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Adhesives, Insulation and Vape Safety

Discussion in 'Vaporization Discussion' started by momofthegoons, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons vapor accessory addict Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,946
    I recently purchased an Underdog for a good cause, Abysmal’s legal fund. I was happy to be able to help out a fellow FC member, and happy to finally try a vape that had gotten great reviews and was not in my log vape arsenal. Dave's designs are artful and caught my eye from his first post with his beautiful wood combinations and styles offered.

    Being sensitive to chemicals I had some reservations after reading about the adhesives used in the internals, but, after being assured that the glue used to secure the heatport had been eliminated, the silicone was fully isolated and only used on the bottom of the heatport (as per Dave's post here), I felt my concerns had been addressed.

    Before I continue, I want to say that I have tried to discuss this privately with Dave. I asked him for the names of the adhesives he uses so that I could research them privately and share/discuss the information with him. He would not cooperate. So I have come to the forum with this information and my questions, in the hope that we can discover whether or not these materials are safe to use in this context and so that people have full knowledge of the materials used in the UD. This is not a personal attack on Dave or the UD and its many happy owners. It's simply something that FC and I feel warrants some discussion and investigation. Hopefully it will lead to a better product and that's what this forum is about. I should also say that in terms of vapor volume this unit delivers admirably.

    After the unit had been plugged in I immediately noticed an off-putting chemical odor from the heatport. As mentioned, I have always been super sensitive to smells, and I dismissed it as nothing to worry about since there had been several reports of the finish used having a smell. I used this vape for three days but the odor seemed to be getting stronger rather than dissipating and I was getting headaches during my vape sessions which is a first for me. This, along with my prior reservations of what had been found in the UD led me to take the unit apart.

    There are a few things that I found in the UD that disturbed me. One concern is that I found an adhesive being used to hold the plug in that I suspect is Gorilla glue. In this pic, you can see residue of it around the plug area.

    [​IMG]
    Dave has indicated "we only use glues that are FDA approved for food contact (like cutting boards, utensils, etc) as a matter of principle." If this is indeed Gorilla Glue, it does not have FDA classification as a food safe glue. It is classified as an inhalation hazard and respiratory irritant according to its MSDS sheet and also has a boiling point of 212 degrees at which point it will melt. You can see in the picture below that this same glue has been used to try and correct the checking in the laminated joints. There is seepage on the inside walls as well.

    The second concern is the red silicone RTV (also labeled as an inhalation hazard as per most MSDS sheets; we do not know what brand this is) used to secure the resistor and heatport. It appears that it has been used to “glue” in the two layers of insulation material as well as being used to secure the resistor assembly to the heatport, and heatport to the body.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My third concern was that the insulation material being used was disintegrating into little flakes around an area that had scorched. The hole in the insulation is where the heating element wires go through it. Note the scorching and flaking around that hole. When I asked Dave about this, he replied that it was “normal for this material to disintegrate and discolor.” My concern is that the silicone is getting hot enough to cause this to burn so what fumes are being produced? Also, why use something that you know will disintegrate and scorch under this application?

    [​IMG]

    As stated above, the only thing separating the red silicone from the air path is a glass bead. In this next picture, you can see the gap formed by the wire on the side. The glass bead is actually touching the resistor. This means that the glass will be the same temperature as the resistor and anything touching it will be subject to that temperature. Since that can be above 400 degrees, the silicone, solder, insulation and wires are exposed to those temperatures. The wires right next to the heating element can get hot enough to melt solder. The pic above shows that it was hot enough, on the other side of the silicone, to burn the insulation. So, my concern becomes, is it safe to breath air that goes past silicone that is exposed to that type of temperature? In this picture, you can also see the Gorilla glue like substance on the plug.

    [​IMG]

    The last thing that concerned me was that there was charring at the top of the vape that had led to some cracking. Unfortunately, the heatport opening is rather narrow and my camera is not good enough to get a pic of this. My understanding was that the charring is no longer an issue with the new 24/7 core design since Dave was using an air gap internal to the core as insulation which he felt would keep the wood protected. While I have no idea how many hours this was run prior to my buying it, this design is only 4 months old and I ran it for 3 days. It scares me that this kind of charring, scorching and disintegration of the insulation can happen in this amount of time.

