Life on the Vapor Trail... VapeXpo 2014
I go to a lot of vape meets... A LOT of vape meets! But this weekend I went to an especially good one.
I have heard about the Michigan Vapers VapeXpo event in the past, and I've always wanted to get to it... but the timing never seemed to work out, so I made a point of getting it on my calendar as soon as I knew the date for this year. I really had no idea what to expect, but I'm always up for an adventure.
Let me start by saying I miss the good ole days of vaping when every vaper I encountered was a new friend to be made... there were so few of us back then and each time I had the opportunity to get to a national or large regional event I would jump at it the chance... but times have changed and there are now a LOT of events from which to choose and it's hard to pack them all in.
That being said... the events from years ago hold a special place in my heart because they were filled with the joy of meeting new people and making new friends, and amazingly devoid of the nonsense of unwanted drama. As the vaping community has grown, so too, have the difficulties. So often these days, there are arguments, verbal attacks and sometimes worse as people with opposing opinions butt heads over things that barely matter. There's a new group of vapers that have come on the ready-made scene that have no way of knowing "the way things used to be".
VapeXpo 2014 was a vape meet that really did feel like "the way things used to be".
And I loved it...
It was not too big, nor was it too small... The size of the event and the venue was dead-on perfect. The hotel staff pretty much let us do what we wanted to. The Smoke Alarms were a distraction, of course, but there were no threats of kicking us out... they put the fire-alarm into "test mode" and went on their merry way. It was refreshing. The hotel is older and in disrepair, but it was good enough... we were not there to enjoy the accommodations... we were there to bond with other vapers... and that is exactly what we did.
There were some great vendors, some great give-aways, some great items in the auction and above all else there were some great people... The staff that ran the show had their act together and the attendees had a lot of fun checking out the various vendors... what could be better?
There were no cloud contests and they were not conspicuously missing... hardly anybody noticed and if they did comment about the absence it was almost always a comment about how nice it was that the competitive nature of the event was missing. There was also no loud music playing over a PA system and there was no microphone that was so loud it made your teeth rattle... I for one, am grateful for that last little tidbit. A LOT of the events this year have added the loud music and way-too-frequent "jabber" on the PA... that actually really annoys me... I prefer being able to meet new people in an environment that doesn't make me shout just to be heard. I guess I'm getting older and that sort of thing takes it's toll. Kudos to the VapeXpo team for not going down that path.
The Vaping Militia was there in force... the event was raising much needed cash to help the consumer activist group do what it does best, and from what I understand it was quite a success in that regard, but we can never support that group as much as we should... Here's where I make the pitch that if you're not a member of this great group you should probably head on over to their website and sign up... Click right here and go do it now... Seriously... right now... I'll wait right here... the site will open in a new window so you can find your way back.
OK, cool... welcome back! If you joined that's awesome... if you didn't... you really should consider it. They are doing great work to protect your rights as vapers and if you don't support them, who will? Are you going to wait until it's too late? Just go do it already!
My favorite part of these events actually happens when the lights are dim, the vending is over and we break off into smaller groups to reflect on the events of the weekend. It's in these moments where we really get to know our vaping community and we make new friends, and all too often remember the people we miss that couldn't make it to this one. These are the golden moments of the event. The night is never long enough as we drag ourselves off to bed as the sun is rising with our mind still processing everything that has happened. In these moments, we're not talking about vaping as much... we are just enjoying our friends, new and old. On Saturday Night after the event had closed, in one of the quiet moments in a lounge area high-above the pool where a small group had gathered... there was a moment of silence... and the next words that were spoken were... "wow... we are SO blessed to be able to be here" and I have to agree 100%... it's moments like that which serve as a reminder that we really are lucky to be able to do this... and if you've never been to one... put this event on your calendar. It really may be the last of a dying breed...
I'm so glad I went, and I'll surely return.
ZNA Clone Service
We are pleased to be able to offer repair and upgrade service for your ZNA clone. Our service will replace your Clone DNA board with a genuine Evolv DNA board, and we will go through it and improve all of the existing wiring and connections. Your new DNA board will humorously Read "ZNA CLONE" on boot-up... A great conversation piece!
So far we have ZNA Clones in hand from three different Chinese manufacturers, and we have made the determination that we can service the electronics in all of them. Below is a schedule of services available, by manufacturer. As we get additional models from other manufacturers, we will add them here. If in doubt, Call us.
ComCig 1:1 Z2 threaded Clone ZNA:
Replace DNA board with an authentic Evolv DNA30 board. $99.00
Replace 510 pin with Alloy 101 Dual Adjustable Pin. $15.00
Clouper ZNA: (not Z2 threaded)
Replace DNA board with an authentic Evolv DNA30 board. $99.00
Change Body Tube Threading to Z2 (You will need to supply a Z2 threaded tube) $29.00
Replace 510 pin with Alloy 101 Dual Adjustable Pin. $15.00
We cannot Change the 510 adapter threading to Z2.
