by John Bradley of
Captain Jack's Tattoo
This tech tip will be for those of you who just buy your needles and strap them on your machine without any adjustmens or fine tuning. If you make your own needles then you probably know what will be discussed in this tech tip. Whether or not you make your own flat shaders or your own rounds for shading and coloring, there is one more thing that you need to do before you strap them on your machine and use them.
If you take the time to spread the needles of the flat shaders with an exacto knife then the ink will flow down the needles at a better rate and the needles will puncture the skin a lot easier. If the needles are not spread, it is harder to penetrate the skin,
resulting in having to turn your power supply up, in turn making the machine working harder, which will cause the machine to run a lot hotter,
Also, if you spread the needles on your fat shaders, you will cover a larger area of skin and get the job done a lot quicker. The chances of scaring the skin is greatly reduced. One way that I find to spread the needles is to lay the needle bar flat
on a piece of glass and with an exacto knife real carefully put the blade between the last needle on one side and from the needle tip slowly push down toward the solder...then spread the last needle on the other side...working your way to the middle needles. Always spread them a little at a time as not to cause the needles to split apart and separate from the group. This usually happens on the end needles. With a little practice it becomes easier and easier. You might want to practice with some used flat shaders that have been sterilized, till you pick up the knack.
Now as for the round needles that are used for shading and coloring...if you are making them yourself then make or buy a jig that makes them loose, you don't want to use tight round shaders to put in color, it will not get the color in evenly and will opt to scarring more easily. And I find that if you solder the needles together further
back from the tips then they wont be as tight.
There is another thing that I do to help the ink puddle up on the skin (this is something that you want your ink to do) and that is to take the solder out of the groove of the underside of the flat shaders. Remember the ink travels and gets under the skin from between the grooves of the needles, the ink around the needles is usually pushed away by the elasticity of the skin. I also file all the excess solder that may be there, this keeps the splattering down. One way to eliminate splatter is to put a slight bend in the middle of your needle bar forward to compensate for the tension of the rubber bands.
Good luck and I hope this helps you get the ink under the skin a little bit better and a little bit faster.......John
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by John Bradley of Captain Jack's Tattoo
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