The Supermatic II, we have reviewed
a couple of times since January of 2000, has undergone several improvements over the last
few years. Until now, these improvements have concentrated on quality control and the
precision with which the inner workings function. Because this machine has a
plastic shell, the metal plate that secures the actual working mechanism has always been
subject to at least the feeling of some torque as you inject. Under ideal conditions
(proper tobacco size and moisture as well as proper fill), this small amount of
flexibility has not been too much of a problem. However, as more tobacco or tobacco of
questionable grade or condition is introduced into the system, injection can be less than
smooth with this machine. A little over a year ago, new Supermatic II's started showing up
with a green label on the boxes that said "New & Improved." We found these
machines to be more highly "factory" tuned and obviously a considerable amount
of effort was put into each machine as it left the assembly line to make sure all of the
alignments and fittings were properly set up. This fine tuning could be performed by the
user as well, as it usually involved the part of the mechanism that dictates when the tube
is released from the rubber stalk that holds the tube in place. Even the slightest
mis-alignment at that point made the machine feel "sticky" and often resulted in
the crank, when it finally was released, to come snapping back with quite a bang. If this
happens enough, the whole alignment scenario for the machine could be jeopardized. The
'New & Improved" version rarely had this problem.
We at RYO Magazine have reasoned that the Supermatic I (now the Big Blue one) and the new highly upgraded Excel Platinum basically covered the needs of the market and that the Supermatic II, might just find itself a victim of third wheel redundancy. Many of our readers and myself included, like the Platinum Excel almost as much as the top of the line Supermatic, especially given its very ergonomic feel and the fact that it works incredibly well. Its much lower price cannot be discounted either as a deciding factor. So where does the mid-priced Supermatic II really fit in. We have asked a lot of people over the years just that question and it appears that many still like the idea of a little bigger injector than the Excel and yet don't want to pay the higher price of the new Premier Supermatic. Of course, this depends a great deal on where you are buying them. We have seen prices for the Supermatic Blue (Premier) as high as $79.95. In all fairness however, one can usually find them in the mid $40 range with shipping. As some sites and stores sell the Supermatic at prices approaching this number it really does boil down to finding which machine works best for you and then shopping around for the best deal. The Excel can go for as little as $23.00 with $35 about the highest price we've seen. In general, the Supermatic II lands always somewhere in between the other two.
Now CTC, faced with a decision about the "II", has decided to dress up this machine with a new gold color and new badging (shown at right). The interior components have been reworked and beefed up and, consequently, this new version is much better than the older brown one. It still has a plastic case and rubber feet but it IS very beautiful. We must assume that CTC has confidence it will provide enough market share to justify the upgrades and thankfully the price has not gone up much at all. I guess the best way to look at all of this is that there are now three crank style injectors in the CTC lineup that will all out-perform ANY of the almost non-existent competition and are all significantly better than their predecessors. The new packaging for the entire lineup is shown above left. For more information about these products and to contact the company click on the banner below.
We felt it important to repeat from last time, our recommendation for the successful use of these machines (these tips apply to all injectors generally, most especially the crank style). You will find this information at the bottom of this page. Before we do, however, we would like to introduce you to a new CTC product that we are frankly ecstatic about. It is their new slimmer 6.5mm hand injector (6.5 mm tube diameter - standard is about 8.1mm - you should take a look at our Filter Tube section this time to see more about tube, filter lengths, and diameters, where we share the answers to questions from literally thousands of our readers who have emailed us on these issues). The basic concept of a slimmer Make Your Own stick has been of interest to us for several years now. As most of you who make your own already have noticed, the make your own sticks are thicker (larger diameter) than any manufactured cigarettes. Traditional cigarette cases often squash your MYO smokes and the fatter stick does not look as elegant as some of the more standard size pre-mades. It also uses more tobacco and the fact that MYO cigarettes burn far longer as a rule than packaged smokes, cause many to think that the diameter could and should be reduced. For reference, the industry standard for manufactured brands is about 7.5 mm, with slims and boutiques like Sherman's, closer to the 6.5 mm mark. Look at the Camel Turkish Royal at left. (Go to our Tobacco Section for more on this interesting upscale attempt from the packaged cigarette industry.) This cigarette is 7.4mm in diameter with a filter element length of about 20 mm. (Again look at our Filter Tube Section for more information on filter element lengths.) The fact is that we and others have recognized the wisdom of creating a smaller diameter tube and injector for some time and CTC has finally done just that. The new injector (The Rayo shown above left) was necessary of course and, to date, only a hand-held model exists. Admittedly, there are problems with slimmer sticks when it comes to injection. First of all, you must be careful how large the tobacco cut is (not really a big problem with most popular roll your own brands of tobacco but to be considered nonetheless). More importantly, the injector components must be scaled down to the point that there is even less room for error in not only the amount of tobacco you use, but also the reduced size of the spoon (the part that actually enters the tube carrying the tobacco with it) making it potentially a bit more sensitive to manufacturing inconsistencies as well as more prone to bending if stressed.
