Sei sulla pagina 1di 35


SUMMER 2001 5$ US
.. __ .. _ .... _10
___ .......... 10< tI>e __
____ 01 ..... ,_
, .. __ .... -
... ,.. __
dHoof_'" b<"!I_ 01 .....
oId __ .... oI""""""" _ ..... 011 ... __
_ ...... .-.-.pod-....
__ ........ -n.
-,-......... ...
..... _-_ ... "'"
...... _w. ............. ...
"'-JOU',."", ...... -Lott.rI",
.... ... be._ .... _
__ 10 __
-""-_ .. -
fw. .. _ .. __ .....
_ .... .,...."'...-.octt.
-.-.. ...,.. ..........
_...,10, ... _
.. ____ .. ..., .. 01''''01' ...
........ , ...
...... U"O' ......... occo<",pon ....
.,. ..... , ..... ,' _. "'1 ." ...
.... ..."..,... ............ '1_'"
..... _""""'-,
.. DOlI WIllI
u .. "' .... _

Sure, we're trying to do a good
Job and make mOMy. but after
twenty years of doing this, what
I remember and care about
most IS the stuff that was fun. It
used to be, the guys who weren't
having "un were the ones who
weren't too good at tattooing.
It was like they were so worried
5Omebody would figure out they
were lousy tattooers that they'd
meet all interaction head-on with
negativity. Maybe the trouble
With tattooing now is that nobody
apprentces. A lot of scary guys
don't want anybody to start
tattooing. $0 nobody wants to
be responsible for teaching-50
people just don't learn. They
tattoo, but they don't know much
about being a tattooer. and they
for sure don't know anything
about the equipment .
Md'::!dtil,., Will v.,1,uw-lu a'lid ..
from fundamentals like changing
a capaCitor. to advanced theory
about frame geometry. If it's about
tattoo machines and equipment,
we're going to bok at It. Hope-
fully you'll learn 5Omething, work
on your eqUipment, tattoo better,
make more money. and have
some fun.
ThiS IS not gOing to be a
about tattoos It will be a
about tattooing, and
especially about tattoo machines
Our project .... aeh,ng uk", its
name from the 1950's land-speed
record sett,ng JEt car. the Green
Monster. Our objeCtive IS to attain
a speed of 300 Hl. which will make
the Green Monster the world's
fastest running tattoo machine. It's
easy to make a machine run 150
Hz. but to double that, you must
know how to efficiency.
What we learr from pushing
the limits gets translated into
... ill'st of all we're going to try and have some
fun, so if something seems funny, laugh at it .
So this IS how I propose to make controlling the machine precisely.
things a little bit better ... first of making an everyday machine run
all we're going to try and have exactly how you want it to A lot
some fun, $0 if something seems of tattooers say that kind of stuff
funny, at It. If something doesn't maner ... ,f you think about
doesn't make sense ... don't act it, those are the same guys who
like It does, ask somebody, ask a mostly are no fun. and are trying
stupid cuestion. Let's face it, ,f we to make $Ure nobody notices that
were better educated, If we were they don't know nothing
smarter. we probably wouldn't
be tattooing. So we're going to
go over 50me pretty basic stuff
The m.:in focus of Machinegun
If they can't dig thiS ... they cen't
dig what tattooing has become.
, for one, won't miss the'iC
Ell'Oti DEVICE ItiC.
lo,,,,, "".1 <"I'Y"IJI'. 1OO1 N" Plrt of ,,,,, ""'9><'" mey boo "p'od,,,..;,, tt.o"
.-m ""'" oJ , ... 1"'0 ...... 0..",0.<0<1 by E,"'" 00,,< . . ... '. Mo<" M>;p.<.no. """'-"Y
__ ON, c,,,,,,,- K7M 7Cil . .. ... ,com
Ad ,,, .. ,,..; ",.dl "" .... ,I.t><. _
eRnUL StlELlltiG
Project Machi ne: Til e Creell Monsler POWl'r . l!trough lire IJiwwillg s/(lge .
Machine Measurements .,., .......................... ,.
Interview: East coml "ou/ f'xpmu/s ilHO cyber sllUce. 5.' 111 Cifi'rri ,/i.i(:U.sS{'S
lattooillg, muchill P buil./i"l!- "mllris websi te's Discrtssiou '"or""' ............. 8
Machine Parts ................. ,.,.,., .......................... ,.
Readers' Machi nes: Hill Hula'r' . Milli .. " Vol/fir Muchiue ,.
Cmig Driscoll: I ,ookill ' doi/l ' it Ihe righl I<"U)",
Keith S,ewurt: 25 yeurs (IIul II /01 o/mur/,i",'s hiler.
How To: CUllill,l( SprillgS,
Shop Space: Pre""III;"U ojCru .. -Cm'I""'i",,t iou iu 'l'I/lOoiug . ....... .
Tattooing, What Happened? Cu/buck Murhiu,' s.
What's Your Problem? Techuin.I "'''/ mw;hill e .
Autoclave Cookbook: Nil" 'Illd FmllJ,s.
Coloring Contest ....... .
Classifieds .
. .19
. ..... 28
Lightnl bar wit prodo.Ke the A must fa aetting IMler! up into
15(l 's Of without (1o!.i:Jg out point gop 01 4lorttninll stroke length.
Sets speeds in range of 110 10 1 Hz while maintaining PfClpei point gop
OM stroke length.
Modmum size bilr gives IIIIIximum wvighllo mhine down to speeds
OfOIJlld 100Hz wilhout need of inueolins point 9!lP Of Slrokl Ie"!llt..
II you wanl it from your tattoo machine you've galla gel ilfirst in
your springs and armature bar. Tru-SpringTM armature bars
and springs are monufodured under exoding quality (ontrol
conditions on modern machinery to give you the ultimate in
performance. Speed'controlling weighted armature bars in
(oniunction with the widest range of spring gauges in the industry
ensure you (on get your mochine running right.
Springs and bars sold individually or in (omplele kits.
Look for Tru-SpringTM products of your tattoo supply
shop-or tall
ell 1.800.427.8198
The most important measurement that can be made on a machine
is the speed that it runs at. Machine speed determines if a machine
will work as a liner or a shader. Most tattooers have no idea what
speed their machines run at. Some are using a liner for a shader,
and some are trying to outline with a machine that should be a
shader. They could easily fix this, if they could measure and control
the speed of their machines. Speeds of 100 to 120 Hz are common
for shaders, and speeds as high as 150 Hz are used for liners. The
Green Monster will break the 300 Hz barrier. We're not building this
machine just to go fast. By making it run at maximum speed, we will
learn what the limitations of each part of the machine are. Once we
know that, we can figure out how to overcome those limitations, and
engineer a better running machine.
The old adage dime gap for a liner, nickel gap for a shader implies
that to adjust speed, you should adjust the point gap. Adjusting
point gap is the least efficient way of adjusting machine speed. It
will change the sound of the machine a lot, but not the speed.
Consider this, if you can tattoo into the permanent layer of skin with the
short stroke length of a liner, why do you need a longer stroke length
on a shader? Shaders have a longer stroke length to slow the machine
down. A long stroke length is difficult to tattoo with, and there is the
potential of tattooing too deeply into the skin. Length of stroke is very
important, and should be established during the planning stages of
building a machine. Most people are running an armature bar that's
too heavy in their liner. To compensate for that they have to run overly
hard springs, the end result being they need lots of voltage. They also
generally run an armature bar that is too light in their shader. They
compensate for that with soft springs and a big air gap, the end result
again being they need lots of voltage. Speed should never be attained
by running an overly long or short stroke length. To tattoo, you need
In the late 1950's,
Walt Arfons came
up with the idea of
building a car powered
by a military surplus
jet engine. In 1960
his jet car, The Green
Monster, ran 342 mph
at Bonneville. The Green
Monster also set records
for 1 /4 mile top speed
from a standing start in
1961 and 1963.
a worku'l9 stroke length of at least 1/16 of an
inch_ You can lock down that st roke length,
the two should answer some questions about
frame material. Usually when guys work on
and st,lI get a machine to run any speed you machll'les, there's no plannlng ... but iI little
want, even 300 Hz forethought will go a long way.
The most effiCient way to Increase speed IS
to lighten the armature bar. To increase the
speed even more, we will have to reduce the
point gap and the air gap on the machine to
the minimum. The problem is, reducing the
air gap will leave us wit h a stroke length that
is too short_ We're gOing to build a custom
frame that will set t he t ube vise approximately
112 inch fo rwa rd of stock (se e diag ra m be low).
This extension of the frame base wi ll give
t he machine ma)l lmum stroke length wi th a
minimal air gap. We wi ll balance the short air
gap with a short point gap_ The front spring wil l
be super hard, and will be balanced with high
back sprong pressure. Those factors will create
ma)limum speed with a proper working stroke
length. We're going to make two frames, one
of alummum, and one of brass. Comparing
We're going to get to work building this thing.
comparing the frame materials. trying different
CapaCitors, Iremember we'll be running at 300
Hz) and cutting springs for the monst er. We' ll
be install ing a custom armat ure bar t hat's not
only light, bu t It wil l mount the front spring at
a much higher angle t han usual. We' ll d iscuss
how this affects the follow through of the
cont act points, and what fol low through is and
how It affects your machine.
