Battle of the Mechs: Rogue Clones

A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to dip my toes into the mech game. After looking around and seeing the phenomenal price of some authentic tubes made of different metals, with slightly varying button designs, I looked to FastTech for something that wouldn’t break the bank. I had absolutely no idea what type of metal I was looking for back then as I didn’t know the differences in conductivity of different metals. So in my quest for a first my very first mech mod, I searched high and low for a mod that came in all three of the popular metals on the market: Brass, Copper and Stainless Steel.

The mod I settled on was the ever so popular Rogue Clone. They feature some very unique engravings on their designs, while using a nice and simple button design. They’re hybrid tubes too, meaning that you should definitely have a protruding 510 pin on any atomizer that you use on them. The biggest thing I was looking for however was that it fitted 24mm atomizers – the current industry standard.

Being as naive I was, I thought to myself, “Why don’t I buy both” *mexican music*. I ended up ordering three clones made of all three metals, all with different designs.

Fasttech managed to send these out to my shack in Australia in a record breaking two weeks! I was so blown away with the speed of the delivery that I just wanted to mix and match atomizers with all the pretty tubes I found inside of sacks those mods came in. To this day, those three mods are still some of my most favourite tubes I ever owned.

Before I move onto the review, I need to give the usual warnings when it comes to mechs. Because mech mods don’t provide any real protections in them, that your regulated mods do, please ensure that you have a good understanding of ohms law. This means that you should build an appropriate coil/s which won’t pull more power than your battery’s CDR (continuous discharge rating). While talking about batteries, you need to make sure you’re doing regular inspections of your battery wraps to ensure that there’s no damage to them. Also the rogue mod is a hybrid mechanical mod. This means that the positive pin of your atomizer is making direct contact with your battery. You need to ensure that you ONLY use atomizers with a PROTRUDING 510 PIN (around 0.5mm+ of protrustion is a safe amount). If there isn’t any protrusion, the positive and negative of the atomizer is going to touch the battery at the same time, causing a dead short, which can lead to thermal runaway of your battery, which can lead to some quite literal explosive results.

Keeping these things in mind and ensuring you follow the advice I give you here, you’ll be able to experience an incredible analogue vaping experience, without turning your mech mod into a pipe bomb 🙂

ONTO THE REVIEW!!!

The facts:

  • 24mm depth, fitting up to 24mm atomizers comfortably.
  • Fits a single 18650 battery.
  • A simple 3-piece switch design, consisting of the button, battery contact and a threaded piece holding the delrin insulator.
  • Uses magnets in the switch instead of a spring.
  • Hybrid tube with 510 threading at the top.
  • Interesting and different engravings on each mod.
  • All of the clones come with a clear coat on them on the outside of the mod. You only really need to clean the contact and threading as they are the only parts of the mod that patina.
  • The button material differs on which metal your tube is. The copper comes with a fully copper button, the brass and stainless steel versions come with a brass button with a copper contact.

The pros:

  • 24mm mod which fits most things out on the market.
  • Switch design is easy to clean and piece back together.
  • The clear coat makes cleaning of the mod minimal.
  • The engraving are beautiful! There are few mods I have found with anything as interesting as the rogue mods offer.
  • The engravings are deep and unlikely to wear out anytime soon.
  • Being a hybrid, the mod should theoretically have lower voltage drop singe the atomizer is directly touching the battery.

The cons:

  • The clear coat of the mods obviously don’t allow you to match up atomizers with the metal correctly.
  • I believe that all the mods should have had full copper switches.
  • The copper button doesn’t have the rogue branding on it as the brass ones do.
  • Deep engravings are great for longevity, however they are time consuming to clean.
  • Not the hardest hitting mods out there (see the review for voltage drop testing).
  • The battery contacts come with a molding “nipple” on them, which needs to be sanded flat for better contact.
  • No delrin piece on the top end of the inside of the tube, meaning less protections

The Review:

First off, I decided that I personally hated the clear coat on the copper rogue clone, so I removed it by using a polishing jig that you can put onto a drill, and continued to polish it until the clear coat was no more. There are other ways of removing clear coats from metals, all of which you can find by searching around on the web for those various methods.

I love each of these mods, but they do have their shortcomings. I’ll begin by showing off the different mods with the different switches.

