Like all tradespeople, tattoo artists must have deep familiarity with and knowledge of their tools in order to keep them in good working condition. Fortunately, there’s really only one indispensable tool in the tattoo artist’s arsenal: the tattoo machine.
Some artists spend their entire careers tinkering, tweaking and customizing their tattoo machines, while others simply buy a new one when their old one starts to fade, but regardless of your interest in tattoo machine customization and modification, it’s important to understand the different tattoo machine parts and how they work in order to get the most out of them and troubleshoot problems.
Coil tattoo machine parts
If you’re looking for a replacement part or simply want to learn more about how your coil tattoo machine works, check out the product categories below.
Armature bars: The armature bar is the piece of metal that sits above the coils and holds the tattoo needle. The electromagnetic force generated by the coils attracts the armature bar, driving the motion of the tattoo needle.
Coils: These stacked rings of copper wire are the heart of a coil tattoo machine. When electricity passes through them, they become electromagnets that drive the motion of the armature bar and tattoo needle.
Screws and posts: There are multiple different screws and posts required to power a coil tattoo machine: the contact screw and front binding post help control the depth of needle, the rear binding post secures the clip cord power supply, and the thumbscrew helps to secure the tube and grip.
Nipples and grommets: These small rubber pieces secure the tattoo needle to the armature bar to make sure it does not slip or detach during operation.
Rubber bands and O-rings: While not part of the machine itself, these rubber accessories help dampen and control the vibrations resulting from the operation of the tattoo machine. Rubber bands are used to reduce vibrations through the tattoo needle, while o-rings help stabilize the front spring and contact screw.
Tattoo machine tools
If you plan on building, repairing or customizing your tattoo machine, you’ll need the right tools for the job. From basic tattoo machine Allen wrench sets to tube and tip cleaning brushes to armature bar alignment tools, PainfulPleasures has the tools you need to get your tattoo machine dialed in.
If you want to try tattoo machine repair, construction or customization but aren’t sure where to start, pick up one of our tattoo machine repair and rebuild starter kits. Then check out our full guide to replacing coil tattoo machine parts for even more in-depth explanations of tattoo machine anatomy as well as instructions for common coil machine repairs.