Introduction: Whip Convection Vaporizer

Picture of Whip Convection Vaporizer

This is my homemade DIY Vaporizer. I mostly vaporize herbal mixtures, but it would work as well for tobacco. It uses convection (only hot air touches the plant material) which makes a cleaner vapor than induction (where the heat source touches the plant material). Some scientific evidence suggests that vaporization puts fewer carcinogens in a vaporizers (the person doing the vaporizing). Some evidence suggests that it doesn't make any difference. I think it tastes cleaner, and probably isn't any worse than smoking. Convection vaporization is a feeling which is subjectively distinct from smoking or the other sort of vaporization, and better in my humble opinion.
While commercial vaporizers use it, I don't believe that PVC is safe enough for this purpose. Don't use it. As you can see I I've read about leeching in medical products (while they were using specific chemicals), and also read that the PVC should not be heated over 180F which is not enough. Silicone tubing can be bought online. I use thin copper tubing.
Where I live smoking tobacco is restricted to people 18 and over. If your under 18 don't make this, don't smoke, or vaporize, or whatever. While vaporization may reduce the health hazards associated with inhaling plant material, I'm certain that it does not completely eliminate them. Don't smoke. It's addictive and bad for your health. Depending on what region or country you live in, it may be illegal to consume specific herbs. Make sure that the herbal blend you choose is legal in your region. This guide is not intended to assist in the illegal (And highly immoral) consumption of banned plant materials.
This vaporizer is a fire hazard. It's cheap and easy to make, but there's a trade off. This one cost me about $25. A similar commercial vaporizer would cost 150-250$.
You might consider buying one of those wall timers so that if you leave your vaporizer plugged in by accident it will only run as long as you set the timer for. This is a must if you plan on vaporizing any herbs which may induce forgetfulness. Don't start a fire!
Further I've been warned that copper fumes are vary dangerous. I don't think copper will fume at the temperatures I'm subjecting it to.
That said the consensus among many smokers is that the most sure healthiest thing to smoke out of is glass. If you find a good way to do this with glass, more power to you! For now my brass on glass design might be the best DIYers can hope for.
One more warning: Don't use a soldering iron that has come anywhere near solder. Solder is super poisonous nasty stuff. Just buy a new one. They are really not that expensive.

Step 1: Materials.

Picture of Materials.

"A wall socket timer"
This is for the socket where you plug your vaporizer into. With the timer you set the timer for as long as you plan on using your vaporizer so that it shuts off automatically. If your at all forgetful this is a must. Some herbs have even been suggested to bring about forgetfulness. If you plan on vaporizing any such herbs the timer is must!
A (few) bottle(s).
I used a large 1.75 liter Gvori vodka bottle.Gvori is my favorite vodka, and their bottle is awesome. Other bottles should work, but you'll want to vary the end of the fitting that goes against the bottle (more on that later). This should be free. If you don't have a good bottle laying around someone near your probably does. Since breaking a bottle is a chaotic thing you will want to have back-up in the case your first doesn't work (it probably won't).
A soldering iron (at least 40 watts).
I used a generic radio shack one. It cost about 7$. A radio shack one is probably best since their design is so simple. Anything more complicated will only get in your way.
Thin copper tubing.
I used 1/4 inch. It's flexible, but don't bend it into too sharp of an angle or you will get a kink (they're almost impossible to get out).
A brass or copper fitting.
I used a copper fitting I picked out which allowed the copper tubing to barely slide through it on the narrow threaded end, that was big enough on the other end to make a good bowl and fit against the neck of the bottle. The one I bought from lowes is labled 3/8" flare X 3/8" FIP. I would suggest looking ahead in the instructions before you purchase any type of fitting for this project.
Two pairs of pliers, at least one of which is needle nose
A serrated knife or dremel for cutting through the plastic handle of the soldering iron.
A coat hanger.
A hammer.
A screen
The type bought at smoke-shops to go in the bottom of a pipe.

Step 2: Preparing Your Frame

Picture of Preparing Your Frame

Step 1
This part is a little dangerous. Wear eye protection.

Break your bottle.