A-Mod ZNA: (not Z2 threaded)
Replace DNA board with an authentic Evolv DNA30 board. $99.00
Change Body Tube Threading to Z2 (You will need to supply a Z2 threaded tube) $29.00
Replace 510 pin with Alloy 101 Dual Adjustable Pin. $15.00
We cannot Change the 510 adapter threading to Z2.
All repairs carry a 90 Day Warranty on Labor and a 1 year Warranty on the DNA board.
A 1 Year full parts and labor warranty is available for $30.00 additional.
To arrange for service of your Clone, please contact Dan Courtney at House of Hybrids by calling 585-617-3323. Please do not leave messages, call until you make contact.
Coming Soon... The ZNA 813
I'd like to present the ZNA 813...
This is a MODULE that can fit on ANY of my Z2 pvs that will convert them into a DNA 30 device. The prototype in the pictures is black, but it is going to be be released in Aluminum Graphite first, followed by Aluminum Rose Gold.
This module is a bit of a departure for me, in that I didn't actually design it. Prior to this, every PV I have released has been of my design... but I'm really interested in developing the talent of a few of my team members. For this offering, I worked with Adam Cosell, a very talented young member of my staff who has shown an interest in PV design, so I decided to let him take the lead on the project. I offered Guidance when needed, but this bad boy is all about what he brings to the table. Adam is great at 3D drawing and design, and he approached this as a computer designed item right from the start. The inner parts of the Device that make up the board carrier are 3D printed. Adam made the prototype in conjunction with Al Coleman back in the prototype shop, and I am really pleased to say the team has exceeded my expectations.
I expect these to be hitting the streets in about a month, possibly sooner.
The unit will be for sale as both a Module AND as a Stand Alone PV for folks that don't already have a Z2 PV. Pricing will be announced soon.
The photos show it with an 18350 tube.
Clone sightings are real... this is not a drill!
So the Chi-NA clone is finally in the states, at least a sample of one has landed. I am very pleased they used Z2 threading and they maintained the same tube length. It is as close to a 1-1 clone as they can probably manage at the price point.
IF they are using the "dna clone" board that is in the CHANA it is important that people who are considering this purchase understand that the device will have NO battery condition monitoring or any of the safety features associated with the battery monitoring circuit. It does have a battery level meter... this is not the same thing as condition monitoring.
I am looking forward to the many number of people that will now get to experience the Z2 system at china prices. People entering the system from this direction will be able to add accessories from the existing Z2 lineup to personalize their Chi-NA, and if they decide to continue on and purchase an Authentic ZNA, the purchase of the accessories will not be a wasted effort. They will slide right onto the real device.
I will be contacting the manufacturer to see what we can do about getting access to these for certification as a factory authorized edition.
We live in a global economy. We have to embrace change. For those of you that feel they have stolen my design, it is true... they have... but the important thing about being in this industry is that devices like this save lives by helping people free themselves of their dependency on cigarettes and combustible tobacco.
If you are concerned about the effect this will have on my business and the livelihoods of my employees, please encourage the purchasers of the Chi-NA to accessorize with genuine ZenKote parts. I do ask that you NOT alienate people that make the choice to own a Chi-NA.
It took them 8 months to knock this one off... that's a long time in this industry, but we all knew it would happen. I am not going to file lawsuits against the resellers as others have done. I am not going to threaten the manufacturer in any way. If the American public wants to buy a knock-off of my design then they are going to buy it, no matter what I do. This is the world we live in, and I intend to embrace change.
Recently there have been several service tickets opened regarding Finish flaws or blemishes on the new ZNA LITE and I would like to address the issues here in my blog.
Common complaint #1: There is a "rainbow effect" in the finish of the PV that is visible when I remove the battery tube. It looks like the finish is thin in those areas.
Response: Yes, there is a rainbow effect where the finish looks thin... this is ONLY visible with the battery tube removed and does not effect the performance of the pv, nor is it visible when the PV is assembled and in use. We are sorry if this upsets you, but it is perfectly normal for the finish to be this way. The Vapor Deposition process which applies the finish leaves these artifacts and these are not considered to be a flaw in the finish.
Common Complaint #2: There is a scratch in the finish where the battery cover made contact with the inside of the PV.
Response: The Battery cover CAN make contact when threading into the tube and it can scrape the finish when doing so... the resultant scrape is hidden by the battery cover when it is assembled and in use, and this is not considered to be a flaw in the finish.
Common complaint #3: There is a "rainbow effect" in the finish of the PV that is visible at the top near the switch.
Response: Yes, there is a rainbow effect. This is an artifact for the proximity of the fixture to the PV body and there's nothing we can do about it. We have decided that since it is uniform enough, and the general effect is pleasant, it's just the way it is. We are sorry if this upsets you, but it is perfectly normal for the finish to be this way. The Vapor Deposition process which applies the finish leaves these artifacts and these are not considered to be a flaw in the finish.
We would appreciate it if you could please refrain from opening service tickets for the above listed issues, as these are not warranty issues.
One other issue to address involves use of the the wrong batteries.
Complaint: When I fire my PV it resets itself.
