A mechanical mod is a simple vaping device that offers great potential, but requires strong user knowledge and regular maintenance in order unleash its full potential. Most mech mods are metal tubes, though there are some mechanical box mods. Unlike regulated vaping mods, which are currently the majority of the market, fully-mechanical mods do not have any electronics.
Enthusiast vapers enjoy mechanical mods for several reasons. For vapers that enjoy high wattages, mechs allow for the unfiltered use of high-amperage 18650 batteries. Some like the collectible aspects of these devices; there are several models that use expensive metals and feature incredible workmanship. Lastly, some vapers prefer the simplicity of mech mods. Since there aren’t any electronics that will fail, they can potentially last for decades if used appropriately and maintained properly.
A brief history of mechanical mods
Mech mods were created when cigalike products ruled the vaping market. Unsatisfied with the short battery life and low power of cigalikes, vaping tinkerers looked at other sources. One of these sources was flashlights. Many high-powered flashlights use 18650 batteries. Pioneers converted such flashlights to use for vaping. Some believe that the term “mod” is used because some of the earliest enthusiast vaping devices were modified flashlights.
Inventors didn’t have to do too much work to transform an 18650 flashlight into an 18650 vaping device. Many of the components were already there. A basic flashlight has negative and positive terminals to complete a circuit, while the tube houses the battery. The ingenuity involved replacing the bulb portion of a flashlight and replacing it with an atomizer housing. While the earliest modded flashlights look primitive by today’s standards, the work that went into them was groundbreaking and would help create a new business.
The vast majority of mechanical mods are comprised of three basic parts. The switch, the body, and the connector. While the basic components are simple, there’s a lot of variation each part can have. For the ultimate in performance, each part — including the threads that connect them — can be optimized for minimal voltage loss. The end result is more power potential. To get a better understand of the different parts of a mech mod, let’s go down the list, using a standard tube mod as an example.
The switch is the cap at the bottom of a mech mod. The negative end of a battery makes contact with the switch. To fire a mod, you press the switch’s button. This completes the circuit and makes battery provide power to the atomizer. Springs are most often used to give a switch “feel,” while some mechs use opposing magnets. In terms of performance, spring material and design can affect performance. High-end mod makers aim to minimize voltage lost to the switch.
The body of a mechanical mod is the simplest part. Its job is to house the battery and connect the other two parts of the mod. That isn’t to say that its role in performance is minimal. The material of the body and the quality of its threads can affect voltage loss. Vapers concerned with performance look for mech mods that use highly conductive metals and feature precise threads.
Lastly, there’s the connector. This part of a mechanical mod connects the positive end of the battery to the atomizer. Traditional connectors use a metal pin to make contact. The metal type makes a huge difference in conductivity, which translates to performance. Some mech mods use a hybrid-style connector. These connectors eschew a pin, allowing the battery to make direct contact with the atomizer. There are even mods the drop a connector entirely, having threaded atomizer screw directly onto the tube. While these designs help maximize performance, extra care needs to be used with mods that feature hybrid connectors. Batteries can vent if a hybrid connector is used improperly or carelessly. And since anything with a 510 pin will fit, one must exercise serious caution with these devices.