    I’m putting these questions out there in the hopes of getting some answers this time and to pose the question of whether these materials are safe to use in a device we breathe and medicate through. For me, a manufacturer saying, “this is safe” is not enough.
    Dreamerr, mvapes, Nycdeisel and 7 others like this.
  2. BigDaddyVapor

    BigDaddyVapor @BigDogJunction

    Messages:
    3,001
    This is pretty disturbing to me, as the UD was in the top 3 of vapes I was considering for whenever the day comes, I can experience something else (though, I'm still very satisfied with the MFLB, so no rush).

    My original background, is as a Fire Controlman 2nd Class, in the USN. I worked on the MK68 Gun Fire Control System. It was both an analog (computer MK47) and digital (radar AN-SPG 53F). We worked and repaired down to the component level. Only thing I'm not qualified to do, is micro-miniature work. I think I'm certainly qualified to comment on some of the electrical issues/shortcuts. I've also had experience with some woodworking.

    I'm completely confused on the glass bead. As you say, making contact with any heated part, will transfer that heat to the glass and anything touching the glass. Glass is a wonderful electrical insulator, I can understand the reasoning there, but if its there specifically to insulate from heat, very bad idea. I'm concerned with the discoloration in the solder ABOVE the point of the resistor/bead/silicone to. That's heat discoloration and pretty significant. You can see the difference between the two wires. That heat is most definitely making contact with that silicone. On the element itself, the extra solder and proximity of the +/- leads is worth taking a closer look at to.

    The glue is another disturbing finding. Yeah, that looks like Gorilla glue to me. Certainly isn't Elmer's... it dries clearer. Gorilla keeps that same ugly ass yellowish tint. Seems to be used in area, that are most certainly are exposed to heat. I've also found Gorilla Glue to be seriously lacking in its claimed adhesive qualities.

    This is ugly and something, I wouldn't ever want to see pulled out of something I was inhaling through. Flaking is normal? HUH!? Discoloration is normal? Why? And that look like heat discoloration to me..
    [​IMG]

    I'm also curious the reasoning, for not sharing the specific adhesives used, also.

    I would like to see a level of openness and honesty, in regards to these issues.
    t-dub likes this.
  3. Gandalf

    Gandalf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    51
    Wow. This definitely makes me a little nervous. I'll be keeping my eyes on this thread. I just bought a UD but haven't used it more than once so far. I certainly won't be using it again until these issues are addressed.
  4. BigDaddyVapor

    BigDaddyVapor @BigDogJunction

    Messages:
    3,001
    The concerning thing for me, is one of the reasons I wanted the UD, was the ability to plug it in and have it ready 24/7. I don't think I'd be doing that, after reading mom's post.
  5. OhTheAgony

    OhTheAgony here for the chicks

    Messages:
    2,906
    Location:
    The Flatlands
    I think it's no secret that I am a big fan of the Underdog vaporizers as well as of their creator Dave, but I can't deny you raise some valid points mom.

    All I can ad is that I have two different type of UDs myself -the latest insulated core and the one before that, which was the first 24/7 core if I'm not mistaken (the same as yours perhaps?)- and even though I'm very sensitive to smells as well, up to a point that I refused to use some vapes because of that, I have never noticed a chemical smell as you describe with either one of my UDs personally though. I didn't like the smell/taste of the walnut-oil finish Dave normally uses so I asked him for alternatives for my second UD, but that's about it when it comes to any disturbing smells I've experienced. I realize that doesn't answer any of your questions, but that's about all that I can share about the issues at this point. Could it be possible your unit was defective in any way?

    I do remember that Max raised some questions about some of the materials Dave used in another thread some time ago (perhaps a year ago even), and I was under the assumption all questionable issues had been addressed and taken care off.

