Types of Tattoo Machines and Tips on Using Tattoo Machines
Tattoo is a trendy fashion which is hot among youngsters, and here are some tips about how to
use tattoo machines to make a perfect tattoo.
In fact, there are numerous kinds of tattoo machines existed in the market, liners and shaders are
the more common machines from a technical standpoint. Mechanically, there are coil tattoo
machines; also pneumatic machines, and rotary, or linear, tattoo machines.
• Rotary tattoo machine: A rotary tattoo machine, built in 1978 by Manfred Kohrs of Germany.
Rotary tattoo machines were the original machines, based on rotary technology, which was
invented by Samuel O'Reilly and improved by the tattoo artists through the years. Rotary type
machines use an electric motor to drive the needles. Some recent upgrades include using an
armature bar to increase efficiency, a characteristic of coil machines. Recently, there have been
improvements to make this type of machine pneumatic, in place of the electric motor used now.
• Coil tattoo machine: Coil tattoo machines are the most commonly seen and used. These
machines use an electromagnetic circuit to move the needle grouping. There are many variations,
from single-coiled machines to triple-coiled machines. They can be made from many different
materials and in many different sizes and shapes. Dual-coiled machines are considered to be
standard. The coils generally range from 8 to 10 wrap. The coils create the ohms,or resistance,
used to properly regulate the machines speed and power. Causing less trauma to the skin.
• Liner tattoo machine: The purpose of a liner machine is to lay the ink in the skin in one single
pass to create a dominant line. It uses a short contact circuit (about 1.5mm–2mm), which causes
the machine to cycle faster.
• Shader tattoo machine: The shader machine is commonly used to shade black or variants of
black ink. Also Color is used in this type of machine, the saturation level of this machine is low. It
uses a bigger contact gap than a liner (about 2mm–3.5mm) to make it cycle slightly slower. This
machine is also used for sculpting lines. Some artists will use this type of machine for all lines, as
it allows the lines to be retraced with less trauma to the skin.
• Pneumatic tattoo machine: Tattoo artist Carson Hill in the year 2000 invented the first
pneumatic tattoo machine and began the patent process. A pneumatic tattoo machine is
powered by an air compressor, and they are extremely lightweight. Pneumatic tattoo machines
use pressurized air to power the tattoo machine and drive the needles up and down. These
tattoo machines are entirely autoclavable, so that the entire tattoo machine can be placed in the
autoclave and sterilized fully without any major disassembly. Unlike traditional coil machines,
which require complete disassembely to be placed into an autoclave.
Tattoo machines are not limited to just these types. A common variant is having a "cutback",
which uses stiffer front springs. This is more commonly used in liners, but is known to be used on
shader machines, more typically for portrait work. Machines are usually categorized into long
stroke and short stroke varieties. The longer-stroked machines are good for coloring and shading,
as well as sculpting lines, while doing less damage to clients' skin. Shorter-stroke machines are
commonly used for lining in a single pass style, and also in a shade setup to achieve a more subtle
gradation of black such as would be found in portraits. Length, width, tension, angle, and
stiffness of the spring varies the functionality of the machine. The contact gaps, as well as
capacitor's and even the style of machine and its angles of deflection, can also all be variants in
machine tuning. The proper tuning of the machine is essential for the type of machine being used,
also for the type of tattoo the artist is doing.
One of the most important tattoo tips for top notch tattooing is to use tattoo machines, also
referred to as a tattoo gun. A skilled tattoo artist wouldn’t dream of attempting to apply a
shaded tattoo design without a tattoo machine. The tattoo machine uses a group of needles to
automatically inject ink at the correct depth in the skin. The machine is connected to an electric
motor that rapidly moves the needles up and down at a rate of 80 to 150 times per second. This
rapid needle movement allows a shaded area of a tattoo design to be filled with ink quickly and
It is important to keep in mind that while the tattoo machine is an important part of the process
it is the tattoo artist who creates the work of art, not the machine. The machine will never be
able to take the place of the time, patience and skills required of the artist. Without a thorough
understanding of the machine and how to use it; however, you won’t be able to live up to your
While there are many different types of tattoo machines on the market and many of them look
quite different, they all basically work by driving a needle in an up and down motion. This opens
just the first layers of skin so the ink can flow into the skin. This is important to note because you
do not want to open more than the first layers of skin. It will be your job as a tattoo artist to
maneuver the machine to form the outline of the complete tattoo. Without proper knowledge of
how to hold the machine correctly the designs will not be able to come to life properly.