Response: There is the common belief that batteries that work well for mechanical PVs will work well with the ZNA... this is not the case. In well over 90% of the complaints this is caused by using the incorrect battery, or a battery in poor condition. The ZNA is designed to be used ONLY with High Drain Red Wrapper AW IMR batteries... If you are experiencing this issue, please get your hands on a genuine AW IMR battery and test the PV with a fully charged cell. DO NOT file a service ticket if you are using the following batteries in your device:
DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING BATTERIES:
E-Fest Batteries (any version)
MNKE (any Version)
SONY Batteries (any Version)
Panasonic Batteries (any Version)
TrustFire Batteries (any Version)
If you are Using a fresh AW battery, please verify that it is NOT a counterfeit... if you need help determining if your batteries are fake, give us a call.
If your battery condition indicator on your ZNA is "jumping around" the cause is nearly ALWAYS the use of the wrong battery.
I hope this helps clear things up!
OPEN ON SATURDAYS!
At last... The ZFO will be open on Saturdays!
Jason Smith took over as proprietor of the ZFO on June 1, and so far he has done a fantastic job!
As promised, WE WILL BE OPEN ON SATURDAYS starting June 7 from Noon to 5PM, so stop by and have a vape with him! The customers have been asking for this, so let's not let him down! At the very least, stop by for a vape and check the place out! (Yes, he has some ZNA Lite and USA Granite PVs available for sale)
ZFO MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT
So we opened the ZFO on February 1, 2014... and it's almost June... and in the past three months I learned something... You guys really like this place! It's great to see the impromptu meetups happen. People have traveled from as far away as Florida to Visit and spend some time vaping in this great setting. It's been a lot of fun getting to know many of you in person.
The most common question has been... "When will you be open on Saturdays?" and I have explored the possibility of having weekend hours of some kind, and I just have not been able to make it happen.
I also realized that running a growing retail operation while trying to run a manufacturing business at the same time is a tricky bit of trouble to manage, and while I enjoyed vaping up front while everybody was in the back picking up the slack, I have to admit it makes for lots of time playing catch-up when I finally return to the production area.
Then it hit me... what I NEED is somebody to RUN the ZFO, so I can just pop in on occasion then return to my responsibilities out back. OK, I'll admit it, I already knew that was going to have to happen eventually, I just didn't expect it to happen so soon.
The decision I mad is a but different than hiring a manager... I am inclined to create opportunity where I can, and I decided that the ZFO needed to be a separate business WITHIN an existing business... A "concession" sort of a thing.
Look, I'll just cut to the chase... Starting the first week of June, Jason Smith is going to become the proprietor of the ZFO. He is licensing the right to operate the ZFO as HIS OWN business. He is going to be expanding the products offered so that the ZFO has a bit more stuff than just the HoH product line... more juice lines... a few accessory items and complimentary products to fill out the entry level and juice lines... you know... it's gonna be a REAL vape shop now.
Jason is a customer service oriented guy that shares the same ideals as I do for customer care. He's a solid individual with a Wife, Daughter and mortgage payments... and he is a good friend to the Zenfidel community. Basically he's a natural to do this and I think he's going to excel at it. This past weekend he put on a Bar-b-que at the ZFO that was a blast and we all had a great time.
We like him.
If you see him online congratulate him on his new endeavor, and if you're in town, stop by the ZFO and wish him well in this new pursuit. I believe this is the best move to allow the ZFO to grow and flourish... and don't worry, I fully intend to play hooky from the production area as much as I possibly can!
And one other thing....
He's going to be open on Saturdays.
Turner & Boyle Accessories
Recently, we have come in contact with an innovative little company with some cool ideas. When we were first approached by the folks from Turner and Boyle, they showed us a few things they had in the works, and wondered what we thought about them.
We were impressed. They seemed to have a knack for looking at things... well... differently. They are modders of the first order. They look at existing devices on the market and they find ways to improve on them so they end up better than the original. We liked their approach and have kept in touch with them.
They finally have some products available for the market place and they contacted us to discuss putting ZenKote™ on a few of their innovations and Zen wholeheartedly agreed, and he went one step further, offering to handle their distribution as well.
So that's how we landed here... In the next few months, the Turner and Boyle products will start showing up here, then they will end up at our entire distribution network as well. ANY dealer is welcome to contact us to carry these products in your online or retail stores. We truly believe these products will be a real hit.
So what is coming?
The first item on the market will be a set of conversion tanks for the popular Kayfun and Russian style atomizers, these make it possible to put more traditional drip tips on the top of the atomizer, but even better, they will be available in stainless steel AND ZenKote™ finishes for a perfect match to your house of hybrids or ZenKote™ ProVari.
The Second item will be a conversion kit that turns a Russian or Kayfun into a nice little dripper atomizer. These will also be available in ZenKote™.
Soon thereafter, a quartz conversion tank for the Kayfun/Russian will hit the streets, and it will also be available in ZenKote™. This is a nicely designed item that uses readily available Quartz or Pyrex in the same glass sizes that are used on Zenesis PVs and Atomizers.
