Hey DGC! Lets talk rosin!
I spent several months researching the various rosin press options on the market, and eventually decided to build my own press. I learned a lot in the process so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned and hopefully help you get started if you are looking to build a press of your own!
Special shout out to our supporters over at New Vape for helping me with my press!
Use coupon code “DUDE” at www.NEWVAPE.com to save 10% and to help support the DGC!
NewVape has all kinds of rosin plates, e-nails, vaporizers and other cool products! They make awesome high quality stuff at their shop in Florida, but they also offer great deals on imported products. They have great customer service and were super friendly when we met at the High Times Cup last year. Big thanks to Edwyn, Lori and the rest of the New Vape Team! The DGC and I appreciate your support!
NOW LETS GET SQUISHING!
Rosin is a dabbable concentrate made by applying HEAT and PRESSURE to cannabis flower, hash or dry sift. There are many different press designs out there, but they are all just applying HEAT and PRESSURE in a controlled way. When looking at any rosin press design, consider how it applies these forces, and how well it is able to control them.
For making your own rosin press, you need two components, A PRESS to provide the pressure, and A PLATE KIT with heaters and a controller to provide a flat, heated pressing surface.
For the PRESS, there seems to be two popular options:
1) The Cheap Pick– Harbor Freight 12 Ton Press about $130 (pick it up at a local harbor freight store)
I haven’t used the Harbor Freight press, but it sounds likes it is typical harbor freight quality. (aka its kinda shitty and flimsy but gets the job done, at least for a while).
The Dake press costs a lot more but seems MUCH better built and has a pressure gauge and a few other nice features. Personally, I think the much nicer Dake press is worth the investment. It costs more, but you get what you pay for.
Many people would probably do just fine with the less sturdy Harbor Freight press. There are tons of folks out there rocking Harbor Freight rosin presses and getting great results. However, I also see many of those same people saying they wish they had spent a little more and bought the nicer Dake press instead.
For my own press, I saved up a little extra and bought the Dake. I really wanted a sturdy press with a pressure gauge. I also like that the Dake press is a bench top design so it fits nicely on the rolling workbench I built. I wasn’t sure the fancier press would be worth spending the extra money, but in the end I’m very happy with the decision. The Dake B-10 Press has been rock solid and should last me a lifetime. Definitely a good investment if you plan on using your press for the long term.
For the PLATE KIT, there are several options and things to consider.
SIZE– For best quality you actually want the SMALLEST plates that make sense for the scale you are operating at. Bigger plates are only better if you are trying to press a lot of product at a time. Squishing small amounts of bud with oversized plates means the rosin spends more time sitting on the hot plates before it can escape out the side, this can overheat the rosin and degrade the quality. For most home users smaller plates would probably be the way to go.
I’ve been using a set of 4” round plates from New Vape, and they’ve been great for squishing 5-12 grams of bud at a time. This typically yields around 1-2.5 grams of rosin per squish. Which is great for a home user like me! 🙂
The round plates also work really well for pressing “bottle tech style”, because they allow the rosin to flow out from the plates from the sides and back, not just out the front. This makes the 4″ round plates a great choice for a personal sized press.
MATERIAL- Aluminum heats up faster and more evenly, but stainless steel is more durable and resistant to pitting or warping. “Anodized” plates are usually aluminum plates with an extra coating for added durability.
New Vape also has some awesome “BI-Metal plates” that are aluminum with a stainless steel pressing surface. This is supposed to offer the best of both worlds but also costs a little more. Personally I like the added durability of the Bi-Metal or Anodized style plates, but I’m not sure its necessary for most home users.
The 4” round plates I’m using from New Vape are stainless steel and seem very durable.
Mounting- With most rosin plates, the bottom plate sits on the pressing deck, and the top plate is attached to the ram of the press. The plates have to be lined up before you press and the top plate has to be very securely mounted to the end of the ram or you risk breaking something under pressure.
Recently plate makers have started coming out with “CAGED” style plate kits where the top and bottom plates are connected in a cage structure with metal bars and springs. Caged designs eliminate the need to attach and align the plates to the press, so you can just put the whole cage assembly in the press and roughly line it up with the ram. This eliminates any worries about aligning the plates or attaching them to the press. This is a nice feature, but caged plates are usually much more expensive and probably aren’t necessary for most home users.
The 4” round plate kit I’m using from New Vape came with a very sturdy mounting adapter. This does a great job of keeping the top plate connected to the press. The bottom plate sits on the pressing deck and needs to be lined up before I commence pressing. New Vape sells an optional mounting bolt to attach the bottom plate to the press, but I haven’t had any issues with the bottom plate moving so I haven’t felt the need for it.
HEATER QUANTITY AND QUALITY- How many heating elements per plate, the quality of the heating elements and the quality of the electronic controller are all important. You want evenly distributed heat, so the number and shape of the heating elements is important. You also want a controller made with good electronic components that is built to last. Some companies seem to go cheap on the controller and electronics to try to keep the price down, but this seems like it might lead to less reliability.
The 4” round New Vape plates I’m using are heated by 4 flat enail coils (2 coils per plate) and a quad enail controller. The plates heat up very quickly and once they are warmed up, the temp stays rock solid. This e-nail based design does mean that you have to use an external thermometer to set your plate temperature, but I think checking your plate temp with a quality thermometer is a good idea with any rosin setup. NewVape put a nice little slot in the plates so you can slide a temp probe in there and check the real temp at the plates.
OK COOL! LETS BUILD A PRESS!
TOTAL COST to build a decent quality rosin press works out to roughly $500-850 (or more) depending on what you choose. Remember you need both PRESSURE and HEAT and a good way to control each!
Heres what I went with:
Dake B-10 press- $350 with free shipping from ZORO.COM (join their email list for a coupon)
4″ Stainless Steel Rosin Press Plates Flat Coil Bundle- $315 from NewVape (with 10% off from coupon code DUDE)
TOTAL ~ $665
Not bad for a super well made personal rosin press!
Or you can pair the same plates with the cheaper Harbor Freight press and you’d have a decent rosin press for about $450! Thats a crazy good deal!
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
The Dake press is VERY HEAVY but luckily zoro.com has free shipping. It comes in a box about the size and shape of a big suitcase, but weighing almost 150 lbs! Other than the weight, it was not too hard to assemble. I managed to put it together on my own, but it would definitely be a lot easier with someone to help you.
The plates were also easy to assemble. The coil heaters go in the middle of the plates and some hefty allen head screws hold everything together. The mounting collar attaches to the top plate and some more allen head screws securely mount the top plate to the press ram.
OK COOL! NICE PRESS! CAN WE FINALLY SQUISH SOMETHING NOW?
YES! We can!
But rosin pressing technique is a big topic, and something I should probably devote a whole article to. look for that article sometime in the future, but in the meantime, heres some tips, tricks and pics from my first few months of pressing!
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT PRESSING ROSIN OR BUILDING A PRESS, PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT BELOW! I’LL EITHER ANSWER YOUR QUESTION IN THE COMMENTS OR INCLUDE IT IN MY NEXT ROSIN ARTICLE!
THANKS AND THANKS FOR READING!