9545 Reseda Blvd. unit 2, Northridge, CA (818) 700-2818
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1st year.

I'm in my first year of tattooing after a full apprenticeship.
I'm happy with my progress although I began tattooing with rotary machines only, i decided that I needed to learn how to use coil machines to better my linework. On recommendation from another artist i chose to go for a mike pike liner ' a mean muggar', I found that the machine is running really fast and i am needing to lower my voltage to 6.2MAX, to avoid damaging the skin. When I was first using the machine, I'm not gonna lie, I ran the machine too fast and had some bad blowouts. I'm looking for advise on how to best learn about my machine properly without having to test it out on skin causing unnecessary damage to clients . I hate having unsatisfied clients. I refuse to mess about with something I'm not sure of, on people. Any help and suggestions would be appreciated.


Replies:

RE:1st year.

Hey man, maybe I can help a little with this.

Some rotaries can line really well, specifically I have the dragonfly in mind. At the shop I work with, we all have at least one dragonfly for lining.

First thing you have to know is that rotaries work on much different Voltages than coils. For lining with rotaries you can be around 8 all the way to 10.5 depending on the part of the body you are working on, the size of the needle you are working with, and your personal hand speed.
You should also know that when you increase the voltage on rotaries, they hit harder, not just faster.
Coils, although I dont know too much about them, I know can work form as low as 4.5 all the way to 8 volts depending on the coils.

About blowouts, they happen as a result of a few things. You may have gone too deep, too slow, used too much voltage, all potentially in relation to the size of your needle and the body part you are working on. It should be noted that the thinner the needle the easier it is to cause a blowout.
If you are working on a place where there is a bone under the skin, like for example the shin, the outside of the hand, the ribs etc, you shouldnt go too deep because you are risking a blowout.
If you are using a thin needle like for example a 3RL or 5RL, then you shouldnt have a large voltage and also you should have the give set a bit softer because these thin needles dont need much force to go in the skin. So in this case you have to put the needle very lightly in the skin, not go too deep, and move your hand a bit slower.

If you are working on a part of the body where there is muscle underneath, like the thigh, outside of the arm, calf etc then you can get away with digging the needle a bit further in without causing a blowout.

I am still in my first and a half year of tattooing so all the information I told you in not a 100% guaranteed but I feel confident that Im correct because I work in a studio with two artists who work very different styles and provide me with a full spectrum of information about lining.
The one artist here uses very bold lines for old school tattoos and japanese etc so he uses rotaries for the thinner lines (dragonfly and Stingray), and also uses coils for when he wants to use very large liner needles and round shaders for lining because they need more force to go in the skin.
The other artist here only uses a dragonfly rotary because he uses extremely thin needles like a 10/03RL and is very careful with how he uses them, in order to avoid blowouts.

Anyway, I really hope I helped with your problem.Good luck man.
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RE:1st year.

Thank you for your advice,
It's very helpful.
I'm working with a stingray and dragonfly also and have decided to work with them for lining also.
I'm more of a neo traditional artist and my mentor is extremely helpful and talented but works mostly in soft black and grey work so he advises me as best as he can with the knowledge he has. He advices me to research all avenues and sometimes I think help from other artists is the best bet.
Since posting, I've done a lot more research on coil machines and decided to take it apart and build it back up again, it seems to be working much better for me now although I still keep the voltage quite low.
It's all a learning game I suppose ?? I appreciate your help. Thank you
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