As distances increase from the fulcrum point, length of working stroke increases
while size of air gap remains the same.
1. the fultrum point
2. the si ze of the
air gap
3. length of working
stroke with
platement of
tube vise
4. length of working
stroke with tube
vise moved
forword on
e xtended fra.".
1. back spring pressure
2. weight of armature bar
3. front spring gauge
4. point gop
5. front spring length
6. back spring width
7. back spring gauge
8. back spring angle of defl ection
lsee diagram 0 right)
9. back spring length
10. front spring angle of deflection
1 1. air gop
duty cycle
follow through
8. Back Spring Angle of Deflection
Bad spring ongle of defle(tion must be mecsured wirhofll
front spring on ma<hine.
Angle of deflellion may be meosured
A. as on angle in relation to machine frame
8. or as a distolKe between (entre of front (oil
and armature
OIK! front spring is mounted on armoture, tie measurement
between front (oil (ore and armature is the air gap.

Bill Baker. the deal ... ith
O-ringl1l ' m 101nllo tell YOII right
off Ihe bat - I ean't 'land it.
Seth Cif.ffl: It makes the machine
sound better. Like. it's a qUick flK to
make it sound good, but you've got
to bump your volts up by at least
two or three. I say take them off and
throw them away. You know, I think a
lot of it comes from Mickey Sharpl..
He WIll II. produd of Ihal time.
How many machine. do ),ou think he's
Well, let me think I've bought
three or four machines from him,
a while ago. One was #141, one
was #86, and one was like fi ve-
something ... and now the Ml crodials
are up to around 3500.
If II. guy sold that many machines,
made that milch mone)'. ",'hydldn'l any
of it 10 back Into re.eareh, why didn't
any of It go Into II better machIne?

I believe an awful lot of bow
I. tt_ look, or lI'hether a tattoo I,
done well , I, machine related.
You cannot talloo lood with a crappy
ronnln, machine.
You know what, I think you
can. You could do a tattoo with a
sh,tty machone.
. -
Yeah, I could conlpensate for II
r1ghl. left and centre - but I think
there's thin,s I can wllh
a bener machine.
If you take each of the variables
that exist step by step, I thonk
that you have no choice but to do
better tattoos.
I agree - and I think Ihal ),ou can"
just somebody a machine, and
sa)' this is a lreat running machine
for everyone. Buttha!'. kind of how I
11'85 taught. I didn't even know these
van able. existed.
I know, the guy I worked for used
a pair of Spaulding Supremes ... both
exactly the same, The onlydifference
was nickel shader - dime li ner.
Oh golly, here we go with this.
Wel l, you know - that was it, one
went eeeeeeee. the other was uhh
hhh unghhh hh hh, and they were
both running on those Spauldong
t oaster
Yeah, those are: amuill'.
Putting out about 30 volts.
Yeah, I'd like 10 run aboul tII'ehie
rubber bands on that machine, plea",.
Beeause on zero thallhin, II pullin,
out eight ' Oltl.
That's what I'm talking aboutl
I want to talk alK!utthe names of
the part, on a tattoo machine. We all
know lI'hat we're: talking about , bUI
we ha>'e 10 IG throu(th a lot of effort
10 describe 1110 each olher. The back
sprllg shd' II where )"Ou boltlhe back
spring ontu the flllme. &1 I've itllloo)'1
(Ailed thallhe spring saddle. II illhe
sprinl saddle?
I would know what you're talkin"
Would you?
Sollie guy. don't - 1 wish we just
had one term that we all used,
Right - like a universal word.
r Ihlnk there Is .tartlng 10 be a
ned fnr Ibis language. When guys
would lei together once a year at a
( on'enllon, and bave their machines
III Ihe pocket of their jealls, and take
them oul and lo .. . look at whatI'm
dollll ... they'd point to partl, or they
would IITlle a leiter, and. draw a lillie
diall'llm, and I' m doinll this
and I'm doinlthal. But on the inlernet,
If. completely lall,uage, and I think
U's 4ifncultlo explain to somebody.
eve. talklnllo Ihem - jusl wltb
"nluage - what part of the machine
you're talklnll aboul - or how that
machine i. runnlnll.
in the site, people check out the
information on the shop,
II seems like It's manageable
righl n()W, bul we' re talklng about
something that's only been going on
for a few months - wtJat are you going
to do?
I think what's going to happen
eventually is I'll probably get on
there two or three t imes a week and
the other guys who are real ly into it,
and involved with it the most are
going to keep it going.
I think that the websile probably
adds a wtJole other cast of charact en
10 everyday life in the s hop, I'm sure
thalthere's 50me talk in the shop
a ooul wtJat 50 and 50 said last night.
It's definitely a topic of discussion
around here. The forum's been a big
thing for us, and it's been a lot of
H()W long has the s hop been open?
I opened it in July of '99, I was
Little Vinnie's for two and a half
years. Before that, I had been in a
shop in D.C. cal led Jinx-Proof, we
opened that place in September of
'96. I stayed there for nine months,
It was a seventy-five mi le commute
from where I lived. I did that five
days a week and was done. I was
moving anyway and Vinnie had just
opened up his new shop, which was
six miles from my new house- so I
went to work for Vinnie. Stayed there
for two and a half years, and just got
restless with dealing with the steady
flow of walk-in customers. Wel l, you
know how it is .. ,they're trying to run
a tight ship, and trying t o do things
their way
And you've got Ideas- that are
youn- I'm sure Ihat was part of the
motivation of you getting your own
place going.
Pretty much, Really, every shop
I've worl<ed in, every single shop I've
worked in I've always had something
to say about how things were run,
I'm that kind of person.
Yeah. I can see it.
like, it always upset people, and
I always understood why, You know,
if I can't keep my mouth shut, what
am I going to do?
Well, open your own shop,
Exactly, they'd say if you don't
like it, go open your own place, And
now I've got my own place and I'm
fuckin' scared to death.
The s hop looks really cool. I'm
sure you've !leen getting lots of good
Yeah, when I first got the place, I
had one stati on in the back, reception
area up front, and some framed old
But I missed worl<ing with my
friends. Matt Rinks is here ful l-time
now, and Nancy takes care of the
walk-ins, it's cool, everybody here
get s along real ly good.
RIght, and there's stuff happening,
but you can' t tattoo every single
person who wan15to get tattooed by
you, and build machines ever:t'day, and
handle the websit e, and everything
else, right? Whlch are all good
problems to have. "but" ,
Well, what I've tried to hash out
for myself is starting next week I'm
t attooing three days a week and
that's it, Whether I'm in the shop or
not. That's a whole other story. So
three days of appointment s, and at
least two days of machine bui lding,
O,K. ' cause I was going to ask
would you even consider letting the
machine building drop? I would
hope not.
No, probably not. because
really think I've got something that's
going to do good for people, that's
real ly going to make people's jobs
I agree with you, When did you
actually slart laking Ihls sluff apart?
As soon as I started tattooing,
When I was probably about fifteen,
when I first got tattooed, I guess,
maybe a little bit before that, a
fnend from high school and myself
kind of rigged up a little cassette
motor deal, and of course, marl<ed
each other up a little bit with some
stupid little shit, and it was just kind
of one of those things where I'd
bring kids home from school and
marl< them up every now and then,
Right around the same time my
brother, Adam, ordered some stuff
from Spaulding and Rogers, and he
was marking up some kids too, It got
to the point where when he was at
his day job, which was being a brick
layer, I'd come home from school
early and 'jack his stuff and try and
put something on somebody bef ore
he came home from work,
'Cause he'd have the high powered
Spaulding sel-up, wtJlch means you
could reaUy do 50me talloolng then.
Adam got an apprenticeship
with the same guy I later did, Close
to a year, maybe eight months
before I got there.
1i()W long did he stay there?
He was there for about a year
and a half.
a pretty long lime . .. for
that kind of environmenl ...
Yeah, it was pretty scary. It was
definitely a lot of crazy bi ker stuff,
you know,
Yeah, and there's a lot of unwritten
code of the hills, or kind of code of
ethics sluff Ihal doesn't really make
any sense, And It's kind of hard,
especially !leing a punk<rock kid, to go
'you im()W wtJat? I Just don't buy Inlo
any of Ihis crap,'
But you have to . .. and you don't
im()W no !letter, and It's tattooing, and
you're over-whelmed, ,.So eventually
you got mixed up there, too, and then
}'OU got !letter equipment, obviously,
The fi rsl machine I was handed
and t old 'use this thing', was a Paul
Rogers, Mad Bee. And sure as shit
the first thing I did was tear it apart
and break the wires in the centers of
the coils, you know.