This will take multiple attempts and a little luck to do successfully.
Originally we intended to use a glass cutter to mark where we wanted the glass to break. That proved to be useless once was actually started hitting the bottle (plus its super hard to get a good score on a curved surface like this) so in the end we just gave the bottle a quick tap with the hammer, and the gods of chaos decided this was the shape we're using. So long as you have two open ends of glass to work with, you're good.
I prefer this "bar fight" shape for aesthetic reasons.
A tip from Shady180:
I've always had luck with cutting bottles by using a large metal hose clamp (available at any auto parts store) around the outside. Tighten the hose clamp snugly up against the side of the bottle then use a utility knife to score the glass along the upper edge of the hose clamp. The steel edge of the clamp serves as a nice straight line and prevents the knife slipping. After scoring, use a small hammer (tap hammer or peening hammer) to break the glass along the scored edge. Works great.

Now cover the sharp edges with electrical tape so you don't cut yourself.

Step 3: Preparing Your Heating Core.

Picture of Preparing Your Heating Core.

Step 2.
Break open your soldering iron.
This will vary based on the model of soldering iron you use. On mine there was a metal tube which holds up the tip and heating core. I opened this up by prying at the seem using needle nosed pliers. The handle need to then be cut open. Remove the little grip piece first. I sawed perpendicular to the handle. This meant that I needed to cut the wires to the soldering iron in order to remove the heating core. This increases how much of a fire hazard your vaporizer will be. You could alternately cut parallel to direction of the handle and then pry it open. This wouldn't require you to cut the cord to the soldering iron core, but it may be more difficult.
Step 2b.
Tape up the soldering iron leads. The core, as you can see, is a core with two wires running off of it, these wires then hook to the plug cord. There's exposed wire where the two woven leads meet the plug cord. This is to save radio shack some money (that's what that little yellow thing in the iron was for). Don't worry about the specifics of the iron, just make sure that before you plug anything in you've put electrical tape over any exposed wires. If you cut your iron cord, fix it up now. Solder it, or use the twisty caps, and then make sure you put some electrical tape over it!

Step 4: Bend Your Coat Hanger.

Picture of Bend Your Coat Hanger.

Heating core stand.
Start by bending a spiral shape which will fit around your heating core and keep from touching the glass directly. You can make two if you like to make the core sit better, but I feel fine with one. Use your pliers. The inside loop of the spiral should fit over the heating core snugly, and the outside core should fit snugly into the neck of the bottle. Insert your heating core into your bottle with the cord running out the large side of the bottle.
Bottle/frame stand.
Bend the coat hanger around the neck of the bottle several times and then shape legs, and feet for it if you so desire. The angle the bottle sits at doesn't matter much but if you make it too steep your core will slide out the back.

Step 5: Assembling Your Whip and Bowl.

Picture of Assembling Your Whip and Bowl.

Clean everything (almost).
Your bottle needs to be cleaned to remove any glass particulate.
The copper tubing needs to be cleaned to remove any grease and/or copper dust.
The brass pipe fitting needs to be cleaned to remove any gunk on it.
Don't clean your heating core, doing so will probably destroy it.
you screen doesn't need to be cleaned because it should have been clean enough when you bought it.
Flange one side of your 1/4 copper tubing.
Do this by sticking a small enough pair of needle nose pliers in the end of the tube and twisting.
Take your brass fitting (mine's from lowes and its labeled 3/8' flare x 3/8' FIP), and slide it over the copper tubing from the not flanged end, down the copper tube, and to the other end of the copper tubing. Make sure the larger side faces outward. The flange should be big enough to not allow the brass fitting to slide completely past the flanged end of the tubing. Put your screen in the open end of the brass fitting. your plant material will go against the screen inside the large side of the brass fitting.
Pro tip: Is should be flanged as far out as will fit in your bowl. Since this is the vessel through which the air will pass, if it's too narrow your plant material will not vaporize evenly. It is not flanged enough in the picture.

Step 6: Final Check, Tuning, and Operation.

Picture of Final Check, Tuning, and Operation.

You should now have everything pictured in the manner pictured. Your heating core should have a spiral piece of coat hanger holding it inside of the neck of the bottle with the tip no more than 1/2 an inch away from the end of the neck. the cord should be running out of the large end of the bottle. Your whip should be assembled with a screen, and all exposed wires should be taped up. Plug in your vaporizer. Let it burn anything off that's going to burn off for about 30 minutes.