    I'm sure Dave will chime in soon to clear up the questions you raise, until then I'm still comfortable enough to enjoy my UD as much as I can though.
    Slightly Medicated likes this.
  6. zymos

    zymos Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    317
    Not to minimize your concerns, but is the type of glue used to hold the electrical plug even relevant if it is not in the air or vapor path?
    You said it melts at 212, but DID it melt on yours? If not, then it must not be getting that hot, right?

    Silicone has a very high melting point as well- I don't think the UD can even come close to getting that hot.

    The other points do seem more significant, and I'm interested in Dave's response. In my experience with 2 different ones, any smells did go away in the first couple of days, and it wasn't at all solvent like to begin with- I think the finish is just beeswax and nut oils.
  7. BigDaddyVapor

    BigDaddyVapor @BigDogJunction

    Messages:
    3,001
    If you read her whole post, she specifically addresses both your points. Including evidence that it did, indeed, melt. She provided plenty of pictures that confirmed her findings.

    Plus, it makes a lot of difference what is used on every part of the vape. Most people on these forums, when discussing them, talk about the materials used, all the way down to the plug.

    EDIT: mom corrected me on this point, in regards to the glue.
    Vicki likes this.
  8. zymos

    zymos Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    317
    I highly doubt the leather on the bottom of the piece was tanned using food grade chemicals. Is that an issue also?

    I'm still not seeing where there is melted Gorilla glue...
  9. BigDaddyVapor

    BigDaddyVapor @BigDogJunction

    Messages:
    3,001
    I don't know, is it an issue? You seem to be fighting awfully hard against something, its obvious you don't have the answers for either. Though, deflection and attempt at trivialization noted.

    Perhaps we should wait for more qualified word? Hmmm?

    Personally, I'd like to see some MSDS sheets, at this point.
    Vicki likes this.
  10. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons vapor accessory addict Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,946
    Is this a serious question or are you being sarcastic? It's hard to tell...

    I did not say it was in the air path. I said that it is being used, it is not a food safe glue, and it can melt at temps of 212 degrees. I do not understand the need to use it at all since the plug is threaded and all that needs to be done to mount it is tap the hole it is going into. And, since the internals of this vape can get to temps much higher than 212 degrees, it seems like an unwise choice, IMO.
    Dreamerr and mvapes like this.
  11. HighlyEducatedScholar

    HighlyEducatedScholar Student of Vapor

    Messages:
    583
    i can obviously see why this can raise some concerns as it does with me a bit too. obviously, i would prefer the most natural and safe vaporizer to use so the use of glue as well as other materials must be dealt with in detail. however, i have also read through all of the UD thread before emailing Dave to buy one and remember hearing this specific issue before being addressed by Alan who makes the Toasty Top and HI. Dave and Alan had switched units and Alan also took his apart to see the internal workings. Very much like this situation, Alan had a few concerns and contacted Dave about. Dave posted pictures and explained the changes that he made. Here is the part of the thread I am talking about with pictures of the core included.

    http://fuckcombustion.com/threads/underdog-vaporizer.4214/page-32#post-173971

    It seems like the red material was in the UD unit that Alan received and after seeing the modifications, it seems like Alan was not troubled by the design of Dave's UDs. For now, i have faith my faith in Dave and will continue to use my UD but would still like him to chime in on this thread to answer some questions.

    :peace:
  12. momofthegoons

    momofthegoons vapor accessory addict Staff Member

    Messages:
    5,946
    With all due respect HES, if you look down a few posts to this one, you will see that Alan completely revised his UD to a design like his own.
    Dreamerr and mvapes like this.
  13. HighlyEducatedScholar

    HighlyEducatedScholar Student of Vapor

    Messages:
    583
    I saw that post and you do make a very good point with it but i figured that Alan also found the newly revised UD design that Dave showed to be suitable and safe since nothing else was said. of course i could very easily be wrong.
  14. BigDaddyVapor

    BigDaddyVapor @BigDogJunction

    Messages:
    3,001
    Interesting reading, thanks for the link. I do like the apparent transparency, though... I would like to see the specific points brought up, addressed.
    Vicki and u bwade wunner like this.
  15. u bwade wunner

    u bwade wunner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    623
    Location:
    In Mile High City
    Its mom doing the Mom thing.Isn t that what Moms are for.;)

    without sounding off or sounding ignorant (I'm not :)) In my opinion and for the sake of FCs health based community as a whole and FC s reputation. i believe It should be mandatory for all log Manufacturers on FC to use rohs compliant materials and be able to prove it..After all we are using vaporizers to benefit our health.