Good thinking,
First thing, .. so there's me trying
to solder up into the core, I seriously
tried to do what ever I could to put
this thing back mto working order
so I could put it back in the box
and pretend I didn't touch it. So I
was given some stuff to use, it was
obviously his and I wasn 't to take it
with me, While I was working there,
I met a guy named T Swartz, he
was tattooing out of his house, and
he gave me a couple of machine
frames and a couple of pairs of coils
and gave me some tips, as far as
not fucki ng things up, Pretty basic
stuff. He showed me how t o make
needles. When I was worl<ing at
Right - exactly_
I think It just doesn't exlst - maybe we
should just start pushing It,
And lell gu)'ll - we want to call It Ihls
a nd we Wilt to callI! Ihal .
Yeah. it's definitely interesting It's
something that I've thought about
Because people don't know what you're
talking about. When you say yoke to
some one, they think you're talking
about a tLbe vise.
This whole language thing II really
a bIg deal to me, As far as )'our website
goes, i, the machine discussion area your
whole site? Or 15 It part of your slle?
That's just part of t he site. The whole
site went up at the same time. The first
forum thet went up was real Simple,
there was,'t a really good structure to
It It was real loose you couldn't read
the post easily, you really had to search
through mem_ We changed over to the
new one on December 28
Kight around New Year, 2001 ,
5u that'. only three months allo.
Yeah, and that one has gotten, as of
today, close to 36,000 hits.
ThaI's good, I know on the internet
an)'body can have an opinion, 11'. like a
soap box all tao .tand up on, one
a t a time, and say whatever they want -
&ome body Is In charge, a little hit like a
ring master of the whole ordeal - and I
ass ume you, right?
SC Well , the only kind of poSi ti on
have, In that sense, is making sure that
stuff doesn't get out of hand. I really
try and encourage people to bnng up
certain topics.
Do you bave a topk that you poIt for
tnem to respond lo? Or do you ju. t let it
I think it's a little of everythltlg A lot
of the topICS that I post are just everyday
shop stuff. Stuff that I think is funny
A lot of t imes somebody wil l post a
technical quest ion like 'why should I not
use grommets'? for example. That one
got so muc, attention. 'IoIhat helps a lot
is Aaron C01les on, and he'll break st uff
down for people. People have a lot of
respect for him.
Yeah It'. true.
So when he says thiS is what I use,
and thiS is Nhy, and explains It step by
step. You wouldn't beheve how many
people are like, 'Oh my God, I changed
over to u51rg paper towels now Instead
of grommets and my tattOOing IS so
much bette( It's unbelievable to see.
I think Internet Is a better venue
fur apprentl[eship than IIny uther fom) of
It ever could be,
You think?
Yeah, Inally do, It'. kInd of crazy, but
you can pul question oul , and you know
there's II little bit of beln, anonymous, &0
you caD ask a reat dumb que. lion without
feeling too!d.
And you're getting all that input from
so many different angles Somebody can
really get a good objective response
from everybody. Not just from
cranky old bi ker who's doing It hi s way.
And eve. if he'. right ninety pertent
of the time, stili wron, ten percent
of the lime, And even hi. ninety percent
that's right - bn't the only way,
So I think It'. really an limning thing,
If &Ornebod)' want. to get on your sit e ...
they've got to be regl.tered . .. rlaht?
To post Anybody can get on
and read the posts.
Yeah, wbkh I've dOlle,
SC Right, aU you have to do t o register
is click register or log In, you'll pick
a screen name and a password, then
you hit enter. It sends you an e-mail to
confirm, you respond to the e-mail and
that activates your account That's all It
is, really, JUs: reglstenng
Does It ro.t an)1hing?
SC It doesll't cost anything to register -
It's a totall y free thing I just do It because
it's fun. It generates a lot of interest
Right, all you
have to do
to register is
click register
or log in,
you'll pick
a screen
name and a
then you hit
the shop we used pre-mades so when
he came along he was like 'what ale
you doIng?! You gotta build your own
needles, you gotta make mags' - he kind
of set me straIght, In that regard. Then
I left there, and went, well, I tattooed
out of my apartment A lot of the early
Insp'r.3t1on fO( puttll'lg machines together
came from Tom Beasley
Yeah, he Jusl had that thing about
tl nkertng _ and worklng l+i th machlne. _
Right , my brother worked for him
for a whi le, and whil e my brother was
t here, I'd go to the shop. When I was
tattoOing out of my apart ment, they
let me use their autoclave-while I was
waIting for t he 'clave to run I sure as
hell wasn't sltt ln' on my hands-I was
digging through his shit, you know. and
I went and got tattooed by him - and
watched Intently every little thing that
he dId. He spent a lot of time WIth Paul
Rogers, and pIcked up a lot of stuff - not
that Paul Rogers IS the end-all, but I
think he was one of the first guys that
really started to delve Into the real
functIon of the machIne. And I think
it's gOing the dlrectlon he would have
wanted it to go.
Ir. funny, people really romantklz.e this
whole old-school t hing.
It's like all these guys that are just so
stuck on doIng tradItIonal tattoos-and
you would thmk that they're trying to
st ay true to whatever-but Sailor Jerry, for
example, was all about moving forward.
and progressing. These people are Just
trying to repl Icate what he was doing in
Or Ihelr perceptlun uf what he WM
dulng In 1965.,. 1f he WIUIlhem.
It's not doIng hIm or them any justice
- it's really 9O'ng agaInst what all that was
about I think what Aaron is doIng is way
more along the lines of what these guys
would have expected
Yeah, they " "ere Just 60lng ,,halevar
t hey WII ld do.
There was a reaSOf'l these guys weren't
uSIng hot pink pigment. It was because
they dIdn't have it So, what happened
when I left the f i ~ t shop. the guy took all
my equipment that I had managed to get,
I had bought a couple of machInes and a
bunch of tubes. He knew he was gettIng
nd of me, but I didn't know he knew I had
some money saved. and It was lIke, 'hey,
you need t o get your own place, you
need to get a new car, you need to buy
th,S eguipment" .. . so he completely made
me exhaust all my savIngs .and then
fired me, changed the locks on t he shop,
and kept all my st uff
U's amazing how they do it. And 11'8 so
lame, Irs JUIlihe l ame, all the tJme,
Yeah, some old school shit. I got
lucky and my friend Pee Wee, who
also apprentIced at t he same place-he
had left already-he went to go work
at Dragon Moon, WIth my brother. He
gave me a couple of Philadelph,a Eddie's
machines. Some of the early United stuff,
the real shorty machlnes- he gave me
a couple of those to use, and a power
supply. Mid< Beasley set me up WIth a
Job at Tattoos by Lou In M,amI. I drove
down to South Beach, and Lou took a
look at the machines and was Ioke, 'what
the?? Vllhat're you do,n? Let me re-
spring these.' I was, what do you mean
re-Spflng them?
Uke ","hal are )'OU lalkl ng about ?
So he comes back the ne)(\ day, and
he gi ves me my machones ... and they
each have two front springs on them, of
like real thin, like 13 gauge stock. One
was a little shorter than the other, you
know what I'm tal king about?
Yeah 1 knuw.
And I t hought they ran like crap. I
couldnt bel ieve what he handed me
back. But it was my first exposure to
somebody not USIng O-nngs. So that
was thaI. I couldnt hang on M,am,-I
stayed there for like ten days and came
right back to BaltImore. Then I drove
up to New York to try and get a job
WIth Bruce Bart, up in Hunter MountaIn.
That dIdn't won. out, It was Just too faf,
I didn't want to be away from Baillmore
So I Cilme back and got a Job In a total
ghetto shop.
Wbal )"ear are we talking about now?
A lot of
the early
for putting
came from
Tom Beasley.
Jonesy Roundbock
Joncsy Squarcback
March of '95. I stayed there
until September of '96, \oVhile I was
there, this guy, Danny Dflngenberg
had Just started making coils and
stuff. I managed to get a hold
of a couple of pairs of his coils
Somewhere along the line, I'd
gotten a couple of National Delu)te
frames, and I pot them together
with his coils_ Gradually I figured
out that I could buy equipment to
cut and punch my own springs, and
I bought a roll of feeler gauge stock
and started putting these Jonesy
frames together Matt Rinks and
Brad y Duncan got some from me,
and Ti m Hoyer bought one from
me a long time ago. People that I
knew were getting them from me,
The only real difference that I was
doing between liner and shader
was I'd bend the front spring up
higher to make it a liner, and make
,t a little stiffer. When I was selling
these things I showed one to Mike
Malone, and he's like 'what is thiS?'
