How many tattoo machines does a tattoo artist need?


From the beginning of the rotary tattoo machine, artists have addressed this much-discussed topic: are coil or rotary machines better?

Below we will describe the brief history of tattoo machines as well as the differences between spools and rotary, including the advantages and disadvantages. We also asked artists of all styles, backgrounds, and experiences for their views on this sublime debate. Read for more information

best rotary tattoo machine


The first electric tattoo machine was invented in New York by Samuel F. O’Reilly and patented on December 8, 1891 (U.S. Patent 464,801).

It was taken from Thomas Edison’s rotary-driven stencil pen from 1876 (U.S. Pat. No. 180,857).

Electric tattoo machines are often represented in mainstream media as “coil machines” or “EM machines”. Coils use electromagnetic coils to move the armature rod up and down. The anchor rod is connected to a needle bar to which a tight group of small needles is attached. The needle bar pushes a tight group of small needles, which in turn push the ink into the skin.
As technology advances, tattoos become more configurable. Artists can now control the depth of the needle, how hard their machine strikes, and the speed of their machine. Through these configurations, tattooing as an art form has become very accurate.


Games in the EM machine are usually from 8 to 10 wraps. The coils generate impedance as a resistor, which is used to properly control the speed and power of the machine. This causes a bit of skin trauma. Spool machines are usually divided into three groups: inserts, shaders, and color packers.

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Rotary machines are less adaptable and require much less knowledge and ingenuity to use effectively.


The pneumatic tattoo machine is another type of the machine, invented in 2000 by a tattoo artist named Carson Hill. Pneumatic tattoo machines use air pressure to operate the machine and push the needles up and down.

These tattoo machines are fully autoclaved, which means that the entire machine can be placed in an autoclave and completely sterilized without major disassembly.


Pen machines are a variant of rotary-style machines.  These machines utilize a cartridge system where the needles come in interchangeable cartridges that you can pop in and out multiple times during tattoo procedures.


The look of the dishwasher is more iconic and traditional. You also always have a lot of options and customizations and you can make your own dishwashers.


The voice is a double-edged sword. Some artists like the buzz of a traditional machine, while others do not like the sound of a pin or spin.

Many artists have found that vibrations cause pain in the fingers, hands, and wrists during long sessions. Some complain that this can cause a loss of emotion in their hands after a session.


The weight is the second two-edged sword. Some artists prefer the weight of the machine, while others find that it causes them pain in their fingers, hands, and wrists when making longer stamps.


These machines can easily control speed and power, but the machine must be familiar with the machine and how the machine will operate to set it up and operate it efficiently and correctly.

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Parts are cheap and machines are easy to set up and change

Some artists have found that using reels can complete stamps faster. SKIN
This is one of the biggest problems that come with an EM machine because the only way to autoclave a machine is to completely disassemble it and then autoclave the frame. Autoclaving these machines is not an unwise choice. Tattoos also cannot spray the entire machine with a high level of disinfectant, as disinfectants can damage the coils and damaged machine parts. This leaves the possibility to cover the machine with plastic and spray the disinfectant with a used cloth to wipe the machine (we recommend spraying directly on the surface and letting it work for 30 seconds).

Originally posted 2022-04-12 18:08:06.

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