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Vaporizer Showdown: The Homebrew GrouchyOne versus the Mighty S&B Volcano

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    Vaporizer Showdown: The Homebrew GrouchyOne versus the Mighty S&B Volcano

    About 20 years ago I decided that I needed to give my lungs a respite from the rigors of CannaCombustion so I began to look into dry flower vaporizers which were kind of a new thing back then. That was a life changer, tho I didn't realize it at the time.

    According to the "InterWeb," "In 2003, a pharmacist from Beijing named Hon Lik created an electronic vaporizer that was mass produced and sold as the "Ruyan." Within five years, electronic vaporizers would be introduced in European and American markets.... Hon Lik created the Ruyan after his father, a heavy smoker, died of lung disease. The inventor was a smoker himself and developed the Ruyan as an alternative tool for quitting smoking."

    I'm not sure if there is a definitive study of the health benefits of using a vaporizer vs. smoking in cannabis. The best work on vape efficacy has been done on tobacco but the consensus (and common sense) seems to be that the lower temperatures used in vaporization, release less of the harmful elements of smoked herb. Vaporizers are often recommended by physicians to medical cannabis patients to allow them to experience the benefits while reducing the potential respiratory risks. I just provided a buddy with Parkinsons some tincture so he could try CannaMeds without smoking at all.

    But back then I didn't find much in the way of commercial vaporizers. A guy in California sold me some components for making my own desktop convection Vaporizer using lab glassware and a commercial-grade heat gun. With a little handicraft I soon had the device working and The GrouchyOne was born. I've been using it ever since. Anybody have a vape they've been using for two decades?

    Fast forward and vaporizers for cannabis have entered the mainstream so there are literally hundreds to choose from today. I'm going to focus on non-portable desktop convection models that plug into the wall and push heated air through your herb. That's my personal favorite tech and it's what I know. Lots of other options, YMMV.

    Of this class, the Storz & Bickel Volcano is king of the hill. My friend has one of these gold-plated marvels and I suffered him extolling its virtue until I'd finally had enough. So I challenged him to a side by side Smoke-Off.

    Picture if you will, two highly opinionated old stoners with their electric vaping gizmos fired up, toking and studiously arguing the fine points back & forth between refilling the bowls with herbal fire. Comedic and fun, especially because we were each convinced we'd carried the day even tho we stopped keeping score after awhile.

    I maintained that his silly balloon thingy was over priced, had no obvious advantages, was over-hyped and was clearly outmatched, both in form and function, by my exemplary example of elegant engineering. His argument was equally compelling but I am unable to recall it and our stenographer fell asleep during the shootout.

    And so it was that the details of the debate are sadly lost in the dust of fading memory. However, I know, for a fact, that he no longer uses his Volcano while the GrouchyOne keeps on truckin.

    The pics below show the construction details, consisting of a 500ml vacuum flask, a "flute" that holds the screen and herb, a black o-ring making a seal between the glass ware, a surgical tubing whip as mouthpiece and the Makita HG1100 heat gun.

    If you decide to make one of these for yourself there are two things to note. First off, there are dozens of heat guns out there that can be substituted for the topline one I have, just make sure the business end will fit comfortably in the flute and that it sports continuous temperature control.

    Secondly, and most annoyingly, I have scoured the labware catalogs and been unable to find a replacement for the Flute itself. I'm not even sure that "Flute" is the right name, it's clearly a type of labware funnel but it doesn't seem to be a common item. Maybe one of you lab rats can help out here, anybody recognize this thingy? In any event I believe the "Makita Welding Nozzle, PR00000034 1-3/8" is a likely substitute.

    Using the GrouchyOne desktop convection precision temp Vaporizer.
    For a typical session, I load about a quarter of a gram into the bowl and initially set the temp to 250 F. This allows me to savor those volatile terpenes that flash off early on. When you power up, smoke rises from the whip in about 10 seconds and you can hit it right away. I usually wait till the flask is filled with smoky goodness and three or four good pulls await.