You know, it could have been either
a liner or shader. Kind of middle of
the road. So ... back to the drawmg
board. So I called him up and he's
like 'Look, I'm gomg to lay It oul
for you: So he tells me, like look,
this is the difference. This is why a
shader runs the way 1\ does, and he
got into how thick the pigment IS,
compared to regular black outline
pigment, and the speedier out li ner
is that way for a reason. Your shader
has to be slow and punchy to
push that pigment because the
pigment can't keep up With the
needles if they' re going too fast ,
and YOU' re making all that blood.
and all those holes, and no pigment
is going in. So t hen It was like, O.K.
how do I make It go slower? It
was an obvious thing_ increase the
distance between the armature bar
and the spring shelf. Make a longer
front spring that has a little more
give to It ... and It seemed really
obvious to me
Were you altering the aesttletlc of
the frames - did that even enter your
conKiousnus, did you even care?
Well, when t got those brass
National frames, they're a bit
square".1 was taking them to a
belt sander; and I was gnnding off
all the hard edges, making it look
like a rolJnd-back. Filing the shit
out of them-I'd buff 'em real nice,
sometimes putting some patina
chemical on there, and engraving
my name real fant)' on
See, well thaI'. good ... there
wa!I &Orne 0' that going on, too. Not
Just mechanical.
Right, it was probably more
aesthetic than mechanica L I guess
one of the main things I was doing,
only because I had seen it on Paul
Roger5 machines, was I had some
base plates made with the tube
crusher collet, and I was cutting the
chudc off the Jonesys.
Right out oflhe box - brand new?
Yep Nothing wrong with them,
no repair needed - just cut it off It
was because I was trying to replicate
the Paul Rogers machines that I'd
Buill', a pretty btl change 10
whack off part of ttle frame, It reaJly Is.
Yeah, and most kids my age who
were not in tattooing all that long
hadn't seen that much. They were
usmg a fight out of the box Dennis
Dwyer machme or a Spauldmg
machine or something like that.
Danny's coils were reall y neat, they
h"d that cool c-clip thing on top
holdmg the washer5 on there- those
machmes were kind of gimmicky
you know.
Bullhat'. 0,1(, because a lot of
that 11 aestheti c, and guys would
think, 'wow thl. looks cool.'
Right, they don't have to use that
chrome mad1ine with the Spaulding-
spar1c1y bllJe coils With the tiny, tiny
little capacitor.
00 you II(lW think you'd
like to make a macbine thaI'. different,
or have you JUlt got a .t)1e In mind,
aDd )'UtI like how illooks.
Well, the frames that I had cast are the
same design as the Johnny Walker frame,
which ended up beIng the Spaulding
Supreme-It's the same frame, wJthOlJt
the koIe In the SIde It's a lot thicker, a lot
heavier frame, and It'S made of iron, I've
got some brass ones, too.
I! would be about the same size, then as
the one. Mkkey 800 Mickey 8
making, The same bulc frame style, 8 little
bigger than the Supreme.
Actually pretty much the same size as
the Supreme and pretty much the same
geometry. I real ly wanted some of the
older castings when I dId the first run, but
those old castings were impossIble to get.
I only did a few of t1em because I wanted
some for myself, and for my friends. More
and more peopie kept asking for them,
and now I'm up to my elbows in it.
And once laaln.II'.like no mailer wIllch
direction )'011 tum, )..u just end up wiler.:
the trade seem. 10 t.lnk II "''IIIlIJi)'Oll.
Exactly-the !hng WIth the machines
is I don', advertise \'1em-1 mean-I've got
my little thIng on ttle web, but I don't do
any magalIne advertJsing with it. I want
them to be avail3:lle, but I don't want
them to be in evef)Ofle's face.
When you tel out to cast the frame, you
went to I n original bule desl(n. Ther.:
number of frameS In talloolng that have
been arouoo since the beglnnlni. I don't
think many IU)'J know abClulthem, ""lIkh is
kind or. ,hame. What would you Illy would
be the four or five mOll importanl frames?
Oh man ... the Jonesy, the Johnny
Walker. Ernie Carafa did a frame,
somebody told me it was a Waters
design ... real square, upright leans back
slightly, and there's a slot at the top of the
upright -so there's a little dis!anl;e for the
top binding post to move. This frame was
particularly a paIn i, the ass because the
rubber bands dick't make contact WIth
the needle bar un ess you routed them
behInd the Upright.
II's. Gnldeline !lachine, IIOkIlhrough
Guideline like In '82 or 81?
The Bulldog thInk was important
because It was one of the first frames that
was made speofically to be th,S design
for this purpose. And I thmk there have
been very few frames that were Just for a
specmc thing - I think that was definItely a
technical pwotal point_
So that tltves us foor. These &r.: alJ
mechanical thlnlls - rould)'oo lell me wIlat
do you Ihlnk I. the _I beautiful frame
ever,)nst to look al7 ... Yoo could tell me a
car, I'm
'32 Ford - ....... at is the '32 Ford of
frames? I don't know.
I want to know.
Those Paul Rogers, the V frames .
Doe5it go on your Iill then?
SC Yeah, the thIng is, though, I thInk that
that's another one of those frames that's
middle of the rood. I don't think that
frame had a speak functIon in mind
Can)'Oll take lhat V frame and f\.Ilt?
The problem In'tjust the frame, II's
the Innalure tnal's ln It,
Ex.act:Iy. That's the thing where I've
been compensatillQ At this point WIth
the machines I have to figure OIJt what
I'm gOIng to do. One of the things that
I'm really concerned WIth is makIng the
machines available, but at the same tome
making them reall) good uke look at the
Sharpz scenario, the more he makes, the
worse they are ... ax! I don't want to get
to that point-I want people to be
able to get good ones from me.
What if .5Omebo4y came to you. and
said - 'Seth, don'l be 5lUllld - you could
make a Jot of mODe)!; all yon have to do Is
gIwl me the rights to this. nisei up the
little factory- we'U knock out Ihounnd& or
the$C thlllfs - well run full paae ads- we11
be ridJ.'
Fuck that. I'd never do that
Seth Ciferri, Cultom Mochine
Seth Ciforri, Custom Machine
Machine Parts
................... _._._._ ....... _._._ .. . ................. _._._._ ...... .. ......... _ ..........
0 0
@ @
@ @
@ @
@ @
0 <9
@ @
@ @
L ______________________________ ___ ____________________ ___ __
.--------------------------------- ------------ -----------,
An important part of discussion is the ability to understand one another. In an attempt to get us speaking
the same language, please fill in the blanks, identifying the various parts of the tattoo machine, using
the words you usually use to identify them. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer. When you
are done, please fax to 613.384.9583, mail to 692 McKay St. Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7M 7G2 or
E, APRIL 2001
E, 4/21/01
E' MAY 2001
But BaJurs

IN 1982. I've always used It ilS a liner. In 1988 I replaced
the frame with the frame from another Supreme that I
had, but wasn't using. The newer frame has a swing-
gal e t ube vise. The tube vise of the original frame had
finally become unlixable. I didn't really change much
on the machine after that l or a long time. Occasionally
I'd monkey around Wi th I he springs -and I worked on
the tube vise, fe-drilled and tapped It In the earl y 90's,
Mostly the machine doesn't give me any trouble and I
use It every day. In 1997, when we first developed the
meter at Eikon, I completely rebuilt this machine ... took
It all apart-restyled the frame, stripped off all the
chrome, fe-did the wiring and heat-shrink. Worked on
it for about a week-got it looking more or less how It
does now. and got it running better than it ever had
In February of 2000, we put a protot ype Tru.Springl"
armature bar and springs on thIS machine. That got
changed to a production armature during the summer,
and the machine hasn' t been changed since. The Tru-
Spring'" bar got the speed up to about 160, which I like
better, _before I couldn' t get the speed over 150. W,th
a lube and 3 needle liner it now runs about 135, whICh
works pretty good for me. I mean, mostly I can follow a
stencil, anyhow. I've been using thIS machine for almost
20 years and during that time I know I've outlined over a
million dollars wor th of tattooing WI th it.
Z OF 5/ 2 TATTOOING. Craig has always been a
careful machine blJilder with a neat and tidy color
coordinated style. Still obviously meticulous, he's left
the painted frames and matching wires back in the
90's. His machines have always run in a no-nonsense
way. Now they've got that no-nonsense look.
first machll1es I had were Supremes ordered from
Spaulding and Rogers as a kit, unassembled. How
hard could they be to put together? Once I got
down to it I thought it was easy, once done, they
worked. Now a 'working" machine is a lot different
f rom 11 urunning" machine. Without proper training
and e)(perience anyone WIll learn this the hard way,
on f ormer friends." Craig's been setting up good
running and good looking machines for himself. and
a lot of other tattooers since 1997. Over the years
he's developed some ideas and rules that he applies
to all the machines he sets. First of all, no chrome.
