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What you need to know about tattoo machines

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Saturday 12 July, 2014 Written by tattoodiy

Traditionally tattoos have been used for both decorative and spiritual reasons. The tattoo dates back to Neolithic times. Archaeologists discovered the body of a man they named 'Otzi the Ice man'. His body was found preserved since his death circa 3300 BC and exhibited 57 tattoos. In recent times, tattoos have become increasingly popular. Once synonymous with bikers and gangs they are now popular with celebrities. Celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, David Beckham and Britney Spears have all brought tattoos to the tabloid spotlight and as a result their popularity is booming. Before tattoo machines were invented and introduced to the market, artists used to pull double duties - not only did they try to implement the design on the skin of the subject, they also had to move the needle up and down each and every minute section to ensure that the ink will blend well with the pigments of the skin. Tattoo machines typically consist of a sterilised needle, a system that supplies the ink through the needle, an electric motor and a foot pedal that allows the tattoo artist to control the speed of the needle. The needles in tattoo machine can penetrate the skin up to 3000 times per minute. The needle pierces the top level of the skin called the epidermis and leaves ink in the dermis layer of the skin. This layer is more stable and it ensures that the tattoo will remain in place. The tattoo is permanent and visible through the thin epidermis. Tattoo machines were invented in the late 1800s and have not changed greatly since. Most tattoo machines are made from steel, brass, iron or aluminium and can last for years. A good tattoo machine should come with a few relevant spares such as springs, so be sure to check with your supplier before you purchase. Powered by two electromagnetic coils, these tattoo machines move the needle up and down automatically, allowing the artist to focus all his time and attention in faithfully rendering the design. Tattoo machines cost in the range of 80-135 pounds and many are hand built. Heavy duty coils provide a machine that runs smoothly and most are fully adjustable. Some tattoo machines enable the artist to use them to add lines, shade and colour.

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