How to Tune a Tattoo Machine Like a Pro

Most of the tattooists are well aware of how the tattoo machine is tuned so that it works smoothly and perfectly but it is not the case of the super noobs and laymen like us who have no knowledge of how to put that thing together and to tune it. Tattoo companies are receiving thousands of phone calls about such issues. But don’t you get worried because we have got you all covered and have explained the subject in great detail.

Machine Tuning Guide – Tattooing Basics

The most likely steps which you will take after you get the parcel of your tattoo machine is that you will plug it in and press the foot pedal but trust us, it will not even whimper. Now that might make you wonder that it is a fault on the part of the manufacturers but it is so not the case. The electric guitar and tattoo gun brands have this thing in common; you have to tune it perfectly to make a sound. Wrong tuning will result in no whimpering.

There is an armature bar together with a contact screw, a front spring, and lastly the thumbscrew. The front spring is made of metal. It is a small piece that takes off and shoots from the armature. The thumbscrew is provided so that it keeps the contact screw tightened.

Some machines however use the locking nut as a replacement to the thumbscrew which keeps the contact screw tightened and is attached to it. These are the major parts that you need to understand and operate right if you want the machine to tune correctly.

This guide will assist you in running the machine but it is to remember that in order to set the machine to a perfect shader or either as a liner, certain operations need to be done and practices are to be adopted which you have to figure out yourself or have to watch certain tutorials about.

The endpoint where you see the contact screw touching the front spring is to be found. There is a small gap in there which you need to see. While carrying the machine steadily with your left hand, you need to hold the armature with the help of a pointer finger and carry it to the top area of the coils. This whole thing will let the gap be created. Do make sure that the gap generated is at least a dime gap so that there is enough gap otherwise the machine won’t start.

The gap which you will require for shading should be equal to nickel while that required for lining should be equal to the dime. The next step calls for turning the thumbscrew as it will loosen the contact screw. Now once the contact screw is loosened, turn it so that it moves downwards to create the appropriate gap stated above according to the activity you need the machine for.

The thumbscrew should then be tightened leaving the contact screw locked in the position. At this time, you leave the armature bar. Once you let go of that, set the voltage at 10 volts and the machine is running and alive. It is this simple and you are done. The dime and nickel width we explained earlier is an old and basic method of tuning the machine to either a shader or the liner.

When experimenting and practicing, you will come across a lot of widths and will eventually know how to set the machine to liner or shader or either the color mode. This has a lot to cover on but newbies did know now how to start the machine.

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