The purpose of this post is to provide people new to ELR and new to DIY in general to help them get started using the E Liquid Recipes Calculator. It's possible there are errors or points that have been left out and I'll lean on the community to help me edit the content.
I see the same questions over and over...people confused over how to use the calculator and/or how to go about mixing their juice. The following is a user guide to making the most of the ELR Calculator
First (and you probably know this already) go to http://e-liquid-recipes.com/ and create your account.
Next you want to decide which method you'll use for mixing. There are essentially 3 methods -
Drops (least accurate)
Volumetric (very accurate, but most hassle and clean up)
Weight (most accurate and care free)
I highly recommend you start your DIY journey the way most of us end up - mixing by weight. For this you will need a scale that measures to 0.01 grams (very important). Check out this thread for info on scales and where to buy them.
If for some reason you don't want to mix by weight, you can mix by drops or volume. Drops is highly inaccurate because the size drop will vary from bottle to bottle, dropper to dropper, and with different viscosity of liquids (e.g., PG vs VG). If you insist on mixing by drops, you can skip most of this post. Good luck to you! If you want to mix by volume then you'll need at minimum 1 syringe (at least 5ml) and a blunt tip needle. These are generally available at a pharmacy. The rest of this tutorial will be based on mixing by weight; because let's face it - if you didn't care enough to do it the best way you wouldn't be reading this.
So, mixing by weight. What does that mean? Well it means that for each liquid (PG, VG, Nic base and Flavorings) there is a weight per milliliter of each component. The calculator will take the percentages you choose for each component and calculate how much weight of each is needed to reach the target percent of your overall recipe. PG and VG is already entered into the calculator database for grams per ml. Many of the flavorings are as well (defaulted to 1mg/ml). And some mixers want this to be very precise (see the section below on entering flavors). But some of us (myself included) are just as happy with 1gm/ml weight to all flavors. It may not be 100% accurate, but it's very consistent and when you have limited time, will certainly work so you can continue mixing.
Have I convinced you that mixing by weight is the way to go? If so, go to e-liquid-recipes.com and sign in. Then in the top right, click User, then Preferences. Then click "use grams" and save. Now you're set up to mix by weight. Way to go!
What you will do is create a recipe. Choose the amount to make, the ratio of PG/VG, the nic base you're using (mg/ml and whether it's a PG or VG or both), the nic strength you want, and the percentage of flavorings you will use. The Calculator does the rest. Sounds complicated? It's not as you will see. But first, let's look at one of the most crucial parts of using the calculator properly - entering your Flavor Stash.
Your flavor stash is found at e-liquid-recipes.com under the User drop-down menu at the top right of the page - marked My Flavor Stash. Make sure you're signed in, then click to open and it will take you to the page where you will enter your flavors.
In the box beside "Add Flavor", start typing the name of your flavor. You need to know the manufacturer of the flavor and the flavor name. Start by typing the first few letters of the flavor name. Most likely, the flavor is already part of the database and will pop up in a list of similarly named flavors. You really want to pick from this list whenever possible, because entering a flavor that's already in the database only creates duplicates and more work for admins.
Additionally, @daath states " http://e-liquid-recipes.com/guide1 - [you can do a quick search] for example, Cheesecake (Graham Crust) (TPA) can be done with: **tpa che ca gra cr" " rather than typing just the first few letters of a flavor name.
So let's enter Strawberry from The Flavor/Perfumer's Apprentice. As you can see, after only typing a few letters of the word "strawberry" we get plenty of results. Notice the green number to the right of the flavors. Those are the numbers of recipes on ELR that contain the flavor. As you can see there are a bunch, so we're right on with using that one to enter into our stash.
Now just click on it. Notice how the name changed to Strawberry (TPA)? That's because in the database, flavor companies are most always abbreviated. TPA is the abbreviation for The Perfumer's Apprentice (instead of TFA, which may cause confusion with another company, Flavour Art). Check this list for some common abbreviations, thanks to @Pro_Vapes. There are other abbreviations for things and flavors not on this list. Don't worry, you will pick up on them quickly! Now just click +Add. Keep doing that until all your flavors are entered, and don't forget to click Save when finished! Remember, when typing your flavors into the box, always pick flavors that are already entered before adding anything new. If no results pop up after you've typed a few letters, check your spelling and also give it a few seconds. If there's a lot of traffic on the website it can take just a bit for results to show. But if you don't see where your flavor is on the database, by all means add it. Companies are coming out with new flavors every day.
Setting Flavor Weight
Once you've entered your flavors (or you can do this as you enter them), you may want to enter the weight in grams/milliliter. Most people do not do this. And according to the site owner, the ELR default is 1mg/ml anyway (or it was for PG flavors) and I assume nothing has changed. I ask @daath to chime in if that is no longer the case. Point is, you don't have to enter anything if you don't want to, but it's an available feature if you do. You will need to obtain the manufacturer's Specific Gravity, which isn't all that easy - hence people sticking with 1gm/ml. But again, you can enter the weight if you wish. To do this, from your Stash, simply click on the flavor. You will see where you can enter it. Here's an example and one that happens to show the manufacturer's specific gravity. As you can see, I just use 1gm/ml.
