Tue. Mar 28th, 2023

How to Tune a Tattoo Machine

If you’re a tattoo artist with any amount of expertise, ensure that your equipment is working at all times.

Although there are many different types of tattoo machines on the market, there are a few standards that tattoo artists must follow when using and tuning one. The Tattoo Machine comes with either a shader or liner, so keeping them synchronized is critical for tattoo artists.

It might be tough for you to get used to using a tattoo machine initially, but once you do, it saves you time while working. By adjusting your tattoo machine as needed, you may extend its lifespan and make it easier to produce high-quality work.

Why You Should Tune Your Tattoo Machine

If you’re a good tattoo artist, you should be able to operate your machine smoothly without issue if it’s properly tuned. Tattoos should be drawn with smooth outlines if your device is adjusted. If you specialize in producing straight lines, it’s essential to maintain it aligned to avoid unwanted curves and swerves.

If you’re concerned about any of your tattoo machine‘s components wearing out, adjusting it lets you know when parts should be replaced and whether they’re compatible with the device’s capabilities. If you want to provide great tattoo art for your customers, maintaining your tattoo machine in excellent working order is critical.

Identify the Key Parts of Your Tattoo Machine

Each tattoo machine has many different parts that help it function properly. If you take care of these parts, your machine will work well. Regardless of whether you have a coil or a rotary tattoo machine, you’ll need to know how all parts work in order for your session to be more effective.

Machine Coils

Coils are what power a tattoo machine. They travel electricity to the capacitors, which then help power the needle. Quality coils determine how strong and fast your device’s needle is.

When there is more wire wrapped around your coils, the device will operate slower and require additional power. When the device is used, it will operate more quickly and have less energy if you have fewer wire layers in your coils.

Front and Back Springs

The front spring’s purpose is to transform the coils into an electromagnet. It also serves as a shock absorber for the armature bar while using a tattoo machine. It is determined by the size and number of these springs how much force has to be overcome as a person lies on their back is determined by the size and number of these springs.

The back spring pulls on the front spring, creating an electromagnetic movement that causes the back spring to move the tattoo machine’s needles and balance it.

Contact Screw 

The contact screw allows electromagnetic currents to flow through the device and into the front spring of the machine. It maintains a constant performance flow if the equipment is regularly utilized, depending on the machine’s quality.

Armature Bar

The armature bar lets you alter the device’s speed. If your equipment is light, it will execute quickly but consume less power. Larger armature bars provide more force when tattoo needles are used, but they reduce the speed. You can improve your machine’s performance by correctly aligning it.

The armature bar is attracted to the current flowing through magnetized coils via electromagnetism. The cycle that the machine operates on is also determined by the connected springs.

Steps for Tuning

Now that you know what components you’ll need to tune a tattoo machine, you may get started. When it comes to adjusting your tattoo machine,

Identify the Gap

After reconfiguring your machine, gaps between the front spring and the contact screw tip should be noted. The armature bar will fill this gap, so push it down to reveal it. The gap should accommodate a dime for liners and a nickel for shaders. It won’t work if the width of the space is greater than the coin diameter, so adjust it until it does.

Adjusting the Contact Screw

When you’ve identified the space between the front spring and contact bolt, you can change the contact screw once you’ve identified the space between the front spring and contact bolt. If you’re going from one shader to another, tighten the thumbscrew until it’s flush with the handle. Before tightening the contact screw, attach it to the appropriate width using a washer or nut.

Attach Your Coils

When you’re experimenting with the efficiency of your tattoo machine, make sure the connected coils are properly fastened on your device to ensure a steady current when working. They should be able to fit within the armature bar.

Powering Your Machine

A tattoo machine should produce line work with 7.5 to 8.5 volts on a tattoo. The voltage for shading should be 8 to 10 volts with a tattoo machine. These recommended settings are used by tattoo artists to maintain their work safe and practical both for themselves and their customers.

Differences Between Shaders and Liners

Although the two types of shaders are nearly identical in appearance, there are certain distinctions between them. If you’re adjusting your tattoo machine’s settings or specialties, knowing the distinctions between them will make it simpler.

Speed and Power of the Device

Liner tattoo machines are less potent than shaders since to the fact that they stop as little as possible when drawing an outline for a tattoo, which means they use fewer needles on the surface and tend to be weaker. When liners are switched on, they use less powerful capacitors, but this is compensated by allowing for more freedom with the needle in creating line art.

In contrast, shader tattoo machines require more energy, have additional needles, and operate at a slower speed to provide the intense color of a tattoo. This is the ideal machine for you if you need to change the speed between operations.

Size of the Front Spring

The shaders have considerably more strength in the front spring than liners. This enables the powerful electromagnetic forces generated by the coils to transmit high-quality tattoo art services via the front spring.

Typical Problems for Tattoo Machines

Even though some tattoo machines have standardized tuning by default to make things easier, issues can arise before you make changes.

Even if you have previous expertise, working with a tattoo machine that requires adjustment may result in difficulties. If you’re having problems working with a tattoo machine, there are several typical issues that can be quickly resolved with little effort.

Issues with the Back Spring Tension

If your sewing machine’s needle doesn’t move, there may be a problem with the back spring. When you bend the rear spring downward and forward, it should generate more tension after reassembling.

If they’re bent too far, the front spring and contact screw may spark when they’re straightened. Sputtering may be caused by incompatible capacitors with the wrong uF. The size of the liners and shaders varies, so double-check that you’ve changed them correctly after tuning.

The springs can be adjusted as needed to balance each stroke’s strength depending on the tattoo artists’ preferences.

Machine Overheating

If your  machine overheats, the armature bar or back springs may be clogged with too much tension. If the usage voltage is too high, you may also lower the springs and contact screw to reduce it.

Power Problems

When using your vacuum cleaner, you may sometimes experience power outages. If the equipment isn’t working correctly, try diagnosing the capacitors or coils. If you use another one that is working properly to test the bad capacitor, you’ll need to replace it. A quick sweep may also help.

If you’re using a suitable capacitor for a shader but not a liner, consider replacing it with the correct one to avoid future power issues.

Final Thoughts

You must consider what parts you need to keep an eye on for technical problems while tuning your  machine. Tattoo artists that master these techniques know how to flex when 

things go wrong.

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