September 2014…..  The failed Hydrus project sparked some great ideas, although knowledge of the impending doom did not reach me yet I did start to devise an idea…. why not build on the multiple head design and incorporate variable wattage boards onto the base of the Hydrus. Re-using component designs further. 


Modularity would later become a driving force in allot of my industrial thinking. The idea that an ecosystem could be developed for a product is very tempting. Not only does modularity reduce costs of future development, but also allows to spread costs of components over a larger area.  The concept of modular products also allows for multiplication of profit as a standalone product can effectively become a marketable asset based on its own merits. 

Modularity would also allow for greater customer retention as the initial customer investment can continuously be expanded by introducing newer, and more updated modules.

Modular components would use the same packaging, with outer sleeves indicating contents. Modularity in packaging and reusing basic foundations is a cheap and effective budget solver.

At the same time as working on the Evolv DNA version the Yihi SX boards became a very hot topic… which lead to the idea of a double battery tube version of the Hydrus VW device. This also pushed me to adopt a more Art Deco approach  through the use of a swooping tail on all the VW modules. 

The Double Barrel needed for the Yihi board would later dictate the overall swooping tail design of all the variable wattage modules.

Prototyping the module was great fun, and when the Hydrus mech samples finally arrived, and I was overcome with dread due to the Fong-Kong-ese failure, the only happiness I could find was that of the prototype 3d print working perfectly with that of the metal samples. 

metal samples “working-not-working”

After many,  many,  MANY  design sessions finally brought together a solid idea.  A metal skeleton with carbon fibre shells, or 3D printed shells. The shells cradle the DNA30 board while the Skeleton affixes onto the battery tube. 

The traditional mechanical switch would be replaced with a dud button, while the VW module would contain it’s own switch gear. This should override the Mechanical’s horrendous Voltage drop, while offering an ergonomic solution for a the Tube mod. 

With the 3D print, my pipe dream seemed realistic, but at this stage the bit of financial backing i had was pulled, and the Hydrus project cost me plenty. This included my beloved car, not being able to keep up with the car payments as repaying the loan i took on the promise of the Hydrus project was becoming too expensive – and at 2018 i am still paying off the debt.

The cost

So, let us recap… I set out to design a mechanical e-cigarette, a first for South Africa, and a first for myself dealing with China. Also, it was a first for me experiencing, with my own money, the effect of Chinese manufacturing sense was all about. 

The cost of taking people on their word, and making a financial decision on that promise… VERY costly. 

Seeing your dream come to a screeching halt took an emotional toll on me, i withdrew and had to deal with the depression before setting out on a second dream – something more attainable? 

Do not fret dear reader —- option 2 also failed…. Tune in next time for the Van Hunks RDA dream-fail!!!! 

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