Turner and Boyle have several new drip tips coming out as well as a few other neat accessories that just make vaping easier, neater, cooler and above all else, stylish.
There will be a few adapters coming out as well... mostly to turn 510 atomizers into hybrid style, but in a more complete way than the existing hybrid kits on the market today.
As we start getting these products into inventory, we will post pictures, until then, the descriptions will have to do!
Dealers are welcome to contact us once you start seeing the products showing up on this page.
Five Special APVs for a special cause...
Five one of a kind PVs custom made for the vaping militia auction
The Vaping Militia is sponsoring an online auction to benefit CASAA And they contacted us to see if we would donate an item or lot to the event. We were quite happy to oblige, and went right to work designing something special.
What we came up with is five one-of-a-kind PVs in Granite finished Stainless Steel, each one featuring a unique phrase deeply machine engraved in Chinese characters. These units use 18650 batteries and they have our special Gun Metal ZenKote™ as accents. They are truly beautiful and superbly crafted.
"Stop The Ban"
"Relax, It's Vapor"
"I'm Not Smoking"
"Don't Tread On Me"
Bidding on Items starts May 17, 2014. Auction Items will end on a live show on May 24, 2014 @ http://vapers.tv/vapingmilitia at 11am EST and go until every item is gone. This is going to be hosted and supported by every vape show network. If vapers.tv happens to have issues during the broadcast the backup broadcast will be @ http://www.ivlog.tv/user/TheVapingMilitia . Items will be listed and bidding will take place at hppt://www.corevape.com . You will need to register for an account at corevape (free).
For more information, you can join the Facebook Group Page for the auction:
It's time to make a completely idiotic statement
I'm a man on a mission.
For the past several years, all of us in the vaping community have been working towards a common goal... to free ourselves of the ravages of tobacco. We quit smoking and started vaping, and our lives have been changed forever.
For the better...
Now, the FDA has, in their infinite wisdom, put forth a proposal to deem eCigs as a Tobacco product... and while they are at it they have also put anything that even resembles a method of vaporizing nicotine in the same category.
This, in my opinion, is tragic.
Tobacco in its combustible form kills people... lots of them. Tobacco use killed 100 million people in the 20th century. ... at this very rate, 650 million smokers alive today will eventually die from tobacco-related disease. Tobacco doesn't just kill people that use it... it kills people that are NEAR the people that use it. And if it doesn't kill you, it has an effect on you, and there can be no argument that the effect is in ANY way a good thing.
So, all of us in the eCig industry are NOW, against our will, going to be listed and regulated as manufacturers of tobacco products.
I don't mind being regulated, taxed, controlled... what have you... I ABSOLUTELY object to being lumped in with the tobacco industry. A few short weeks ago I could stand tall and tell people that I was in an industry that is making a change in the way people with nicotine addiction live out their lives. My own doctor provided eCigs for his father who could not quit smoking, and the results on his health have been remarkable, by the way, but nope... we are now going to be in the tobacco industry.
I would like to make a statement to the world, starting right here and now. Vapers are ANTI-TOBACCO. We don't smoke it... we don't use it in it's combustible and deadly form, and we resent being told that this is our place in the world.
VAPERS are VICTIMS of the tobacco industry.
So what am I going to do about it? Like I said at the onset... Starting here... right now... I'm a man on a mission. I have been approached by several of my peers in the vaping industry about starting up a legal battle by hiring lobbyists to fight for our cause in the corrupted halls of congress and state legislatures, and I cannot see this as a viable solution, and I'll tell you why.
WE ALL AGREE that we should not be classified as tobacco products and we ALSO all agree that the RIGHT thing to do is to spend our time and effort educating our law makers as to EXACTLY what we stand for. The time has come to make sure every single member of congress as well as every state elected official in ALL 50 states is delivered the clear message that WE ARE NOT SMOKING... we are NOT tobacco. And we believe we are RIGHT in this assertion... so why do we have to pay for influence to deliver the message that we are RIGHT? The Lobbyists should be representing us Pro-Bono... they shouldn't be charging us to DO WHAT'S RIGHT, SHOULD THEY?
You see... they charge because they don't care if we are right. They only care if they get paid.
I don't want to pay them. I want them to do what's right.
I feel, and I am sincere in this belief, that the SAME money would be more effective by making an amazingly stupid yet incredibly thrilling GRAND GESTURE that the press CANNOT ignore. A message that will send a message LOUD AND CLEAR that VAPERS HATE TOBACCO, and EVERYTHING that tobacco stands for.
Here's the good part... Seriously, I mean it...
The GRAND GESTURE... what was the Boston tea party?
It was a GRAND GESTURE is what it was... and boy were the Brits angry with us. But it got their attention.
My grand gesture is far less criminal in nature... in fact, it's not criminal at all. It's amazing, and exciting, and for some folks even fun... but it is MIGHTY grand in it's scope... because.... wait for it...
I want to stuff as many cartons of cigarettes as I possibly can into as big of a rocket as I can get my hands on, and send those suckers right into space... as far as we can get them away from our planet as possible... where they can no longer hurt people.
