How to Assemble a Tattoo Machine – Step by Step Guide

If you are planning to get yourself a tattoo, then you would probably consider purchasing a high-quality tattoo machine. A tattoo kit will be a good choice since it will include all the necessary accessories. First, some initial practices have to be performed. You need to learn a number of things which involve setting up the equipment. This is a really crucial step.

The incorrect assembling might result in pathetic shading and dull lining. The design will lack the bright ink color which is not at all desired or wanted. By now you have understood the importance of assembling and wondering how to correctly join the machine to have the best results. Don’t you worry because we are here for you to instruct you and take you through each step for successful assembling? All geared up? Why wait then, let’s begin!

How to Set up Your Tattoo Machine – 11 Simple Steps

1. Accessories

How to Set up Your Tattoo Machine

2. Beginner Tattoo Kits

A tattoo kit can be really beneficial to you for a number of reasons. Purchasing a kit eliminates the fuss of getting the necessary tattoo equipment separately. This will give you each and every item you require to get the machine ready. Another amazing thing about this tattoo kit is that it has all the things at an affordable price while purchasing the items separately can prove to be so expensive.

Once you get your hands on the right kit, then you can easily give a number of tattoos. Try purchasing from a trusted and authentic brand so that you can have a durable kit that delivers the best results.

3. Separate Purchasing

If you are really serious about tattooing and are searching for top-notch materials, we would recommend purchasing the items separately. This will put you at ease selecting only the items you need and not an excess of useless items which you might not require during your entire tattoo journey.

4. Necessary Tools

The manual is usually provided with the machine which lists off all the tools you might need. These tools will assist you in assembling the machine perfectly.

5. Professional Assistance

If you are a beginner and aren’t aware of the sets, tools, and other subjects regarding tattoos, then you should look for professional assistance. If any of your close friends or relatives are in the field, that is the best option.

6. Sanitizing

Care must be taken when dealing with tattoo equipment. Sanitizing is a necessary action that should be performed. The use of antibacterial soap together with gloves should be practiced at all costs so take all the necessary precautions.

7. Familiarizing Yourself

You might have heard that the first thing that you have to do is to assemble the machine. This is not true. The first thing is to familiarize you with the machine. The frame of the machine and its electromagnetic coils, armature bar, and needle holder, everything has their own role which you should be acquainted with. The coil has the coil to provide the power while the armature bar rotates with the aid of coils provided. Having all this information will help you figure out how to assemble easily.

8. Barrel Assembling

The grip which is integrated has basically two sides. One is devoted to the grip while the other is provided for the tube. The needle should be between 1-2 millimeters which is the ideal height for the needle. A long needle might result in excessive bleeding.

9. Setting up the Machine

There are various types, kinds, and sizes of needles that are included with the machine. Once you take the needle off the machine, you will get to know that. The tube area tip is the point where you would need to install the needle. The needle should be inserted so that there is no damage as that will make the tattooing very painful.

10. Securing the Nipple

To protect the grip along with the needle, a nipple is present. Usually, it is to be attached to the armature tip. The open end needs to be fastened around the needle.

11. Needle Regulation

Needle Regulation

Next comes the fine-tuning of the needle. This is to be done after assembling the tube. In order to fine-tune, the tube vice is to be adjusted. The tube-vise is positioned between the needle and the armature. This is a highly adjustable screw.

Power Station Set-up

Power Supply

Depending upon your machine’s specification and the voltages it operates on, the power supply largely varies. The power supply is not provided to all the machines. So there is a possibility that you might not get one with yours. Even if your tattoo has it, you have to adjust it according to your needs and requirements.

The power supply can also be changed if needed. It doesn’t cost you a lot so that is ok. Once you have adjusted the power perfectively, the power supply is definitely going to work effectively.

Power Supply Scrutinizing

Once you have checked on to the voltage that it is set at the recommended value, the fuse must be checked next. The controller is provided which controls the power set by the power supply to handle the fuse. The power supply which is poor in performance and is too cheap skips on this controller which is really important. That is not recommended.

Foot Pedal

This also assists you during the operation. It helps to control the machine conveniently with your foot and cut off the voltage whenever needed. The foot pedal comes in a reasonable price range and a clip cord is needed to connect the machine to the power supply.

Joining The Accessories Together

Foot Pedal and Power Supply

First off foot pedal is connected to the power supply. The foot pedal’s function is to provide power. The power is effectively regulated using this so these two need to be connected together.

