Tattoo Guns, Slang For Tattoo Machines

A common expression with tattooing, but this term is looked down upon by many artists. The proper term would be tattoo machine. Some tattoo artist find it offensive to call the machine a gun, Why? Because guns kill people and guns represent danger and carry a bad stigma with many people.

I have heard of people loosing it and artist even loosing a job over such a misunderstood expression.

So lets shed some basic light on tattoo machines and a few different types to get a better understanding of the tattoo machines or tattoo guns as called by some.

there are many types of tattoo machines, this article will the basic two types of machines available today.

1. The traditional coiled tattoo machine.

Tattoo Guns ImageThis machine has been the most popular choice for tattoo artist in the last 70 years, it consists of a set of coils, a frame and parts to make the machine complete. There are many things that can change a tattoo machine and the way it runs. The coil size, the gauge of the front or rear spring, size of capacitor, the weight of the armature bar or even the bend on the front or rear spring.

Tattoo artist like coiled machines for a few reasons, one is that they are completely customizable and you can change the way the machine runs by having knowledge of all the above mentioned things, to get the machine to run just the way you like it.

Machines with coils use many things to make them run correctly, the proper follow thru, the desired speed and the machines duty cycle. if these are of, a machine may not run right and could cause problems with the tattoo or damage to the skin.

There is far more to a tattoo machine then just setting the voltage, the voltage in my opinion does not matter, as a machine can be tuned to run fast or slow at any speed and that preferred voltage changes from tattoo artist to tattoo artist.

2.  Rotary tattoo machine.

Rotary Tattoo Guns ImageThe rotary tattoo machine has been around for a long time. This is the type of machine that you originally heard all the nightmares about in prisons and at home with people making machines out of walk mans or electric tooth brushes, or any smaller electrical item. Many tattoo artist did not like the rotary machine when it first came out because of this reason.

But in today’s tattoo world many companies and artists have made huge improvements to the rotary machine, thus making them safer, cooler and popular with many artists. Rotary tattoo machines now are made so that some adjustments can be made to them, to change the depth of the needle entry or the stroke of the machine. This helps more artist  find a setting that works better for their style of tattooing.

Rotary tattoo machines can not be tuned like a coiled tattoo machine, but they are improving each day and in the future, we may see some cool new features available.

So the old tattoo gun is not what it used to be, it is a part of modern science and changes like anything in life. Whether you decide to stay with the tradition of a coiled tattoo machine or fall in love with a Swiss motor driven rotary machine, that choice is now your and either way the choice will be a good one.

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