Now this is less of a problem with a hand-held but we know for a fact the CTC will eventually produce a cranker to use this new media. Pictures of finished sticks made with this new sized equipment are on our Filter Tubes page, but we thought we might as well show you them here as well. The first thing you'll probably notice is that not only is the new slimmer tube smaller in diameter, but it is also shorter, actually regular size in length (80mm) as compared to King-Size (87mm) with 100's usually about 97mm. Now much of the world enjoys regular length cigarettes. Both Players and Export A in Canada are 80mm sticks though they have nearly the larger, standard manufactured cigarette diameter. What this all boils down to is this new size is utterly fantastic for all my favorite tobaccos that are too strong to smoke in a normal sized Make Your Own tube, regardless of how much filtration is applied. With the exception of using Gizeh's Charbon charcoal tip tube, these great tobaccos were relegated to thin, hand rolled sticks for my consumption.
For example, the minute the samples of these tubes and injectors reached my desk, I got out my Gauloises and Ramback Turkish, mixed them together about 50/50, and injected them into the new tube. The flavor and experience was sensational. Even the VERY strong Gauloises by itself was incredible in this new size tube. Now it took me a few tries before I could manage the injector. I used too much tobacco at first, but using a little common sense and the handy tamper tool that comes with the Rayo unit, within a few minutes I was making perfect slim, exotic smokes. I even enjoyed my regular blends like Bali Red more as the increased lightness came not from more filtration, but from the smaller area/diameter of burning tobacco. I think this size will revolutionize this industry for the smoker who likes a lighter smoke, a shorter/faster smoke (not everyone has the ten minutes or so it can take to smoke a normal MYO cigarette), as well as a truly eye-catching stick. Much like I feel about Zig-Zag's 100mm hand injector and wonderful 100mm tubes, I even can handle the otherwise pain in the ass procedures of hand-injectors, as the results are so satisfying.
These products should be available both online and locally now or very soon and, if I were you, I would make it a point to ask my retailer about them. Further, I would recommend that retailers immediately encourage their distributors to begin stocking them. These slimmer tubes are advertised to use 20% less tobacco which is somewhat of an understatement as I could barely fit half of the normal amount of tobacco into these tubes as my normal King-Size. CTC, with little fanfare has created a VERY important new concept for the MYO industry. Simply try 'em. The injector and a box of tubes will cost you certainly less than $10 and we here at RYO would really like to hear from you about your experience. Be patient with the injector. It is a lot tougher (stronger) than I figured it would be and should last a long time, but please, use less tobacco than you think necessary at first. And use the tamper tool provided.
Now, as promised above, you again will find our recommendations for the care and use of CTC injectors.
The CTC line of Supermatic, Supermatic
II, and Excel injectors have given a boost to the make your own
industry like no other product. CTC's commitment to quality, reliability, and customer
service sets a standard to be followed by all other accessory manufacturers. But
even with all of the above true, some people are still having trouble with these marvelous
machines. Since 1995, we have been using, taking apart, tinkering, and making
recommendations for the design of these machines and find little left to criticize. We
share a lot of reader input as well with CTC. However, there are some parameters that must
be followed in order to have your machine last as long as the ones we use, which is to say
effectively for many years. Although some of the following information is already included
with the manufacturer's instruction, we felt, knowing most folks hate reading directions,
especially regarding products that appear so simple to operate, that an
instruction/recommendation sheet from RYO Magazine might further aid those who manage to
miss the existing directions for use. The following is a sheet that will be included in
all future Supermatics and we assure you that if you follow them religiously, you will
have few, if any, problems. Please read carefully what follows:
With the dollar savings one gains from making one's own cigarettes, the higher cost of a table top injector really is minimal for most people and is quickly absorbed in the savings that result. The less expensive and extremely well made Excel Platinum is, surprisingly enough, easier for some to use than the larger Supermatic and, consequently, it seems to have fewer problems for certain people. Even though it has some plastic functional parts, the recessed grip at the top of the machine does make it much easier to hold onto and therefore dissuades one from pressing down on the machine during the injection process. We love this little machine and see few returned because of damage. Part of the problem with the larger Premier Supermatic is that it is such a robust feeling machine that some fail to realize that a big, all metal machine that is as formidable as the Big Blue could still have limits to the amount of stress applied. For that reason we recommend that everyone who is serious about sticking with making their own cigarettes own both a Premier AND an Excel as a backup as well as a good hand-injector for travel. The smaller silver Excel is also great for traveling as it has no sharp edges and has shown itself to be very forgiving when packed amongst delicate items like clothes and electronics. Plus, it is a joy to use. And considering the fact that with a little shopping around on-line you can buy both machines for what some retailers charge for the Premier alone, this becomes a cost-effective solution should one or the other of your machines need repair. Places like D&R Tobacco ( www.cigarettetobacco.com ), American Thrust Tobacco ( www.americanthrusttobacco.com ) and RYO Tobacco (www.ryotobacco.com ) sell these machines at great prices. The Premier Supermatic, Supermatic II and Excel all have a one year warranty. The Lifetime warranty initially offered as an introductory promotion on the Premier Supermatic has returned to its normal one year warranty. The same rules above apply for the Excel as well as both Supermatics. Follow them with consistency and you will have a rewarding experience that will forever change your attitude about the way you use tobacco.
As a last note, all of the above is written with a huge amount of gratitude that is daily expressed by our customers, our readers, as well as we at RYO Magazine personally, for the efforts of those manufacturers in the MYO industry who, often at great financial risk, continue to provide significantly improved and evolutionary products to help make the case for MYO. The possibility that one's first experience with making their own cigarettes will be a negative one, is quickly dwindling. the ed.
|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.|
© 1999 RYO Magazine
A Publication of
The Andromedan Design Company
is a trademark of The Andromedan Design Company,
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