Ne)(t, no dip-cord, he switches things over to RCA
plugs and he's gone as far as to completely remove
the rear binding post and mount. There will be
absolutely no glitter tape on the coils of a machine
Craig set up. lastly, but maybe most importantly,
No"",," a is a Iot f:ro.-n.. a """i"t;ho-ut proper a.n.d..
learn thia the h.ard.. "",,"ay. friends.
he hand cuts the springs for any machine he's
settIng up. "My favorite machine is a J,m Dandy
that was given to me for a tattoo. The guy hated
the machine because he couldn't get It working
properly. I gave it ali the treatments, dechrorning
the frame, filed down the edges, rounding out the
angles. I cut a toonie to mount the RCA plug on the
spring shelf, cut 18 gauge stock for front and back
springs bending them oh so much f or the ideal
gap and stroke. Got rid of the rear binding post ,
replaced all the screws and bolts with matte black
he)( screws, wIres and COIls were ali fitted WIth heat
shrink. I then tuned it up to working speed and threw
It on the Eikon meter to do the final adjustments to
the gap, filed to a point, meeting the front spring
tIp perfectly. She runs at 110 Hz., 40% duty cycle,
9.5 volts WIth no load, and looks good. Gotta look
good too!" Sure, CraIg makes It look easy, but he
says "making a good looking machine is easy. But
don't forget to always be 100klOg good whIle doing
It the fight way."
SINCE 1976
HIS PRIORITIES LIE. He doesn't spend his t ime
wor king on machines-he spends his time doing
tattoos. After all, that's what tattooers get paid f or,
isn't it? "I don't work on my own machines_ I buy the
machine-it works good- I don't t ouch it," Almost no one who tattooed through the early nineti es got away without
going to a few conventions and buying at least one Mickey Sharpz machine. Over the years, Keith has bought a lot of
machines. "That original Mickey Sharpz I bought at a convention in 1992. I did a lot of tattooing with that machine,
and not just out-line, I'd color them in with it, too." For t he past t hree or four years the only machines Keith has been
using have been hand-built by fellow Canadian old-timer, Mack Bregg. Kei t h can't say enough good things about
Mack's machines. "A lot of t he new companies have picked up on a lot of his stuff, copied the t hings that Mack is
doing here." The Mack machines are of the super-adjustable, super-machined variety. Lots of t ricky mill-work and
0 rings. A far cry from the first machine Keit h bought from an ad in Easyriders Magazine in 1976. A lot of people
tattooing today weren't even born then. "I usually have about ninet een machines-I keep the ones I really li ke, but I've
sold a few, or I give them as gifts."
High-Mileage Mickey Sharpz Big Brass Mack Machine
There were two major
problems with what we were doing
back then. We hadn't built the first
meter yet, so I couldn't read the
speed of my machine. I couldn't
tell how most of the things I was
doing to my machine affected it. I
was guessing what I was doing. Worse
than that, we really only had a couple of unknown
spring gauges to work with. Once we started using feeler
gauge stock to make springs, we could create an exact spring
force. If we needed more force, we would cut another spring out of
heavier gauge stock. If we needed less force, we'd make a spring out of
lighter gauge stock.
You need to choose the right combination of front and back springs to get
a machine running right. If you follow some basic rules, you will be able to
change how your machine runs. More importantly, you will understand how to
get your machine to run the way you want it to.
ToolI and lDiUeriail needed .0 ....... e and In all .prinll'
FEELER GAUGE STOCK variou3 guuges
METAL SHEARSjor ell/ling/eelcr gauge sloel ..
PUNCH SET for plwcilillg holes in feeler gauge stock
RULER AND SCRIBEjor marking mCflsuremcn/s Q/lfeeler guuge stQ{'k
Jar lig/llening and Ioost'ni,l!! screws Ilml rllOI1II1 springs 011 the machine
VISEfor bCfldillg SIJriligs
METER 10 fine tUlle lIIuc/rinc speed UIU/ com pure olle spring 10 flllOther
Ta oo Sprint!
The SPRINGS on a machine control :
VOLTAGE the machine requires
SPEED of the machine
LENGTH of stroke on the machine
FRONT SPRING determines machine speed.
HARDER FRONT SPRING. Machine will run faster.
SOFTER FRONT SPRING. Machine will run slower.
BACK SPRING provides the force that puts compression on the front spring.
SPRING FORCE is determined by these factors:
LENGTH OF SPRING, Longer spring acts softer, shorter spring acts harder.
WIDTH OF SPRING, Wider spring clcts harder, ncllTower spring acts softer,
GAUGE OF SPRING. Heavier gauge is harder, lighter gauge is softer.
ANGLE OF DEFLECTION. Greater angle of deflection on back spring creates more force.
In most cases the springs on a
machine are t he correct lengt h.
Back spring length is critical. If it
is too short or too long the needle
bar will not run down the center
of the tube.
Make measurements from machine
before removing old springs.
1. Measure the distance from the
center of t he screw on the armature
bar, to the center of the screw on
the spring shelf. or saddle of the
2.Using t he d iagram or original
spring as a guide. mark spring
stock with a scribe. Showing
overall length, placement of holes
to be punched, and where the
spring will be bent. It is very
important to mark the gauge of
t he spring stock somewhere on
t he spring, for future reference.
3.Using shears cut spring stock to
correct length.
For front spring-once length, bend,
hole placement, and gauge for front
spring have been marked, cut front
spring to length.
4. Mark spring stock with a scribe
showing taper of front spring.
Mark this on both sides of the
spring stock.
S.Taper must be cut f rom narrow end

of the spring, towards t he back of
the spring.
6. Cut one side, then t urn spring over
to cut the other.
7. Punch holes in spring st ock where
8. Put spring in vise, lining up bend
mark with t he jaws of the vise.
9. Slowly, with even pressure bend
spring. Check angle of bend with
diagram or original spring.
Install new springs ont o machine,
with front spring over back spring, on
armat ure bar.


, I
- :-E - --r ,n ~
I " j ~ *

mark spring stock with a scribe


IN '1'1\,I"I'(HnN(;
WHO ENTERS A TAlTOO SIIOP. Tattooists have an elhiuJ, if nOllegal responsibility 10 see that proper procedures
are In place that ensure exposure to health risks are minimized. Many Individuals carry blood borne infections,
withO\.lt displaying recognizable symptoms of illness. Any tattoo shop Is open to contact with a variety 01 viral and
bacterial Infections. The application of protective, preventive procedures Is needed at all limes, for every client,
without exception.
Cross-contaminatlon refers to the unintentional transmission of Infectlon from person to object. then from
the contaminated objecllO another person. In a tattoo shop. this most commonly occurs In the work area,
or Is II result of Improper IHocedure during the cleaning and sterilizing of contaminated Instruments.
Hepatitis viruses can remain active on a surface for a period of days to weeks, depending on the environmental
conditions. A contaminated object. surface, or instrument can become a common link between two or more
people, and transmission of infection can occur from client to client. The posslbillty of client to staff, and
staff to client transmission must also be considered. If correct procedures are established and maintained,
the possibility of disease transmission can be minimized.
Infection control requires that a shop environment is considered In terms of separate areas or zones.
The zones are established by usage-reception area, work area, cleaning area, and washroom. The zones
should be designated as clean or contaminated. The Integr ity of these zones, once establi shed, must not
be compromised.
IUlSI'ONSIIIIU'I'Y '1'0 Sllll 'I'IIA'I' l'UOI'IlU l'IUl(;l!InJUllS
A contaminated zone is an area in whkh
there has been any exposure of bodily fluids,
especially blood. Overs pray created during
the tattooing procedure may contain mIcro-
organisms which can settle and survive on
surfaces, establishing <In area as contaminated.
Any person entering an area which is potentially
contaminated must be aware of this fact or
access to this Mea should be restricted.
An area in which any possible exposure to
contaminants has been eliminated is a clean
zone, this area can be maintained through
disinfection and strict adherence to procedure.
Contaminated zones in a shop should be
contained. and separated as much as possible
from the rest of the shop. This area should
not be accessible to anyone, except staff and
the client being tattooed. Any person with an
uncovered, fsresh tattoo, should not be allowed
outside the designated contaminated zone. The
tattooist should never leave the work area with
contaminated gloves on.
The reception area of a shop should be
established and maintained as a clean zone.
The area where instruments are cleaned
prior to sterilization must be considered a
contaminated area. There should be no l)ublic
access to this area.
The area in which tattooing is done should be
considered contaminated as soon as the session
begins. Before the next client enters this area it
must be returned to a safe. clean condition. The
preparation of the tattooing area Is disinfectlon
after the previous appointment. During the
tattooing procedure <lny surface or object in the
room that the tattooing is being done in may
become contaminated. The tattooing area must
be e<lsily cleaned. Waste receptacles should
h<lve a large opening without a lid. Plastic bags
should be a heavy gauge which will not easily
tear or puncture. Materials that will be needed
during the tattooing procedure should be laid
out for each session. They should be easily
accessible to <lvoid unnecessary hand contact
and consequent contamination of counter
surfaces, drawer handles, and cabinet knobs.
A disposable cup of water should be used to
rinse the machine tube during the procedure,
as sinks are problematic due to the difficulty in
re-establishing cleanliness.
