| Cigarette tube injection machines have revolutionized the RYO Market.
Using these wonderful devices and readily available pre-manufactured filtered cigarette
tubes, one can create (roll is not a precisely accurate description) filtered cigarettes
that are indistinguishable from pre-manufactured brand names (except, of course, they
don't have the brand name on them, they taste a whole lot better, and are far fresher
containing whatever blend of tobaccos you may choose at any given time). Now since the
very first issue of this magazine, we have had numerous queries on when 100 mm tubes and
injectors would be available. A large portion of the packaged cigarette smoking public,
especially women, favor the greater length and the assumed additional mildness a long
smoke provides. It was only a matter of time until the Make Your Own industry responded to
the obvious and, NOW, the time has arrived.
A company called Precision Products, Inc, which we're told is associated with the Sixty-One tobacco folks has come up with just such an injector branded the Maiker. It is of the hand-held type and works pretty well for that design. It rarely completely fills the 100mm tube, which is also manufactured by the company (actually for the company in the Philippines - the injector likewise is made for Precision in China), but the workmanship on the injector is first class. Its action is smooth and pretty forgiving as to tobacco cut and tobacco amount as hand-helds go. It does a great job on king size tubes with one important (and controversial) caveat.
The tubes the Maiker makes (uses? *see our filtered tube section in this issue) are smaller in diameter than any other tube on the market. The result is that while you can use other tubes with the Maiker (they fit a little loosely but still work) you can't use their 100mm tubes with any other current injector. Now this presents a problem that we at the magazine have foreseen and noted for some time in past discussions with readers, manufacturers, and others. That is, that most manufactured cigarettes are smaller in diameter than Make Your Owns to begin with and most 100's are smaller in diameter than their manufactured King-sized siblings. It was our opinion that a 100mm stick with the diameter of the traditional Make Your Own Tube might present a rather "large" looking cigarette for the general public to accept. Re-tooling injector components for a smaller diameter tube would be expensive so we were surprised that Maiker made this move so early on. There is also the issue of the critical size of the spoon (the injecting element) and the tendency for RYO tobacco to be much larger in cut and fluffiness than the nearly powdered and distressed tobacco product that goes into a mass production cigarette making machine (more on this in our cover story "Why Humans Smoke"). The fact is, the Maiker tube diameter is still significantly larger than manufactured-cigarette 100's though smaller than other MYO tubes. In addition, we find the tubes that are produced for the Maiker not to be of the high quality we expect from other tube manufacturers like CTC Premier/Escort, Gizeh, Zig-Zag, etc. It is not a bad tube but does make for a bit harsher smoke (even with the longer length) and the construction (though we have only seen a few boxes) is not as consistent as others mentioned above.
Nonetheless we applaud Maiker (Precision) for their effort as we often feel that the RYO/MYO industry is too slow to innovate and for the market share to grow so that RYO/MYO can seriously compete with major cigarette brands, many innovations and a number of improvements as well are necessary. For instance, the box that the Maiker tubes come in is the nicest we have seen and a real improvement over the tenuously thin packaging that most tube makers use. It is a solidly constructed sliding-drawer (like a box of nice kitchen matches) design and affords much better protection for the fragile tubes that must live inside. The problem is the tube size prevents the use of the tubes on any other injector like the new Supermatic (*see below) which also will inject 100mm tubes (though no such tubes exist in the US - at least at this writing - for the Supermatic machine). The injector price is equitable as are the tube considering their larger size.
I guess the most important lesson to be learned here is that proprietary designs that limit the consumer's choices are never among the best of ideas, (platform dependent software and manufacturer/dealership-only auto parts, for instance) and the industry as a whole would do well to begin cooperating and coordinating with each other in more fruitful ways that will ultimately benefit the consumer and the market as a whole. Now I realize that all of these companies view themselves as competitors but the truth is, their competition with each other is incredibly, at times shortsightedly minor-league when compared with the competition they face from their true adversaries, the Big packaged, Cigarette makers. (97-98% of American smokers still smoke pre-manufactured brands) Historically it should be observed that few predators are as successful as lone hunters when compared with those that hunt in packs. We look forward to the day when the gamut of RYO/MYO manufacturers realize this and begin some real cooperative efforts. There has been of course (until now, at least) standardization of tube size, labeling and, for the most part, packaging size, but with increased effort in innovation and cooperation, only then will their market share grow to the proportions their products deserve.
It was with a great sense of anticipation and excitement that we finally got a look at the long awaited upgrade of the industry standard Supermatic. This machine was rumored to be a major upgrade and for the most part, it delivers splendidly. It is an absolutely beautiful piece of machinery, a dark navy blue textured top sitting on a textured gray base. The bottom of the machine is now covered with a much welcomed full length rubber pad (probably to the chagrin of those who make Supermatic pads) that addresses one of the very few problems we observed with the original, that is, its tendency to slide around and scratch nice furniture. The internal mechanism, while not truly a redesign, has been upgraded as well, with extreme attention to detail as well as a new anodized brass colored finish on the metal injector system components. This thing looks like a fine watch inside compared with the original (at right). The performance is outstanding and given the attention to detail on the finishing of the internal parts one should expect the reliability and durability of the machine to be measurably enhanced which says a lot about a machine that has already proven to be eons ahead of the competition. It will inject tubes up to 100mm in length as well as non-filtered tubes (neither of which are available yet in this country though we're told they are sold in Europe) - we will find out more on this at next week's ITE (International Tobacco Expo) where we plan to meet with members of CTC's organization. The labeling on the machine is very professionally appointed and we found the action to be smoother, crisper and, in general, easier than the original. While there are a number of manufacturers of injection machines, we have made it quite clear from our debut issue well over a year ago that, in our opinion, the crank style injectors, specifically the Supermatic line from CTC, are the single most important ingredient to a successful conversion to RYO smoking. It remains remarkable to us that no other company has endeavored to make a competing machine along the robust lines of these formidable injectors. Having said that (again & again) you can rest assured that CTC is here to stay with a dedication that is as admirable as fine tobacco makers like Stokkebye. This machine could well fit into the ambience driven design of upscale living rooms and dens and no longer need be relegated to the workshop like corner where many have typically accomplished the injection of their little treasures. Any important step to say the least in bringing Make Your Own from the closet and into the packaged cigarette smoker's world of legitimacy. CTC is upgrading the Supermatic II and their excellent Excel machine as well and we are equally excited at the prospect of getting our hands on each of these. We will share our thoughts with you as soon as we do. - RYO
|EDITOR'S NOTE: These reviews are solely for the convenience of people of legal age who already smoke, are trying to cut down on smoking, wish to spend less money on their smoking, want to roll their own cigarettes from high quality tobacco, and, in general, wish to have a far more satisfying, and economical smoking experience when compared with smoking pre-manufactured cigarettes. We, in no way, encourage people to smoke. Further, we prescribe to a sane, more logical approach to smoking that involves common sense as to quantity coupled with a strong desire to manage the habit until it becomes an occasional, freely chosen, diversion, that can be fully enjoyed with minimal health risks. Finally, we strongly encourage those who do smoke to take it outdoors, or to appropriate environments where tobacco can be enjoyed away from those who do not smoke, most especially children. We do not sell tobacco or related products from this site; We distribute information about our perceptions of the quality of what is available and where it can be obtained. If you are under 18, it is illegal to buy tobacco and you should immediately exit this site. If you do not smoke, it would seem illogical to start.|
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