How Tattoo Machines Work?

How Tattoo Machines Work

There are a few basic types of tattoo machines: coil, rotary, and pneumatic. The magnetic coil machine is a classic machine which uses an alternating electromagnetic current to pass through coils and turn magnets on and off in rapid succession. This pulls a spring loaded armature bar and creates an up and down motion, which results in the armature bar tapping the needles into the skin. Coil machines create the notorious buzzing sound that tattoo shops are known for! How Tattoo Machines Work How Tattoo Machines Work Another type of tattoo machine is the rotary motored machine, which powers a small spinning motor attached to an armature, which produces an up and down motion. Rotary machines are much quieter than coil machines and are known to move the needles more smoothly and evenly in comparison to coil. How Tattoo Machines Work How Tattoo Machines Work Pneumatic tattoo machines were invented in 2000 by Carson Hill. These machines work through the use of pressurized air from air compressors to move the needles up and down. Major advantages to this type of machine is that they’re lightweight and safe to use in an autoclave. How Tattoo Machines Work The tattoo needles are set at the end of what is called an armature bar, which connects to the part of the machine that travels up and down. The armature bar passes through the “tube” that has a hand grip attached, which is fitted into a vise on the machine to hold it in place. Some artists use tubes that are made of stainless steel, which must be cleaned and sterilized after each use. The steel tubes are preferable for several reasons, however many artists are switching over to disposable plastic tubes like those shown here for reasons of safety and convenience.

The tube is set so that the needles only extend beyond the tip of the tube an appropriate distance. The up and down motion of the needles in the tube create conditions which draw tattoo pigment up into the tube, and allow it to be released when the needles are running in the skin.

The assembled machine is connected to a power supply by a special wiring harness called a “clip cord” or “RCA cord”. The power supply has settings which can control the speed of the machines, etc, and is most commonly activated by a foot switch, to keep the tattooers hands free.

When the artist is working, they will stretch your skin, press the foot pedal, the machine will run the needles up and down as the tattooer passes the tip of the tube over your skin, the needles carry pigment along as they travel and deposit into your skin where it will stay forever.

Think of tattoo needles like individual hairs in a paint brush. All of the hairs in a paint brush are more or less the same, but we all know that paint brushes come in all shapes and sizes. The same is true for tattoo needles. There are some variations available within each size of needle, for instance the taper at the end of the needle may be long, or short, and the needle may be smooth or textured. How Tattoo Machines Work Basically there are “liners” and “shaders”. Liner needles are grouped together in various quantities in a round configuration, and are often tightened at the taper so that the points are very close together. Shader needles can also be configured in round patterns, as well as fanned out into what we call Magnums or “Mags”.

  1. Other than this all needles are more or less the same;
  2. There are other minor variations and some less common configurations that some tattooers use, but essentially this covers what is commonly used;
  3. The individual needles are grouped together and soldered in place to form what is referred to as the “tattoo needle”, the needle is then soldered onto what is called a “needle bar”, which is just a length of stainless steel wire with a loop on the end which can be fitted to the part of the tattoo machine that creates the up and down motion;

The unit as a whole is then cleaned, sterilized, and ready to use. The needle bar is placed within the “tube”, a stainless steel (re-useable) or rubber and plastic (disposable) device which provides a hand grip for the machine, that allows the mechanism to function within and through it, and also to provide a reservoir for the pigment.

  1. The amount that the needles actually penetrate the skin is about the thickness of a nickel;
  2. Any given tattoo artist may work with a range of different needle groupings in order to create their own style of tattooing, it is truly a tiny stainless steel paint brush, and what sort an artist chooses is a matter of preference;

Source: https://hubtattoo. com/the-machinery/.

How does the tattoo needle work?

Destin Sandlin, host of the YouTube show  Smarter Every Day , recently devoted an episode to exploring an interesting topic: the science of tattooing. The episode, above, explores a few different aspects of tattooing, including the  mechanisms that power tattooing machines and how exactly they inject ink into our skin.