After the initial burn off, your vaporizer should take from 10-15 minutes to heat up.

Pack your bowl with your herbs. Compress them against the screen.

Put the copper end of your whip in your mouth and put the other end against the bottle. At this point bend the thin copper tubing in such a way that its comfortable for you to sit and hold of the bowl against the frame. You may need to cut the pipe. If you do so make sure to wash it before using it. Again don't make bends that are too sharp because it will kink your tubing.

With the copper tube in your mouth and the bowl full of herbs and the whip pressed against the heating frame; inhale slowly. You should be able to taste the herbs, but they should not taste smoky. If its hot enough you should be able to see vapor if you exhale toward a light source (it will be faint).
If you don't see vapor you might not have been paying attention. If you were paying attention and exhaling toward a light source the air passing over the herbs was not hot enough. Wait a few more minutes to see if your vaporizer gets hot enough. If that doesn't work, Moving the heating core closer to the end of the bottle increases the heat of the air. Inhaling more slowly also increases the heat.

When your herbs taste popcorny it's time to put new one's in.

If your smoking tobacco, don't bother saving the left overs. They may look only slightly used, but almost all of the psychoactives have been used.


adamic_99 (author)2010-05-23

 FYI, there's no need for the electrical tape. Glass is easily sanded to a smooth surface. This will make your "device" much less ghetto.

fly_boy_bc (author)adamic_992012-02-02

"Glass is easily sanded"......On what planet is the second hardest substance "easy to sand?"

Mena142 (author)fly_boy_bc2013-03-27

First, glass isn't the second hardest substance, not even third, or fourth, or even fifth, not on any list I was able to find online (Google Mohs scale). Second, I used to do glass lamp shades and glass mosaic, and we used a simple tabletop grinder with a grinding wheel that lasted for more than 25 years and wasn't anything exotic (not diamond at all), we would then retouch some parts by hand with a sanding block. I guess you are basing your affirmation on some "high-end" application of grinding glass which isn't the case at all :/...

adamic_99 (author)fly_boy_bc2012-02-06

On Earth. Try it.

fly_boy_bc (author)adamic_992012-02-17

Simply not true. I am a glassblower AND a laboratory optician. I grind glass all day long and it takes DIAMOND grit to do it and it has to be under hundreds of pounds of pressure. No way you can call it "easy to sand". Easy to SCRATCH sure but to actually remove a noticeable amount of material? That is beyond most peoples abilities/tools. You can GRIND glass on a grinder fairly easily because of the speed. Sanding implies a hand process. Very difficult.

ilpug (author)fly_boy_bc2013-01-22

MFW I've sanded glass and it worked fine...

x3n0c1dal (author)fly_boy_bc2012-03-18

ROFL, what kind of glassblower/laboratory optician has a name fly_boy_bc?

fly_boy_bc (author)x3n0c1dal2012-03-22

One who is a pilot.

x3n0c1dal (author)fly_boy_bc2012-05-07

Good point, but a juvenile pilot born before recorded time?

adamic_99 (author)fly_boy_bc2012-02-17

Ok jeez. I'm basing this on personal experience. I bought an 18" x 18" x 0.5" piece of glass that I had cut. The edges were super sharp. So I took regular sandpaper and sanded the edges and low and behold, it smoothed them out pretty easily.

vov35 (author)2011-12-19

Let me begin by complementing your build quality. superb, simple, effective.

That said, I'd like to figure out a way to get the bowl to stay in place on it's own, and perhaps mount the bottle vertically so convection will happen passively (rather than letting the heating coil burn out)

Ideas on making the bowl stay? I guess you could modify the cap, but it seems like a pain...

hopslams and herbslams (author)2011-08-12

nothing against your choice in adult beverages, but would a beer bottle work well too? specifacally a certain british brewer with an unreal oatmeal stout or maybe a french canadian brew that uses a 750 ml bottle. Or do you use clear bottles that you may see whats going on inside the machine part. or for that matter, any wine bottle

barni (author)2007-10-09

I've been told this trick to cut bottles: 1) tightly tie a thick cord previously dipped in alcohol around the bottle 2) put the cord on fire 3) when the fire is over, plunge the bottle in a bucket of cold water. This results in a clean safe cut, with no chaos theory involved. ;)

houghchrst (author)barni2011-03-15

I will have to try this and see if I am any good at it.

