2021 VonG Update
An interview with George Breiwa, DynaVap Co-Founder
Why update the old VonGs?
Largely, what is the difference between the NonaVonG and the HydraVonG? Well, mostly external geometry. The original NonaVonG, the updated NonaVonG and the HydraVonG all suffered from a lot of the same issues:
- They cracked.
- With humidity changes, the tips would fit too tight & sometimes the wood would crack. The tips would stay too loose & sometimes they wouldn’t stay secure.
- There was no metal liner, and occasionally the 14mm tapered mouthpiece end would get stuck in some water tools, especially if a little water splashed up on it.
So, it wasn’t a bad product but it just didn’t have what we really wanted it to be. It had the general design, the general profile of what we were looking for, but didn’t have the functionality that we were seeking. It needed a redesign!
What were the design goals for the new VonG?
The goal was to address all of the key challenges with the previous VonG designs.
- We have, not only a more consistent taper, the 14mm taper that was on all the previous VonGs, but we also have a 10mm taper.
- It’s made of Titanium so if it gets wet, whether from going into the mouth or going in a waterpiece and getting splashed, it’s not going to swell. It’s going to remain consistent.
- The crowns protect the wood and reinforce it.
- There's a complete Titanium liner that not only helps keep the tip where it needs to be, but it keeps any potential vapor getting where it doesn’t belong, from condensing and contaminating the wood. Makes it very easy to clean.
- The device is much, much stronger. Between the Titanium liner and the Titanium crowns on either end, this device is very robust. Much, much less likely to crack, even if you drop it. You can probably dive over it with your car and it might still be okay. Though we wouldn’t recommend that!
What’s up with the rotating sleeve?
The rotating sleeve is something that we wanted to incorporate as we were putting together and assembling some of our initial prototypes.We knew that wood was a challenging material to work with because of humidity fluctuations, and on top of that, the overall geometry of all these Titanium parts being precision machined and being able to press fit together, maintain alignment and have everything work; we knew it was a tall order. So in hindsight, we shouldn’t have even advertised it as a feature. But it was just such a cool thing and we wanted people to know about it. So, in the end, we got a little bit ahead of ourselves.
So can you elaborate on why some sleeves aren’t rotating. What’s causing this issue?
Why do some sleeves rotate and some sleeves don’t? Good question. The reality is that the vast majority of all the sleeves on all the VonGs of this new design that we’ve manufactured rotate just fine. But wood is wood. And there’s a reason why you don’t see wood utilized as a precision machined component in very many consumer products. It’s just not dimensionally stable. It likes to expand, it likes to contract, it likes to crack, it likes to do all kinds of things that are part of the reason why people actually like wood. So depending on humidity, depending on the precision of not only the wood but the way that the parts are assembled you may end up with a small variation. If there’s a little bit of a knot, if there’s irregularities in the grain, the sleeve might be a little bit stickier or be a little bit looser. They are not what we said they would be. And because of that, we’re happy to pay for your shipping to return the device to us and give you a full refund whether you’ve used it or not.
Can you walk us through the manufacturing process of these VonGs and also, have we made any improvements to that process since some of these initial production VonGs went out and do we expect to see any future refinements?
The manufacturing process, let’s start with that. Let’s understand what we have here with the VonG. The VonG has 4 precision machined Titanium parts that are more or less exclusive to just this device. It also has a precision machined wood part. All of these parts need to fit in just right. The crown needs to interface with the full titanium liner and the other crown, and pressed together with the right geometry so that it takes force to press them together so they don’t easily separate; as well as have all the right clearances and tolerances so that the piece of wood fits nicely in between them without a significant gap, and in an ideal world it’s going to rotate freely. But in reality, because wood being the dynamic material that it is, it may or may not. In terms of improvements, have we made improvements? The answer is, definitively. In fact, we’re looking for ways we can improve our products regularly, if not everyday. Is there a way that we can change a tolerance here, improve a little bit of clearance there, make this part a little bit longer, shorter, change the diameter , change the angle, incorporate an o-ring, change an o-ring clearance, change the mating geometry between the wood and the titanium; these are all the things that we’ve already done as we continue to manufacture.
Third question, what’s the plan for the future in terms of refinement of this device, the new VonG? So the goal over the course of the next year is to come up with a way that we can make the VonG a more modular device. So that the components are separable. So that we can have a selection of various wood sleeves, or sleeves made from any variety of materials available as well as manufacturable by some of the other makers out there in the DynaVerse. So improvements, definitely on the way but not likely to show up in the next few months.
What can a customer expect when they buy a DynaVap product and what should a customer expect when they purchase a new VonG?
Whether you’re buying directly from us or one of our other retailers that we sell products to, you can expect a good quality product. One that should realistically last you, I’d say pretty close to your entire lifetime. And maybe even further along than that, it can be a generational product. Our goal is to make the highest quality products that we possibly can and provide them to you at a reasonable price point. We want them to not only be manufactured to a very high quality standard, we want them to function very very well. What to expect when purchasing a VonG? You can expect to get a device that’s going to be durable, it’s going to have crowns on either ends, it has a 10mm and 14mm combination tapered mouthpiece that’s going to fit and mate with a wide range of other water tools that are available on the market. That full titanium liner, it’s going to be there, it’s going to protect your wood from any vapor that might come inside your stem, it’s also going to add an additional level of structure to the device, so when you drop it it’s less likely to break. The tip side crown is going to make sure that your tips have a consistent fitment whether it’s the new tip or many of your old tips should fit just fine into this device. Will it have a rotating sleeve? Probably. We’re continuing to develop it, refine it, but due to the unpredictability and dynamic nature of wood, unfortunately we can no longer advertise this feature as a feature that is guaranteed to work and if it’s something that you’re basing your purchase decision on having a rotating sleeve, please don’t. It probably will work, but if it doesn’t it may be due to a broad range of factors that are simply beyond our control and as we continue to refine our process we hope to have a better solution in the future. But at this point of time, the VonG is a solid product. The sleeve, well it’s a nice piece of wood that feels good in the hand. And if you need to obstruct the airport, I guarantee you, you’ll be able to find it without even looking because your fingers will simply know where to go.
Would you like to add anything in closing?
In closing, if you do not like the VonG, we are happy to buy it back. And pay the shipping. We exist as a company to provide you as a customer a product that’s gonna improve your overall life experience. And if that’s not the case, we’d really appreciate you letting us know how we can improve, because with your feedback, you have helped us get to where we are at right now.