Disposable items should be used wherever
possible. Disposable caps should be used for
pigment. Disposable ra20rs should be used once
only, then discarded. Items that will be re-used,
such as tubes and needle bars. should be made
of st<linless steel and sterilized after each use.
Items that are not disposable, and cannot be
sterilized must be covered with a disposable
plastic barrier, to prevent contamination
from reaching surfaces. Anything that wi ll be
touched by the tattooer during the tatlooing
procedure must be covered with plastic bags,
such as, spray bottles. clip cords, and tattoo
machines. PlasUc backed napkins should be
u:;ed to create a disposable work surface. When
removing plastic barriers, care must be taken
not to contaminate the area it was covering.
Objects and surfal.:es In the tattooing work area
that are either not disposed of, sterilized after
one use, or have not been covered, must be
brought to a high level of disinfection. Efficient
chemical disinfection requires exposure to the
disinfectant for a signilil.:ant amount of time, for
many products it is as much as twenty minutes.
1. Surl a Ce Iiisinlecta nt
2. Wa s h Bottle Ba g
3. Wa s h Bottle . Reduces a erosol a ssocia ted wit h s pr a y bottle .
4. 1/2 Ta ck SUrl a ce Ba rrier. ~ o r a ny sur18 ce .
5. Sterilizat ion Pouch with indicat or. Dat ed with one
instrument in e a ch pouch.
6. Dispos able Pigment Ca p
7. Clipcord Ba g
8 . Lental Bib . :Jisp os ab le surfa ce barrier.
9. ll a chine Ba g .
ThIs Is dlfflcult In a busy shop environment, where clients are seen
consecutively In the same work area. [xtensive use of disposable
plasti c barriers, such as dental bibs, will reduce the need for chemi cal
disinfection of the work area between clients. Counters and tabl et ol)S
that have not been covered have been exposed to airborne particles
which may contain cont ami nants. These areas must be wiped down
with detergent germicide, and left to air dry between appointments.
T he task of choosi ng an appropriat e product for cleaning and
disinfection of Items such as tabl es, chairs. count er t ops and floor s can
be ver y confusing. Some time must be spent becoming knowledgeable
about the available product s. and what i s needed lor the shOI).
spec.lilc questions should be asked about any product under
What are the recommended uses of the product?
What Is the active antimicrobial i ngr edi ent?
How is the IHoduct used?
Will the l)foduct damage surfaces or equipment?
What is the product's I
Ask for documentation on products. If a sales representative is unable
t o provide technical information about their product, speak to someone
who can. If the supplier seems incapable of providing substant Ial data,
look elsewhere for another product.
New l:mxlucts for cleaning and disinfection appear on the market constantly. liowever, the
active ingred ient used in these products is generally the same as contaI ned In many older
products. It should be an active antimicrobial agent. 11 you are unC<!rt ain about a d isinfectio n
product, or I)rocess. coosult the municipal health depart ment. Health depart ment persoonel
have access t o inlormatioo that makes them a valuable source of assistance. TI ley should not
be regarded with fear or suspicion.
When a tattooing sessioo is completed, the instruments that are to be st erilized mu,<;t be taken
to an are,l designated for cleaning contaminated instrument s prior to sterilizati on. Thorough
I)re-cleanlng to physically remove all mailer is mandatory prior to sterlllzatlon. It Is nearly
Impossible t o clean the small spaces between needles In multIple needle configurations,
re-use Is strongly discouraged. Any object to be st erlll zed must be physically clean prior to
sterIli zation. Any l)1lrtlcles left on the instruments can Impair the st erilization process.
Ultrasonic cleaning is not a substitute for st erilization. It should be consIdered as a cleaning
process only. Ultrasonic cleaning is preferred over manual cleanI ng, for It has more effi cient
penetratlon into the small spaces of tubes. A major concern Is the ri sk of nIcks or cuts by
anyone scrubbi ng the Instruments by hand, as well as exposure to Over-Sl)ray and splatter.
These should be considered as common potentials for CTOSS<ontamination.
It ems should be packaged and sealed in autoclave bags. and dated prlor t o st erilization. Care
should be t aken that the llackages are completely dry before they are stored. "The maxi mum
time a sterlllzed pack can be stored is debatable. Parler/ plasllc l:leel pouches are said to be
safe for sIx to twelve months. Contami nation is event-related, not ti me-related. The conditions
of st or aKe and the amount of handling to which the llacks are subjected are more important
determinant s of contaminat ion. Sterile packs should be kept on closed shel ves away from
moisture or I)()ssible contamination, and handled as l illIe as possible I)rior 10 use." 2
sun'u,s'I'. ANII )IOS'I' un'on'I'AN'I' )llIANS 01'
The use 01 gloves is [lot a substitute for hand washing. Hand washing remains one of the
simplest. and mosl important means of preventing crosS-<Olltaminalloll . Hands should
be washed with soap and water as soon as gloves are removed.
Effective methods for sterilization are relatively limited. There <I re live methods
commonly used to sterilize instruments: Autoclaves (steam under pressure), Dr y Heal
Ster ilizers (hot air oven). Chemical Ster ilization (Gluteraldehyde). Chemical Va\XlUr, and
Ethylene Oxide Gas.
The most suitable sterilization system Is determined by the tolerances of the instruments
being sterilized. An autoclave remains the easiest and most appropriate method of
sterilizatIon available lor tattooing because the Instrument s being sterilized can withstand
high temperature and steam under pressure.
An autoclave accomplishes sterilization III much less time than a dry heat sterili zer can.
Sterilization of unwrapped instrument s takes 20 minutes at 126' C (260 F), and 30 minutes
at 126'C (260'f) for wrapped lnstruments.
An autoclave raises the boiling point of water
to 121 C (2SO-f) by Increasing the air l)reSsure by olle atmosphere (15 psi or 103.4 KPA).
Autoclaves use distilled wat er to prevent scale del)()sition on Instrument s.
Dry heat sterililatlon is used mainly for mat erials that cannot be sterilized safely with
steam under pressure, either because of the pressure or the steam. Dry heat would
take one hour at 170 C (340 f). or two hours at 160 C (320 F).s TIming must start when
the entire contents of the sterilizer has reached the peak temperature needed for that
particular load. Some wrapping materials are Intolerant of dry heat, which complicates
storage of dry heal processed Instruments.
Chemical sterili latlon has many Umi tations, and should only be used for Instruments that
are intolerant of heat. Gluteraldehyde products are the only chemicals that are sufficiently
sporici dal to accomplish sterilizat ion. u:posure time is long (6 - 10 hours). During Ihis
period 01 immersion. no other Instruments may be added or removed from the bath. as t his
Interrupts the ]HOCess. Because of toxicity. gluteraldehyde baths must be covered and left
in areas with good ventilation. Glutaraldehyde must be thoroughly rinsed off instruments
with sterile water before they are used.
Chemical vapour sterilization uses a combi nation of alcohols, formaldehyde, ketone,
water and acetone. heated under pressure to produce a slerllant gas. Temperatures used
are 260 F - 270 F ( 126 C - 132 C) at 20 10 40 pounds pressure. It requires 20 mInutes at
temperature. and adequate ventilation Is required.
Ethylene Oxide Vapour In Chamber - lime duration of cycle varies by temperature
and concentration 01 gas. Relat ively low operating temperature means et hylene oxide
sterilization is s uitable for relatively heat -sensitive il ems. Adequate venti lation is required
and exhaust of ventilation must be controlled. An indicator strip or tape should be
included on each sterilizer bag. Most sterilizing bags or pouches have a process indicator
on them. A process Indicat or is printed with an ink that changes colour wi th eXI)()SUre to
heat. steam or chemical vapour. A col our change indicates that a pouch
has been processed. but it 15 IIOt proof of proper sterili za\lon.
A sterilizer should be tt!sted at least monthly to ensure that it is
functioning properly. Biological monitors or spore tests are small
strips of paper, or ampules cont aininl( living non-pathogenic resistant
spores. The biological monitor s are placed in hard to reach areas of
the sterili zer, and then cultured. If the spores have been sterilized they
will not germinate. Some biological monitor s must be returned to the
company for culturing. and some come with a colour indicator t hat
Indicates prol>e:r steriliZation.
Needle configurations should be discarded directly into a sharps
contai ner. KSharps containers must be disposed of by one of the
following methods:
r emoved by a licensed biomedical waste management company.
tilkf'n to a hospital or laborator y which will ensure prope r
autoc1aved and disposed of with general 6
The disl>osal of j>otenUally cont aminat ed waste is generally legislated
municipally. Local health departments can provide i nformation about
a tattOOist's responsibility as it pertains to waste disposal.
Garbage cont ai ners should be lined with heavy gauge garbage bags.
Never al10w bags to overfill. 00 not place hard or heavy objects In
bags whi ch could cause pot ent ial tears or punctures. Keep waste
from contaminat ed areas out of clean areas. In all areas bags should
be sealed, Ihen promptly removed. Waste collection receptacles and
dumpsters shoul d be kept locked awaiting collection.