    If you haven't experienced those early release volatile terps fully you are really missing something. I get it that they are there when you apply flame to your pipe, but they flash off so fast and then they're gone. Using a precise temp vape you can fill the flask with a few hits of pure early release terpenes for the next few pulls. There's no hurry because the smoke isn't going anywhere. My current GG4 goto herb sports Piney woods with a hint of musk for flavor and a surprising sucker punch of buzz.

    The next temperature step ramps it up to 350 degrees for the full measure of cannabinoids. That's paydirt and, using a vaporizer most folks find they can handle the kind of satisfying, lung-filling draught that would result in an embarrassing cough spasm from a smoking blunt or pipe. If there is one huge advantage to this kind of vape is that (used correctly) you needn't cough.

    The heat gun goes up to 1100 degrees, so I can light the weed on fire, but I never do. After you hit 425 degrees there's nothing left, you're burning wood. If you look at the vaped material with a magnifying glass after finishing a session you'll see that most all the trichomes are gone and what left isn't very pretty. Take a close look and consider whether you'd smoke that ABV (already been vaped) weed if you knew it didn't have much more to give. I DO save the ABV herb for the next bubble hash run, but I'm not sure there's much good in it.

    The GrouchyOne Vaporizer Benefits

    - Low cost: the heat gun will set you back between $50-$125. Be sure to get a gun with continuously variable temp control. The glassware is about $30 and you'll need to come up with a flexible whip and a brass or stainless screen. The Volcano will set you back $500 plus any accessories, and there are LOTS of cool accessories. (including those Dumb looking bags.... just sayin)

    - Fine temperature control: Playing with the temperature of your vape will be a revelation if you haven't experienced it before. Those low temp volatiles in the first few pulls have become the favorite part of my session. Subtle tastes you'd never expect emerge that you want to savor in the mouth and slowly exhale through your nose.

    ​​​​​​​- Rapid Heating: When you turn the heat gun on the first smoke rises in a few seconds. Later tokes are even quicker as the herb is dry and the glassware already warm.

    ​​​​​​​- Variable Bowl Size: Everything from a personal quarter gram to a two-finger party-bowl are welcome.

    ​​​​​​​- Longevity: I think I put mine together in 2003, so, yeah.

    Thanks for listening, ask if you have questions, Reply if you can add to the topic or want to sched a Vape SmokeDown!

    And, *Really* if you are a "seasoned citizen" like me, consider adding a guilt-free deep chest swelling, non-coughing Vaporizer pull on those fragile early terps to your bucket list. You've earned it Brother.

    Saludos y pesetas,

    -Grouchy
    I grow exclusively in large pots using soil comprised of the compost I make combined with Foxfarm or other quality commercial soils as an amendment. Appropriate nutes as needed. State of the art LED lighting and an evolving system of environmental controls allows me to pamper my plants and let them tell me what they need.
    My goal is epicurean quality rather than high yield.
    I'm learning how to create cannabis tinctures and hashish and I almost always use a vaporizer to spare my aging lungs.
    Despite my avatar name I'm generally amenable and helpful. So, if there's a question I'm qualified to answer, hit me up!

    -Grouchy

    #2
    grouchyoldman Thanks! Really dig it, love homemade stuff. How does the heat gun control heat, by an adjustment knob I assume, is there a read out feedback on it or just a find the sweet spot on the dial kind or thing? Can you post a pix of the bottom of the "flute" outside the flask? I have an idea what it is but want to see the lower part first. Where did you get it from?

    I have been thinking about a vape for some time now and this just kick started me. Furiously building it in my mind GrouchyTwo. After multiple virtual builds I will work on a practical working model.
    Don't worry, be happy, grow sticky buds.

    Comment


    • grouchyoldman
      grouchyoldman commented
      Editing a comment
      Thx Ckbrew, you nudged me to write the story down!

      I'll snap a pic of the Flute next time I clean the GrouchyOne. That o-ring is a tight fit and I try not to annoy it any more than necessary. Take a good look at that welding nozzle on AMZ.com, it might serve the purpose even better.

