Best Tattoo Machine for Beginners

Best Tattoo machine for beginners
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Professional tattoo artists, Brandon from Tattooing 101, shares his thoughts on what are the best options for a tattoo machine when you are first starting out.

Credit: Ben Fisher

Video Transcript:

What’S up everybody, it’s Brandon from Tattooing101 and today what we’re going to talk about is what machine should you get if you are first starting out. If you’ve tattooed before I’m going to explain all three different kind of machines there are out there and which one I would recommend for you.

Three Types of Tattoo Machines

So before we get into each one individually, what I’m going to do is explain the three types of machines so you have a better understanding of them, so you know what you would like to get. So the first one would be a traditional style machine. This is pretty much what everyone used. You know 12 years ago, when i first started out, we didn’t really have any other types of machines, so this is what i started out with all right.

So next we have a rotary style, tattoo machine they run on a motor. The motor will be right. There. There’S a ton of different styles on these there’s a ton of different brands out there, but these are great machine. There’S a lot of things we’ll get into here in a little bit about these specifically and last but not least, there’s the pen style tattoo machine.

There’S a lot of hype about these they’re super easy to pick up and just use so yeah we’ll explain this one as well, so the traditional tattoo machine there’s a ton of different looking ones out there, i’m going to explain exactly what to look for and what Not to look for so with these two machines, one i started out with 12 years ago. It was when i got off ebay and it was this one. As soon as i started tattooing with it, i understood that all machines are not the same. There’S definitely a difference in quality when it comes to tattoo machines that you definitely need to know before buying one, so i would definitely not recommend going on ebay um. You know amazon for some of these things, especially if you’re getting them for like 20 bucks.

It’S not gon na last and it’s not gon na work, how you want it to work and with tattooing. What you use is super important to the quality of tattoos that you come out with, so i’m going to explain it a little bit so some pros and cons to this machine pros are. You could push a big needle, no problem, if it’s tuned, for that correctly, some cons would be. It takes quite a while to learn this machine up and down. You know to be able to take it apart, to be able to fix it um to tune it correctly, for what you’re using it, for you know, be shading lining all of those things go into how to set up this machine.

So it could be super hard to try to have it set up whenever you are first starting, because you really don’t know all those things, and it takes a long time, one plus to this machine that you could find parts for it anywhere. That will pretty much last forever um. You know you have the frame if you have to replace the coils amateur bar any of that stuff. You could just do this, so these machines will pretty much last your lifetime. If you take care next, we have rotary tattoo machines.

Now there are a ton out there that look way different than other ones. So right here i have the injector flight. Nano i’ve used these machines for a very long time and i love them they’re great. So i have two of them because i have one set up for color and line work, so this one i have the direct drive um, so it has no give and the stroke i have on this. One is four: i have a four stroke on this one.

This one i have a medium bar on it, so therefore i use it for like grey, wash and realism and the stroke i have on this. One is a three so the great thing about these are you buy a machine. You could get different cams for them. That does the stroke, so you could have any stroke that you want put into these machines, so you could have them pretty much set up for anything. If i was first starting out, this is the machine that i would recommend an injector flight nano.

They work great. They last a long time um and it’s super easy to learn them. It’S super easy to. You know, throw what you need to in them. You know one screw and you could change the cam to something else and all the parts are very easily accessible.

You could go right on their website and get anything you need to have these machines set up exactly how you want, and the last machine is a pen. These came out, i would say, probably about four years ago um i got mine last year and i have fallen in love with it. I still definitely recommend the injector if you are first starting out, but these machines are great. You could just pick them up and use them no problems at all. It is direct drive, so it can be a little tricky if you’re trying to do like realism, stuff like that with them.

Another thing is, you cannot change out the cams on this machine. This is the cheyenne soul, nova unlimited, so you can either buy them in the 3.5 or the four this one’s in a four and i use it for line work. Color. I’Ve used it for shade work as well um, but yeah they’re, just great machines that you could pick up the one thing you need to think about with these.

Is you need to make sure that you are wrapping your machine so with this you either can take this off and buy the disposable grips that screw on or you need to autoclave this. It’S one thing that you definitely want to make sure you know before buying a machine like this, because there are not as many disposable grips for these type of machines, just because everyone’s different, you know with the rotaries you can buy disposable grips that are pretty much Interchangeable, but that is one con when it comes to the pen that the disposables are kind of hard to find um. So yeah, that’s one thing i’ll, definitely look into before actually buying one of these [ Music, ]. Okay. So before you make your final decision on what you’re looking to get there’s a couple things that kind of go into play before you actually make your purchase.

Um, the versatility of a machine is a big deal. So if i’m looking for a machine, i want something with a long stroke because of the style that i do so with rotaries. The possibilities are endless. You can change the stroke like we just talked about to give the machine with most of them they’re. Just a great machine for if you want some versatility, which is which is a big deal whenever you are tattooing, you want to be able to do anything that walks into the door unless you really only do one style, but when you are first starting out, you Really don’t know the style that you’re looking to get into so it’s a great choice so before you make your decision on what machine you’re going to buy, i’d like to explain a couple of things to kind of narrow down everything for you.

So it depends on what style you’re wanting to get into. You know if you’re going into more like realism in black and gray you’re, going to be looking for like a three millimeter stroke um, just because it hits a lot less and it’ll be way easier to get those smooth shading in there into the skin. Without a lot of trauma, if you’re looking more for like big line, work and color, i probably recommend a four stroke. That’S what i use and it works really good because it hits really hard. So it’s very easy to penetrate the skin and get those lines in there.

So the next point would be the price point of what you have to spend on a machine. Most of these machines are 500 and up, but these machines – i’ve had for five seven years. Um, like this inkjecta, you know they hold up very good through time. As long as you take care of them. The maintenance is super low.

You have to oil them once in a while, but there’s really nothing much. You have to do to them to upkeep them. Another thing when it comes to price point: there are a lot of tattoo machines out there that are very cheap, but what you want is something that’s going to hold up through time. You don’t want something to break down mid tattoo, because that could be super stressful for you. You know, make you freak out and that’s not something you really want to put yourself into whenever you are first starting out.

So your price point definitely has a big deal on what you’re able to get if you’re, trying to find a cheaper tattoo machine for right now. I definitely recommend the mast machines. I’Ve used them a few times. They work really well for what they are, but i definitely recommend as soon as you do have the cash to get something. I definitely upgrade to something like the inkjet to flight nano or even the cheyenne tattoo machines, just because they work and they hold up through time and the last point, and probably the biggest point on this list would be what is comfortable for you.

There is no legendary machine. That’S going to work for everyone, there’s a lot that goes into being comfortable with the machine. It took me a while to get used to the pen style machines, just because i was so used to the injector style, with like the grip and that weight being in the back. So my best advice would be try out other machines whenever you can, some will feel uncomfortable for you. Some won’t work as well for you, so just building that knowledge on different type of machines, so that when you find one that works perfectly for you and the style of tattooing, you do you know exactly what’s going to work for the rest of your career.

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