What do you have to do to make sure you get the best tattoo machine for your rookie-level skills? Here are some questions and factors you need to keep in mind about Choosing the Best Tattoo Machines for Beginners?
1. WHAT’S YOUR SKILL LEVEL?
You have to remember that you’re still a beginner. This means that you don’t need a tattoo machine with complicated advanced features that you won’t be able to use and understand. It’s like buying a Ferrari or a Lamborghini when you’re still trying to learn how to actually drive.
So, keep this in mind when you read product reviews and descriptions. It’s better to stick to simpler models, so you save your money while you practice your tattooing skills.
2. ARE YOU TATTOOIST OR IS IT A HOBBY?
Professional tattoo designers have different requirements than hobbyists do. Hobbyists want to have fun when they’re trying to perfect these skills. There’s no real money in it, so they don’t really have a way of recouping their expenses.
With a tattoo designer, the right tattooing machine is an investment. This means they plan on recouping the money they spend on the machine so they come out making a profit. Getting the right tattooing machine isn’t about what’s fun for them to use, but what’s best for their business and for their clients.
3. ROTARY VS COIL TATTOO MACHINES
A rotary machine has a motor that rotates in a cycle so that the energy moves the needle in a linear motion. It’s a very simple design that can be quite versatile, as the best ones can be used for line and shade, or even for coloring.
It’s very easy to use, with less pain for the hand due to the lightweight and the minimal vibration. There aren’t too many adjustments to make, and a rotary tattoo machine may not need a lot of maintenance at all.
Some people find a quiet operation as a drawback and that’s because these artists are used to adjusting the tool simply by the noise it makes. This tool is generally not as fast when it comes to finishing a tattoo and many find it a bit more difficult to do lining with a rotary machine.
Coil tattoo machines have coils (hence the name) that produce an electromagnetic circuit. This EM circuit causes the needle of the machine to go up and down. You then set it to the machine to get the needle in and out of the skin while applying the ink. Typically, you have 2 coils in the machine, but some have 3 coils or even just one.
Professionals tend to like the coil more. For them, the loud buzzing sound it makes isn’t a bad thing at all. They find it easier to regulate the speed and power. It’s easier to control, especially due to the heavier weight adding to the pressure. You can use it for several hours straight with no trouble.
In general, you get a better result with a coil tattoo machine if you know what you’re doing. It’s even easier to customize so that the parts you get to suit your style and preferences.
Beginners, however, find the loud noise distracting (or even intimidating). They don’t find it easier to use, and in fact, they won’t like how they need to make a lot of adjustments and tuning. The greater need for maintenance is also a turn-off, even for some pros.
4. DO I NEED A ROTARY OR COIL?
That depends. Again, we ask that you take note of your current skill level. If you’re a newbie, stick to a rotary for the meantime. You simply don’t have the skills and experience to make easy adjustments, especially based on the noise. You also won’t know how to customize these machines properly.
Now if you’re a pro, you certainly don’t need us to tell you that a coil tattoo machine is generally the better option. You should know this by now!
Picking the Best Beginners Tattoo Machine for You
Our recommendation is that while tattoo kits are great, you learn more by doing research and making your own tattoo kit yourself. The foundation of your tattoo kit is a terrific tattoo machine, and you’re the best judge of which one that is.
But if you want a single recommendation, we say go with the Hummingbird Rotary V1 Tattoo Machine. It’s incredibly easy to use, and you can use it for lining, shading, and coloring. It’s extremely lightweight as well at just 80 grams. With this, you can concentrate on actually learning about tattooing, and not spend too much time learning about your tattooing machine. You need to focus on your craft, and not on your tools.
Understanding Tattoo Machines
A tattoo machine has either a motor or a set of electromagnetic coils powering an armature bar to go up and down. Attached to this bar you have a barred needle grouping that applies the ink to the skin. It’s really that simple.
However, to really understand your tattoo machine is a different matter. You have to read the manual carefully. You should have a good idea of what each and every component is working. By having a deeper understanding of your tattoo machine, you can customize it by replacing certain parts with new parts that work better for you. Your understanding also helps you pick better tattoo machines in the future.
Maintaining Your New Tattoo Machine
If you’re a pro, you probably know all the tips and tricks regarding tattoo machine maintenance. If you’re a beginner, we recommend that you start off with a tattoo machine that needs little to no maintenance at all. When you’re a newbie, it’s best that you focus on your tattooing skills rather than on your tools.
Still, if you’re a newbie you may still need to do some maintenance on your machine. Here are some important tips that can help:
When you’re cleaning your tattoo machine, don’t use bleach. It’s simply too harsh for your machine. It will cause rust, and destroy springs.
Don’t use tap water either. It’s not really an effective cleaner, and you risk getting water into the wiring. That’s a disaster.
So, what do you use? Just use a disinfectant spray. Do some research on which disinfectant is best for your machine. It can be too strong and it can cause rust especially when you leave the disinfectant on.
To avoid disinfectant issues, spray the tattoo machine with the disinfectant. Wait for the appropriate number of minutes for the disinfectant to do its magic. Usually, this is for about 10 minutes. After that, use a clean paper towel to wipe the machine and remove disinfectant deposits. Now finish by spraying the machine with rubbing alcohol and then wipe off the machine again.
You don’t have to disassemble the machine to clean it. You only do this if when you accidentally drop rinse water or your ink cup onto your tattoo machine. This means disassembly is required because some of the liquid may have gotten into the internal parts.
When you use and clean your tattooing machine regularly, you have to expect that the finish protecting the metal will eventually fade away. It will fade, whether it’s black oxide, oil, or wax. Because of this, you may end up with rust issues especially if you don’t lubricate the machine every now and then.
For lubrication, use olive oil. It’s effective, and it doesn’t hurt people if a bit of olive oil somehow gets into their wounded skin. That’s why using silicone lubricants and WD-40 may not be a good idea. These may not be so good for open wounds.
Finally, you may still end up with tiny carbon deposits causing interference. This can happen after numerous hours of use for the tattoo machine. You can find these deposits under the armature bar where it’s in contact with the coil core tops. You can also find these on the contact point between the front spring and the screw. You can remove these using 1000-grit sandpaper. Don’t push too hard, but just pass the sandpaper over these areas to get rid of the deposits. You may have to do this a few times a year.