      Also think about finding or making a box for the glassware to sit in. It's kind of top heavy with the gun and the box stabilizes it in use. I repurposed an old cardboard box for that purpose years ago but after multiple duct tape reinforcements I was embarrassed to offer up the pic.

    #3
    grouchyoldman If it is a PITA to remove the flute don't bother for me. I believe what you have there is not lab ware. If it was lab ware, the outside diameter of the circle would be more uniform and round with out the natural melted lip on the edge. The bottom in lab ware most likely would be a ground glass fitting. What you have there looks like smooth blown glass but hard to tell for sure in your pix. Also (it could be just the pix) it looks like pretty thin glass and is probably soft or "flint" glass. It appears to me to be a candle stick holder that would fit into an larger candle chandelier. Such things are common in churches who like to burn candles in their elaborate fixtures. It is intended to catch any wax drippings in the holder before they spill on the chandelier and have to be cleaned off. It is probably the weakest part of your setup, but now that you know what to look for, I bet you can find some.
    Don't worry, be happy, grow sticky buds.

    Comment


      #4
      I’m amazed you started checking into this 20yrs ago bud! Wow lol

      Great post as always, I may try this out one day so the wife and I don’t have to share our one vape pen 😂

      Comment


        #5
        Interesting. That tops a beer can bowl any day.

        Comment


          #6
          You may be on to something Ckbrew. *Hoping*
          I always assumed it was labware and they do have some Funnels that are close but no cigar.
          Here's some pics of the "Flute" It may not show, but the glass is pretty thick throughout, especially at the stubby end. The throat of the vacuum flask is 51mm so the Flute is about 49mm OD at the bottom.



          I grow exclusively in large pots using soil comprised of the compost I make combined with Foxfarm or other quality commercial soils as an amendment. Appropriate nutes as needed. State of the art LED lighting and an evolving system of environmental controls allows me to pamper my plants and let them tell me what they need.
          My goal is epicurean quality rather than high yield.
          I'm learning how to create cannabis tinctures and hashish and I almost always use a vaporizer to spare my aging lungs.
          Despite my avatar name I'm generally amenable and helpful. So, if there's a question I'm qualified to answer, hit me up!

          -Grouchy

          Comment


            #7
            Those characteristics are very common in hand blown glass. These holders are kind of like a frame on a window, serve the same purpose but can look very different just for ornamental reasons. If you find a glass blower they should be able to reproduce it. There is something similar called a tulip funnel in lab ware, I have seen one but never seen it used for anything, and it kind of looks like the bottom half of a chromatography tube.
            Don't worry, be happy, grow sticky buds.

            Comment


              #8
              Does the vape pen get anyone as high as smoking? The wife and I have been using it more often for health reasons but tbh I never get high off a pen. I believe I could smoke a whole oz and not get more than a head change using the pen so what I do is use it to get a nice head change then I hit my one hitter pipe and I’m good. Only issue is if I hit the vape too many times I get a headache. It would be nice to only use the vape pen but the effects just aren’t there

              Comment


              • bboyfromwayback
                bboyfromwayback commented
                Editing a comment
                Hmmmmm I have a Arizer Solo II, it’s supposed to be a good one. Maybe ours doesn’t work right and we had no idea because we’ve never used one before. I’ve only been able to blow smoke a couple times. Now I’m curious lol

              • DeadlyFruit
                DeadlyFruit commented
                Editing a comment
                I own a starry xmax 3 and a potv One. The xmax produced reasonable vapour from the start while the One needs some technique to make it produce (small) clouds. I think portable dry herb vaporizers generally don’t produce enough cloud to satisfy someone used to smoking although if your tolerance isn’t too high they will still get you buzzed. When I first started with them they would get me buzzed but as I went along and my tolerance built up they no longer worked very well so I haven’t used them in a while. I use edibles and rarely I’ll roll one for the different effect. I’ve been considering a tabletop version (or a pricier more powerful portable version. I’ve I read the tabletop versions produce far more vapour and therefore more likely to give a buzz but they are so much more expensive than the little portable models that I have held off. There is a new version of the Mighty that I’ve been considering but haven’t made a decision. I love that grouchy made one from a heat gun and glassware and it has lasted 20 years!

