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Tattoo Shop News

Posted by: Brian Pollard on March 6, 2012

We ran a competition in February – Light vs Heavy Tattoo Machines

We wanted see what your thoughts were on light weight tattoo machines versus heavy weight tattoo machines. Both weight class has its pros and cons, here are some of the comments:

DARREN MERCER – I prefer heavy machines, but use 25-30mm heavy grips for more balance. I just like to be able to feel the machine I’m working with, so it acts as more of an extension than something I’m using to tattoo another person. I feel I have much more control with heavier machines and the result is a much smoother tattoo.

JOACHIM LINSNER – I use both! Light ones for fine-lining, heavy ones for the rest!

SAM D’LAMB – I like a light one especially to line with as I have tiny girl hands.

JONATHON CAVANAGH – I use light for lining and heavier ones for colour and shading

DAVE EGAN – a heavy machine gives confidence to the hand reassuring in its presence…. a light machine gives freedom to the hand and less strain…

DALE BURRELL – I use a light machine with a heavy grip. It gives me more control and Better movement. And I feel like I don’t need to grip as hard so I don’t get cramp in my hand.

PANAGIOTIS MAMAKAS – Light vs. heavy it depends… how big is the piece how many hours it is going to take and what I want to do my fav are lightweight they don’t give my hands a rough time in long hour sittings as for which one is the best I would say that it really depends from the artist cause a good tattoo artist will have the same results with any of them light or not

DEAN REDPATH – I use Micky Sharpz. Proper old school heavy’s all the way baby yeah!! 😉 tbh anything else than heavy machines and I feel like I’m cheating the history of tattooing with irons.

NILS FEARONS – I love light machines, when doing dot work you have to move quite quick and light machines are perfect for this!!

JAMIE DANIELS – I love Paulo Cruze light weight machines they are the tits never let me down

GARY WALKER – I use both but prefer the feel and finish of a heavy machine, nice clean line work, great for old school but versatile enough for more contemporary work.

MICHAEL BROWN – Lightweight every time just much more comfort for the artist and u don’t seem to get much shake from the vibration making it quicker for the artist and an easier on the client. I personally won’t go back to a lumpy machine again.

SAM DOVI – I’m a ‘rotary guy’ (builder / user)
So hopefully my $.02 still counts here?! =P
The way I see things, a tattoo is only as good as:
1: The artists abilities
2: The performance of their machine
In order for the artist to achieve their best work,
they need to let that hand fly..
The less restrictions / limitations the better!
That said, I strongly lean towards a light machine!
On top of that, using a lighter weight machine will also extend the time and ability (for most) to tattoo. Both in sessions, and career wise..
*As someone who has worked with my hands every day for 13 years, I can say without a doubt.. Lighter is definitely better!

Heavy machines also serve a purpose..
More for nice solid paper-weights! Hahaha

NICHOLAS MARCHAM – I’m a light lover I find them much better for shading and detail but on the flip side the heavy ones are better for solid colour and power lining its all preference but I enjoy the more fine work I get out of the light gun myself

FIONA KEELAN – Light weight definitely my fav 🙂

BRIAN EDWARDS – I love to see where this goes I use light nowadays as the old wrists aint what they used to be but I still love a good heavy machine for colour packing

KAYLA SOLARI – i find that light is much easier to deal with because you get less power behind your hand. even though, yes heavy is good for color but you can do just as well with a light machine.

NATHAN HAMILTON – It’s all depends both have compelling arguments me personally prefer heavier machines for lining the counter weight I feel can provide stability and help with a steady hand a lot of people will say that they are uncomfortably for there hand or they tire easier but if u build up the tiny muscles in ur forearms get endurance from using them enough comfort is up to ur grip and ur natural hand grip the weight if u squeeze to hard to maintain balance then you are doing it wrong I think.. Lightweight machines are better for shading and colouring their light weight means u can get a full range of motion without the back weight pulling or restricting your movements and it’s feels more familiar closer to feeling like holding a pencil again also with technique for shading and colouring the constant twitching of muscles in the arm and range of wrist movements means endurance will be tested a lot more than when you are lining so a lighter machine would be easier in this case.

ADI NOBLE – Well I used to love coils and never thought I’d switch to rotary then I bought a dragonfly! When I first got the box I had to open it quickly to make sure it wasn’t a empty box that I just bought! its that light! Now the way I look at is that we live in a technological world now and coil machines are about a 100 years old. And there also pretty much just a door bell in design and we also live in a lazy world so why hold something that weights 9oz all day when you can carry 3oz instead that works just as well if not better 🙂

JULIAN FORRESTER – i started on heavy coils, got a couple of ally coils, and also use rotaries. I believe that, if youre going to have a future in this industry then you owe it to yourself to look after your hands, and look after your customers, without which you wont have a job ! being from a civil engineering (concrete) background i am well versed in the effects of vibration white finger and fatigue.Personally i consider my chances of avoiding both come with using lightweight low vibration machines. I can work all day happily without pins n needles or bad circulation or tired mitts, gotto be better for my customers 🙂

JAMES DAVIES – I posted on the group and not on the page, so pasted on both…. I personally have only ever used heavyweight coil machines and have found them great to handle and are comfortable with a nice large grip, i found that after a couple of months of using them i managed to be able to work with them progressively to improve within myself as an apprentice tattooist. Heavy weight coil machines have there advantages especially for lining where having this type of machine helps pass my line work solid every time from single liners up to an 18liner, the same with my block work, and colour work i find them great and precise.. the key to this is not only your working tools but also knowing your machine and setting it up properly, every single time its used. I would more than like to try a lighter weight machine with my gray work though, as i seem to struggle working fast enough to get my grey shades perfectly smooth with a heavier weighted machine, but with being an apprentice its not the easiest to afford working tools to just “try them out” even though i could definitely imagine them helping me out… but for everything else i find heavyweight coil machines great and they work perfect for me. So although im all pro for heavier weighted coils id more than definately like to try out a lighter weighted machine. 🙂

