad/we_get_it_you_vape/</a></p><p>Actually pretty amazing.</p>
<p>I think a simple &quot;wow&quot; says it all. pretty amazing indeed</p>
<p>cool instructable. may need to make a smoking guitar :)</p>
<p>To check for heat leaks, use a cigarette. Don't inhale. Lot cheaper than using this device. I like the idea of this unit for my model train layout, smoke from a &quot;campfire&quot; for example.</p>
Don't do that in anywhere that smoking is banned though, as you'd be breaking the law and stinking the place up! <br>Foggers don't smell or leave residue, which is the big advantage. Oh, &amp; little risk of mouth or nose cancer (caused by cigarette smoke even if you don't inhale!) You could use a pop bottle and a cigarette, and that would put you off smoking for life, once you see the tar &amp; goop left behind in the bottle!
Yeah, you're probably right. I used that example because I was a smoker...28 years ago. Use a candle then. Light the candle, blow it out when close to the offending leak and watch the smoke. A lighted incense stick works too.
Made one of these! I wired it to a remote control for our robot scarecrow. The smoke machine went in his outside top pocket on the lab coat, and was activated by a servo pressing the button on the ecig, with a tiny air pump and some silicone tube, &amp; lots of duct tape. We used a spare channel on the radio remote control.<br><br>You definitely need a serious e-cig though. The little one I grabbed from the local garage (small town, short deadline) was good indoors, but outdoors was not very visible. <br><br>I don't seem to have a photo of the smoke machine in action. I might be able to get a still off the video though.
<p>plan to do one for a fake chainsaw for this halloween. </p><p>If instead of using the battery pack i plan to use a rechargable USB <br>powerpack like the cellphones one, how would I wire the USB connector? <br>thanks!</p>
<p>strip the USB wire and find the power. If you don't have a multimeter, trial and error will be fine</p>
<p>uhm have a question</p><p>you need to create vaccuum at mouthpiece to get smoke out of ciggarette right?<br>what i see at your pictures is i see mouthpiece sticking out?<br>so where is smoke coming from?</p>
<p>the fan blows the smoke through the air intake holes and out the mouthpiece </p>
<p>Very interesting! I can see myself using this for an upcoming project. How long will it fog if you left the device on?</p>
<p>Great question. I can partially answer it. First of all, the limiting factor is tank size, NOT battery capacity. I've emptied the tank many times on a single charge. Second, it depends on the power setting. At maximum setting, the e cig gets hot very fast (imagine holding an 80 W light bulb, cooled slightly by evaporation and a weak breeze) and I have never tested how long I can hold it until the fluid runs out. Partly that's because after a few seconds you've made a ton of fog. Neither have I been patient enough to put it on a low setting and wait until it stops producing, but I would guess many minutes. My feeling is that it is best used as a e cig is intended, i.e. for occasional puffs (which is what I want it for).</p>
<p>Atomizer getting hot... you're okay. </p><p>Battery (mod) getting hot... STOP.</p><p>Warm to the touch is okay... but when it surpasses that, you seriously need to stop and let it cool a bit. We're dealing with a lithium ion cell. Think... Samsung phone meltdown scenario.</p>
<p>Hi LM</p><p>As little as 5-10 mins juice wise(educated guess based on the counting feature on my mod) but you are limited to 10-15 second bursts as (I belive) all regulated mods have a cut off feature for safety, unfortunately they aren't designed to be fired for long periods of time, I am an avid vaper and mostly fire for between 2-3 seconds. The biggest issue I forsee is the flow of the juice, it takes time to wick to the coil and you will end up with burnt coils long before the juice runs out, you would need to find a way to get huge juice flow and I would start with a RDTA as it will in my opinion give you the best possible juice flow to the coil. hope I have been some help. :)</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Analog maker dabbling in digital manufacture
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