How to Set-Up a Tattoo Machine for Lining

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Things You'll Need

  • Latex gloves

  • Tattoo machine

  • Lining needle

  • 1 Dime

  • Rubber band

The setup of a tattoo machine varies depending on what type of line you would like to draw.

Setting up a tattoo machine is probably easier than you might think. If you are interested in making clean, crisp lines in a tattoo, you need to first select the appropriate needle. Proper gap between the armature bar and the contact screw is also very important in making clean lines. These two elements combined allow a tattoo artist to give her client a clean, professional piece of body art.


Step 1

Put on latex gloves.

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Step 2

Adjust the gap between the contact screw tip and the spring on the armature bar to 1.25 mm — the thickness of a U.S. dime. Screw down the front binding post.

Step 3

Select an outlining needle. Make sure the packaging is still intact before opening.

Step 4

Insert the needle, tip first, through the tube taking care not to touch any part of the machine with the tip of the needle.

Step 5

Connect the loop on the opposite end of the needle's tip to the top-hat grommet and secure in place using a rubber band around the shaft of the needle and the frame of the machine.

Step 6

Adjust the tube of the tattoo machine by turning it so that the needle tip is flush with the tube.


Varying the tightness of the rubber band will vary the amount of play the needle has when tattooing. Wearing latex gloves not only keeps your hands clean, the gloves also keep the machine free of any bacteria that could lead to an infection for the person getting the tattoo.


Tattoos are permanent so think before you get one.


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