How to Build a Professional Tattoo Machine

Written by robert ceville
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How to Build a Professional Tattoo Machine
Assemble you tattoo machine correctly if you want your work to come out as desired. (tattoo image by no-FaCe from

Assembling your professional tattoo machine correctly is essential for having optimal results with the art you will produce on your subjects' flesh. While there are many different brand machines and individual components, the machine's design principles are the same. Not putting your tattoo machine together correctly can damage the coils and other components that make the device operate correctly as well. Once you have the instrument assembled properly, you can hone in on your inking skills with much less trouble.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tattoo needle
  • Rubber grommet
  • Power cord
  • Tattoo tube
  • Tattoo machine frame with engine
  • Latex gloves
  • Tattoo power supply
  • Foot pedal
  • Rubber band

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  1. 1

    Put on a pair or rubber gloves so that no germs or contaminants will be transferred to the parts of the tattoo machine, and then to your clients' skin.

  2. 2

    Pick up the tattoo machine's frame, with the coils above the lower part of the frame, and insert the tube upwards into the hole with the slanted part of the tube facing forward. Loosely tighten the tube clamp next to the frame's hole with your hands because you will have to make adjustments once the needle is inserted into the tube. The tube's point should be pointing downward when inserted.

  3. 3

    Slide the pointed tip of the needle into the upper hole in the tube carefully, and then slide the rounded tip of the opposite end -- the eye -- onto the armature bar's metal peg. Make sure that the break in the eye of the needle is facing to the left of the machine. The metal peg will be directly above the tube's hole and attached to the bar that reacts to the rear spring. Slide the rubber grommet over the rounded end of the needle and the armature bar's metal peg to hold the needle securely in place. Loosen the tube clamp and slide the tubing to adhere to the length needle you are using, then wrap the rubber band around the needle's stem and the back side of the frame twice. This will also keep the needle in a secure position.

  4. 4

    Attach the clips that are attached to the power cord to the two binding posts on the back of the machine, then connect the other end to your power supply unit. Make sure that the clip ends of the cord are connected securely so that they do not come loose when operating your machine.

  5. 5

    Plug the power supply's foot pedal into the jack labelled "Pedal Control," or something similar, depending on the particular unit you own. Once you power on the power supply unit, you will be ready to begin using your machine on your next living canvas.

Tips and warnings

  • It is very important to always wear gloves when handling any of the equipment, before or after assembly.
  • Only perform a tattoo if you are in a sterile and professional environment, with the proper licensing in order to do so safely.
  • Avoid making contact with the tip of your tattoo needle to prevent it from becoming dull or damaged when inserting it into the tube.

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