How to Assemble a Tattoo Gun

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An assembled tattoo gun includes a variety of parts, including the power coils, the capacitor, the armature bar, the barrel and the needle. Correctly assemble a tattoo machine with instructions from an experienced tattoo artist in this free video on tattoo machines.

Part of the Video Series: Tattoo Artists & Advice
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Lenny, from Addicted 2 Tattoos, in Tampa, Florida. I'm going to talk to you today about how to assemble a tattoo machine. Tattoo machine is a very simple operating machine. Basically, it works like your doorbell in your house. It has a circuit that runs through it. We have on the tattoo machine several different parts. We have coils with the tattoo machine. This is where the power comes from. The capacitor back here is what allows the energy to alternate between positive and negative, which creates a magnetic field, which causes the armature bar to go up and down. This armature bar motion going up and down contacts the contact point here, and allows that magnetic field to make a full circuit. As this moves up and down this is what moves the needle up and down in the machine. On the frame, which is the entire outside metal part, the coils are mounted to the bottom. Above that, on the back binding post, is an armature bar, and a front and a back spring. Once this machine is fully assembled in this shape then for a artist to use it we have to go a little bit further. We're going to use a piece called a barrel, and in this barrel we're going to thread a needle. As the needle goes through the barrel this is where it will make contact with the skin. We load this into the tattoo machine, and attach the bar that holds the needle to the upper front edge of the armature bar. Once that's in place we generally use rubber bands to hold that needle back so that it stays flush against the back of the tube here. We bring this tube down until we have maybe a sixteenth or a thirty second of an inch of needle showing. Once this is put together this is the entire assembly of a tattoo machine here. A lot of people think this is all you need to tattoo. They're not correct though, because this by itself won't do anything, as you can tell. Once you load the needle in there, the barrel in there, then you're ready to connect this to a power source which we're going to do right here, and turn on our power. I'm stepping on a foot switch on the floor, and this causes that tattoo machine to run. What's happening is the circuit is going from here up through these coils. It's causing a magnetic contact here. It causes this needle to go up and down very fast, up to three thousand times a minute. As that happens it works like a little sewing machine, basically. The needle goes in and out very fast through this tube, and that's what penetrates the skin and puts the ink into the skin. So, that's how a tattoo machine is put together, and that's how it looks when it's all ready to function. I'm Lenny Welch, Addicted 2 Tattoos, in Tampa, Florida. Thank you.

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