Mechanical Parts – How to Lazy Cat (Desktop Version)

To build the vaporiser we can start from the mechanical parts. Let's gather first our ingredients.

Main Features

  • Wide range of usable power supplies (12V-20V)
  • Heat-up time of around 2min and 10sec from 20-200C (30W heating element 16,5V power Supply).
  • Around 60W of power consumption (30W heating element 16,5V power Supply).
  • Can stay on indefinitely. No need for charging.
  • Easy indicator. The test tube turns red when too cold, and green when it reaches the set temperature
  • 3 Selectable temperatures with potentiometer (Low-Med-High).
  • Precise Temperature control through a microcontroller. Takes the guessing out of the equation.
  • Wide temperature range up to 260C (tested), and higher (untested).
  • Natural materials.
  • Somewhat cheaper to construct (if power supply is provided by donor laptop charger).
  • Can be used with a car charger for limited portability.

 

 

The Ingredients or BOM

  • A piece of wood (we used 96x96mm which is a standard size 100x100mm you can find in the market so you only have to cut a 120-130mm piece).
  • Glass Test tubes (we used 100mm long ones with inner diameter of at least 13mm and outer at around 15,5mm-16mm) Your mileage may vary as the glass test tubes are not so exact in measurements. Get a few of them as it is possible that you break some 🙂
  • A piece of round aluminum rod. We used 12mm diameter one. cut at 53mm pieces.
  • One reprap heating element. We used the 20mm long ones, the 30W variety as it give plenty power with a 16V power supply.
  • A piece of white pure cotton cloth. As insulation/reflector for the LED light. Dont use mixed fabric garments as plastic tends to melt and our aim is to go the most natural way we can.
  • A pure wool string. This is also for insulation purposes. Your milage can vary we are still testing different approaches. The most lazy one is to use a finger from a woolen glove 🙂
  • A glass vaporizer bowl. Usually they have 9mm outer diameter. We used the ones from vapolution.
  • 3d printed desktop vaporizer parts. 1x front panel, 1x bottom panel, 1x knob

The Wood

Step 1 (1-2hours)

The Heatsink

Step 2 (2-3hours)

Test Tube, Heatsink & Insulation

Step 3 (1-2hours)

Mount Everything & Test Drive

Step 4 (1hour)

Cut the wood to length (120-130mm).

Measure and mark the center on both sides of the 96x96mm (or 100x100 depends on the wood).

Choose one of the 4 sides, measure and mark 42mm from the bottom in the middle.

Filet the edges with a router for better appearance (optional).

Drill a 22mm hole on the one side , 85-95mm deep. We used a spade bit.

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Drill a 64mm hole on the other side, aprox 25-30mm deep.

Then Continue by drilling a 7mm hole on the center of the 64mm hole. Now The two holes should meet hopefully in the middle 🙂

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If everything went according to plan, the bottom hole will all connect with the big top hole.

Now to your last mark (on the side of the wood and drill another 64mm hole. The middle point of the hole (32mm) will be somewhat higher than the bottom of the wood piece, so the middle point should be around 42mm from the bottom..

Clean the two big 64mm holes as good as you can and hopefully it will look a little bit better than the photo below (it needed more cleaning when I took it).

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Then drill 2x 6mm hole on the two sides of the 7mm hole, placing the center around 3mm to the left and right of the first hole. (these are for the LEDs. We used 5mm LED. If you have 3mm around just make 2x 4mm holes).

Sand everything mildly to get smooth edges, apply a stain if desirable and 3-4 coats of shellac (we are really interested in keeping things healthy and natural, so if you dont have shellac, dont use other plastic or urethane based finishes. (you could leave the sanding and finishing for a little later when you are sure that everything fits together).

There you have your faux mahogany piece of wood  (properly cleaned this time around).

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And here you have a more fluid blue wood piece from another build

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Cut the 12mm aluminum smooth rod to length (53mm). Sand if the cut is uneven.

Mark and punch the center on both sides.