Is there a better way to send the message that "WE ARE NOT TOBACCO.... WE ARE NOT SMOKING... WE ARE VAPING, and we do NOT want to be associated with the tobacco industry in ANY way".
And do you think I'm joking?
The research and planning has begun, and it is most likely possible to do EXACTLY as I have proposed... It's gonna cost some cash... and it won't be easy, but it's a gesture worth doing. I plan on alerting the media once the plan is in place. This will require permits, and experts, and technology access... but it CAN be done... and every step of the way I intend to document the process with the hopes of releasing a documentary on the entire proceeding. This will feature as many people as we can get to comment on their feelings towards this whole debacle.
I will soon be posting details as to how you can help in this process. I fully intend to move forward until a rocket filled with deadly tobacco is on it's way out of our atmosphere where it cannot hurt another soul. I will pursue this until I make it happen, or I am stopped by legal means. Even if I am prevented from actually launching the rocket, with your help I will raise so much awareness to the fact that WE ARE VICTIMS OF TOBACCO and WE ARE NOT TOBACCO that I will be comfortable knowing that our lawmakers are WELL AWARE that they got this wrong.
Yes folks... it's BIG STUPID GESTURE TIME!
DARE TO BE STUPID!
For 24 hours, on April 1, 2014, you will be able to order a very limited edition ZFO limited DX490 PV with the new Z2.2 510 connector. It will feature ZFO LIMITED on one side... and DICKBUTT on the other... your PV will be either BRASS or COPPER (you don't get to choose) and it will be engraved and shipped by 4/4/2014.
We will contact you via email with payment instructions... for now, just place the order... by MIDNIGHT TONIGHT this will be over. It's a one shot deal, limited to TODAY ONLY... DON'T miss this rare opportunity to own something RARE and STUPID!
Zen's Private Stash Premium eLiquid
By Popular demand, the ZPS Premium eLiquid is finally available at the ZFO.
This is a very clean eLiquid that features 7 flavors that are made from the finest ingredients. These are not made with the same flavoring manufacturers that are prevalent in the juice market today.
ZPS is exactly the juice I vape daily, and is available ONLY in 18Mg/ml nicotine strength and is a 70/30 PG/VG blend. There are four menthol offerings and 3 non menthol.
Black Ice is a solid blend of organically grown long crystal menthol and real Australian licorice root extract. It has a black licorice bite with a STRONG menthol finish.
Teaberry Menthol is a nostalgic vape that tastes like the classic Teaberry gum with organically grown long crystal menthol. Like most of the ZPS juices, it has a clean no aftertaste freshness with a menthol finish.
Berry Menthol is calming eLiquid... The berry flavor glides into your sensory perception on a cloud of long-crystal menthol leaving you with a clear head and heightened awareness. It's an amazing after-dinner vape that pairs wonderfully with wine or a great conversation.
Real Menthol is REALLY menthol... This is a mint blend with a ferocious head-clearing long-crystal menthol flood of flavor that awakens your senses. The spearmint note opens your taste buds to experience the peppermint finish. The flavor is seemingly simple with extraordinarily complex explorations of flavor notes and tones. If you enjoy menthol, you're gonna LOVE this stuff.
RaspberryBacco is a sophisticated palate cleansing vape with subtle colors and flavors. Lighly raspberry flavored with a VERY subtle tobacco note that dissipates at the finish.
Teaberry Shuffle is an amazingly crisp non-menthol mint blend with a solid bite and a subtle finish. This eLuiquid is a great all-day vape for non-menthol lovers!
Aussie Licorice is the exact flavor of kookaburra black licorice without all the calories. Most "licorice flavor" eLiquid uses substitutes for the incredibly expensive Licorice Root Extracts that are used to make REAL quality licorice... This flavor makes you realize that by using premium flavor extracts instead of chemical substitutes you will end up with cleaner, more satisfying flavors.
Zen's Private Stash Premium eLiquid isn't for everybody... Its for the vaping connoisseur with a discerning palate who demands the very best. To experience the crisp and clean flavors with complex overtones and see for yourself, stop by the ZFO for a taste!
ZenKote™ ProVari Announced!
After 5 long months of keeping my mouth shut, I can FINALLY announce that ProVape Inc. has decided to do a limited release of ProVari and Provari Mini's in Gold ZenKote! It has been fantastic working with the team over at ProVape on this project. We are all very excited about the way the product turned out and are really pleased to make this amazing finish available on such a fantastic and proven work-horse of a PV!
I'm not entirely sure when the Gold ZK PV will actually release, but I know it's coming soon. For more information, keep your eye on the ProVari website and facebook pages.
The ZFO opens today!
2/1/14 the time has come... we shall open the doors to the public.... AT LAST!
It has been a LONG time coming... We moved into 42 Nichols street on May 1 2013... and I was planning on having the showroom open by June... OK, so I missed that deadline!
So lets talk about what happened in the interim, shall we?
