Tattoo Machines – How much do you know?

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Basic and Hybrid Tattoo Machines

All tattoo machines are not the same, not in purpose, price or quality. The components of a tattoo machine include the frame with the attached pieces, the tubes which can be removed for sterilization, and needles that are inserted into the tubes. Functionally speaking, there are several types of tattoo machines.  Coloring, shaders and liners are the most important and common features.  The shader is designed to be held at more of an angle and features larger coils. The liner has smaller coils and is designed to be held in an upright position.

Mechanically speaking, there are pneumatic, rotary hybrids, coil and rotary machines. There are several different types of rotary tattoo machines to choose from. Popular models include the Armature Bar Guided, Direct Drive, Swash Drive and Linear Action. These four types of tattoo machines form the basis from which newer styles of rotary tattoo machines are developed. The modifications to these basic designs result in a variety of hybrids like the top selling Hyper V3.

Different Styles of Rotary Tattoo Machines

For the Direct Drive tattoo machine, the bearing is placed directly onto the needle and motor shaft. The needle bar is able to cycle up and down due to the circular motion of the wheel. Some examples for this style of rotary machine include the Assassin, Executioner and Sniper. This type of rotary machine can be difficult when it comes to needle stabilization. However, it also offers the most efficient use of movement from the motor and is extremely quiet.

Stigma Hyper tattoo machines are not standard rotary machines. This model uses what is known as swash plate technology and it runs differently than the average rotary. This machine is designed with the motor placed vertically, which affects the weight distribution. Weighing in at only 3.7 ounces, the Stigma Hyper is designed for efficiency and comfort. Unlike many of the newer hybrid models on the market, the Stigma Hyper uses all standard equipment, such as tubes and needles.

Choosing the Right Tattoo Machine

Because you’ll hold your tattoo machine for several hours a day, you should handle a number of models before you buy, in order to find one that feels comfortable to you. If a machine is too big or heavy it can affect the quality of the tattoo. Along with finding a model that fits your hand well, you will also need to look for one that can offer durability and sturdiness. You have to make sure that the machine you purchase is diverse and features different settings. All professional artists believe that you need an excellent quality machine that can offer distinctive settings, in order to avoid errors.

Don’t be surprised if you end up shelling out $200 to $500 for a standard tattoo machine. Often, you can find deals for low cost models online that come in a tattoo kit. However, most of these low priced kits are intended for beginners and are designed as practice models. Professional kits will usually go for twice the price of a starter kit.