What kind of tattoo guns do people use?

By | January 4, 2014

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Tattooing is a process by which ink is pushed into the skin by needles. Modern tattoo artists use two types of machines, which are also called tattoo guns. These tattoo guns use electricity to make the process quicker, more precise and less painful.

The First Tattoo Machine

Thomas Edison, the famous inventor, invented the foundation for the modern tattoo gun. He holds the patent for the first electromagnetic coil that is used to power tattoo machines today.

Anatomy of a Tattoo Gun

Tattoo machines consist of a metal frame, removable tubes, needles for the application of ink into the skin and electromagnetic coils that propel the needle at varying speeds using electricity. The needles are attached to a small bar in the tube that move the needles as they perforate the skin and deposit ink.

Tattooing Lines

The liner machine is used to create lines and fine details in the tattoo. It uses needles that are round. It can employ as few as three and as many as six to ten needles, depending on the design.

Shading in Tattoos

Shading tattoo machines are different from liner machines; they are used to cover large surface areas of skin and are more powerful than liner machines. Shading machine needles are flat and stacked in two rows. As with liner needles, the number of needles required is dependent on the tattoo and the surface area being shaded.

Health and Safety

Tattoo machines are designed to be easily taken apart and cleaned. The tubes that house the needles are reusable and interchangeable. They should be sterilized in autoclave devices after every use. Spent needles are disposed of safely, and new needles are purchased in individual, pre-sterilized packages. Plastic is placed over the electromagnetic coils, the electrical cord and any other part of the machine that cannot be placed in the autoclave.


Tattoo Joy: Applying a Tattoo – From Sterilization to the Bandage

Tattoo Archive: Tattoo Machine

Tattoo Equipment Online: Components of a Tattoo Machine

More Information:

Polynesian Culture Center: Samoan Tattoos

Tattoo Info: Article about – Tattoo Equipment

Katherine L. Krcmarik: History of Tattooing

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