A tattoo machine works basically the same as a doorbell. It moves like a sewing machine, and works by means of an electromagnet. The gun's power comes from the coils. Electric energy alternates between positive and negative charges by means of a capacitor. When this magnetic field is activated, the armature bar moves up and down, which creates a full circuit around the frame. This circuit then causes the needle to move constantly up and down at a quick pace. The coils are mounted to the bottom of the frame, and above that is a back binding post where the armature bar and the front and back spring are also mounted.
Thread the needle through the barrel. Put the pointed end through the back end of the barrel, leaving the looped end toward the back.
Load the barrel onto the tattoo machine. Make sure the larger end is the end you attach to the frame.
Attach the loop on the back of the needle to the front edge of the armature bar. This will make the needle move in and out of the tube.
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Use rubber bands to hold the needle back and keep it tight against the back of the tube. This makes sure the needle does not move around while you work.
Adjust the tube down until you have a 16th or a 32nd of an inch showing at the end where it will penetrate the skin. You don't want too much or too little of the needle showing. Too little will not get the ink far enough under the skin, while too much will overwork the skin and cause more pain and bleeding.
After assembly, connect your machine to a power source. Make sure the foot pedal is within reach, and switch the power source on.
Step on the foot switch, and the circuit will cause the needle to move up and down. If this happens, the machine runs properly.
If you need help with the assembly, you can always consult a professional.
Make sure you do not let the needle show more than the recommended length or you will overwork the area of the skin, which can cause infection. Always use sterile equipment and needles. Buy packages of sterile needles, and never reuse them. Wear latex gloves. Stay as sterile and clean as possible to avoid infections. If a tattoo is infected, it will reject the ink and the image you tattooed will be distorted.
From her home in Wisconsin, Catherine has been writing content for a variety of Internet media since 2003. Her areas of writing experience range from baby care advice articles, to zoo animal research papers. Catherine is currently earning her Associates Degree in Communications from the University of Phoenix, and a Career Diploma in Freelance Writing from Penn Foster University.