Reviews. Resources. Specifications.

An update: Nautilus Air Flow

The Aspire Nautilus is an outstanding clearomizer. If not the best, it certainly is in the top ranks. 

The Aspire Nautilus was originally designed to use Aspire's BDC (Bottom Dual Coil) technology. Those coils provide some incredible flavor and very good throat hit from almost any eLiquid. The problem with Aspire BDC's coils is that they do not last long. At most four to five days of regular use.

With the launch of the Aspire BVC (Bottom Vertical Coil) and backwards compatibility to any device that uses the Aspire BDC Nautilus coils, the Nautilus needs revisiting. 

Incredibly, the flavor is improved and the throat hit enhanced. BVC coils are redefining vaping "standards". Not only improvements in flavor and throat hit – the Aspire BVC coils last significantly longer. Significantly – I mean several weeks, nearly one full month.

But, alas, they also introduce another issue: the Nautilus was designed for BDC coils. That means that the full effect of the BVC coils is limited by the air flow designed into the original Nautilus. Even the Nautilus Mini has better air flow. On searching through the specifications, I determined that the Nautilus' four air flow holes are 0.9 mm, 1.1 mm, 1.4 mm, and 1.8 mm. Even using the largest air hole, 1.8 mm, provides a tight draw. 

I had two Nautilus tanks. One of them is my regular go-to tank. I closely inspected it and decided to try drilling out the largest hole. The bits that I have are all fractional, but the equivalent metric size of the first hole I drilled out is 2.9 mm.

The Nautilus has a rotating air flow ring. That air flow ring is not removable, it cannot be taken off for cleaning or for "modifications". The biggest challenge in drilling out the air holes on the Nautilus is keeping the air flow ring steady and aligned with the hole underneath. I managed to use a body shop type of metal clamp to keep it in place. Drilling out both the air flow ring and hole was reasonably easy, it does not require any specialized or advanced skills other than patience.

After finishing the drilling, the air flow ring would no longer turn. I suspected that was due to drilling artifacts ... with two separate thicknesses of metal pressed together, it is easy for the first layer to end up with an "edge" between the two layers of metal that would prevent the air flow ring from turning. That's exactly what happened, as I will point out a bit later.

At 2.9 mm, the air flow is much better. The flavor is enhanced, the throat hit remains about the same. And, it also means that you can increase the wattage a bit. With the stock air  holes, wattage is limited to between 13 and 15 watts before getting a burnt taste to the vape.

2.9 mm was not quite enough though ... a few days later I drilled that out again to 3.4 mm. And, eureka, the Nautilus is about 99.9% of the way to a perfect tank. Nice 5 ml eLiquid capacity, an incredible BVC coil, looks great, and air flow that is nearly perfect. I did a second drill out to 3.4 mm.

However, the air flow ring still doesn't turn. After considering the issue for a few days and carefully inspecting the drilled out hole, I determined that the metal artifacts were in fact causing the air flow ring to be "locked" in place. Since the air flow ring is not removable, I decided to eliminate the problem by drilling out just the air flow ring. The air flow ring hole is now 3.7 mm and the air flow ring works again.

PS. If you attempt this, please keep in mind that you have to use rigorous cleaning after drilling. You'll need soap and hot water to get rid of the metal shavings. 

The air flow mass now goes through a 3.4 mm hole. As I sat around a few days later (enjoying this new vape experience), it came to me that a 3.4 mm hole was not the ideal solution. The larger hole means that there is an air sucking noise when inhaling. It would have been better to drill out a smaller through the opposing side of the tank. And, that's what I did. I had a second Nautilus tank that I had acquired a few months earlier – the price was right, it was about the same as a replacement glass tank and gave me access to spare parts as well. So, I dug out that second Nautilus and used it as a sacrificial test. The original large air hole in the Nautilus is 1.8 mm. So, I drilled out a 1.8 mm hole exactly opposing the original. That's now a total of 3.6 mm air mass through two holes. And, perfection! 

I am thrilled with how the Nautilus air flow has turned out with the two holes. I use both tanks, but prefer the one with two smaller air holes. 

This is not a technically challenging modification. All you need is a drill, a drill bit, and patience. Take your time, and you can get significantly enhanced air flow through the Nautilus and extend its useful life – using the new Aspire BVC coils in a tank designed for older style coils.

About the picture at the top right: The tank on the left is the Nautilus with the optional metal housing and glass tank. This shows only one of the 1.8 mm air holes (the largest on a stock Nautilus). That is the tank with two of those 1.8 mm holes. I just can't show both at the same time in a picture, the second hole is exactly on the opposite side of the base. The tank on the right is the Nautilus with the air flow drilled out to 3.4 mm. You should be able to see enough detail in the picture to see the air flow ring drilled out slightly larger than the underlying hole. Overall, I prefer the modification I did to the tank on the left.

And, there are other benefits. Earlier I mentioned that the maximum watts the Nautilus supports (in stock mode) is between 13 and 15 watts. 13 watts if using the 2.1 ohm coils, 15 watts if using the 1.6 ohm coils.

With the air flow modification here's what I get:

  • 2.1 ohm coil: limited to 21.5 ohm
  • 1.8 ohm coil: limited to 23.5 ohm
  • 1.6 ohm coil: limited to 29.0 ohm

... significant improvements.

My thanks to The Canvape Store at 21 Canadian Road in Scarborough for providing the 1.6 and 1.8 ohm authentical Aspire BVC coils for further testing to achieve these results.

And, a PS. I don't want this to be lost on anyone (including myself) ... since I used the same size air hole as the original Nautilus on the opposing side, it is possible to drill out more holes through the base and air flow ring and get even more air flow.


  • Posted by Paul S. on January 30, 2016, 7:48 pm

    Except the fact you can knock the bottom base off and remove the air flow control ring entirely without ruining your tank at all.