Vaping 101: How does an RDA Work?

So you are looking into getting into RDA’s (Rebuildable Dripping Atomizers) or as they are more commonly known, drippers? Then you have landed on the right page. A well thought through crash programme to answer the question: “How does an RDA work?” seemed overdue. Read ahead on all things RDA atomizer and start enjoying your dripping experience right away.

What, Why, How

What is Dripping?

how does an rda work

You may have seen the term dripping, or dry smoking used on numerous vaping websites, including Vaporesso. Well, you still vape the regular e-Juice, however, instead of filling up a tank, you ‘drip’ a few drops of precious e-Liquid directly onto the coil or bridge of an atomizer, and then puff away.

Why would people Drip?

thick vape clouds

Dripping is nice if you want to smoke an array of different flavors in one sitting without necessarily having to switch tanks. Dripping also tends to produce denser vapor clouds with cleaner and bolder flavors. Inevitably there are instances where using a vape tank is better, for example while driving, but at home one could opt for dripping. For some people, re-dripping onto the coil every 8 or so puffs is just too much admin. They would rather stick with their tanks, but for the intense flavor and vapor clouds that come with dripping, many find the act worth their while.

How Do You Start Dripping?

RDA coil

Most people start dripping using a cartridge with a built in atomizer meant for pen type devices. It is basically prying off the rubber tip, removing any filler material, putting in a few drops, replacing the rubber tip and vaping on. Eventually it becomes more common to use an atomizer with a raised metal collar where you would normally plug a small tank into. You again drip a little juice directly onto the atomizer coil or bridge, stick a drip tip on it, and enjoy the vapor clouds.

Rebuildable Dripping Atomizer (RDA)

rebuildable dripping atomizer

Likely the easiest wicks to rebuild but hardest to maintain are those of rebuildable dripping atomizers, or RDAs. These involve simply dripping e-liquid directly onto to an exposed coil and wick which leads to the production of massive clouds of vapor.

RDAs tend to attract the 'vaping as a hobby' crowd as their coils are endlessly customizable but require the most tinkering. Juice must be re-added to their wicks every 8-12 puffs or so. Materials used can vary from silica, ekowool and cotton, among others. The main benefit of using a dripping atomizer is vapor production. How? A tank, to some extent, regulates how much juice goes to a coil at any time, whereas with dripping you are able to add more. Therefore, because coils are rebuilt to your standard, sub ohming will be possible (depending on coil type used) leading also to larger clouds.

Rebuilding Your RDA

Speaking of coil builds for an RDA, you will need a little prep work to start off. Get everything on the list below and lay it out in front of you. Do this on a table or surface that has plenty of room for you to work.

You will need:

  • rebuildable atomizer (but of course)
  • pair of nail clippers (we are doing this DIY style if you hadn’t caught on)
  • pair of pliers (needle nose pliers work amazing)
  • Paperclip or safety pin or nail
  • two-inch length of whichever gauge metal wire you prefer for the coil (32 gauge is a good place to start)
  • two-inch length of wick (Organic cotton wicks are probably optimal, but there are also silica ones if you prefer)
  • screwdriver that fits your post screws (NB, the small screwdrivers made to tighten eye glasses work really well)

Here’s a brief explanation of what you need to do to build your coils and have your RDA ready to go:

  1. Collect supplies - as above
  2. Clean the deck - make sure the deck of the RDA is clean of any previous coils, cotton, or juice
  3. Number of wraps for your coil - use to generate a wrap count for coils.
  4. Build the coils
  5. Place the coil into RDA
  6. Test the coils
  7. Trim all excess leeds - using the wire cutter as close to the post that they are connected to
  8. Place cotton
  9. Saturate Cotton
  10. Put on the RDA top cap and enjoy!

If you need further guidance, follow this step by step tutorial here on how to use Vaporesso's Nalu RDA.Happy vaping!