    A watchdog of sorts i believe is needed ,for vapes made in a home workshop.Anyone can make a log.I have no issue with that.i do have issue with selling those same products to other members here for profit.There will be soon be a stream of new log vapes.I know of a couple..quality should come before profit.I trust you,Vtac and the other moderators are in discussions regarding.

    edit:I am a health and safety Officer

    Nice work Mom
  16. Hippie Dickie

    Hippie Dickie The Herbal Cube Manufacturer

    Messages:
    1,962
    Location:
    where the Cube rules!
    that doesn't really address the issues imho.
  17. SVuser

    SVuser Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    100
    Jesus sorry mom but that vape looks....manky

    edit: After reading your post more thoroughly I suspect you agree lol
    BigDaddyVapor likes this.
  18. Vicki

    Vicki The Bionic Woman

    Messages:
    5,523
    This is extremely concerning to me. I actually considered this vap after PD went out of business. It will be nice to see what the manufacturer has to say.
    u bwade wunner and Elluzion like this.
  19. Slightly Medicated

    Slightly Medicated (SliM) Iron Lungs

    Messages:
    1,960
    Location:
    Washington State
    Mom I am wondering, did you purchase the new insulated 2/47 core design, or did you purchase a 1st generation 24/7 core?
  20. underdog

    underdog shade-tree vapor engineer Manufacturer

    Messages:
    1,497
    Location:
    NorCal
    (MoTG),

    I'm not sure who assured you and of what but it wasn't me, of that I'm pretty certain. If you had gotten in touch and shared your concerns prior to purchasing an UD I could have (and would have) been happy to answer your questions. I'd have been happy to discuss the silicone and adhesives used in the UD assembly as I've openly done with many, many other people.

    That you chose not to do so despite your "reservations" and that you didn't contact me when you discovered "the off-putting chemical odor from the heatport" and that you used it for 3 days despite that fact and despite the headaches seem improbable to me.

    You haven't mentioned the fact that I offered you a full refund along with a request that you simply return the now destroyed vape and the fact that you rejected the offer out of hand is something I find peculiar.

    I must tell you this stuff fuels my belief that you had this planned out from the beginning. The fact that your recent behind the scenes email attacks on me and UD vapes so closely (nearly verbatim) match those that Alan (from Toasty Top and HI) has been sending to people for months is just icing on the stinky cake.

    Regards,
    Dave


    Now that that's out of the way I'll address the materials in question.

    The silicone used in the assembly of UDs is inert when cured. Not sure how much more plainly I can say that. Any health/safety precautions in regard to inhalation hazards are for it's uncured paste form. Once cured it is inert like any other silicone.

    Gorilla Glue is used in holding the power plug in place on non-Twig UDs, an environment which is not particularly hot and is well suited to this type of adhesive. Any health/safety precautions for GG are also in relation to its uncured (gel) state. Once cured, for our purposes here, it is effectively inert.

    Ceramic Insulation (aluminum oxide) used in the UD is rated for continuous service at 2300°F. It discolors at temps past a couple hundred degrees as is common for many types of insulation. It also flakes apart fairly easily after being heated. It has no health/safety precautions.


    @ BigDaddyVapor - the glass bead IS there to be an electrical insulator, not at all to insulate against heat. Heat insulation is the job of the ceramic cloth. The Gorilla Glue used to hold the power plug isn't subject to any high temps and provides excellent holding power as GG is well known for when used properly. To stave off potential arguments I'll concede that GG isn't by any means the strongest adhesive out there but it is very, very strong and unlike many of the stronger ones easy and very safe to use. Oh, and yes, ceramic cloth insulation does flake when picked at and does discolor as a normal result of being in heated service.

