Inkslinger on 08.19.12Maryland USA
I received my Spektra's about 2 weeks ago. 3.2mm & the 4mm. There was a slight hiccup in delivery. Turns out that the postal worker put the package in the wrong mail box. My neighbor held it for a few days before leaving it on my doorstep. Had absolutely nothing to do with anything FK Irons did/didn't do, but it opened a window to their (FK's) customer service. I'll be repeating something here that I said in another thread, but Gaston's approach to the way he conducts his business has proved to be exceptional in every way. I feel the need to say more about that because I have been so impressed, but hopefully you get the picture.
I've been running the 3.2 as my go to liner and the 4mm as a shader. Haven't really deviated from that set up, nor have I had the need. Although I have used the 3.2mm for black & grey. As a liner the 3.2 will do it all. I like running with 4's, 5's & 7's...but a few times I've dropped in an 8 round to caligraphy some lines and it was a joy. Took me one tattoo to find my sweet spot with lining, dial the give all the way in, then back out a little under a 1/4 turn and it was there. Haven't touched it since. Depending on the needle, voltage has been between 8.5 & 10. Weight was a slight issue for me, or lack of. Just so use to running a coil for my line work and having the weight there doing most of the work for me. The Spektra is the lightest machine I've ever ran with. I think Gaston said it tips the scales at 2.8oz.? Any disadvantage that may have presented at first, was quickly outweighed by the way the machine performs. Then the fact that it is so light opens doors to what you're able to do with it. It's nothing more than like picking up a Micron and drawing. Balance is outstanding. Then again, there's very little to actually balance since the machine is close to nothing in your hand? Overall, the Spektra as a liner far surpassed my expectations.
As a shader the Spektra is just a blast. Again, I've used the 3.2mm a few times for black & grey, but right now I'm only working with the 2 machines, so I've been setting the 4mm up for all my mags. Having the ability to use switch the motor bolt from body to body means that you can run the same stroke if that's what you're down for, but the 4mm is just sick! Unlike the ever so slight learning curve that I went through with lining with the Spektra, shading with it across the board is astonishing. The first week of my using it, I ran it with the give all the way in. Any adjustments I made were in voltage. That proved to be a mistake on my part because there is so many variations you have at your disposal in the way it'll perform. I allowed another artist here to use the Spektra for a tattoo, "overwhelming" was the word they used to describe it. This was referring to how fast it put in pigment. I believe it was Lyle Tuttle that said a shader should "throw" ink into the skin? That's the Spektra in a nut shell. "Fun" best describes it though. You start to wonder if this is the way tattooing should have always been? The ease of it's use, overall performance, it's design....I really can't think of anything but good to say about the machine!
If I had to reach about the only thing I could is that I was disappointed it didn't come in purple? I had pretty much given up on rotaries. I just found that my coils were a better tool (for me personally). I can't say that I've tried everything that's available as far as rotaries go, far from it...but if was on anybodies top machine list, I've probably owned it or ran with it at some point. Other (rotaries) all have their good (for the most part) and bad points. I still have a soft spot for the Dragonfly for black & grey (as an example), I really dug the "feel" of the Centri, I thought the Stigma was an a very nice machine...gram for gram though, the Spektra is by far the best I've used.
It seems that other's have their opinions on certain aspects of this machine, like the fact that it doesn't have a needle bar retainer? I personally think that going with the set up as is was the best option. Functionality, ease of use and trouble free...yeah, the tensioners are "cool", but that's about where it ends for me. Having had one go on me in the past, I tend to lean towards the simpler the better. The same can be said about the machine lacking leads for a clip cord? Imagining the machine with leads I'd have to believe it'd have looked better without if nothing else. Not that I'm saying form should ever outweigh function, but in this case the Spektra has the best of both.
For some reason prior to the release and actually getting the machine, I looked at the motor bolt as something that could be an issue? My thinking was that it just seemed like it could turn out on you? Definitely not the case though. Cleverly devised and so useful. Going form one machine to the next is done in seconds. Having 2 Spektras, I don't have the need to slip from body to body, but I intend on picking up a few more of these machines in the near future.
Only having had these machines the few short weeks that I have, my ability to review them completely may be a little premature? I've noticed that the more hours I put on them, the better they seem to run? Almost like a coil breaking in.
Seems I'm better at addressing direct questions then I am on "reviewing" something, so drop one if you have any. As the tattoos I've put out in the last few weeks start coming back healed, I'll be sure to add some pictures. To sum things up though, if you have the means I'd suggest picking one or two of these machines up. They're an extraordinary tool to have in anyone's arsenal.