mondaymonkey (author)barni2008-09-07

hmmmmmm that sounds smart. I'm going to experiment with that. I sometimes wash my herbal water pipe (Y'all know what im talkin bout) with alcohol to clean it... sometimes I light the alcohol to see fireshows... but now that I think of it rapid cooling could break it)

daltondude (author)2009-06-13

thats not a vape, a vape just heats up the thc crystals from the buds snd lets off vapor, thats what happends when you smoke, but u burn the plant, nit just the crystals

No, a vape just heats up the entirety of any herb you use. Be it cannabis, tobbacco, or any other herb. Besides, the crystals (Resin glands) are not the only part of weed that has THC. Most of it is actually contained in the plant matter.

Fontella (author)2011-02-02

Worked off of a bit of different build, Teh Vaporizer's, and made a few changes, namely, using a 1/2 inch copper pipe cap seated on the heating element into which the other (3/8 inch cap) could be placed and changed out easily.

nevssons (author)2010-02-24

 Cheap and easy vaporizer:

shmack92 (author)nevssons2011-01-31

Easy yes, cheap no. You'll be paying for it tenfold through your diminished health. Light bulb glass was never meant to be used to vaporize a consumable, and the toxic substances lining the bulb weren't either.

nickd2582 (author)2010-08-25

You should really check out this link it shows and easy and precise way to cut a glass bottle in half.

AcerRock (author)2009-04-01

In keeping with the convection method, is it safe and effective to use a hair dryer instead of a soldering iron?

As far as effective, no, the hair dryer does not reach the temperatures necessary to vaporize most chemical that are in herbs (or in herb). However, if you were to open up the blowdryer and locate the cutoff sensor, (it is a bimetallic strip that turns off the heating element at approximately 140 degrees) then it would reach much higher temperatures. THC and similar cannaboids vaporize at around 200-220 degress Farenheit. The upside of a blowdryer is that you could lower the motor speed and have it fill a bag like the Volcano vaporizers. As far as safety, it would pose no great threat to your health, the element is made of nichrome which does not oxidize at high temperatures and doesn't produce harmful toxins to my knowledge. Good luck, I think I'll try this.

Scratch that part about removing the sensor, you would need to bypass it. A heat gun woul suffice, and require no modification, those are available at hardware stores at reasonable prices.

greymatter21 (author)2010-06-02

smokin weed itsnt addictive its jest fun to do;D

J_M_Ped (author)2010-03-29

One thing to keep in mind about the fittings is anything brass or copper it would be a great advantage to you to soak them in two parts vinegar and one part hydrogen peroxide to remove excess lead.

J_M_Ped (author)2010-03-24

I was wondering, did you stick a different piece of wire inside the heater core, because it looks like you did.

THeff (author)2007-06-03

how safe is vinil?

vapoking (author)THeff2007-06-07

even though they use it on commercial vaporizers, it's not safe in my opinion. If you must use it make sure you don't expose it to any heat at all. They say its only safe somewhere under 200 degrees. Vaporizers go well above that. Brass tubing works fine. I know it's pricey but lung cancer is way more expensive ;).

THeff (author)vapoking2007-06-07

thanx, i found steel its short but its the flexable joint kind used to house wires, and i think im gonna use that

vapoking (author)THeff2007-06-08

Make sure not to expose that to the high heats. My original vaporizer used steel pipe around the soldering iron and when I heat tested it it smoked :( I'm uneasy about steel. Make sure to still use a copper or brass bowl. You might even put some copper pipe off the end of the bowl between the bowl and the tube to cool the vapor some more before it gets to the steel. And make sure to wash it super well ;)

THeff (author)vapoking2007-06-08

i thaught steel was what they used in metal pipes? either way im gonna make shure it doesn't get to hot, and thanks again for the tip, you have been really helpfull

therefplosion2440 (author)THeff2010-03-01

they do use steel in most regular smoking pipes, not in vaporizers though. with a regular pipe the metal is only heated for a few moments while the lighter is on it and while what ever you just lit up is being burned.