Also, make sure the Flavor Carrier is correct - be that PG, VG or something else. Don't forget to click Save when you're done. Do this for all your flavors, or leave them all alone to default to 1gm/ml.
Creating a Recipe
Here's where the fun begins, and what you're here for in the first place. Let's figure out how to create and save a recipe.
Most recipes start as an idea. You want to create a certain flavor profile or target a particular taste. As they say, you have to walk before you can run, and with DIY that often means getting ideas from people with experience. One way to do that is with looking at other people's recipes, reading comments from people who have tried those recipes, and seeing the ratings. I won't go into great detail here, but will give enough information to get you off and running.
First, click on User and then What Can I Make. Assuming you've entered all your flavors, the resulting page will be all recipes on the ELR database that are public and ones you will be able to make with the flavors you have in your stash. Another option is to click User, then Search by Flavor Stash, which will allow you to see public recipes that contain whichever flavors you check on from your stash. Either of these options will give you ideas. But let's focus on things you can make which will give you a fast start to your first mix.
So from the results of What Can I Make, there are a couple things you can do. First, you can arrange the result to show the most highly rated recipes first. The far right column is Rating and the header is clickable. Click it once and the highest rated recipes will show up first. Next, the fist column is the recipe name, but to the far right of that column is an information (i) symbol. Click that to see what flavors are in the recipe. Looks like this -
This will help you see what's in the recipe while staying on the results page. You can use these results to get ideas for creating your own recipe, or you can "copy" the recipe so you'll have it in your own recipe collection. Important - when you save another person's recipe there is no need to make it public. But if you do, make sure you give credit to the mixer and not just change the name. This was someone else's work - be respectful! To copy the recipe you need to click on it to open it up. Then, click on the Blue Wrench icon and then Adapt This. If the PG/VG and Nic are good for you, then just click save. Otherwise change what you need to first then click save. DO NOT uncheck the box for making it a private recipe. Again, this is someone else's recipe so you don't need to make it public.
Now let's create our own recipe. Let's say you want to make a simple Blueberry Ice Cream. And for the purpose of explanation, we're going to make 30ml of 70/30 VG/PG, and 6mg Nicotine. We're using a PG-based Nic Liquid that is 100mg/ml. Let's use 3% Flavor West Blueberry and 3.5% TPA Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. We'll call it Blueberry Soft Serve. Disclaimer - this is not a real recipe, so don't mix it thinking it will be good Here we go....
1) From the top of the ELR Calculator, click on Create Recipe
2) Name the recipe - Blueberry Soft Serve
3) Then amount to make, 30 ml. Desired Strength (for finished juice), 6mg, 0 Water/Vodka/PGA, 30% Desired PG, 70% Desired VG, then Nicotine Strength 100 (that's our base nic liquid, remember? 100mg/ml in PG), and then PG-Content of Nicotine 100%. Simple enough, right?
4) Add your flavors. Like adding to your stash, they appear when you start typing them in.
Add any notes you want for reference later. Keep the This is a private recipe box checked, and click Save.
You've now created your first recipe! When you're ready to share it with the world, open the recipe, click the Blue Wrench icon and then Edit. Scroll down to just above the Save button and remove the check beside This is a private recipe then click Save. Now the world can see your creation.
If you want to always make your recipes (as in our example, 6mg, 70/30 VG/PG) just place a check in the box beside Set these base values as default before clicking Save. then all future recipes will automatically have them set for you when starting a new recipe. The exception to this is when you are Adapting someone's recipe that uses Max VG - in which case it will also show your adapted recipe as Max VG. Simply uncheck the Max VG box and it will return to your preset default.
Below is what you end up with when you save. As you can see it shows exactly what to add of each component. If you set your profile for mixing by weight you will find the column with bold figures for your weights. Of course you could still mix by volume as the ml column shows that as well.
EDIT Thanks to @Underanne for pointing this out. In the above example we used a nic base that was 100% PG. Not everyone uses this. In fact there are many different bases with different levels of PG/VG. Remember when making your mixes to enter the values for your nic base. Enter the mg/ml and the proper ratio of VG/PG in the base. These are essential to getting an accurate final nic strength and VG/PG ratio in the final mix. One other noteworthy thing about pre-mixed bases. If you do not have plain PG and VG you may find it difficult to consistently reach your desired PG/VG preferences. So if you are limited to your access to nicotine and have to use a premixed nic base (e.g. 70/30 VG/PG), and you like 70/30 juices, you'll probably want to get some plain VG since you'll often be adding PG in the form of flavorings.
Again, I could have made some errors here as some things could have changed I'm not aware of. And it's also likely is that I've left out important points. The community here at ELR is the best on the web...so kind and eager to help. So I'm sure people can set me straight pretty quick. But it you have questions or something seems unclear, please don't hesitate to post your questions and comments here. We truly want your DIY experience to be a successful one- and that you may avoid some of the pitfalls we've all faced. Welcome to ELR, and get to mixin!