Al though waste Ilroduced during the tattOOing process should be
considered contaminat ed, it does flot fall within the scope of regulated
hazardous waste. The Bloodborne Pathogens Standard uses the term.
"regulated waste: to r efer to the followi ng categories of waste which
require sl>eclaJ handling at a minimum;
or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious
mater ials;
items contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious
material and which would r elease these substances In a liquid or
semi-liquid stat e If compressed:
items that are caked with dried blood or other potentially
Infectious materi al and are c31>able of releasing these materials
dur ing handling:
contaminated sharps; and
pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or
other potent ially infecllous nlaterial.
To ensure that ever yone involved in the tattOOing process Is safe from
exposure to infection through cross-contaminalion. it is important
to follow proper methods of cleani ng, di sinfection and sterilization.
Adequate levels of cleani ng, di si nfection. and sterili zati on can be
achieved quite efficiently and cost-effectively.
I lll.lbelh lie .. ..,.,. PhO, aM ThomN louie. MO.
I1tCPC. "S!erillulion aM Ollinkruon: llelpful Hinb
In 0!rKf; n... CllW!yg Jouma] a ()l!:.
z C tlou .......... MO, CCf'P "The ... or
en. tnlKl_ In the I'hrsidUli 0IIItt. - C..uniUN

PIgWriw IDUWVCMIU' Briljsh D+uUN ( 1992).
3 I:InmmorId. p. t.
OrullllnOlld. 5.
5 I)rulMlOlld, p. 8.
61)rullllllOnd, p. 16.
7 tIlrofKMnt hi_as Kuoum: PriaV lIIarrb 1993,
Dlv1 ,I(M1 of " llealth, ('.enerol
lodultl)' SaIeIy vroe .... 51\0, Tltlo Calilorni.
Cod! of Rt(Ulotionl, p. 8.
lIloodlomc i'JJh ... ". RclO!J ru: Sin Frl/lCi..""
m.i.l.., of Octupltlonol Hnllh " Sllet)'. Ge""ra]
I"du ltry Order. Section 5193. Tltlo B. Coli/omia Code of
IlrulllfllOl\4, Oouglu C. MI), CCf'P The i'mtOlion
Df Cn!;u Infrt1lQp 10 !be fllnklir!,1 oma:. lItitloll
CoIwTOII. Commin ... on 0tIke Medicall'Tactioe
AI.e_nl. CGItto: or f'il)'lirianl .... 5urgeoru. (I !I9l).
lie ........ Fllukttt MD. 1'11.0 .. and Louie. l1IomoI M.O,
Stf:riliullon WId Dillnledion: Hintlln
Tbr rNW'I'D.Ioun:!aI mOO (1993), pp. 73-1
JohnMn. ralitN,S/lIIU, Dovid 5. M5.Ch8. MPH,
CCf'P', ..... .1.. 11,_. """ MO, 0011. -Inrectlon Con"'" In
i'byIki .... OfIlm" c.....!1.g Family lbnjrjao \ '(Il J6
pp. m2.Z2'J6.
1J:>n&,1la>1d. rtIoIo p( I'Ivpn IUd hl'lvpn
MrtboJo pf 1ofC(!J1Il Cwl!!!! iD Ibc 1)lIogjQl fnxtu

IJ:>n&,IkMd. lltocription or I'rvper lllethodll u.... in !he
1)nooI", "'-" (1!1t1)
htboceos: fio,aJ
&uk. Dtpartmrnl P( latIou . Ottupalional 5m1y and
"*"1011 .. 11..... II f.oIe .... Rtgi.t.r Vol 56. No.

Simi. and I)akotl, Erik.lnkl:lioo Cwtrol: (ljojeal
n.. AI_lalinn P( P"'/""I<Of\all'ieru:rs.
any attempt to learn things. a syst emati c method of st udy is requi red. Initial ly a
hypothesis is made, and it will be accepted to be true, until it is proven untrue.
You see, the idea isn't to prove t hings are true .. ,it is to prove things are not t rue. In
any case of trying t o prove things, accurat e measurements must be made. A world
without measurements would be a world of chaos ..
Imagine the police pulling you over, stating they were going t o give you a ticket
because you seemed like you were probably speeding. You wouldn't accept that.
But tattooing has been functioning on a set of mechanical rules that are absolute
guess work. There's even an entire list of non-sensical terms that describe nothing,
that seem to be accepted by the trade. What does It mean to Hburn a tune
your machine? What exactly is a ~ s w e e t SpotH? What ki nd of yokels are you? There
IS always an amount of voltage, that in conj\Jnction with a certain contact point size,
will cause the machine to run smoothly-and guess what? That's why the contact
point on the machine and the voltage on the power supply, are adjustable - so you
can do that. Don't tell me about the sweet spot.
I can see you all, Just silting there, drooling, adjusting the point gap, then adjusting
the voltage, a little up, a little down, mostly down though, 'cause them low volts is
good, and all the time imagining you're working on your machine, just like the old
ti'Tle machine builders. Well you're not. First off, you're not working
your machine, and secondly if you were like t he old time machin e
builders you'd probably be drunk, but for :;ure you'd be a broke loser
ir a trai ler park some place. And if you're O.K. with that , good-but
d::m't make it al l out to be something that it wasn't. I'm not saying old
tiTle tattoo machine mechanics should be criticized as pecple-but
to admi re how they did things ... to use their terminology ... come on-
they had no ida" what they were doinG in point. the cut-back
rrachine style.
Although I can admire the ingenuity that it took to develop the
cut-back, I can't believe it was accepted as a viable solut ion. Rea lly,
it should have been a stepping stone to a simple, more efficient
solution. BaSically, the major o ld t imer problem was spring st ock. They
rarely wou ld use a variety of spring stock-they'd fi nd somet hing
they believed was good and st ick with it. Now it's pretty d fficult to
make a machine run faster or slower without changing springs-but
they managed t o do that with the cut back. By moving the contact
Foints back on the front spring, the spring wi ll act hard. Imagine a
long piece of wood, a 2" .... 4", maybe eight feet long, it wil l bend, or
flex. Now, cut a foot off that same piece - same wood, same thickness,
but it won't fie .... . The springs on a tattoo machine are t he same - if t he
spring is long, it will flex a lot , if the spring is short , it won't. Not only
is the front spring on a cut-back short, but it is usua lly pretty wide as
well, making it even stiffer. This is going to give you a very s hort closed
contact t ime on that machine. That is to say when the contact points
on the machine touch there will be no flex in t he front spring, so the
contact point s will open aga in very quick ly. Now if t hat front spri ng
was very, very soft the contact points would touch, then flex up, t hen
slowly flex down, and fi nally open. That's why a hard front spring wi ll
make a machine run faster and a soft front spring wi ll make a machine
fl.H'1 slower.
So to take a machine and alt er it into a cut-back style means cutt ing
and filing and moving that top binding post as far back as possible
so that the contact point will be as far back as possible on the front
spring. Now, you've got to imagine it'd take some half blind old
goomer quite a while to do that , with his old fi le and a dril l-but at
least it would give him something to do. But just cutt ing a heavier
gauge of front spring would have accomplished the exact same thing.
tf you're going t o admire the o ld time machine bui lders, go ahead-but
keep it in cont e .... t. The fact that any of them would run a cut-back liner
shows they were quick to determine a problem solved, when qu ite
a Simpler solution would have been found if they had just kept
working at things in a scientifi c manner.
Anyhow, they had no way of measuring what they were doing with
their eqUipment , so they could never prove or disprove anything. That
was just the way they did t hings.
The pointing of needles on hlgb-
speed power-driven sandstones
was Introduced about 1180. Jobn
Mills, who took over the converted
Ipsley Millin 1160, was probably
experimenting wltb the Idea as
early as 1165, when he was charged
threepence for a thlng for the mill',
and In 1166 for warps and stones, and
again In 1767 for new poinUng
stones, warps and pulleys. Needles
were almost certainly being pointed
by dry grinding in 1780. This 'new'
process was almost certainly similar
to the one developed by the London
needlemaken a hundred yean earlier,
and just as deadly. The first stones
used were pierced wltb a square
hole and filled tightly on to a square
shaft. This was accepted practice
for edge grinders at that time, but
It was found that at the high speeds
required to obtain a good point the
stones tended to crack in the corners
of the holes under centrifugal force
and break-up, causing serious injuries
and sometimes death. Disturbing as
this was, It was not the worst aspect.
The pointers worked In semi-darkness
in order to see the points forming
by the light of their own sparks. The
whole time they were enveloped In
clouds of dust. 11 was found Impossible
for young men to become pointers
until they had matured. The lire of a
pointer was considered to be abnut
seven years, few surviving to see their
thirtieth birthday. They were well
paid and refused any improvements
In their working condilions for fear
that their salary would be reduced.
