Home Hobby How to Assemble a Tattoo Machine from Scratch

How to Assemble a Tattoo Machine from Scratch

by The Mind Blown

If you have never before assembled a tattoo machine, then you might be worried that the task will be too difficult for you. Assembling these devices is not really difficult, and with a little patience on your part, you are going to have the machine together and operate smoothly in just a short amount of time.

Setting Up the Machine

Your workstation is the first thing that needs your attention. Remember that the slightest amount of bacteria can have disastrous results in a tattoo parlor. You can not let anything come into contact with the equipment if there is any possibility that bacteria or germs are present.

Before you begin assembling, disinfect and clean the area the pieces will be touching. You want the workspace to be a germ-free zone.

Sterilize the Machine Components

You need to sterilize and sanitize the machine components. Some people say they skip that step because the machine they assemble is brand new and has never been used. That is a mistake. You may have never used the machine to create a tattoo, but that does not mean that it does not have bacteria on it.

Unless you have been with every piece of that machine from the moment they were created, then you assume that there is a possibility of bacteria, and you sterilize those components. It is always better to be safe than sorry when working with this type of equipment.

Put Your Gloves On

You are about to be touching the components of your tattoo equipment. These are components you have taken the time to sterilize, so you need to put on a pair of sterile gloves before you start touching anything.

While wearing the gloves, DO NOT touch surfaces that have not been sterilized, or you will cross-contaminate your equipment.

Gather Everything You Need

Gather up the things you are going to need before you begin.

  • The tattoo machine
  • The tattoo needles you will be using
  • The tip that holds the needle
  • The grip you will use
  • Elastic bands
  • A grommet
  • An Allen wrench

Get the Tube Set Up

The first thing you need to do is slide the tube into the grip you are using.

If you have a barrel grip, then the tube can be inserted at either end.

If you have a tapered grip, then the tube is affixed to the non-tapered end. Use the Allen wrench to tighten the tube in place.

Set up the Top

The tube goes into the grip opposite of the tube.

When you get your tip in place, look for the screw that will tighten the hold and keep the tip from being able to slip. This screw, like the screw that held the tube in place, will be tightened using an Allen wrench.

Insert the Needle

How to Assemble a Tattoo Machine from Scratch

The tip holds the needle in place. Once the tip is properly installed, you will insert the needle onto the tube.

To make this process easier and reduce the vibrations while creating the tattoo, you want to bend the needle before installing it in the tube slightly. A very slight bend along the length of the needle makes a huge difference in vibration.

When the needle passes through the hollow tube, it should stick out of the tip. This action may take some practice before you do it perfectly. Do not get frustrated. It is like threading a sewing needle or putting a sewing needle on a sewing machine. You have to calm down, take a deep breath, steady your hand and then insert the needle.

Couple the Setting

This means that the tube and tip need to be coupled together so they can work together. Look at your machine and find the slot in the machine frame that is designed for the tube.

There will be a fastener screw that you need to loosen up so the tube can fit perfectly into the hole designed for it. Once the tube is inserted, you will tighten this fastener screw to hold the tube in the perfect configuration.

Secure that Needle

The needle has to be secured by placing the eye of the needle around the armature bar of the machine. This placement holds the needle in place even when the machine parts are moving up and down.

After the needle has been fitted around the armature bar, you will place a grommet around it, so it is perfectly held in position. The grommet is specifically designed to go into the eye of the needle and around the armature bar. It is a safety device.

When your needle is properly secure, then you tighten the tube completely.

Now Adjust the needle

How to Assemble a Tattoo Machine from Scratch

Putting the needle in place is merely the first step. The needle now needs to be adjusted, so it is sticking out the perfect distance. If it is sticking out too far, the penetration will be too deep into the skin, and if it is too short, then the ink will not penetrate deeply enough.

You should be able to twist the tube slightly to adjust the length of the needle. You are aiming for a needle length of about 1/8th of an inch.

The Elastic Band

The elastic bands are going to be used as extra security that the needle will not pop out of place while the machine is in use. As the machine is in use, it will vibrate, and that vibration can cause the needle to come out of the armature bar.

Wrap the elastic band so that it secures the needle with a slight amount of tension. Do not use more than one elastic band at a time.

Final Thoughts

If you use an elastic band, it is best if you explain to the client that elastic bands are used as an added security measure. When people see you holding a tattoo gun with an elastic band wrapped around it, their first thought is that you are trying to hold a broken machine together. For the client, with confidence, explain this action.

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