Liner Tattoo Machine Setup

What are O rings for on tattoo machines?

Tattoo O-Rings are an important item to have on hand in every shop. They are used to minimize the vibration of the machine and give it a smoother run. The O-Ring functions best when it is placed tightly under the spring and pulled back over the cap screw.When the bar that turns the tattoo machine on is pressed without an O-ring in place it rattles and doesn't make a consistent humming noise. Once you insert the rubber O-ring into the tattoo machine it changes how the machine runs. The ring only takes a couple of seconds to install.All Tattoo Machines will benefit from using an O-Ring or other dampening sheet under the front spring. Some machines come with a small O-Ring embedded into the Armature Bar directly under the front spring. Depending on machine specifications some can perform without one but every effort should be made to incorporate a functioning O-Ring or a dampening sheet on a Tattoo Machine, the reason being: O-Rings reduce vibrations and noise! You can build a machine without an O-Ring that runs smooth; however, adding the “right” kind of O-Ring or dampening sheet will make that same machine run even smoother with less vibrations and noise - vibrations being the most important!O-Rings come in many sizes and materials. In order to choose the right size and material, we need to look at what the O-Ring does when used on a Tattoo Machine. An O-Ring is placed under the front spring and pulled back either behind the Armature Bar cap screw or behind the armature bar under the rear spring. Even though placing the O-Ring behind the Armature Bar under the rear spring has its benefits, like keeping a higher duty cycle when needed,  the downside out weighs the benefits. The downside to having an O-Ring placed like this is having to loosen the Armature Bar to allow the O-Ring to fit underneath it and then readjusting the Armature Bar in perfect alignment. If the O-Ring were to fail or needed replacement the hassle of having to perform this procedure wouldn’t be worth it, in my opinion. In addition, with the right amount of Tattoo Machine technical knowledge, you can achieve the same benefit of this set-up with the O-Ring placed over the cap screw, if needed. Obviously, I prefer the O-Ring placed over the Armature Bar cap screw. This placement allows for easy replacement and adjustments.The O-Ring functions best on a machine when it fits tightly under the spring, pulled back over the cap screw. Once an O-Ring is installed it slightly moves the pivot point of the front spring forward, in essence shortening the front spring (hardening the front spring), this causes an increase in machine speed. The tightness of the O-Ring on the spring causes a slight decrease in duty cycle, “the tighter it is” the more drop in duty cycle (remember, after installing your new O-Ring you need to readjust your contact gap to its designated size and this is where you’ll notice the slight drop in duty cycle).  Additionally, the width and the hardness of the O-Ring can cause an increase in the angle of the front spring! A high angled front spring causes a shorter stroke, faster machine speed and harder hit, while decreasing your power band (limits the smoothness of the machine on low or high volts). When adding an O-Ring to any machine the duty will begin to drop, starting at 3% but will vary with the tightness of the O-Ring and the machine will require an additional 2 volts to run optimally. The speed of the machine will increase but the increase will vary depending on the thickness & tightness of the O-Ring and current machine speed. Overall machine speed is adjusted via the front springs and measured in hertz.

How deep do you go when tattooing?

Everyone's skin is different. Generally speaking, a tattoo needle needs to penetrate between 1mm and 2mm into the skin, beyond the 5 layers of epidermis and into the dermis layer. Anything deeper can lead to infection.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.Anyone who has ever been in a tattoo shop knows the sound of the tattoo machine buzzing away as it lays down line after line of ink. Behind the buzz is a tiny an electromagnetic circuit that plunges a needle into the skin 80-150 times per second. In a video from French tattoo artist GueT, you can see what’s making all that racket up close and in slow motion. You’ll probably be surprised how much the skin vibrates.Most modern tattoo machines, like the one in this video, are of the coil variety. They use an electromagnetic circuit to move the needle up and down, but some machines now use rotary motors to drive the needle. All modern implements allow artists to control speed, depth, and force of application.In the video you can see how little the needle has to puncture the skin — it’s just pushing the pigment down to the dermis where it will be trapped in fibroblasts indefinitely. Not all tattoo needles look like the one we see here. Others have the individual needles spread out in a brush configuration for shading and filling in shapes. Though, it seems that GueT is big on linework tattoos that replicate textures on the skin, which doesn’t call for much shading.This video is a pretty mesmerizing three minutes with a cool soundtrack, and it seems to have been cut together in such a way that you’re seeing lots of the needle doing its thing, and none of the bloody mess that comes with it. So, don’t let squeamishness stop you from clicking.

Why is the ink not staying in the skin when I tattoo?

The reason tattoo ink stays in skin forever has to do with the immune system. When you get a tattoo, the ink flows down the tattooing needle into the middle layer of your skin, called the dermis. That creates a wound, which your body tries to heal by sending macrophages (a type of white blood cell) to the area.It is possible for skin to reject ink but it is very uncommon. You should always use a legitimate artist in an established business. This will make you feel more at ease and be safer for you body in general.If you feel that you are having an allergic reaction to the ink contact the artist who did your body work and your doctor immediately.The artist should be able to supply you with the name of the ink they used and/or a list of ingredients in the ink used that will help you and your doctor figure out why your body is reacting the way it is.If your tattoo artist went below or above your dermis the ink will not hold correctly or will fade easily. The more you bleed the lower in your dermis the tattoo was imprinted. The fatty cells there do not hold the ink as well and will cause a faded look.Most fade outs on tattoos are a result of the healing process.Most people notice the fading with red or white ink, although any color may fade. The healing process (scabbing) can push the ink up out of the skin and cause a splotchy look.Remember that new tattoos need to be kept cleaned and moisturized. Never pick the scabs of your tattoo.Caring for Your TattooThe better you take care of your new tattoo today the better it will look tomorrow and in the future.Initially, the skin around your tattoo will be a bit swollen. Monitor your skin for pain, redness that spreads outward from the tattooed area, excessive swelling, or pus. Contact your physician if any of these occur.