How To Set Up Tattoo Machine?

How To Set Up Tattoo Machine
Download Article Download Article 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.

  1. 1 Buy a starter kit for a convenient option. 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 machine.
    • Consider the quality of your machine before tattooing anyone. A set up that is cheaper could hurt or infect someone or result in a low-quality tattoo.
  2. 2 Purchase individual parts if you want them to last longer. For those who want better quality parts, purchasing individual components is the path for you. Buying individual parts gives you the freedom to choose the extensions that you want and set up the machine just the way you want them. [1]
    • Also, individual parts generally need to be replaced less often than a starter kit.


  3. 3 Get the tools you need to set up the machine. You’ll need an Allen key set and a small screwdriver, at the minimum. Check out the kit instructions or look over the individual parts to determine if you’ll need any other tools to set up the machine.
  4. 4 Ask a professional for advice if you’re new to tattooing. 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 valuable input.
    • Some professionals may even be willing to give you a tutorial on setting up the machine, for a fee.
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  1. 1 Sanitize your hands. Tattoo machines need to be treated with the utmost care. Take precaution before handling these machines. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap or wear latex gloves.
  2. 2 Familiarize yourself with the machine. The frame holds all the pieces together. Then you have 2 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.
  3. 3 Assemble the barrel. Inspect the grip of the machine. There are 2 sides of the grip for the tube and the machine’s tip. Set these to the preferable length, and tighten the 2 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]
  4. 4 Set up the needle. Take a look at the needles you received with the machine. You should have a few different types and sizes of needles. 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.
    • For example, RL (round liner), RS (round shader), M1 (magnum 1 layer), M2 (double magnum), RM (round magnum), and F (flat) are all different kinds of needles. The numbers indicate the size and tell how many needles there are.
  5. 5 Secure the nipple. The nipple, also known as a grommet, secures the needle and grip to the machine’s base. Place a nipple on the armature bar pin. Fasten the needle’s round open end onto the nipple.
  6. 6 Adjust the needle. Once you’ve assembled the tube, 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.
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  1. 1 Choose a power supply. Power supplies vary in specifications and voltages. Some starter kits come equipped with a power supply that isn’t adjustable. You can replace this with a different one, if desired. Your power supply shouldn’t cost more than the tattoo machine.
    • Power supplies with analog or digital displays allow you to adjust the settings.
  2. 2 Examine the power supply. Check the fuse. 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 tattoo machine. Some of the cheaper models don’t have this feature.
  3. 3 Acquire a footswitch and a clip cord. If your power supply doesn’t come with a footswitch, you’ll need to buy one. A footswitch is fairly inexpensive and doesn’t require a major setup. You’ll also need a clip cord to attach the tattoo machine to the power supply.
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  1. 1 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, similar to a sewing peddle. [3]
  2. 2 Connect the machine to the power supply. There is a clear location at the bottom of the machine for the clip cord to connect the machine to the power supply. There should only be 2 inputs on the power supply itself. Make sure you connect the cables in their proper location.
  3. 3 Test the machine. Once everything is connected and assembled, you’re ready to test the machine. If you are worried about testing the tattoo machine on yourself, just turn everything on and examine it. The needle should vibrate at a consistent speed (without stopping) upon pressing the footswitch.
  4. 4 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. [4]
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Add New Question

  • Question Where does the clip cord connect? Kiara Hamed is a Tattoo Artist based in Dallas, Texas. She has over nine years of tattoo designing experience. She received her Tattoo Artist Certification in 2010 and a BS in Computer Information Systems from Clark University Atlanta in 2013. Tattoo Artist Expert Answer
  • Question What is the tube used for? Kiara Hamed is a Tattoo Artist based in Dallas, Texas. She has over nine years of tattoo designing experience. She received her Tattoo Artist Certification in 2010 and a BS in Computer Information Systems from Clark University Atlanta in 2013. Tattoo Artist Expert Answer
  • Question How do you determine the needle depth on the machine? Kiara Hamed is a Tattoo Artist based in Dallas, Texas. She has over nine years of tattoo designing experience. She received her Tattoo Artist Certification in 2010 and a BS in Computer Information Systems from Clark University Atlanta in 2013. Tattoo Artist Expert Answer

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What voltage should I set my tattoo machine?

Thanks For Submitting Your Message! – Check back here to see your message once we’ve reviewed it. What voltage do people use for lining and shading when using a tattoo pen? Submitted by: Gary John Wood 2 years ago 1 Answers Reading Time: < 1 minute Hi Gary, voltage settings are always depending on your style of tattooing, the machine you are using and your personal taste. You should take time with your machine to find out which voltage is the right for you and the machine. Generally most artists use voltages around 7v-9v for lining (8 should be a good start) and 8-10v for shading. Please login or Register to submit your answer Want to know something you can't find here? Ask A Question.

How do you set up a tattoo machine power supply?

How deep do you go when tattooing?

So, Where Should The Needle Go? – The tattoo needle should go into the dermis layer of the skin. This layer lies in the middle, and is the perfect spot for ensuring the ink will stay in the skin, and not ‘bleed out’ as the tattoo heals. The epidermis is not a good ink location since it is too exposed and too outward, while the hypodermis is too deep into the skin, which means the ink won’t be as visible and the pain during tattooing would be twice as intense.