    @ OTA - MoTG is confident the "odor" wasn't walnut oil so I guess that's that. The unit definitely wasn't defective, I tested that one (including using it) for several days before it shipped out. There wasn't any odors or anything else out of the norm at that time FWIW. I think this is just a rehash of the "concerns" that were expressed by Alan and Max (and now MoTG), it's the same stuff being used in the same way as was covered previously in the UD thread. Except the insulation I suppose that's newer but has been mentioned in the thread as well. :shrug:

    @ Zymos - Not sure where they got their info but the only temp info I can find on GG (per the website & MSDS) is that it shouldn't be applied at temps in excess of like 130F, that it shouldn't be exposed to heat in excess of 320F for prolonged periods and it's boiling/flash points are above 250C. The silicone is high-temp and rated beyond 600F. The GG, silicone and insulation are blocked from the air path. I should rephrase that, they are blocked from the air path except in the small gap created by the resistor wire sneaking past the glass bead, this gap is approximately 3 hundredths of an inch (.03") and is blocked by the silicone which I suppose could be seen as a good or bad thing depending on your viewpoint.

    @ HES - yeah all this was disclosed and talked about many months back in the UD thread. I don't think Alan got over his concerns regarding the adhesives but instead (when not many people on the thread seemed too concerned) took his feelings on an (ongoing) UD bashing email campaign which I have, to date, ignored. Anyways, like I said to Zymos I think this is just a rehash to try and force a non-issue again. YMMV.

    @ u bwade wunner - RoHS doesn't have any bearing on any of the materials in question so not sure where you're going with that. For the record the materials it restricts are:Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg), Cadmium (Cd), Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+), Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) per Wikipedia. Also I'm not sure where you're going with the suggestion vapes manufactured in a home workshop be somehow more scrutinized than others. Is that suggesting that corporate manufacturers wouldn't prioritize profits over quality but that a hobbyist or independent craftsman would? :lmao: I'll work on getting my head around that one but no promises.
  21. Elluzion

    Elluzion Vapeosaurus Rex

    Messages:
    946
    Location:
    California
    I am a big shaken up by this. I would have never expected these materials and methods to be used in a UD log vape that is left on 24/7 normally with danky things in the airpath.

    I would like to see these issues addressed, because I don't like when people say one thing about a product and it turns out to be something different, especially in concerns with health :tinfoil:

    Edit: Thanks for addressing those things Dave
    Edit2: At second look, the torn apart UD looks like a bloody crime scene! :haw:
  22. Frederick McGuire

    Frederick McGuire Aggressively Loungey

    Messages:
    2,650
    Location:
    The Land of Oz
    Erm, Elluzion, I take it you typed that before Dave(underdog)'s post showed up?

    Aside from a few teething issues with the plug on my UD (which Dave is handling with me over PM - Thanks for that Dave:)) I haven't had any issues with my UD - It had a bit of a smell to it when I first got it, but that burned off after an hour or so - consistent (IMO) with it just being the finish oil that needs an initial burn off.

    IMO, It really doesn't matter what materials are in a vape, so long as they aren't in the air-path, or hazardous from regular handling...
    There's a whole bunch of electronics crap inside my LSV, but they are completely isolated from the airpath...

    As someone not really familiar with these glues/silicones/insulations Dave's Post satisfies me that the UD is safe - am I missing anything?

    EDIT:
    And you edited your post while I was typing Elluzion :lol:
    Slightly Medicated and Elluzion like this.
  23. BigDaddyVapor

    BigDaddyVapor @BigDogJunction

    Messages:
    3,001
    Was that really necessary? I'm sorry, but you were asked some valid questions and people obviously want some answers. Judging from some of your references (wikipedia? really?) and your attitude towards those that question it, you come across as a bit off-putting to me. I'm curious. Do you have the MSDS sheets for every applicable material used in the construction of the UD? Have you read them? Do you follow the Hazmat guidelines for each, in handling, use and disposal? Do you know what Isocyanates are? Do you follow the storage directions for GG, taking them into mind? Did you know that something doesn't have to be in a DIRECT vapor/air path, to be a inhalation hazard?