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Finding the center on a 12mm rod is a bitch, but I found on internet an interesting and easy way. I took a 10mm drillbit for wood and I laid the rod and the bit on a flat surface. Now the middle point of the wooden drill bit shows 10mm deep in our rod. mark it by scratching a line on the rod. Turn the rod 180 degrees and mark a second time so you now have to parallel lines with 2mm distance between them. Turn the rod 90 degrees and scratch again. Turn it once more 180 degrees and scratch a fourth line. So now you have a # with a center of 2x2mm. Well now its quite much easier to punch the center.

Apply the same method for the other side of the rod. Punch  both centers so that the drill will not travel away from it.

Now start by drilling a 3mm on both sides around 19-20mm deep. Try to stay in the center.

Continue by widening the holes, drilling a 6mm on both sides (again 20mm deep). As you can see things get easier if you have pre-drilled.

Use some sunflower oil as a lubricant.

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Now the tricky part.

Compare the two holes you made. Probably the one is more to the center than the other. Choose the one which is closer to the center. And on this drill a 9.5mm hole 23mm deep. Go slow and hopefully you wont deform your heatsink 🙂

Use a brush from the rotary tool to polish your 9.5mm hole, clean everything very thoroughly form the scrap aluminum and the oil. We used earbuds for cleaning the hole.

Congratulations! It tooks us some hours to get one right with our cheap shitty drill press, but after you get the idea it gets somewhat easier. The good news are that the aluminum rods are cheap to get. Dont aim for perfection, unless you have really good quality tools and/or a lathe. A professional machinist tried to make a heatsink on our shitty drill press and in the end she used something that in her shop would be destined for the garbage bin. But nevertheless it worked 🙂

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Now the next step is to attach the heating element to the heatsink. Fortunately reprap heating elements are exactly 6mm wide so it should be a snag fit. If it's too loose, use some aluminum foil around the heating element. The idea is to get the snaggiest fit possible. It should look something like that.

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 The red cable of the heating element will help you manipulate the heatsink on the following steps.

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Measure 25mm from the top big hole and draw a line. Do the same measuring 20mm from the bottom of the heatsink. Actually the space between those two lines is the safe area where you can drill the 2 small holes for the mounting screw and the thermistor. But dont go ahead and drill them yet. Its easier to start with the glass tube.

Drill a bigger than 6mm hole at the bottom of the test tube. As always with glass go reeeally slow and drop some water. Did I mention how slow you have to go? if you go too fast chances are that you will break the glass. In our example we went for a 8mm hole at the bottom. Using bits for glasses make your life so much easier.

Now clean the glass from the muddy dust with some water and place it inside the wood. Hold the glass steady at the bottom of the wood and check that it doesnt protrude too much at the top. This is not a real problem, but a protruding test tube can break easier if you drop the vaporizer.

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Place the heatsink inside the tube and pull it from its cable. Leave a space of 10-20mm from the bottom hole of the glass test tube. And now mark 2 dots on the glass (one opposite the other) between the two safe lines you can see on the heatsink.

We had the best chances of drilling them by using a diamond bit on a rotary tool. Try a fast speed but as with every glassware, go really slow and dont apply too much pressure. Preferably do it in a water bucket. The hole should be a little bit over 3mm wide, 4mm could be quite ok. Do the same thing on the other side of the glass. The one will be the thermistor hole. The other the mounting hole.

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Place the heatsink again inside the glass tube. Use the heating element cable to adjust the height. try to hold it steady and mark on the heatsink with a pen two dots where the 2 small glass holes are. Make sure those two dots are inside your safe area and make also sure not to move the heatsink as you try to fit the pen inside the glass holes.

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Take the heatsink out and drill a 1.5mm-2mm hole (2mm deep) on the one mark (the one where the thermistor should go) and a 2.5mm hole (2-6mm deep) on the other mark (the back were the mounting screw will come).

Tap a 3mm screw on the 2.5mm hole. If you dont have such a tool, just take a screw and try to screw it in place. Aluminum is soft and the screw will make nice grooves on the walls of the hole. Remove the screw, place the heatsink again  inside the test tube and check if the 2 holes from each side (glass, heatsink) align themselves. If yes congrats you are ready to actually go for the insulation.