hcold (author)vapoking2008-09-11

Steel is just iron and carbon, and seeing as your bodily function depends on iron, and you are (presumabley) a carbon-based life form, it shouldn't do you too much harm, although all bets are off when you are introducing hot substances to your delicate lung tissue.

flaq (author)hcold2009-03-28

yeah, but you're assuming that the manufacturer made the steel with 100% pure iron and carbon which unless you're paying a high price i don't think you're gonna get usually fresh water pipes are copper for drinking purposes and drainage/waste are steel (or other material) cuz they're cheaper

yallrfags (author)hcold2009-01-27

How about the fish tank tubing... I think it is made of silicone

T3h_Muffinator (author)2007-05-01

Illegal Drugs + Instructables..... I don't like so much..... Perhaps post this on a druggie forum, not on a website with an audience that consists of people of all ages...

Illegal is a regional and usage thing ;) As s/he said... some herbs are illegal in some areas, and others aren't :p Tobacco, for instance, is legal almost everywhere (with restrictions).

Regardless... no matter what one uses this to smoke, it's still a bad for one's body. Instructables shouldn't give kids cheap ways to kill themselves (via drugs or tobacco)

Marijuana has shown to have no adverse effects or side affects. no damage to lungs, brain or any other organs.

Fair enough :p But in order for instructables to keep what seems like an "open to anything" policy -- you'll end up with things that can be used illegally.... And the users of these thingers will argue "It's not smoking" -- which, technically is true - nothing is burned, tarred, combusted etc. But that doesn't mean it's not going to get you addicted :/

I guess you're right.

I'm sorry for making a big deal out of this Vapoking, just don't hurt yourself using this. Remember, drugs are 'bad, M'kay?

which drugs? caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, teine (the one's that in the tea), melatonine, adrenaline, dopamine, DMT (the one that create your dreams at nite), endorphines? or you're talking about the drugs that were used for thousands of years prior its banning less than 100 years ago? be serious people, what i do with my body it's my desicion, and i won't blame anyone else for it, nor let anyone else decide for me. if you are ignorant about the things you enter your body (like the people who drink alcohol without knowing how dangerous it is, despite their knowledge on its corrosive properties), it's not my problem, and i shouldn't be banned from doing what i decide to do. don't discriminate illegal drugs from legal drugs, remember that that's an imaginary line, and it's proven that legal drugs aren't much safer than illegal ones. >O.o

mondaymonkey (author)ilgattopunx2008-09-07

Assuming that the lethal dose of marijuana *Im the first one to say the M word :P*, that means you'll have to smoke something like 1000-2000 grams to POTENTIALLY overdose. The thing is that THC has never clinically killed someone But assuming 1000 grams, that means a stoner will have to buy 2.5 POUNDS of the stuff... and figure out how to smoke that much within 5 minutes. BTW thats close to 5 thousand dollars worth of ganja.

actually, scientists have determined that the amount of marijuana needed to be smoke for you to OD on the THC, is 1500 POUNDS of it (no BS, thats seriously the amount) and ud need to smoke that in 15 minutes or less. I don't think anyone has 3 million to spend on weed, nor do I think they can smoke that in under 15 minutes ;)

popmedic (author)Bitterberry92009-06-24

anyone know the amount if you cook with the THC???

They would pass out after the first 5 grams, ten if they are a seirous toker, and if they are a complete permafried smoke-craploads-every-day kinda person, then 15. this is coming from someone i know who is a drug dealer. It would take insane amounts of tolerance in order to not "green-out" after the first five grams.

I believe you would die from smoke inhalation quicker than you would from over dose.

Tierra (author)ilgattopunx2007-08-02

Well said my friend

Scurge (author)T3h_Muffinator2007-05-03

Yeah, why should they take the long way around to killing themselves with addiction, when they can go to the not liable section and find something explosive or projectile hurling to do it quick. I'm with vapoking, learn to parent America and quit blaming everyone else for your terrible kids. Mine are extremely well behaved (show me a perfect kid and i'll show you a clueless parent.. lol) and have had the dangers of drugs not only told to them, showed to them as well..
This is definately NOT the most (or anywhere near the most) "dangerous" instructable i've seen on here.

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