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Mixing from concentrate or shortfills, my experience...

Discussion in 'How To's and Guides Only' started by madh0us3, May 12, 2018.

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  1. madh0us3

    madh0us3 Postman

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    Shortfills have become very popular since TPD kicked in back in May 2016, but is it a reliable method of getting your liquids without having to buy them in 10ml bottles?

    DIY by concentrate is another popular method, but requires more thought and materials – which is the better option?

    The method I prefer to use is mixing my own e-liquid with concentrate, my reasoning being that I can buy the flavours/concentrates I want and add my own Nicotine, VG, and PG to the desired mix.

    Shortfills don’t work. Why?

    Let’s take a 3mg 70/30 mix for example. You buy either 40 ml or 80 ml and then add your own unflavoured nicotine shot to the mix – give it a shake, off you go.

    What you’ve done is dilute the mix by either 10 or 20ml. This is going to make a massive difference to the overall flavour, also depending on the ratio of your nicotine shot you could also be changing the VG/PG ratio, ending up with something different to what you originally wanted.

    If you want to increase your nicotine mix, let’s say 6mg or even higher, you dilute even further.

    Some flavours are strong, and this dilution wouldn’t be noticed that easily. Other, more refined mixes suffer the most.

    I bought a 100ml shortfill (80ml plus 2x 10 ml nicotine shots) of one of my favourite flavours as well as a 30ml bottle of concentrate – same flavour. I mixed both at the same time and steeped them for six weeks in the same place – same temp, same humidity. Identical.

    The short fill was weak in colour and flavour, the 100ml I made from concentrate looked and tasted as expected. I tried giving the shortfill a few more weeks, reckoning the experiment had already proven my hypothesis, but the results remained the same. The only place for it, after all that, was the waste bin.

    This dilution effect would be fine if the e-liquid makers took it into account, but this would mean different concentration mixes and different PG/VG ratios for every flavour available. Practically, this is not feasible – time, cost, and storage means they will have to stick with a regular 70/30 or 80/20 base.

    As stated earlier, I usually mix from concentrate as I know exactly what is going into my liquid – the mix, the ratio, the percentage of concentrate I want to use. But I have been lazy in the past and have purchased a few short fills. My results have been listed above.

    That’s not to say that mixing from concentrate is perfect and infallible. There’s the initial cost in equipment such as beakers, syringes, bottles, and needles – plus your nicotine, VG, and PG – before you even buy your concentrate. Some of these things are easier to find than others, but it’s still an expensive initial set up.

    With the concentrate, that’s easy to find online – but I’ve always found it best to stay with the well-known stores, like Chefs Flavours. The amount of concentrate percentage needed to mix it should be listed on the bottle, but again in my experience a lot just state 20%. Personal preference may play a part, but in my experience 20% seems the average mix amount. It’ll take a few tries to find the right combination.

    Before TPD came into effect, all e-liquid was mixed to a dedicated recipe, with new flavours being tried and tested at a variety of strengths to give the optimum taste for the widest audience.

    Now, that process seems to have been pushed on to the consumer – the 20% on the bottle is a quick and easy average to give, and I have my suspicions a lot of flavours aren’t fully tested at varying strengths and 20% is just quickly, and easily, slapped on the bottles.

    For example, my current flavours and mixes are: custard (22%), mums milk (24%), RY4 (14%), and blackcurrant and aniseed (17%). An average of 19% volume. Not a million miles from 20%, but if I’d stuck with that suggestion some flavours would have been too weak and others far too strong.

    These are all my thoughts on the pros/cons of shortfills and concentrates. You may have a different experience or not agree, but I wanted to share my findings.
     
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  3. zouzounaki

    zouzounaki Olympian

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    What you could have done, instead of throwing the weak shortfall in the bin, would have been to add a specific percentage of the concentrate, to bring it back up to strength. Worth keeping in mind.
     
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  4. Ment

    Ment Legend

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    The theory, unless otherwise stated, is that 80ml of shortfill in a 100ml bottle would contain 100ml worth of flavouring, and you would add a combination of nic shots/vg/pg to bring it up to 100ml.

    There's no doubt that not all producers do this, resulting in weak mixtures.

    Others, Manabush for example, tell you you need to add the same juice containing nicotine to bring it up to 100ml.

    Percentages also vary considerably. I'm currently vaping a mix of Inawera concentrates with 3 flavours at 0.6% each, a total of 1.8%, and it's too strong.

    Many custards, as you say, need 20%+. The key is to not expect instant success and treat it like an experiment.

    Shortfills are for impatient types or those without the time to muck about.
     
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  6. madh0us3

    madh0us3 Postman

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    Yes, you are right but I always have 200-300ml of this juice steeping from concentrate and it would have been messing around, I was happy to see the back of the nasty stuff.
     
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  7. Vaporz1

    Vaporz1 Achiever

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    I have never used shortfills but was under the impression that they put enough concentrate for 100ml to be topped up with nic shots, I think the main benefit for most users would be cost effectiveness and simplicity, to use the equivalent in concentrates for a recipe would no doubt leave a few ml of flavours left unused and the need for mixing equipment. I personally do use concentrates and mix my own recipes mostly, but that's cos I enjoy it and I prefer to tweak my liquids to my own personal taste, interesting results you found though :)
     
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  8. mattyk2010

    mattyk2010 Veteran

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    I diy my juice and have bought a few short fills and in my experience it's easier to mix a one shot concentrate than it is to get a lid off a short fill without been covered in juice
     
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  9. madh0us3

    madh0us3 Postman

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    Didn't even think of that particular headache. You are correct, getting the lids off a shortfill bottle is crazy hard to do.
     
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  10. chubbaduckie

    chubbaduckie Achiever

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    Gorilla bottles suck ass mate, either I or my ceilings have been covered in juice at some point. If i buy SFs generally vape them at 0mg as they come because fucking around with either pliers to pop the lid off whilst trying not to get the juice all over me and the walls, then after that getting my nic out for 2-4mls then topping up with vg is long for just 1 short fill, id rather get my concs out and make 10-20 recipe 10ml testers and try to get something i really like thats gonna cost me pennies to make.
     
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  11. mattyk2010

    mattyk2010 Veteran

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    I've just given my last 2 short fills away to another ape because I couldn't be bothered to nic them I vape at 1mg most of the time and have 72mg nic so its a right fuck about to get them right
     
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  12. Arty59

    Arty59 Postman

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    That has gave me a lot to think about and i totally agree with you thanks for the heads up
     
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