  1. Below is a coil  tattoo machine;
  2. The way it works is surprisingly simple: when the circuit is connected, a pair of  solenoid coils (the two large cylinders) create a magnetic field, pulling a bar magnet downward and pushing the needle out;

When the bar magnet is pulled down, it then breaks the circuit, causing it to bob back upwards on a spring. This causes it to bob up and down at a very fast rate, as the circuit is completed, then broken, then completed, then broken. Here it is, slowed  down significantly: ( Smarter Every Day ) Sandlin also got permission to film someone getting tattooed in slow-motion. Below is a tattoo artist working with a shading needle — a group of seven needles that plunge down in unison. ( Smarter Every Day ) When the needles break the skin, they drive ink into the dermis (the layer of skin just below the surface). Ultimately, that ink is permanent because of a quirk of the human immune system: The body responds to the wound with white blood cells that attempt to engulf and remove intruders, but ink pigment particles are simply too big to be eaten. For an even better look, Sandlin also filmed it  at a glorious, skin-jiggling 3200 frames per second. Enjoy: ( Smarter Every Day ) Correction: This article originally referred to the tattoo machine’s solenoid coils as batteries..

How many times does a tattoo needle go in per second?

– The tattoo needle punctures your skin around 100 times per second, with the aim of depositing the ink in a region of 1. 5 to 2 millimeters below the surface of the skin. The reason for this depth of penetration is to bypass the outer layer of the skin, or the epidermis.

  • This part of the skin constantly renews itself;
  • Every day, thousands of epidermal cells are shed from your skin and replaced with new cells;
  • Ink injected into the superficial skin layer would simply come off within 3 weeks;

In order to give the ink a permanent home in your body, the tattoo needle must travel through the epidermis into the deeper layer, or the dermis. Nerves and blood vessels are located here, which is why getting a tattoo hurts and your skin tends to bleed.

The bleeding is part of the skin’s natural defense against injury. The result is an influx of immune cells to the site of injury. Macrophages are specialized immune cells, whose job it is to engulf foreign particles and clear them from the tissue.

But this process is only partially successful when it comes to tattoo ink. Some macrophages loaded with ink particles remain in the dermis, while other pigment particles are taken up by the main dermal residents, which are called fibroblasts. Clumps of pigment particles have also been found to stick between the dense collagen fibers of the dermis.

Although every new tattoo will display some pigment loss, the majority of the ink will stay in the skin. A study in mice reported that 42 days after tattooing, 68 percent of the dye was still located at the injection site.

But where is the rest of the ink?.

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Does tattoo ink enter your bloodstream?

How Long Does Tattoo Ink Stay In Your Blood? – The tattoo ink is never and will never be injected directly into the bloodstream. However, the ink is injected into the dermis when tattooing, which is the second layer of skin. This layer of skin contains tiny blood vessels that could carry some of the ink particles through the body.

Can a tattoo gun pierce a vein?

Blog In Less Than 30 Seconds:

  • Tattoos have remained a popular commodity for generations of people, especially Millennials, who make up the majority of those tattooed in the United States (40%).
  • In some instances, it is possible to tattoo over varicose veins; however, doing so could lead to a distorted tattoo or worse: ruptured veins, spontaneous bleeding, or an infection.
  • In this blog, the vein specialists at Palm Vein Center explain the negative effects tattooing over varicose veins can have on a patient’s health.

What is Tattooing? Tattooing is a unique body modification technique that injects ink into layers of the skin using a special needle attached to a rotary or coil machine. This process creates permanent designs in the skin that can only be removed by a high-powered laser skin-resurfacing device. Tattoos often have a cultural significance or meaning to them, which is why getting one can be a very tough, yet personal decision.

Many people may be surprised to learn tattoos have been around for thousands of years, with the earliest known examples of tattoos dating back 5,200 years. Fortunately, tattooing tools have evolved since then, so the physical act of tattooing is relatively safe.

We say “relatively” because tattooing is really only its safest when the tattoo artist practices all of the safety and sanitary guidelines necessary to prevent infection and other complications. Tattooing and Varicose Veins Patients at Palm Vein Center often ask questions about what activities they can and cannot do with a venous disease like varicose veins.

While there is little a person can’t do, there are a few things the team at PVC recommends patients avoid at all costs, one of these being a tattoo. There are many blogs, videos, and public forums that say otherwise, but the vein specialists at Palm Vein Center want to inform patients that tattooing over varicose veins is not a good ideafor many reasons.

Decreased Function, Unsightly Appearance, and Infection First, patients should understand that tattooing is not a great alternative to minimizing the appearance of varicose veins. In fact, doing so could worsen the condition they’re in and cause them to bulge or protrude even more. Many websites will argue tattoo needles don’t go deep enough to puncture varicose veins, but that is not necessarily true. If a patient lacks an adequate amount of subcutaneous fat near or around the protruding vein, a tattooing needle could pierce the vein as it is injecting ink. These occurrences are rare, but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen. The bottom line? Tattooing over varicose veins can result in decreased function, an unsightly appearance, and possible infection.

While tattooing over scar tissue can be done safely (mastectomy scars, stretch marks, etc. ), tattooing over varicose veins could lead to an infection, making them even more unsightly than before. Tattoos Make It Difficult To Treat A Venous Disease People need to understand spider veins and varicose veins are not a cosmetic concern – they’re a disease.

Both conditions indicate that the valves within the veins are not functioning properly, which is why varicose veins look the way they do (bulging, thick, snake-like, etc. Varicose veins that are left untreated could lead to serious health problems such as skin ulcers, poor circulation, pain, skin discoloration, hemorrhaging, and much more.

Therefore, it’s best to avoid getting tattooed and instead opt for vein treatment. Speaking of vein treatment, tattooing over varicose veins could also make administering treatment difficult for the vein specialists at Palm Vein Center.

The team at the IAC-accredited vein care facility needs to be able to see your veins clearly to ensure treatment accuracy and efficacy. Although the medical team at Palm Vein Center is highly qualified and knowledgeable in treating varicose veins and spider veins, tattoos could complicate the process and increase your risk of developing serious health problems.

  • Threatens Overall Health and Wellness This may seem like an obvious point, but as we mentioned previously, tattoos could cause significant damage to your overall health if a varicose vein is pierced or damaged in the process;

This could cause spontaneous internal and external bleeding, which can affect surrounding organs. Plus, when a varicose vein bleeds, it usually has some difficulty healing itself because it is an unhealthy, damaged vein. In these cases, patients may need to visit a vein clinic, urgent care facility, or emergency room to have their ruptured vein sutured closed. Tattooing To avoid some of these scenarios, patients should see the vein specialists at Palm Vein Center before scheduling their tattoo appointment. If your vein condition and symptoms are relatively mild, a specialist at the clinic may recommend conservative therapies such as exercise, dietary changes, elevating the legs, therapeutic massage, or compression stockings. While these options are favorable for most patients, they may not be the most effective at successfully mitigating the existing vein disease.

This could cause increased stress and affect a patient’s overall health and wellness. Ultimately, patients should consider treatment before getting a tattoo. Treatment Vs. Instead, patients may fare better with minimally invasive vein treatments like light-guided sclerotherapy , endovenous radiofrequency treatment, endovenous laser treatment, ambulatory phlebectomy, or VenaSeal Closure.

Light-guided sclerotherapy is an injection procedure for patients with spider veins and small varicose veins, and endovenous radiofrequency treatment, endovenous laser treatment, ambulatory phlebectomy, and VenaSeal Closure are minimally invasive surgeries for larger varicose veins that may require local anesthesia and ultrasound guidance.

The most important thing a patient can do is educate him or herself on the causes, symptoms, and treatments for venous diseases like spider veins and varicose veins. Check out our Vein Disease page to learn more about these conditions, and for more information on this topic (tattooing and varicose veins), schedule an appointment with a member of the Palm Vein Center team today.

Please call 623-201-4777; we look forward to meeting you!   The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

What happens if a tattoo needle hits a 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;
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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.

What speed do you set a tattoo gun at?

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.

What voltage should a tattoo liner run at?

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.

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.

How many layers of skin do tattoos go through?

Just How Far Does The Needle Go? – Now that you know a little more about the machine and the needle, it’s time to discuss the third essential piece of the puzzle—your skin. The tattoo needle goes through 1/16th of an inch of skin. That might not sound like a lot of skin, but it is really going through five sublayers of the epidermis, the dermal layer, and also the top layer of the dermis.

Among these layers is a collection of sweat glands, hair follicles, connective tissue, fat, and blood vessels. During a tattoo session, the needle passes through the epidermis and epidermal-dermal junction, opening a passage in the 2mm-thick dermis.

The dermis is ideal for a couple of reasons. It is far enough not to bleed out and isn’t exposed. Knowing this, the tip of the tattoo needle is minutely adjusted to ensure that it enters the skin to the correct depth. If you were to look at a tattoo needle in the machine, you will see that it sticks out no further than 2mm.

Do Tattoo artists use the same needle?

Tattoo needles should be considered as single-use and shouldn’t be reused. If you’re tattooing yourself at home and know how to sterilize your needles, well, nothing’s stopping you. A tattoo parlor shouldn’t reuse needles on someone else and should be disposed of immediately.

Good hygiene is one of the most important elements of getting a tattoo, and it all starts with the artist and parlor. High sanitation and hygiene rules should be observed without any shortcuts whatsoever.

When it comes to tattoo needles, the utmost care should be taken in their use and disposal.

Why do tattoo artists wrap their machines?

Grips are usually of a universal size and meant to make the tattoo artist’s work much easier, but most end up having to wrap their slick Xion, or other machine’s grip, with cloth material to make it bulkier and easier to hold for intricate illustrations that take a long time.

How much does tattoo gun cost?

Tattoo Gun Cost – If you already have access to some supplies, you may only need to buy a tattoo gun. The average cost for a tattoo machine is $400 to $900, and that doesn’t include the cost for other tattoo supplies. You’ll get an excellent quality tattoo gun for that price, though.

What are O rings used for on a tattoo machine?

Tattoo machine black O-rings are used to stabilize the contact screw and the front spring of a tattoo machine every tattoo machine must use an O-ring to ensure a smoother vibration of the tattoo machine these all rings can be used for any coil style tattoo machine Recommended you replace after every tattoo to ensure.

Do tattoo needles hurt?

Hands, fingers, feet, and toes – The tops and insides of the hands and feet, as well as fingers and toes, are popular places to be tattooed. Being tattooed anywhere on your hands and feet can cause severe pain. The skin here very thin, and it contains numerous nerve endings that can trigger pain when hit by a tattoo needle.

How deep do tattoo needles go?

Just How Far Does The Needle Go? – Now that you know a little more about the machine and the needle, it’s time to discuss the third essential piece of the puzzle—your skin. The tattoo needle goes through 1/16th of an inch of skin. That might not sound like a lot of skin, but it is really going through five sublayers of the epidermis, the dermal layer, and also the top layer of the dermis.

Among these layers is a collection of sweat glands, hair follicles, connective tissue, fat, and blood vessels. During a tattoo session, the needle passes through the epidermis and epidermal-dermal junction, opening a passage in the 2mm-thick dermis.

The dermis is ideal for a couple of reasons. It is far enough not to bleed out and isn’t exposed. Knowing this, the tip of the tattoo needle is minutely adjusted to ensure that it enters the skin to the correct depth. If you were to look at a tattoo needle in the machine, you will see that it sticks out no further than 2mm.

How fast does a tattoo needle move?

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 does tattoo needle get stuck in skin?

Original Post: December 18th, 2017 In this latest installment I am elaborating on rotary stroke characteristics. What exactly is happening when the motor rotates the cam, which moves the yoke, which makes the needle go up and down. It may seem simple, but there are some characteristics to this movement which you may not realize but knowing these characteristics will help you chose a more appropriate machine and may even help you tattoo better.

Below is a diagram I drew of an offset cam. Any rotary tattoo machine that you can buy has an offset cam. It is how the motor turns rotational movement into linear movement. The offset is what the stroke is often referred to.

It is how far the shaft of the motor is offset from the center of the cam. In this diagram I have separated the cam into 4 equal parts, shown here as arrows around a circle, the circle representing the cam. I have also shaded areas in the background, blue in the middle and red on top and bottom. How Tattoo Machines Work As the motor spins it is spinning a cam. For the sake of this explanation we can say that the motor is spinning at a constant rate all the way around it’s movement. That means that if you separate the cam’s path into 4 equal parts, as I have here, then the cam spends an equal amount of time in each of the 4 quadrants as it goes around.

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I will get to the shaded areas shortly. Let’s now look at the shaded areas in the background. The shaded areas represent the vertical movement of the cam, or the needle movement in this case. As we look at the shaded area we can see that the vertical movement is shorter in the bottom and top sections, the shorter areas are shaded red.

As I said before, the needles are spending just as much time in this shorter area as the larger blue area. What does this mean? This means the needles are slowing down at the bottom and top of the stroke, and speeding through the movement around the crest of the top and bottom quadrants.

  1. This seems like a no brainer, of course the movement has to slow down before it reverses direction right? But this isn’t just showing that the needle movement is slowing down, it shows that it is slowing down on half of the stroke;

The top quarter and the bottom quarter of the stroke, together make a half. Now that we got the complicated bit out of the way we can talk about how this translates actual tattooing. I’ve already talked about how a larger cam offset translates in to a faster needle speed in my previous posts, lets now talk about how the cam offset affects this “lag” at the top and bottom of the stroke. How Tattoo Machines Work As you can see in the shaded diagram the red sections are where the needles are slowing down in their up and down movement. This area of lag grows as the offset grows, and shortens as the offset shortens, but the ratios always stay the same. The needle will always be slowing down through half of the entire stroke. This lag is beneficial on the bottom of the stroke. We want the needles to hang in the skin a bit on the down stroke, that allows our hand movement to open the skin and deposit ink in the cavity that forms behind the needle.

  1. In turn we also like the needles to speed down to the skin, that gives us the penetrating power to break the skin and deposit the ink without causing a lot of undo trauma to the skin;
  2. It is the top area of lag which is the most troublesome;

Almost all of us who have ran rotaries have experienced that sensation where the needles seem to snag in the skin. The operator, thinking the machine is running too slow, or not hard enough will put more voltage to the machine speeding it up which just makes the needles come down with too much force, and come out of the skin much too fast.

  1. Running a tattoo machine too fast, rotary or coil results in skin that is beat up and undersaturated;
  2. That snagging sensation is actually just the needles slowing down at the top of the stroke;
  3. If the stroke is too short then the needles will actually start slowing down before they retract fully in to the tube;

If the needles are slowing down at the top of the stroke, but your hand isn’t, then you are going get that “snag” sensation. I like to make sure that the stroke on my rotary machines is long enough where the whole top quarter of the cam rotation happens inside the tube.

This turns this lag in to a benefit, as it slows down in the ink reservoir picking up as much ink as possible before racing down to skin. That means if you are running tube to the skin the needles are coming out of the tube at max velocity, slowing down at the bottom, and racing back up to the tube and your hand doesn’t feel the lag at all.

The image at the bottom shows how this looks at the needle end. The short stroke shows the needles slowing down before retracting in to the tube. The longer stroke shows the needle coming back from the bottom lag and entering the tube at it’s maximum speed. How Tattoo Machines Work I had mentioned the needles retracting fully in to the ink reservoir and taking advantage of the top lag of the stroke. I want to explain something else that is happening while the needles are moving up and down. For this image I’ve used a shader but the concept holds true with liners as well. Most tubes have a separated ink reservoir and a flat area for the needles to ride on.

The tattoo needles have a solder lug holding the individual needles together. This solder lug acts as a lid to the ink reservoir. In a longer stroke machine the needles are allowed to move up enough for ink to spill in to the needle slide area.

On a shorter stroke machine the lug may never leave the top of the reservoir keeping the ink from spilling down to the skin. Many tattooers get around this by bending their needle bar, or bending the solder lug to allow the ink to flow under the needles but this is often not the best solution as the needles flatten out when tension is put on the bar from a rubber band.

And bending isn’t a practical option for cartridges. A shorter stroke or a faster cycling needle will  also cause turbulence in the ink reservoir and will actually push ink away the needles and back up the tube.

So what if you prefer a smaller cam offset? Some people prefer a shorter cam offset, they feel it makes their tattoos look smoother and the movement doesn’t feel as slappy, or harsh. If we think about the needle travel on a smaller offset rotary this makes sense.

The red shaded area at the top of the diagram, the area of lag, is closer to the tip of tube, and often even happening outside the tube. The needles are easing in to the skin rather than entering at their peak velocity.

That makes the movement feel softer. And as the needles are coming out of the skin they are slowing down before retracting fully into the tube. As the hand is moving the needles are slowing down, usually at the top couple millimeters of the stroke, right off the tip of the tube.

As the hand is moving and the needles are slowing down and scraping across the surface of the skin they are making superficial marks on the surface of the skin. The needles aren’t depositing this ink into the skin deep enough for it to stay, but it does have the appearance of “smoothing” things out.

Either black and gray or color, these superficial marks give the tattoo a well blended appearance but look at the result only a year or two later and much of the color, or grays will have fallen out. Ink has to be deposited in to the layer of retention or it will fall out prematurely, there are no shortcuts to this.

Going over areas multiple times doesn’t push ink further in to the skin, it only makes a more saturated superficial tattoo. Good for a photo but not for longevity. I feel it’s important to know your tattoo machine and how it is moving.

If you prefer a shorter stroke, just make sure the needles are fully in the tube the whole top quarter of the cam rotation. If you feel the snag sensation it’s best not to turn the machine up but rather be aware of what you’re actually feeling. If a longer cam offset feels too punchy or abrasive just slow it down and give it a try.

When you turn a rotary down, try keeping your hand speed the same as before. You want the needles to move slightly slower than your hand, turning rotaries down, or slowing them down is actually the most efficient way to use them and often speeds the work up.

I try to run my rotaries at the lowest speed possible without slowing my hand down. Thanks again for reading, hope this adds a bit of knowledge or at least gives a bit more familiarity to you and your machine..