When S. Thomas and Son introduced
J. C. Chambers' fan into British mills
the pointers went on strike for twelve
months. Ultimately a much greater
threat was posed by Colin Banks'
pointing machine. The pointers
purchased the first one from him and
ceremoniously smashed It up on the
Redditch Church Green In 1854.
Colin Banks used the money to go to
Aachen, where he sold his Invention
to the needlemaker Schlelcber of
Schonthal and sel himself up with the
proceeds In Iserlohn, selling out to
Hermann Joseph Neussln 1860. He
then returned home and built his nwn
factory In Reddilch.
CI: One tnd 01 my dipcord is red. the uIher is black. Is for posiliYt
and negative? If so, what's positive and negative on my machine?
A: There is no po5itiyt or nt<)alive on oil tattoo machine.
There is a posi tive and negative on most, but not all,
capacitors. The negative lead on the capacitor will be
indicated, unless the capacitor is bipolar, in which case 1\
does not matter which way the cl ipcord is. The draw back
with bipolar or nonpolarized capacitors is thev have a much
shorter life than polarized capacitors. The nt<)atlve (black)
end 01 the cl ipcord should always go to the connection on
the machine closest to the negative end of the capacitor.
Generally in electronics the ground, or l1t<)atlve, goes
directly to the frame. On a tattoo machine this Is general ly
If you're trying to save money, don't save rt on
needles, it's only a few cents and will ultimately
affect your work,
the top connection, at the sprinlj saddle. The lower binding
post WOt.Ild be the positive, because it is insulated but you'll
find as many machines with the at the bottom, as
at the top - so check the capacitor.
Q; I know I should be coYering my machines with I plaslic big.
but it seems !hat will causa my madlinM to GvHtJul Is Iflil
A: FirSt of a ll, you're right. You should be bagging your
machines. If you tran:lmit a disease from one client to
another because you are ignorant 01 proper procedure,
that W(luld be a terrible thing. But if you knew better, and
just didn't follow pl"Of)tr procedure for reason,
how could you live with yourself? Secondly, bagging your
machine will not cause machine
Q: Whars lIIe difference between carllnn sl!tl needtes and stain
less stHt ne.dlts? ,"", also been hearing abo'" carbon plated
neeelts - what are 111'11
A: The quality, or usability of a needle for tattooing cannot
be judged solely by whal the needle Is made of. Cet1ainly,
stainless steel needles are the only needles ttklt should be used
for tattooing but not aU stainless steel needles are going to
W(lrIr: for tattooing. The profile and diameter of the needle
will determine whether or rKlt a needle will won.; for
tattooing. Carbon steel is a softer metal ttkln stainless steel
and consequently easier to grind. So, a less expensive material
that 's easier to manufacture ends up being a less
product. But not one ttklt should be used for tattooing.
Carbon st eel has a tendency to rust very quickly- and would
be constantly rxposed to liquId'; during the tattooing pr0ce5S.
Carbon plated needles are generally nickel or chrome plating
over a carbon steel needle- not some kind of carbon plating on
a needle. Very inexpensive, very low quality. No plated needle
should ev1!r be used to tattoo. The process of tatt ooing causes
some on the needles. As the plating start> to wear, it
chips and separates from the needles. Stainless steel Is a more
eKpensive product. and very difficult to grind, espeCially at
the diameters and to the toleraroces required to make a good
needle lor tattooing. 115 high would be il$ only dralWilck.
If you're trying to s.ave money, don't save it on needles, it's
only a lew cenl$ and will ultimately affect your wor1o:.
0: lately my machines haye been losing power and sputter a bit when
I"m workinll. r", only !lad my power supply for a par. and paid a ill!
for it. Could it be wearing out alrudy?
A: No the problem is almost certainly not your power supply.
Almost every time it's your clipcorti. The wire will break
insiOe the r ubber coating, SO it won't be to your eyes,
and it won' t just break one day, it slowty breaks down causing
nothin<] but trouble. It sterns like it's your machine or the
power supply-but really it's just the clipcord. They don't last
forever- I'd guess you got a new clipcord when you got a new
power supply - and about a year, for a busy tattOOl'r is about
how long a clipcortl will last. Always a 5j)are clipcord
on hand, is the first thing to chKk when you have any
mechani cal problems- and it's usually the culprit.
0: Some of !he guys I .... with are absolutely ani! about deanillg
lIIeir lubes-but theyre going 10 get aulodmd anyway, so whafs
Ihf big deal?
A: Autoclaving your equipment is not the same as cleaning
00 NOT KID YOURSELF! Things must be physically clean
before they are sterilired. And I mean pedectly clean. Let's
imagine a tube that's been used to tattoo it's a bit dirty but
you rinse it off, scrub it,. and it seems pretty clean. You bag
it, and autOclave it later that week you set up with that tube
again - it's steril ized- it looks clean but if there was a bit of
dried pigment inslele the tube in some small comer that didn' t
get cleaned away, it's still there. Once you start wor1o:ing ttkli
bi t 01 dried pigment Now it's gone - dissolved into
the pigment you' re using t oday. The problem is the comer of
the t ube ttklt was covered by that microscopic bit of pigment
is now exposed-it was not cleaned because it had pigment
on It. It also was not stenlired becal.lSe it had pigment on it
This is a serious issue that must never be taken lightly.
Know your review your procedure, iIIld never take
short CUI$ with your procedure.
D, I'm looking at new
pow!!' r .... notien
some are 120 volt and some art 220 'lOt
Is lIIere any iltvanlail to the higher voltage
ptwfl' sUpjllits - wil!hey cIeIim more power?
Wil I 11M to do Iny f.-wiring in my shop 10 use a 220
'l1li power supply?
A: In North America we use 120 vol ts. Thai's the voltage
in your nor mal ele<:trical olltlet. Not so in other parts of
the world. All of Europe in fact uses 220 volts. The power
supplies that that are 220 voll ..... ;11 not more power to
your machine, they are designed to be used in other parts
of the m rld . it's as simple as that.
Il: WhIt do the diffmnt numbers meill on a capacitor?
A: There are two numbers listed on iii capaci tor. The first
is the voltage rat ing that a ppears as iI number fol lowed by
a capital 'V'. This Is the rnaKimum vol tage the capacitor
tan take befo re It fails. Two common ratings are 25V
and 35V. Generally a tattoo machine never runs above
12 volts SQ iii 25 volt rati ng is lots. The second rat ing is
the capacitance rated in mic ro Farads. This is the rati o of
the quanti ty of electr ici ty and the voltage. In other words,
the capaci ty of a capacitor depends on the amount of
el ectri city it will hold at a certain voltage. Two convnon
Sizes that work well for a tattoo machine are 22 uF and
47 uF. There are many different ratings available, but these
two supply the right amount of enel"9Y fo r the way a tattoo
nlitChine runs.
II: 0. of lilt guys! work with has a lib supply. lie claims IIIat his
Ncbint I1IH b_ 011 low allps. ! 11m 110 idea whM !hat means.
CIII! mtic:t !lit ImpS ItII my ,owtt supply?
A: No, you cannot, but
you woul d not want
to even if you COul d.
By changing the setti ng
on your power suppl y
you are trying to
change t he st rength
of your mag nets.
The way to ma ke
a n elec t roma gnet
stronger or weake r Is
t o vary the amount
of voltage. This Is
the most accurate
way to control
your machlJ"le. By
I \
I /
reducing the amps, you are just iJ"lcreaslng the resistaJ"lce
iJ"l the circuit, and choking back the amount of power that
your machine can draw. By adjustiJ"lg the vol lage, you ate
actually setting the strength of your magnets, and your
machine will draw tilt amount 01 amps thai it needs. To do
this you must make sure that you Milt a variable voltage
power supply. One example of this Is a lab supply, but they
COf!/;niHld Of! p4J
ConMUffd /rom p37
are generally overkill for tattooing. There are a feY>l supplies that are designed for
tattooing that are as stable as a lab supply, but are considerably less rroney, and are more
Q, Why is blllt stet! considered by some 10 bt 1M but material fDr springs?
A: I am not sure why many people believe this, I think it is because that was all that
was used for a long tUlle. Basically, it is blue because of the tempering process. It is
m.lde of C.lrbon steel, lind tempered (heat treated) to mllke it lI! hard II The
draw back Is that generally it is of fairly low quality. It is used in applications that
are not as critical as the setup of a tattoo machine. To setup a machine properly, you
must be able to vary the force of )'Our front and back springs. The most practical way
to do this is to change the thickness of the spring. You could do it by changing the
length, but this is not practical, because you could not line up your bar in your
tube. Basically you want a wide selection of spring thickness, in steel that is very
consistent,because a difference of 0.001" in thickness can make a big difference to
how the machine runs.
f3a,uue 4- & SeIUd4
.. ...... ..-/-tk t4tto<> MU4t"

solid oak 1011et seats. glove belle cove..s, QJstomiZed power covers and morel
.uai141k ae
1175 e--.< Se .. 2MJu. ';iI!J(; 2'81
{514/ 397-0013 -'