How to Tattoo with an Electric Machine
The following information is to assist you in learning about tattooing and is not a tattoo course structure.
HOW DOES A TATTOO MACHINE WORK
The tattoo machine (‘gun’ is a misnomer) is really a basic doorbell circuit (you know–you push a button and somewhere in the kitchen this little arm bangs the hell out of a bell). For you techies out there it’s a DC coil and spring point(s) machine. Both doorbell and tattoo machine were invented before household current was available.
It is essentially in 3 sections: The base, the mechanism, and the sanitary tube. The base really is the bulk of the metal; a rabbit ear with a screw in it, bent at 90 degrees to hold coils. In the front there’s a round hole to hold the sanitary tube. Some people think the base looks like the handle of a gun. The base houses the mechanism, which consists of two coils of wire wrapped around an iron core.
At the top of the mechanism is a set of contact points, one usually on a spring mechanism, the other either the end, or on the end of a screw. Contact Point / Screw on Tattoo Machine: A. 90 degree angle where contact hits the front spring, B. binding post used to fasten the contact screw, loosen this screw to change point gap of machine, C. contact screw head top of contact screw – typically has some type of grip for adjustments to the contact screw. The spring connects to the base and a bar, which is connected to the needle arm (90 degrees offset). The needle arm is connected to the needles (which are soldered onto the bar), and moves up and down inside the sanitary tube.
The coils connect to a DC power supply (between 6 – 12VDC), via a spring coiled U-cable. The U-cable is called a “clip cord,” designed to move easily between machines but also stay in place and not fall out and spark all over the place. The springs hold the cable in/onto the machine.