              • bboyfromwayback
                bboyfromwayback commented
                Editing a comment
                That makes sense. The wife and I are old heads who’ve been smoking weed over 30yrs. Instead of purchasing one of the pricier models I believe ima try to make one first

              #9
              First candidate for a re-power:

              https://www.amazon.com/Heat-Gun-Viny...869006&sr=8-12

              second candidate:

              https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y337XPT...lig_dp_it&th=1
              Don't worry, be happy, grow sticky buds.

              Comment


              • grouchyoldman
                grouchyoldman commented
                Editing a comment
                Good candidates. It would be nice to control both temp and airflow!

              #10
              Just bought me a apx pulsar vape. At first it was different but I was high already . Next day all charged up and started learning about this new device. Got high as I usually and tasted great had a few different tastes as I hit it. I was buzzed and my old azzed lungs felt better. I use it for medical pain purposes nowadays. Its a good vape. Ok 630 in the morning new day and I will try another strain today. Tommorrow I will try some sticky cannabis from my crossbred kalifia and big bud. Later Peace Out

              Comment


                #11
                grouchyoldman After looking at heat sources and virtual design plans in my head using mostly lab glass as a proof of concept, I designed something that was functionally very similar to the Arizer Extreme Q. Now I'm all for home building a custom rig. But if there is something on the shelf that does close to what I want to do, why reinvent the wheel? I found it for $120.00 which I found to be much better than the $500-900 for a volcano, and very much in the competitive range of the parts list. For the price of the parts list I was building, it was worth a shot to check it out and see if it does what I want it to. I will as usual end up rebuilding something on it to make it more functional. The top is very fragile and prone to failure. That will be redesigned. It has a remote control for the functions which I think is absurd. It was designed to be much easier to use with the remote than the menu buttons on the base unit so it is a necessary evil the be dealt with. The first thing I did was to attach some velcro strips to the remote and the base unit to keep them together because it will get lost. Unfortunately it runs on an IR signal and therefore must be removed from the base and pointed at it to send commands.

                As for the vape it produces, it is prime, really delivers a clean dose and there are no combustion products. I really dislike the bags for collecting the vape, but I really like the vape the bags deliver. This system delivers an efficient dose with out combustion byproducts. Sounds better to me. I wish I had done this a long time ago.

                Not promoting anything, I have no stake in this. Here is the link where I got a deal on it. - https://www.aromatekstore.com/new-ar...vaporizer.html
                Last edited by Ckbrew; 11-20-2021, 01:31 AM.
                Don't worry, be happy, grow sticky buds.

                Comment


                • grouchyoldman
                  grouchyoldman commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That does look pretty damned cool Ckbrew, and the price is great for what you are getting!

                  Questions: How many watts does it draw from the wall? How fast does it heat up? How much does the bowl hold?

                  And, most importantly, are you enjoying the pleasure of those first few low temp terpene pulls?

                  Thanks for sharing.
                  PS, "Promoting" something that works is a public service!

                • Ckbrew
                  Ckbrew commented
                  Editing a comment
                  The documentation on this is sketchy. The power source volt and amp output ratings work out to about 65 watts. It takes about 1 minute to heat up the base unit. I have found that preheating the glass bowl on the first round for another minute makes the process work better. The volume of the bowl is about 5ml, and can hold I'm guessing about 1 g depending on how tight u ant to pack it. That would be about 4 doses at least with what I am feeding it. Interesting, I recently made a small amount of dry ice hash. The hash in the vape and the bud the hash was made from in the vape give identical experiences. The first terp pulls are the best. Still learning how best to use it. I an say that my lungs feel better for it, and the dosing is much more efficient.
                  Last edited by Ckbrew; 11-20-2021, 06:55 PM.

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