Z2 launched in June... and we have been hopping ever since! ZenKote, Brass Tubes, Gold Plating, Machines IN HOUSE, putting up walls, windows, doors... paint... LOTS of paint! We BUILT those displays... they were not purchased! We BUILT that lounge! (and it is spectacular!)
I'm gonna take just a minute before I get some rest to thank a few people, so stay with me, and I am NOT naming everybody, so deal with it!
First and foremost... ahead of everybody else... I have to thank Stacie Fournier... Shes the Vice President of this dump, and the treasurer of the corporation as well. She is my life partner of 14 years and she's the glue that keeps this stuff together when I need to NOT think about which bill needs to be paid and when... babes... you're amazing!
Tied for second... Larry Giller and Dan Courtney. You guys rock and without you guys I'd be hard pressed to get stuff done.
Adam, Don, Bruce, Carol, Matt, Albert, John, Jonna, Lee, Morgan, Andy and Karen... what can I say? You guys assembled a whole lotta attys, packages, pvs and accessories this past year... NONE of this is possible without you.
The machine crew... Al Coleman... 'nuff said! If he can't machine it, it can't be done! (and a whole slew of other machinists that DAILY grind out parts in support of this whole thing, my hats off to you guys as well!) and at the primary machine facility: Ken, Dan, Scott, Chris, Corey, Chas, Sung, the OTHER AL and the OTHER Adam... you guys keep the spindles spinning and I am grateful for the effort you put in!
And last but certainly not least... Wayne Green... This big lug built the showroom I'm about to be proud of! He worked hard to build the vision I presented to him, and he did an awesome job...
In the public eye... Cigar Babe, Tony AKA Honest Vape and Phil Busardo... thanks for all you have done for me and for spreading the word in ways I never could.
I would like to thank the "haters"... without you guys posting your negative venom I would never evolve. I would become lazy and complacent... You guys do more for me than most... you keep me on my toes and make me clear of thought. When I have to defend my design decisions it brings forth a clarity that cannot exist without you! You're still wrong, but you force me to be sure that I'm right. I actually appreciate that.
And the lovers too... The Zenfidels are still going strong over two years later. It's amazing to me! You have become some of my closest friends in the world. I'm glad we found each other.
The dealers of my products are the foot soldiers on the front line... ENS and CIEC, you've been amazing... Sky Vapor in washington state is about to be on board as well, and soon, Perfection Vapes in upstate new york and unique vapor will be joining the fold...
Yeah, the showroom opens in 9 hours... I need to get some rest as many of you are driving through the night to be there and share this moment with me. I hope you're not disappointed with the joint after your long drive. I'm sure something will go wrong at the opening... it's bound to happen... but I look forward to sharing the moment with my friends, win lose or draw.
As I said, It has been a long time coming. I look forward to tomorrow with a little bit of nervous energy, but my friends will be there and those that couldn't make it will be there in spirit.
Thanks to ALL of you that made this possible, and let's tear the ROOF offa this joint!
ZFO grand opening and Vape Meet
Yes folks... it's finally going to happen!
The ZFO will officially be OPEN FOR BUSINESS (or whatever you want to call it) on February 1, 2014. The meet starts at 12:00 noon and will go until 7PM.
ALL vapers are welcome, we will have food and other assorted stuff.
Put it on your calendar... it's the day before the superbowl... I plan on having a good time and so should you!
More infor later... just wanted to get this out there!
Are we having fun yet? ZNA Production update
We have picked up some momentum and product is rolling smoothly... ALL the bugs are under control and we expect 200 per week to ship from this point on.
Thoughts on the ZNA
I was at VapeStock in Florida back in June and I didn't own a DNA device at the time... they were just starting to hit the scene pretty hard and I had a plan to grab an Opus D at the event. I had heard a lot about the DNA20D and I really wanted to check one out.
At the event I had the occasion to meet with Brandon Ward from Evolv for a little over an hour and we talked a lot about his boards, and my PVs and it became quite apparent that a collaboration was bound to happen...
After returning home, I immediately started to work on the way in which I would approach using his power regulation board. I started with a clean slate... I didn't want to make a box mod... and I never did like the additional height that the board would add to the PV. The obvious form factors simply didn't work for me.
I Measured a DNA board... stared at it... long and hard, actually... and I pretty much put it aside after that. I couldn't imagine making just another box mod, DNA or not... and the length just wasn't working for me.
So I went to the clay...
I taped the DNA board to the tube, and used modeling clay to mock-up what a housing could look like. The goal: To add as little to the side-to-side dimensions of the PV as possible. The ZNA was starting to take shape.
What came from that early mock-up was to become a real manufacturing challenge. I had the concept in place, and I knew I wanted to have an art-deco look and feel to it... and from there I worked, and re-worked the design until it was time to hit the machines and prototype the thing.
Al Coleman is my lead machinist, and he has a great knack for reading my mind when needed, and the two of us stood by the mill as I expanded on the cuts needed to make the device come to shape. Working ONLY FROM VERBAL INPUT... Al carved the first prototype of the body out of Aluminum in about 4 days. NO CAD, no Drawings... just verbal instructions. It was an amazing process in which to participate. Once the body was done... I told him... "make 10 more" and when I was in Vegas for Vapefest, he machined 12 of them out of Aluminum, and one out of stainless steel.