    UD Bashing Campaign? Funny, but this is the first I've heard of it. It didn't go unnoticed that the two giving you the benefit of the doubt, get the <wink><wink><nudge><nudge>, "hey guys... its that bullshit again, ignore it". You mock bwade, then bring up your wiki reference. Just like someone who makes edibles has to have their kitchen inspected and qualified to crank them out, then so should someone manufacturing something I use to heat and inhale plant material, be expected to uphold the same standard. Those Corporate entities, if located in the United States, have inspectors, they have Quality Control. What do you have? You? Your word? Judging by your deflection to turn this into a pissing match, personal attack, claims of being framed/set-up and any possible responsibility that maybe, just maybe... you cut corners, you shouldn't, might use materials that others with experience, have told you, that you shouldn't use... have made up my mind.

    So just to set the record straight one more time. We're supposed to believe everything you said. You still haven't provided the information requested, such as specific materials used, other than GG. mom set you up AND is a liar, according to you. Alan is smearing your name. bwade doesn't know what he's talking about, etc. None of it, is you. Have I got that straight?

    I won't ever be purchasing one of your products. Oh yeah, I hope you don't think I'm unaware, you and your wife have been "checking into me", also.
    Vicki and zmurder like this.
  24. Frederick McGuire

    Frederick McGuire Aggressively Loungey

    Messages:
    2,650
    Location:
    The Land of Oz
    So, what would we need from Dave to prove that the UD is a safe design?
    Is it the sorta info a layman would understand if presented with it?

    Cuz right now I'm seeing people with more knowledge than I have, discussing a vape that I own...
    And I kinda want to be in the know...
    :hmm:

    Is it as simple as
    Mr X.:|: What is material X, Y & Z?
    Dave: X is grade 2 unicorn fur, Y is the dreams of kittens, and Z is an eye of newt
    Mr X.:D: Cool, That's all I needed to hear.

    Or are we all gonna need degrees in HAZMAT procedures to understand it all?
    vorrange, Elluzion and BigDaddyVapor like this.
  25. BigDaddyVapor

    BigDaddyVapor @BigDogJunction

    Messages:
    3,001
    MSDS - Material Safety Data Sheet, are easy to read, at least in regards to flash points, health hazards, storage, blah, blah, blah. However, they are much easier to deal with and understand than the OSHA manual that anyone dealing with MSDS, besides having those sheets... should have and know every bit of information on all pertinent documents. You don't go to wiki, which is nothing but user input and has been proven FALSE more times, than not. At least, when I was in study... you could NOT use wiki as an educational source, so why use it as a practical application source?

    Is this as simple as answering questions, with information. Yes. It is.

    It didn't need to be taken to the level of personal attacks, airing dirty laundry and lashing out about conspiracy theories, of people out to get you. I would have had gobs of respect for Dave, had he left all that bull@#$% stored away and just answered the specific questions and provided the specific materials.

    I have spoken about this with mom, because I was concerned when I read this. She's not out to get Dave. She didn't bad-mouth him, or his product to me in private, other than voice the same concerns she voiced in her post. In fact, she's been rather forgiving, in my opinion. She's had plenty of opportunities to trash Dave, in our back and forth. She asked me, when I said I was going to post something, to please keep it civil and don't cross the line, she didn't want to start a war. She's not looking to put him out of business. Her first priority was her health concerns, for herself and the members of the board. Dave should respect that, not treat it with scorn. All of you should.

    Look... every manufacturer on this site has had to answer to every member on this board, about every single material used in the process, to make their wares. The airways are dissected, the electronics are torn apart. Why should anyone be excluded from that?
    Nycdeisel, Vicki and Elluzion like this.

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