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If you fucked up a bit this is the time for corrections. Actually you can widen a bit the glass holes to accommodate for mistakes 🙂

Now for the insulation we used the following (slow process see quick below if you are bored). A small piece of white cotton fabric (actually from an old t-shirt). Threads of wool (from old gloves). Needle and thread to sew the cotton fabric.

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Screw the heatsink and the glass test tube using a 7-8mm long 3mm wide screw. Try to screw as close to the glass without braking it. The cotton fabric acts both as an insulator and as a reflector for the led lights. Sew it together as you see in the pictures. Then with the woolen thread start kneading from bottom to top. When you reach the top, hold it 🙂

Find the thermistor holes and cut a small opening so you can have access to the holes. Put some heatsink glue (glue not paste) on both the thermistor hole on the heatsink (you may need to unmount first) and the thermistor and dip the thermistor head inside the hole.

Hold it there steady and start knitting around the woolen thread from top to bottom again. The woolen thread will actually cover the thermistor and its cables and envelop it in an insulated area. Keep knitting up and down until you reach the thickest possible insulation, before its really hard for it to fit inside the wooden hole. Try not to move the thermistor too much as the thermoconductive glue isnt dry yet 🙂

What you actually have as an end result, is a glass test tube covered in woolen thread and 4 cables coming out from the bottom (in the picture below you can see the mounting screw. Actually this was a mistake). If the whole thing is too thick to fit in the wood you can wet the woolen thread with some hot water so that it will tighten and shrink a bit. But before doing and fitting try, wait for 12hours until the thermoconductive glue is set.

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The quick or lazy method.

Just take and an old pair of wooden gloves. Cut the small finger and place the test tube inside it like a pouch. Open a small hole on the bottom so that the cable can come out. It offers quite good insulation but you dont have a fabric acting as a reflector for the LEDs. Also it can be a bitch to open a hole big enough for the led light to come through.

P.S. If you want to learn how to prepare your thermistor, please go here.

Mount the insulated test tube inside the wooden part. bring the 4 cables of the insulated test tube to the bottom hole.

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Take the electronics board before you solder the arduino mini (refer to the electronics section if you havent done that yet) and fit the two led lights inside the 2 holes on the wood. Try placing the board as close to the wood as possible. When the led lights are inside the hole, put some hotglue in the 2 small holes in order to fix them. Now take the 2 thermistor cables cut them shorter and solder them to the thermistor holes on the board (polarity is unimportant as the thermistor is actually a resistor). Do the same for the two red cables of the heating element (also polarity is unimportant). Try to keep cables short.

Well mechanically speaking you are mostly through. Now you only need to make all the electrical connection between the vaporizer the switch, the potentiometer and the DC plug. Part which will be covered in step 4 of the electronic how to.

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When you finish all the rest of the electrical connections and you have a functioning vaporizer, just hot glue the electronics board on the 3d printed bottom panel and then hot glue the bottom panel on the bottom of the vaporzer. Also hotglue the front panel to the front and the wood. Mount the potentiometer knob and voila, you are ready

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The top picture is with the old electronics (more rectangular and etched) and the minimalistic front panel. The bottom picture is actually a true Lazy Cat version vaporizer pretty much ready. It was (just) already tested and is ready to be glued. Notice the 4 cables on the right which go to the USB Serial port that connects the arduino to the computer.

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6 Comments

  1. Hi , I’m from Argentina , Do you do a vaporizer to order? There are many pieces that are not available in my city . Very good project that you’ve assembled , thank you, Mariano .

    • Hi mariano 🙂 sorry to take so long to answer, we were on vacations 🙂
      glad to see some-one from so far away interested in the project 🙂
      We get our stuff mostly from china as they are more easily available and cheaper to get.