When I returned from the trip, I built the first working prototype out of various bits and scraps from around the shop. The PV sprung to life just moments before I had to head to Long Beach to participate at VapetoberFest. I showed a few people the concept, and everybody wanted to buy it on the spot... I explained that it was just a prototype and they would have to wait. I could tell from the start, this was going to be a well-received design.
After I returned from Long beach, I build up ten more prototypes. The first one was retired as each new one came closer and closer to the "final" design. It was really starting to take shape!
Two weeks later, we went down to VaperCon in Richmond... this time with 10 ZNA prototypes. I out the ting in as many peoples hands as I could. Watching them.... observing how people used them... the position of their hands as they picked it up... how they held it when they vaped... and their reactions to the usability of the device... it became abundantly clear that I needed a little more work on the ergonomics of it. EVERY person that picked it up place their thumb or finger on it in a location about 3/4" ABOVE where the firing button was located, then they adjusted their grip to hit the button. It became obvious to me that the button really SHOULD be located higher on the body... so I redesigned the switch, making it a fair amount more difficult to manufacture... but form needs to follow function, and I simply couldn't leave the button where it was originally located.
From that point, I had my final design.
The machining time on the ZNA isn't measured in minutes... The PV has a very high parts count. There are 11 custom made machined parts, and 7 off-the-shelf hardware items... This thing is a huge undertaking. Think about this: With 11 machined parts, to make 1,000 of them requires manufacturing 11,000 parts... and ordering another 7,000 parts. That's 18,000 parts, not including wire that needs to be cut to length then stripped and tinned! Not to mention the dollars associated with creating that parts inventory while generating NO early pre-order income from the project... HOPING people will want the thing!
Then I decided I was tired of the old tube packaging.... and the quest started for a package that was appropriate for such a device. I shopped the cinese box makes and just could not make myself buy a chinese box for one of the most advanced PVs to ever come to market... I had to find a Box maker in THIS country and I found one, and they did an AMAZING job custom making the ZNA box.
So here we are... The PV is going on sale on Jan 16... a little later than originally planned, but delays happen. The ZNA is a fantastic device (I've been vaping one since late-September) and I hope you guys like it! I can honestly say that I pulled out ALL the stops with this design... leaving NOTHING on the table. Every comment from my beta testers ended up in changes in the final design, and I truly feel this is the best PV to hit the streets in a long time. My team did an AMAZING job pulling this all together and I simply could not have asked for more from them. Everybody did their part, and I hope when you finally get to hold it in YOUR hand, you will feel the same way about it that I do.
This really is the best PV I can make at this time, and I am incredibly proud of my team for helping to make it a reality.
And I have not even talked about the features and specs.... STAY TUNED!
Pure Magic... no foolin'
It's no secret that I've been playing around with alternate wicking materials for Genny style rebuildables, and a lot of my close friends have seen me vaping various forms of ceramic wicks in the last year. Among the best of them is the FZ2000Z Hard Ceramic wicks which we now include with all of our atomizers. This material produces great vapor and amazing flavor... but it is tricky to setup and if you don't know the tricks to breaking it in, it can take a while to get it pumping out vapor. It's also VERY Fragile, which can be a real issue for some people.
FC2000Z Ceramic Wick in shipping tube
I've ALSO been vaping Nextel XC116 quite a bit... and while it wicks amazingly well and produces exceptional vapor, the material requires extensive prep-work that needs to be done correctly, and if you fail to do it correctly it can have some rather negative side effects. The trouble here, is that to prepare the material correctly will require you to own a Kiln because it needs to be heat treated for HOURS (not minutes) in order to be considered safe for handling. That's not a small problem... in fact, that's a BIG problem. It is SUCH a big problem that I do not actually recommend traditional XC116 for use as a wick if you plan on preparing it yourself. It's actually an exceptionally bad idea.
But what if you COULD get the material, properly prepared and ready to use? Would XC116 be something I would recommend? With a couple of disclaimers in place, I WOULD without hesitation suggest that you give it a try.
OK then, what are the disclaimers?
First and foremost, You need to be SURE that the supplier of the material is ACTUALLY preparing the material properly. You can't fix it if it's done incorrectly, and you have no way of knowing it was done correctly.
Second, you need to realize that there are several suppliers of this material that have shipped unprepared wick and unless you have used properly prepared material you may not be able to tell the difference, so go back to disclaimer numero-uno...
So now what? Well, Recently I encountered a supplier of XC116 and I quizzed him hard about his method of preparation... and low and behold, he is preparing the material correctly... SO correctly, that he has developed a proprietary method of preparation that actually improves on the wicking performance of the material. He sent me a sample to play with, I've shared the sample with several of my local friends that vape and I've been using it myself... and this stuff is Pure Effing magic.
