Tattoo Machine Frames – Everything You Need To Know

The typical tattoo machine frame is made from either copper, cast iron, stainless steel, brass, aluminum, or bronze. The different in metal affects the weight of the device, and this can affect how the artist designs their artwork.

Heavier pieces in a smaller hand can cause fatigue after a few hours of working, reducing the quality of the artwork.

The tattoo machine is made from a piece of metal that is cut to shape and then welded together and grounded out smooth.

basically the less metal used in your tattoo frame, the lighter and easier this device will be to use.

This also means that the lines will be seamless and the shading flawless too. here is a breakdown of what you can expect to find in your tattoo machine frames.

The Tattoo Frame Exterior

Depending on the supply company from which you get your frame, the exterior could be polished steel or have unique designs like skulls and dragons on them.

The more designs attached to your frame, basically the heavier the unit will be while you are working.

When it comes to the exterior of your tattoo frame, less is definitely more. What you are looking for here is quality, balance, and weight. The best weight should be between seven or eight ounces and fit very comfortably in your hand.

Cast iron frames can weigh over ten ounces, and over the course of a few hours could feel like 10 pounds in your hand. Test drive a few different frames at local supply stores, then shop online to find the best deals.

Brass Tattoo Machine Frame:

Tattoo Machine Frames

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The Armature Bar

Look for the coils on your frame, above it you will see the armature bar. This will be a rectangular piece of metal with a screw hole in the one side and a shaft on the other.

The shaft is known as the armature nipple, where the grommet and needle loop are attached to your machine.

The armature bar is normally made of rolled steel and nickel plated. The smaller size of the spring assembly and armature bar means that regardless the metal used to make these assemblies, it should not have any effect on your performance.

Although they may change in appearance from machine to machine, the standard in the industry is rectangular.

The big difference is the heavier material used in the bar, the slower the movement, The lighter the metal, the faster the movement of your machine.

Iron Tattoo Machine Frame:

Whole Frames

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The Springs

Connecting the armature bar to the tattoo frame is the springs. The back spring is the main spring connecting the frame to the armature bar.

The front spring is also attached to that armature bar, but it rests on top of the back spring and is the contact point for the contact screw.

The front spring controls the speed in which your machine will run, whereas the back spring determines the strength your machine will hit the skin.

In order to get the best quality work out of your tattoo machine, the two springs and the armature bar should be viewed as one component instead of three separate parts.

Copper Tattoo Machine Frame:

Hand-polished Copper Frame

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The O Ring

On the end of the armature is a small piece of rubber known as the o ring. The job of the o ring is to pull back the front spring, allowing it to pull back with added force.

It doubles as a shock absorber, reducing the impact as the front spring comes in contact with the screw.

The o ring is vital for tuning your tattoo machine, so in spite of many popular tattoo artists removing the o ring, leave it on your device.

Cleaning Your Tattoo Frame

In order to properly clean your tattoo machine frame, you need to disassemble it completely. Be sure to rubber band all the coils together, then lay each part of the machine on a clean paper towel or plate and spray with a beach/water mix.

Soaking in this solution for a few minutes will kill any viruses. Now scrub each part individually with a clean towel and some rubbing alcohol.

If your machine has rough patches or rust, use a 2000 grit sandpaper to lightly sand the surface clean. Continue using sandpaper to clean the contact screw and the coil heads.

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