ADAM SARGENT – I am 100% a Rotary dude as I prefer the lighter machines…….. Currently, I am using Stealth Rotaries and Dragonfly Rotaries. I mostly work in the ‘realism’ style, concentrating in monochrome. I feel that these machines are perfect for this approach. They can hit both hard and soft, and can apply many styles of shading with ease (just like working with a paintbrush)……..I usually book my clients for as long a sitting as possible, and these lighter machines adapt well for these long sessions. They are easier on the client and a lot easier on me. I stopped using coil machines about 3 years ago as at the end of each day, may hand felt it was going to fall off at the wrist joint, and I constantly had aches in my knuckles and finger joints. Using these machines has completely changed my life. There is less vibration running through my arm/wrist/hand and after a while, you barely notice any weight at all, you may as well be drawing with a pencil, which is awesome, as it allows you to direct all your focus on the tattoo itself. As an added bonus, they rarely overheat either…. which is nice.

 DOM KEIGHER – Nothing beats a fantastic heavy machine!

1. the nice chunky iron old school machine with thick coils that makes your hand ache after hours to remind you how much joy you have doing work
2. the heaviness of it reduces the vibration to nothing so you get a nice relaxing to the hand soft hit as you airbrush the skin with a curved magnum building up your value in that portrait or packing in the color for that bold tribal
3. thick machines work so well with a nice big grip where your hand feels so much at home
4. iron machines seem to run smoother and have a better magnetic connection which means less struggle getting it tuned right
5. a nice heavy machine helps keep consistent lines and shading without struggle because the needle hit is directly related to how the weight of the machine sets on your hand

AMBER RYAN – I much prefer the heavy machines as I use 19mm grips and I find if I use a lighter machine it doesn’t even out with the weight

MATT D TATTOOIST – I used iron coils from day 1 of my tattooing, then someone handed me a stealth to try one day. It was like angels caressing my wrist, and I come to realise that if you can make things lighter and easier to handle then why would you not!

SIMON WALLIS – I personally prefer a heavy weight, but whatever you use you have to make sure you get enough time with each machine to get used to it. I love a heavyweight machine for lining as it keeps everything steady and your lines crisp with no errors. Especially when using a 1, 3 or 5 liner as those delicate lines easily show up the smallest of movements so the heavier the machine the more steady your lines will be. With shading a lighter machine can allow you to make your wrist flicks easier which can give you more gradation with your shading, I dont really suffer from wrist ache so have gotten used to shading with an Iron and can get similar results from both. I do have some Stealths but find them too light. At the end of the day its whatever you prefer and gives you the best results. I’ve tried both and just prefer heavy machines.

ELLE INKED – I like to use Coils for line work, one for its precision,it works for me on short and long ie tribal, and perfect lines everytime for me. I use a lighter weight machine stigma hyper 2 for all my shading now, not only is it alot lighter and me being a female i tend to feel the weight differnce alot, saves the wrist ache. One remarkable difference is the feel, most of my customers prefer the machine to the coil. It has much less trauma to the skin, and results in a quicker healing time. With better results, colour i find is brighter and shading precision is excellent. Ive used coil machines for a many of years and took me a little to take to a rotary, but i wouldnt look back now, both have different results.

JAMES DAVIES – I personally have only ever used heavyweight coil machines and have found them great to handle and are comfortable with a nice large grip, i found that after a couple of months of using them i managed to be able to work with them progressively to improve within myself as an apprentice tattooist. Heavy weight coil machines have there advantages especially for lining where having this type of machine helps pass my line work solid every time from single liners up to an 18liner, the same with my block work, and colour work i find them great and precise.. the key to this is not only your working tools but also knowing your machine and setting it up properly, every single time its used. I would more than like to try a lighter weight machine with my gray work though, as i seem to struggle working fast enough to get my grey shades perfectly smooth with a heavier weighted machine, but with being an apprentice its not the easiest to afford working tools to just “try them out” even though i could definitely imagine them helping me out… but for everything else i find heavyweight coil machines great and they work perfect for me. So although im all pro for heavier weighted coils id more than definately like to try out a lighter weighted machine. 🙂

SIMON WALLIS – Id say it matters a lot. Some people can’t use a fast heavyweight that hits hard. Maybe their style is too slow for a machine like that so they need something that more suits their style. Which all comes down to what i said, spending time getting to know a machine. No good if you traumatise your client. Just because you’ve paid 400 for a machine dost make it right. Springs could be a couple of thou too thick, armature bar a tad too heavy. Front coil just slightly out of square. So getting to know your machine and what type best suits you will ultimately produce better tattoos. Cabinet makers don’t use just any old tool and the same should be said about us. Im starting to make my own brass machines. That way i know they are perfect for me.

ELLE INKED – of course it matters each machine works differntly, i paid alot of money for a brass machine, its the most shitiest piece of machinary i have….it has never worked right, ive stripped and played with it and is too heavy(personally for me), on the other hand it absolutley mashed my leg..thank god i never used on a client….. I have brought another one and shes my tribal colouring in magic tool., never let me down…You have to understand different machines do differnt work, weights certainly make a differnce. For shading, colouring etc i use a light weight rotary, which is less painful, and heals quicker….so machinary is extremely important…dnt u think

 Check out the specs of the these machines with the links here:
http://www.thetattooshop.co.uk/shop/Aluminator_Series_Tattoo_Machines.html
vs
http://www.thetattooshop.co.uk/shop/Iron_Series.html

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