It is SO good, that I contacted him and said "I HAVE GOT TO GET PEOPLE TO USE THIS IN MY ATTYS AND PV's ... Stainless is GREAT.... FZ2000Z is ALSO great... But heck yeah... YOUR version of XC116 is AMAZING!" I continued "Ummm, how are you gonna make it so people don't confuse YOUR XC116 with EVERYBODY ELSE'S inferior version of it?"
Well now that IS a dilemma, ISN'T IT? If it's all called XC116, how can you tell? Jeremy, the owner of RBASupplies.com and I brainstormed a bit, and we figured out that HIS version isn't the SAME as everybody elses... it deserves a name of it's own... READYxWICK™ is now the name of the product and you will be able to know you have the real thing because the package will have a holographic label which certifies that you have the real deal.
Anyway, here's the pitch... I want you guys to try this stuff... it's terrific... so when I was talking to Jeremy, I asked him if he would consider hooking me up with some samples to include with my atomizers and Zenesis PVs and he graciously agreed. So starting mid January EVERY Zenesis PV and Z-Atty will ship with enough of this material to check it out for yourself... and this is all on his dime, by the way. He's confident in his product and so am I!
If you already have one of my PVs (Or any OTHER rebuildable atty, for that matter) I highly recommend that you give it a try. I don't believe you will be disappointed with it at all. If you like it, I strongly urge that you let your local brick and mortars about it as well, and have them carry it in their stores. Remember, don't ask them to carry XC116... Ask for it BY NAME: READYxWICK™
To order one of the best wicking materials I have ever vaped... click here
A Christmas Miracle
Every day, people wake up with a list of wishes a mile long hoping that one day, they will all come true. By the end of that day they head to bed knowing that when they awake once again, they will have the same list of wishes.
We all know that wishes rarely come true... so people learn to live in the reality that what we wish for, are so very often the things that we must learn to live without.
For many people, Christmas Day is when wishes come true.
For the month leading up to the holiday, we all become a little less selfish. We all focus on the people that surround us and we consider, if only for a moment... "what is it that the people we love need, or want?"
What a glorious moment...
It's our moment of empathy... it's when we look beyond what we wish for, and consider the wishes of others!
When the day comes... we celebrate... we gather together and we celebrate our family and friends... and we give.
And it feels good.
I have a wish... and it's a small one.
To fulfill this wish doesn't cost any money and it doesn't require a whole lot of effort.
I wish... that everybody that reads this blog takes a moment, each and every day, to consider the wishes of others... every day... for the rest of your life. I'm not asking you to spend a dime to fulfill anybodies wish... I'm asking you to become aware that everybody else wakes up with a long list of things that, just like your long list, will remain unfulfilled at the end of the day!
And if... BY CHANCE... you become aware of something that somebody else is wishing for... that you CAN help fulfill that wish... why not just go ahead and do that? I'm not asking you to reach in your pocket... I'm suggesting you reach into your heart... every day.
Don't wait for people to ask for help. Open your heart and you will see when you are needed. Sometimes a kind word is all that's required, occasionally, hold open a door for a stranger with an arm load of stuff... become aware of your surroundings and you'll see where you are needed.
We need Christmas to remind us that giving is good... for some people, Christmas is the only time they even consider doing things for others... and they get pretty grumpy because it's expected of them to give of themselves... seek out these Scrooges and show 'em what it's like to give... help them to understand the joy of giving.
We've heard about "Good Will Towards Men" haven't we? If we ALL consider the needs of our fellow humans... well... HEY.... then we have a shot at peace on earth.
Peace on Earth starts right here... I'm talking to YOU... Not some other person reading this... Yes.. YOU... Consider this... what's it going to cost you to do what I'm suggesting... Every day... for the rest of your life?
Not a thing.... It's absolutely free.
And that is the Christmas miracle for which I have wished...
Let's ALL go make some dreams come true...
Well, anybody that has been following the Zenesis PV probably knows I'm not the biggest fan of Face Book.
This hasn't stopped people from creating Facebook Groups and pages about the devices, and one recently popped up called "I Vape Zen~" and I've been posting over there a bit. It's a closed group but you can request to be added.
In the upcoming year I am REALLY going to try to be more social in the online community... I'll never have the free-time I used to have for hanging out online, but I'm going to make an effort!
Thanks to the folks that start and maintain these groups... I'm truly humbled by your dedication to my products!
The Party is Over...
Wow... that sounds ominous... Especially since the vape meet was a success by any standard!
The first vape meet was held today at the Zenesis Factory Outlet & Vapor Lounge and we had a pretty good crowd considering the fact that there was REALLY short notice given and nobody even knew where the location was until the last minute.
It was great seeing peoples reactions to the new space and I was really happy to see how people just made themselves at home... it would have been nice to have the showroom ready as well, but it WAY more important to me to have a great place to hangout than to have retail operations mucking up the works.
Thanks to EVERYBODY that attended. I met quite a few new vapers that had never been to a local meet until today, and the old friends that visited are always a sight for sore eyes!
We will soon post a schedule of upcoming events at the ZFO and hopefully you can attend a future meet-up if you missed this one!