Power Supply and Machine

Power Supply and Machine

Next off, the machine needs to be connected to the power supply. For that purpose, a lip cord is needed which is attached at the bottom of the equipment and to the power supply. The power supply connection can be confusing considering its two locations devoted to input so select wisely.


Testing is the next step. After everything has been rightly assembled and properly connected, the machine should be switched on to see if it is working properly as it should. One shouldn’t ever try on human skin. Practice skin is the appropriate thing to test the thing on. The testing should ensure if the machine is running smoothly with the foot pedal. If not, check where the problem is.


Wherever you can practice, do it, may it be an apple or a practice skin. If you are practicing on fruits and their skin is adversely affected, that indicates excessive pressure being applied. Practicing is a really important phase that shouldn’t be ignored at any cost as this not only gives you confidence but polishes your skill well. The right stroke and adequate pressure are to be given. This also depends largely on design.

Shading vs lining – What is the difference?

Beginners aren’t aware of how you need to use different techniques for different tasks to uplift your tattooing experience and to provide the right shading or lining. You cannot set up the liner as well as the shader in the same way. They have quite a number of dissimilarities which you need to be educated about.

While the shader fills up the inside of the outline and provides the right pigment, the fine lines and outline are the responsibility of the liner. Let’s come towards dissimilarities.


This is the biggest difference. The sizes and number of needles differ significantly. The way they need to be placed in the bar is quite different. The needle set consisting of 1-7 needles is the perfect pick for lining activities. With the number extending 4, the shader uses this many needles in a straight line.

This is to be noted that correct needles which are appropriate for those activities are used for respective activities. The needles which are marked as RL indicate those right for lining while those needles having RS written on them are perfect for shading.


Liners have a relatively greater speed than the shaders as shaders demand higher voltage in order to penetrate the skin to produce crisp pigment. The high vibration of the shader requires coping up with it.

Coil Type

As the shader needs more power, a higher wrap is required for the shader. This will assist in producing great power. When an 8 wrap-coil proves to be adequate for a liner, the shader requires about 10-12 wrap-coils. Do ensure the right adjustment of the front coil with the armature bar. This can be accomplished by releasing the rear spring’s tension and the rear screw’s fine-tuning.


The shader is heavier than the liners. This greatly affects our work rate. Consistent performance is ensured by practicing. To get to that position and be a great artist, practicing is the key.

Tips One Should Practice

  • The machine should be rightly oriented while the tattooing process. The pressure needs to be adequate. The machine shouldn’t be pushed really hard. One should be gentle with the pressing. Another thing which should be taken care of is to keep the hands steady as the machine will be vibrating a lot.
  • The middle layer of the skin which is termed as the dermis is at the depth of about 0.04 inches to 0.08 inches. This layer is the right depth where one should give the others a tattoo. This is the right depth. If the needle is pushed hard enough, it will cross the mid-layer resulting in extreme pain and damage.
  • The next tip is practicing. We have insisted enough on practicing due to the importance it carries. Practicing makes you perfect at the skill you perform. This will make you an expert in the field making you achieve it all.
  • There are some machines that save you the labor of setting up the machine because they are already assembled by the manufacturers. Do purchase them if you don’t want to assemble them.
  • Consider readjusting in case of inconsistent performance.

Things One Need to Be Aware Of Before Beginning Your Tattoo Career

Safety is a big concern for your client. This can also affect you. You need to be extremely careful and should adhere to the safety instruction in order to be completely protected. To save you from any sort of trouble, precautions need to be followed. Certain rules should never be overlooked.

Girl Tattoist

The Rules

  • State license needs to be obtained
  • State license needs to be maintained
  • Keep safety
  • The license should be in a safe place that is visible
  • All safety standards should be practiced
  • Intoxicated clients should not be allowed
  • Tattoos should be given to clients over a certain age

Tattoo Safety Checklist

  • Washing Hands
  • Sanitizing Hands
  • Wearing latex gloves
  • Latex gloves should be thrown once the tattoo session is over
  • Give your hands a good wash with antibacterial soap after the tattoo session
  • Some equipment that can be reused needs to be sterilized properly.
  • An autoclave machine is a necessity. It should be present at your tattoo place.
  • Ointments, as well as antiseptics, should be available at your place.
  • A safety checklist needs to be maintained

Frequently Asked Questions

How much depth should the needle tip be?

The needle tip should equate to the sharp pencil’s tip.

What is a good substitute for power supply?

There is no substitute for power supply as the absence of power supply will have inconsistent power which will result in extreme pain.

What is used to sterilize the tattoo equipment?

Either a sterilizer or alcohol is used to sterilize the equipment.

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