Tattoo machine wear and tear is inevitable. Every single session puts strain and pressure on the mechanisms within a tattoo machine, leading them to eventually show their age. Whilst many tattoo studios might be spoilt for choice with multiple machines at their disposal, an artist will more than likely have a particular machine that they favour. This tattoo machine won’t just be picked up off the shelf, it will have been fine-tuned to the artist with adjustments made to its mechanisms to perfectly suit their technique and style. With artists often having preferred machines that they use session after session, it comes as no surprise that a tattoo machine can go through quite an intense workload. This personal connection that is forged between an artist and their tattoo machine is also what makes it all the more important to ensure that it is properly maintained to extend its life and powerful performance.

Whilst it is the heavy use of a tattoo machine that makes its maintenance a necessary step, it is important to think about what might happen if it is ignored. If a tattoo machine is maintained poorly, there isn’t much in the way of it stopping performing effectively. It goes without saying that unexpected issues interrupting an artist during a session are less than ideal and don’t project a positive impression to the client in the chair. Client safety is paramount throughout the entire tattooing process. This critical priority isn’t just thought about on the day that the client has their tattoo either, a large proportion of the preparation to ensure client safety is carried out before the needle even touches the skin. Tattoo machine maintenance is a huge part of this, so let’s take a look at some of the key areas to focus on.

#1 Know What Wear And Tear Looks Like 27/02/2018


The signs of wear and tear can be hard to spot and are often hidden away in the nooks and crannies of the mechanisms of a tattoo machine. This is where the knowledge of the tattoo artist comes in. With a strong awareness of exactly how their tattoo machine feels to use as they create their art, they will know with certainty when it is starting to act sluggish. Once a tattoo machine begins to slow down in performance, it’s unlikely that it will magically recover and, more often than not, it’s time to give the machine some TLC.

#2 Keep Things Moving 27/02/2018


Rust is every tattoo machine’s nightmare. This unwelcome guest can occur on any tattoo machine through general use and it can really hinder its performance. Rust often strikes at vulnerable areas of the tattoo machine such as the springs and armature bar, making them jar and stiffen. Applying the proper lubricant to the tattoo machine acts as a barrier to prevent rust from occurring. By freeing up the movement of the mechanisms, the tattoo machine will be ready and able to perform as if new.

#3 Invest In The Best Cleaning Equipment 27/02/2018


Cleaning is an essential part of any tattoo machine maintenance routine. The potential health risks of tattooing are no secret, but they only become risks if the proper safety measures are overlooked. When sitting in the chair, clients are putting their health and personal safety in the hands of the studio and the artist. There is a great deal of trust involved here so, along with the many potential risks, it is this leap of faith that makes hygiene a step that’s not to be taken lightly.

Using high-quality cleaning equipment is a vital factor that will ensure that the tattoo machine, and the entire studio for that matter, is sterilised and ready for use. Hospital grade disinfectant is an absolute must; this kind of cleaning supply is second to none and won’t leave room for any health risks, if used correctly. Ultrasonic cleaners are the next step-up to ensuring that the many parts of a tattoo machine are safe to be used. This particular machine has some incredibly useful applications such as helping to dislodge ink residue on tubes prior to manual cleaning, making for a far more thorough clean. Autoclaves are a further invaluable tool that provide additional assurance that the parts of a tattoo machine are fully sterilised. Simply explained, autoclaves create a pressurised chamber that becomes an environment that bacteria and viruses stand no chance of survival in.

#4 Learn A Range Of Fixes 27/02/2018


It’s not just hygiene that is a critical consideration when it comes to tattoo machine maintenance. With so many elements and parts forming each machine, there is more than one way that it can feel under the weather. Carbon build-ups are just one example of a common cause of poor performance. Carbon build-ups can be a nuisance, but they aren’t a death sentence for a tattoo machine. This kind of issue can be cleared up with some simple filing to remove the build-up, just be sure to remember to clean the filings from the machine afterwards. It’s not unknown for the machine power cords to slip-up, either. Broken wiring can cause a pretty sudden halt to proceedings, so it’s sensible to have a spare cord to hand to be able to continue using the  machine without any further delay. Tubes and tips undergo plenty of heavy use as key parts of a tattoo machine, meaning that they can quickly show signs of stress in the form of grooves. These grooves are caused by the repetitive rubbing from the needle and are a clear indicator that some maintenance is needed; again, some careful filing should do the trick.

#5 If You’re Going To Dissemble Your Machine, Do It Properly 27/02/2018


To achieve some serious maintenance, it might be the case that dissembling the tattoo machine is necessary. However, this is a process to be wary of. Before fiddling with any elements of the tattoo machine, it is important to have a strong knowledge of how all of the parts of the machine fit together. Here, organisation is key; with some careful research from the tattoo machine manufacturer and a review of the machine’s manual, it is possible to carry out this more intense maintenance. This kind of maintenance can be daunting, but it is imperative to ensure that the tattoo machine can continue to perform as the artist desires without any hitches.

These 5 top tips for tattoo machine maintenance are a strong starting point for keeping your machine performing. Whilst keeping every machine in perfect working order is vital for the artist’s ease of use, it is also a matter of safety. We supply an extensive range of products at our Nottingham store that will help you to follow this guidance and improve the performance of your tattoo machine. Visit us soon or place your order online: