How To Tune Your Tattoo Machine

Posted by Dragon Tattoo on

A tattoo machine is definitely the most important piece of equipment as far as a tattoo artist is concerned. Like any other mechanical equipment, the tattoo machine also needs to be tuned from time to time in order to keep it functioning properly and reliably. In addition, using a fine-tuned tattoo machine ensures that the right amount of pressure is applied on the skin of the person who is getting tattooed. An un-tuned machine will not function according to the desires of the tattoo artist and may even hurt the person being tattooed on. The frequency of tuning required for any type of tattoo machine will depend to a great extent on the usage of the machine and the artist who is using it.

How To Tune Your Tattoo Machine:


The main components that are required to be adjusted while tuning a tattoo machine include the armature bar, contact screw, front spring and thumbscrew that tightens the contact screw. Some machines, however, come with a locking nut in place of the thumbscrew.

Step #1: Find out the gap between the front spring and contact screw's tip. If it is more than the thickness of 2 nickels, one over the other, the machine may not function properly at all when you put it on for doing some tattooing work. The recommended gap between the front spring and contact screw's tip is the thickness of a dime for lining and the thickness of a nickel for shading.

Step #2: Loosen the thumbscrew in order to release the contact screw.

Step #3: Adjust the contact screw until you get the recommended gap for lining or shading. After adjusting the gap, tighten the thumbscrew to lock the contact screw. Now, release the armature bar.


Step #4: Operate the tattoo machine at 10 Volts. This may be a little high for any specific usage, but it is helpful for troubleshooting.

The basic method of tuning the tattoo machine is explained in this article. You need to check the manual that you have received along with the machine to know the correct gap setting specified by the manufacturer. You may also use a feeler gauge to set the appropriate gap.

As you gain more experience, you will become more adept in fine tuning your tattoo machine for shading, lining and color packing your tattoo designs, taking into consideration other aspects such as the thickness of springs, the wrap of the coils, the capacitor rating, etc.

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