As you can see above, the copper mod comes with a copper button and a copper battery contact. The brass and stainless steel mods both come with brass buttons, which come with copper contacts. I would have preferred to have seen all three of the mods using pure copper buttons to try and improve on conductivity. While on the topic of conductivity, right out of the box, the battery contacts all came with a “nipple” on them. This not only effected the performance of the mods, but also made them mis-fire very regularly. I sanded the nipples off the contacts and smoothed the contacts out. This definitely removed the mis-firing issues I had with the mod, and quite possibly also decreased voltage drop a little.

Also in the above picture, you can see three of the many different engravings with the rogue clones come with. The authentic rogue mods come with many different, intricate engravings as the man who makes them (Mark Deyoung) is a jeweler who has all the tools and skills for turning simple metal tubes into canvases. I believe that the clone makers pulled off the elegance of a few designs that Deyoung has offered over the years, in a flawless way.

Each of clone above however have nice and deep engravings which will probably last forever, but also seem to accumulate gunk in them pretty easily. Cleaning the brass mod in particular can be a little annoying as the butterfly is engraved very deeply, and has fine corners that are a little hard to get to. The copper clone however comes with rounded-edged engravings which is relatively easy to clean.

The button design is very simple. It’s only three pieces: The battery contact, the button piece and the threaded piece with a delrin insulator. There are magnets inside of the button but they appear to be glued into the upper-button and lower-button pieces.

Because of the button design, cleaning out the threads is pretty easy and re-assembling the button is equally as easy. My issues with the button however is that the mod really should have come with a tool for screwing the battery contact back in. Also the button on the bottom has two holes in it, which would benefited from an included tool to snug the button up to the battery. I’ve gotten by more often than not by using ceramic tweezers. More recently I’ve mastered the art of tightening down atomizers perfectly to make the battery all snug.

Moving onto the main body of the mod, the threadings for the button and the 510 are very well machined. They are very smooth, but not so smooth that you can spin the button in with a couple of good spins.

The threads are a little deeper in the mod which I find to be a touch harder to screw the button into. You really need to feel the thread catch. Cleaning is also a little difficult as you really need to get your finger inside the mod when polishing it.

The 510 threading however is very well machined. I’m able to easily and quickly replace atomizers on the mod with a few spins. I’d even go to say that the threading is “buttery smooth”. In the picture above, you can see some wear and tear that I have from a good few months of use of different atomizers on top of the copper clone.

You can also see in the picture above that the battery venting holes are at the top of the mod. This means that you should be placing your battery into this mod with the positive end facing upwards. I would have loved to have seen those holes at the bottom of the mod. With the battery positive facing upwards, it means that a malfunctioning battery will vent gases facing towards you, which makes this mod even less safe in the event a battery malfunctions (this has never personally happened to me as I don’t abuse my batteries and keep them always in good condition).

 

Testing voltage drop:

So with different metals and the same mod, I thought that I’d go ahead and try out how good these mods really are. For the testing, I used the same 18650 battery, charged up to a perfect 4.2 volts, used the same atomizer with the same build in it (A Recoil RDA with a 0.18ohm build), and used a multi-meter to test the voltage drop. Between each mods testing, I charged the battery back up to 4.2 volts to ensure consistency.

I tested the drop on each mod five times each, and then used the mean of those five results to give a solid number on how well each mod conducts electricity. I also ensured that the mods were all polished and cleaned to the best of my ability.

So here are the results:

 

Rogue Clone: Voltage Drop
Test Brass Copper Stainless Steel
1 3.42v 3.56v 3.36v
2 3.36v 3.35v 3.42v
3 3.52v 3.46v 3.35v
4 3.49v 3.51v 3.52v
5 3.44v 3.49v 3.42v
Mean 3.45v 3.47v 3.41v

 

As you can see from my testing, these mods aren’t by any means excellent hitters. They don’t hit anywhere near the 3.6 – 3.7 mark as you’d expect of a high-quality mech mod. They also aren’t super consistent, with around a 0.3v variance between all mods.

The copper clone consistently hits the hardest with an average of 3.47v, brass coming in at second with 3.45v, and stainless steel being the lowest hitting mod at 3.41v. Vaping from each of these mods regularly, I noticed that the steel mod was noticeably a weaker hitter than the other two mods.

 

So lastly, I need to come to the price. I found each of these mods on FastTech for around the 15USD price. The listings can be found at these links:

With anything, you definitely get what you pay for. These aren’t the best performing mech mods out on the market, but they are aesthetically pleasing. I personally love how they perform and how they look. If you’re looking to get into mech mods, I’d definitely recommend these as they’re 24mm diameter and generally don’t need too much maintenance. They also aren’t at a price which is going to make your pocket feel empty. Happy vaping!

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