You want to keep your equipment running smoothly and it is important to do so, but it is not all that easy. You have to be able to comprehend everything about the machine and how they are tuned.
One thing you will need to do is check the contact points on a regular, consistent basis and make sure there is nothing interfering with the contact, which will cause your machine to run inconsistently. You want to keep the points and the screws in good condition so that they make good “contact” with each other.
Nail files are used to file off and clean off contact screw and front spring. Be sure before you set the points that they are clean and also smooth. Point files are used to flatten surfaces just incase either one of them is burned or even pitted. You can replace front springs very easily with your repair kit
The front spring and back spring of the machine that hold the contact point and the armature bar to the frame will eventually weaken after continuous use and the front or back spring will need to be replaced. When you remove the spring and the armature bar, for beginners it would be a good idea to mark on the side of the armature bar going from the side of the armature bar to across the center of the washer that is on top of the front coil so you will not mistune your machine. After making your repairs you need be sure that both marks are lined up when you replace the armature bar. It’s important because if not in the exact same place as before you will not get top performance.
When replacing the springs you should be able to take the needle and the bands off. Then loosen the set screw that is on the front binding post. After doing this back the contact screw out for four of five turns. After backing the contact screw out, loosen the back screw that is on top of the machine and then remove the whole assembly consisting of the back spring, the armature bar and the front contact spring.
Now, you must line up the contact point so that it is in a direct line over the nipple of the armature bar then tighten it. Then after that is accomplished, line up the contact point of the front spring so that it is in a direct line with the contact screw as well. In most cases the rear spring and the rear screw must be close against each other. Make sure to tighten the rear screw. When you hold up the machine and point the front of it, which is the tube end, to your left the contact screw will point to one o’ clock. When you first purchase your machine it is in this position, as it should stay.
After attaching the clip cord to your machine go ahead and turn on your power pack. As you are holding the machine in your left hand by its frame, turn the contact screw slowly down in a clockwise manner to meet the contact point that is on the front spring. Make sure that you are only touching the contact screw by its rubber tip or else it might shock you. If you do not know where the rubber tip is you can wrap the point with some electrical tape and if it is an emergency with eve just a rubber band.
When you have your foot on the pedal and are pushing it down, be sure to slowly turn the contact screw down so that it meets the contact point. When the contact points get close enough together to make a circuit, your machine will then start to run. When you push down on the armature bar the gap between the shader points should be about the thickness of a nickel. On the liner the gap between the points should be about the size of a dime. As you tattoo more and get more familiar with your machines the nickel and dime gap will not pertan to your settings .When the springs feel weak, you can try to turn down the contact screw a little bit, but not too much. When doing this, make sure that the machine is off and also that the armature bar is held in the down position.
When your machine is buzzing listen carefully to the buzz of it. You may just need to turn the contact screw a little bit until you can get that right sound for the machine. The sound should be really smooth. As you turn the contact screw and you listen carefully, you’ll be able to hear the right sound like a smooth humming sound if you are paying attention. The sound won’t be choppy or a clatter, but will have plenty power that is a long enough stroke to allow the needle bar to travel smoothly between 1/16 and 3/32 inch up and down.
When you finally get that perfect sound that it will make and it is running well you will be capable of keeping your points set at optimum efficiency, quickly and also easily and doing this by only ear. When it begins to make a “purr” sound take your foot off the pedal to tighten the setscrew so that you can lock the screw in that position. Then, to make sure that it doesn’t need any further adjustment push the foot pedal again to make sure that it is still tuned right.
To compensate for the extra weight you may have to readjust the point gap slightly after attaching the tube and the needle bar. If you do need to do this be sure to loosen up the setscrew and to push down on the pedal as you screw the contact screw down more. Be sure you are listening to the sound of the machine so that you know hear it running smoothly and strongly. Keep in mind that the smoother it is running the better the tattoo will be.
The first two things to check for if your machine all of the sudden quits on you, are the machine, contact points and your power pack or clip cord. When you check these two, you should also check you other machine to see if it will work. If it in fact is the machine and is not fixable at that moment, you can always switch your needle bar and tube to the other machine and be able to reset the point gap in order to finish the tattoo.
If your machine just won’t work at all, you probably have an open in your circuit or a shortage. You want to make sure all your points are clean at first. The circuit will break if there is something caught between them. To open the contact hold the armature bar down with your thumb and blow hard on the points. If the blowing doesn’t clean them then you can try pulling a small strip of paper through the points when they are closed or use a nail file to clean out the contact. Then if that works you might want to readjust the point setting slightly so that you get that “buzz” at the right sound again.
Now one thing you should never overlook is if you have weak coils. If you have weak coils it may be the cause of your machine not running or having very little power.
You can replace your coils by taking out the two screws in the bottom of the frame and be careful to remember which washers go where under the coils. You should replace these with new coils. When disconnecting the old coils you melt the solder, and then reattach your new coil wires as you are also melting the solder. At the same time, if you have a capacitor on your machine, you may want to replace it as well.
If your machine has completely quit on you and just won’t run it may be a loose or maybe broken wire or connection. With a few adjustments and fewer moving parts the tattoo machine is actually quite simple. You have to constantly fool with the machine because of its consistent vibration. It would be a good idea to maintain it daily. If all else fails you can contact a rep at element tattoo supply for support.
If your ink is spits out of your tube tip there can be many reasons for it. A little splattering is normal. It may be caused overloading the ink. Sometimes the reservoir on some of the bottom ends can’t handle too much ink. Keep in mind that a square tip is more prone to splattering than a round one. Also, some of the lighter frames will tend to splatter more than others. You want to make sure that you are checking the tips to see that they are not wearing down. You don’t want them to be worn down to a sharp edge. If you are properly using and tuning your tattoo machine it should be putting the ink out uniformly and will rarely splatter. One of the main problems would be your rubber band re adjust your rubber band to see if that works for you if they are worn down replace them ASAP.
If you keep these points in mind you’ll most likely be able to solve any problems you have with your machine:
To start off you should always make sure that your needle is in the tube the right way with it on the bottom side of the tip. You want to be assured that the open side of the needle bar loop is on your left when attached to the armature bar.
After this, you want to make sure that as the needle bar is going up and down it is not hitting the side of the tube.
There will only be one groove on the liner tips. There will be many separate grooves on shader tips almost like railroad tracks on it. You want to use a round Swiss needle file to smooth out the round tips. Use a square Swiss needle file if you are smoothing out flat shader tips or a one needle liner tip. If you are trying to file a tip in order for it to stop flattering, you want to make sure to clean the tip out thoroughly with a brush. Then you will want to sterilize it before using it again.
Splattering can come from one or all of things stated above. Keep trying to figure it out with the information given and eventually you will get it.
If all else fails you can see if changing the needle bar helps at all.
If it still does not work try checking the springs and even replace them if it is necessary to do so. There might be times when one side of a spring will break where the screw is holding it. It may be hard to find.
What the real hard part is, if it starts to splatter right in the middle of a tattoo. You’ll need to know how to figure it out or continue to tattoo with the machine is still splattering. It’ll shake up your nerves and cause you to get anxious if you don’t know how to figure it out or know what’s going on.