Also, if the needle penetrates the hypodermis, the client will most certainly experience an infection. So, how deep, to be exact, should a needle go into the skin? The answer is – approximately 1/16th inch deep into the skin.

This means that the ink will be placed exactly between the 2mm of the dermis layer. If you’re wondering how a tattoo artist knows where the dermis layer is in the skin, we’ve got you covered with that as well. Before the tattooing process begins, the tattoo artist adjusts the tattoo machine and the needle in regards to the parameter of the dermis layer location.

So, the dermis layer is approximately 1/16th inch deep into the skin. With that knowledge, the tip of the tattoo needle is adjusted to only enter the skin at such depth, not a millimeter shallower or deeper.

This means that the tattoo needle should not stick out the tattoo machine more than 2mm, or less than 1mm.

How far should a tattoo needle be out?

Proper Tattoo Needle Depth 2010-12-09T05:40:48-08:00 Setting Proper Needle Depth Skin has a total of 3 layers: Epidermis (composed of 5 sublayers), Dermis and subcutaneous tissue. The tattoo needle depth should penetrate into the Dermis layer. If the depth is too shallow, it will only penetrate into the epidermis sub layers and the ink will “bleed out” as the tattoo heals. This is because the 5 sub layers of the Epidermis is constantly growing outward to the top, any ink deposited will just be shed back out.

  • If the depth is too deep, you will be causing unnecessary pain to your client and run the risk of infection;
  • The dermis layer of skin is between 1mm and 2mm into the skin;
  • So when you are adjusting the tattoo machine, you will have to adjust within this parameter;

With the needle, grip and proper tip (e. 3RL needle will go with a 3RT tip) on the tattoo machine, adjust the depth by adjusting the depth of the tip. Make sure you hold down the armature bar so that you are adjusting the tip at the point where the needle is in its down position.

The tip of the needle should not be sticking out anymore than 2mm and no less than 1mm. Keep in mind that every person’s skin type is different and there is no exact measure. If during your tattoo there are excessive amounts of blood, it is obviously going in too deep.

Practicing on fruit is a good method before trying on human skin. If the fruit is being badly damaged while you are puncturing the skin, the depth is going in too deep. By David H..

What angle do you tattoo at?

Does Angle Help You Hold a Tattoo Gun Longer? – Yes, a standard angle allows you to hold your tattoo machine longer and have a smooth tattoo process. When using your tattoo machine, it’s advisable to hold it at a standard angle of 45 and 60 degrees when putting tattoo ink into the skin. To hold your gun for longer, apply box motion. The box motion usually works more effectively than circles. Your hand is also more relaxed; thus, you don’t tire before completing the tattoo process. Note that when you hold your machine at different angles, the tattoo needles will go deeper in some areas than others.

  • This makes you create uneven tattoos, which are not perfect;
  • Another important thing is that the angle you hold the tattoo machines also determines how deep it goes inside the skin surface;
  • Change the angles depending on the level of penetration you need;

Watch this video on the correct tattoo machine holding angle. CHECK: Budget Tattoo Machines to Try!.

What’s the best needle for lining a tattoo?

Flat Tattoo Needles – Flat needles are needles that are soldered in a straight line to a needle bar. These needles are the most popular for lining because their shape lets them deliver more ink to the skin. This means clearer, darker lines with just one stroke. Larger flat needles can be used for color fills and deliver more quickly with just one pass. Flat needles are marked FL (Flat Liner) or, less often, FS (Flat Shader) for short.

What speed is best for tattooing?

Conclusion – Tattoo needles move up and down at a speed of between 50 and 3,000 times per minute. The rate can vary depending on the needs and preferences of the tattoo artist. Artists can control speed, angle of the needle, ink colors and other aspects of the process with their tattoo machine.

Why do they use Vaseline when tattooing?

During the Tattooing Process – Tattoo artists use Vaseline when tattooing because the needle and ink are creating a wound. The wound needs something to help heal, and Vaseline can act as a protector for your skin. While it may not prevent scarring and other changes, it can help keep your skin healthy.

A tattoo artist may use a little bit of Vaseline, or they can use more of it all over the tattoo site. Using a small amount can help prepare your skin for getting a tattoo, so you don’t need a ton of Vaseline for it to help.

After the artist finishes your tattoo, they can wipe away the product. Then, you can apply a new layer of it as part of your aftercare.

Can tattoo needle hit vein?

– This type of tattoo isn’t entirely risk-free. But then, getting a tattoo always involves some level of risk, with an infection being the main cause for concern. The risk for an infection gets a little higher when it comes to tattoos on veins, according to Dr.

Stacey Chimento, a board certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida. “Tattoos involve applying pressure on your skin with a needle, which can rupture the vein, making it bleed into the surrounding tissue and cause an infection,” she says.

If you have varicose veins, Chimento goes on to explain, this could make things worse and result in veins that protrude even further. “Varicose veins struggle to heal due to their pre-existing damage. If pierced during the tattoo session, they could randomly bleed internally or externally, affecting surrounding organs,” she says.

Another thing to keep in mind when considering a tattoo to cover varicose veins? How that tattoo could potentially impact any future treatment of the veins. “To treat the diseased veins, they need to be somewhat visible.

And if left untreated, the blood can leak into the leg tissue and cause hyperpigmentation. Although rare, infections and undiagnosed veins can cause a need for urgent care if left untreated,” Chimento says.