      Until now we dont offer vaporizer kits, or ready made vaporizers. We only have a few boards to give (as its the most “custom” made part), but unfortunately you have to source the other parts yourself.
      Maybe later we will offer a kit in order to make it easily available to people but until now we dont have the time to do so. Making a kit is not as easy as it seems in the beggining 🙂
      Offering a ready made vaporizer is something that we have to think further. The idea of li²on is to offer a DIY solution not a ready made product, but I understand that for some people its easier to have a kit.

  2. Hi,

    Where does the air flow come from when vaporizing ? from under the vap ?
    DO you think it is possible to replace the aluminum by stainless steel ? (enough thermal conductance ?)

    Thanks,
    Great design

    • hey, the airflow comes from above. Its part of the design in order to keep the electronics and the heating element seperate from the heating chamber. So the air comes from above, its forced into the aluminum heatsink and from there into the straw, through the herbs, up your mouth 🙂

      so with this design you cannot easily make a volcano type of vaporizer.

      replacing aluminum with steel can be done, but its not advisable. Steel is more difficult to work with and its a quite bad conductor of heat. If I remember correctly 3-4 times less conductive than aluminum.

      Aluminium is a quite safe material, its the aluminum dust that you breath through the deodorants that has been accused for the altsheimers, not the metal itself. Of course in our case the aluminum comes as a block (and when you clean it after cutting with soap and water and then alcohol, its just a clean solid block). Furthermore the aluminum heatsink doesnt come in contact with what you want to vaporize. That goes into the glass straw.

      (glass straw which we just managed to reproduce ourselves from regular chemistry glass tubes, we have to make a video about it to show how)

      thanks, if you build it, send us a picture this way with the result. We just finished a workshop building 7 of them 🙂

      • Thx for your reply 🙂

        So if I understand correctly the air flow comes between the metallic 9.5 mm walls and the 9mm glass tubes that goes in it ?

        Concerning the metal, I was considering making a cad design and sending it to shapeways ( https://www.shapeways.com ), they offer both Aluminium and steel, but Shapeways’ Raw Aluminum is about 89.5% aluminum, 10% silicon, and .5% magnesium. Also it is done by selective laser melting of powder so i wonder if this is good for the design ?

        I was also wondering what you think about replacing the fixation screw between the glass test tubes and the inner metallic block with High temp Oring’s like such : http://uk.farnell.com/hummel/1321160059/o-ring-silicone-m16/dp/2290025 (instead of the screw). It could make things easier to assemble/disassemble.

        One remark i would make is that personnaly I would put the thermistor inside the glass, against the metal. The thermistors are not really affraid of heat, especially if you put some kapton tape to fix them.

        Cheers,
        B

        • sorry for the late answer. You got it exactly (about the airflow) and I like a lot your fresh ideas. So dont get me wrong questioning them, its all about torturing the evidence until they confess 🙂

          concerning the metal, shapeways aluminum is not exactly aluminum as I get it, so I wouldnt trust its properties so much, but you can try and tell us the results 🙂

          all in all its quite easy to make the holes yourself into a pure aluminum rod. On the last workshop, we made our own glass straws from chemical supply borosilicate glass tubes (8-8,5mm outer diameter pretty standard size), and with these glasses we made a 9mm hole on the 12mm aluminum part, which was quite more forgiving compared to the 9,5mm hole. So you can try this instead. Shapeways is quite on the expensive kind of things.

          The oring idea is quite nice I havent tried, its also cheap, my only concern is that the 16mm glass tubes were never quite exact (but that had to do with the ones we found on ebay for old stock, a newer stock of centrifuge glass tubes that we found, was quite more exact in dimensions)

          concerning the thermistor/capton etc. Call me paranoid, but I dont exactly trust capton tape, especially when you heat it up to 200 degrees C (its a polyamide). In general I dont trust plastics and heat much. They leach too much for my taste, but I accept that Im paranoid.

          Mounting the thermistor from inside the glass (and using an oring) saves you from 2 extra holes which is good. On the other hand is the cable that will run parallel to the aluminum heatsink rated for 200degrees? your solder? Mine arent for sure, so in order to avoid all this potential problems, we started running them from the outside of the glass where temperatures were not going higher as 100-110.

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