How to Set up Your Tattoo Machine

Four Parts:Choosing the PartsAssembling the GunAssembling the Power StationConnecting the Parts

Ever wanted to do your own tattoos to yourself and friends? Tattoos flourish outside the tattoo parlors. Home studios are sometimes how many current tattoo artists got their start. Tattoo machines are easy to set up. Make sure you are in a clean environment while setting up your tattoo machine.

Part 1
Choosing the Parts

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    Buy a starter kit. Starter kits are great because they offer all the parts you need for tattooing. These kits aren’t high in quality, but they are great for beginning to operate and maintain a tattoo gun.
    • Consider the quality of your gun before tattooing anyone. A set up that is cheaper could hurt or infect someone.
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    Purchase individual parts. For those who want better quality parts, purchasing individual components is the path for you. This can also be a good way to upgrade your starter kit. Most people upgrade the gun. Tattoo guns are the most complex piece of equipment in the tattoo machine. They make contact with the skin, so it’s important to use a nice one.[1]
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    Ask a professional. If you have a regular tattoo artist, open up a dialogue about home kits. Artists who operate out of tattoo shops often have worked from home at some point. They can offer their input, if they’re willing.

Part 2
Assembling the Gun

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    Sanitize your hands. Tattoo guns need to be treated with the utmost care. Take precaution before handling these machines. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap or wear latex gloves.
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    Familiarize yourself with the gun. The frame holds all the pieces together. Then you have two electromagnetic coils which provide the power for the machine. The coils rapidly move the armature bar, which is connected to a barred needle. The power supply connects to the electromagnetic coils.
    • All of these components can be removed or replaced as needed.
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    Assemble the barrel. Inspect the grip of the gun. There are two sides of the grip for the tube and the gun's tip. Set these to the preferable length, and tighten the two screws on the grip. On average the needle shouldn't exceed the tip more than 2 mm and no less than 1 mm.
    • If there is excessive blood, then your needle is too long.[2]
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    Set up the needle. Take a look at the needles you received with the gun. You should have a few different sizes of needles. For example RL, RS, M1, M2, RM, or F are all sizes. Install one of the needles by inserting it through the tube towards the tip. Be careful not to dull a needle while assembling. This could lead to a painful tattoo.[3]
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    Secure the nipple. The nipple, also known as a grommet, secures the needle and grip to the gun’s base. Place a nipple on the armature bar pin. Fasten the needle’s blunt end onto the nipple.[4]
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    Adjust the needle. Once you’ve assembled the grip, you need to adjust the length of how much the needle is exposed. You can adjust the needle’s exposure by adjusting the tube vise. The tube vise is the adjustable screw in between the armature and needle.[5]

Part 3
Assembling the Power Station

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    Choose a power supply. Power supplies vary in specifications and voltages. When buying a starter kit, a less adjustable power supply comes with the machine. Your power supply shouldn’t cost more than the tattoo gun.
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    Examine the power supply. Check the fuse of the machine. Make sure you are running the proper voltage into your machine. Most tattoo power supplies will have a regulated control for the amount of fuse and power going into your gun. Some of the cheaper models don’t have this feature.
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    Acquire a footswitch. If your machine doesn't come with a footswitch, you’ll need to buy one. A footswitch is fairly inexpensive and doesn't require a major setup.

Part 4
Connecting the Parts

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    Connect your footswitch. Attach your footswitch to the the power supply. The footswitch activates and regulates the power from the power supply to the needle.[6]
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    Connect the gun to the machine. You’ll need to connect the gun to the machine using clip cords. There will be a clear location at the bottom of the gun for the cable to connect to. There should only be two inputs on the machine itself. Make sure you connect the cables in their proper location.
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    Test the machine. Once everything is connected and assembled, you’re ready to test the gun. If you are worried about testing the gun on yourself, just turn everything on and examine the gun. The needle should vibrate at a quick speed upon pressing the footswitch.
    • Start your tattooing exploits!
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    Practice on fruit. A good way to practice your art is by practicing on apples or pears. The skin on apples and pears are similar to the human flesh. If your fruits become damaged, then you're puncturing the needle too deep.[7]

Tips

  • If the machine doesn't work you should try readjusting the contact point screw.

Article Info

Categories: Tattoos and Piercing