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

RE:building tattoo machines



mikeD, i completely understand your thoughts of calling it a day and wrapping things up, when i see all this morons like the beloved guy posting stuff just one step up this thread.

why can't people behave like human beings and avoid shitting in other people's guest rooms? we could do way better, though i don't know a good way combining a board, which could stay open for the young guns with love for tattooing who are keen on knowledge and can keep out all those pain-in-the-arse-homophobic/arrogant/sexist...-know-it-alls, who are just in it for poisoning the atmosphere and even dare to insult the most gentle and helpful person ever on this board- superman.

@mad reaper:




now for the topic of the thread:

i personally think that it isn't exactly rocket science to build good and solid coil machines even completely from scrap with no readymade parts at all- decent rotaries are a completely different cup of tea.

my first one i built years ago was a welded one from carbon steel sheet 1,5mm, built around a spare set of sharpz coils. layout was rollomatic bulldog, because there wasn't stuff like machine gun magazines around at that time and i had just a faint idea of geometry, so i had plenty of room for adjustment. worked fine over about a year until i dropped it onto the floor and the parts happily jumped in different directions because of the material tension built up by welding. so i learned that welding ain't the perfect idea.

the first coils i made on my own were out of a 12mm square rod of very hard carbon steel. i don't know any material type- it just acted very good with magnets when i tested it and that set stood the test of times until today. i just made a "head" via grinding the rest away and the same way a "foot", made a tread hole up the half length, glued 2 square pieces of fitting 2mm plastic sheet to head and foot and wound that with a slow running drill hold by a bench vice, where i attached a foot switch for better control. today a small lathe makes most of the job while i wind my coils with some contraption made out of a fishing reel.

the binding posts i made from 8 and 10mm hexagonal brass rods just because bench vice clamping and drillig holes there is way easier than with cylindric rods. didn't change that until today.

today i'm brazing and bolting my brass-only-machines together. i still prefer bolting as it causes the least material tension if every part is made perfectly. i also stick to maximum adjustability with longer contact post holes and angle-and-length variability of the spring shelf because i don't need to bend back springs any more, which makes their life significantly longer. nowadays i shape my sideplates with a hung up upside down dremel with a flexible rod and a footswitch. but thats just for making them beautiful and adds nothing to functionality.

i just wanted to tell with all that:
you can learn all that on your own with no more knowledge than looking at a good machine and some decent hand tools and a drill. it may take a bit longer to have success, but you can learn a lot and- what is way more important- have also a lot more fun. i didn't come across "the perfect coil machine" yet and i don't believe it exists at all. because of the sideplates/sidearms you'll never achieve perfect balance, except you make an arm on both sides symetrically- which will add unwanted weight. if you place the arm just over the whole machine bolting it on top of the spring shelf, it will reduce the adjustability very drastically. vibration avoiding/consuming materials like brass and copper are always heavy, carbon steel often tends to magnetize up during tattooing and thus losing power, aluminium is too rattly and noisy... there ain't no perfect solution.

good luck and a lot of fun, mate.