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Apprentice

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Apprentice FAQ's

What’s the difference between coil and rotary machines? Coil tattoo machines are the original tattoo machine, based on designs of the first electric tattoo machine created by Samuel O’Reilly. Coil tattoo machines are a more manual type of machine, requiring regular maintenance and adjustments to screw lengths and contact points. Using a coil is slightly more technical than a rotary, they make a louder noise, and they are generally heavier. Rotary tattoo machines are usually designed for plug-and-play action, with adjustments made in a more user-friendly way. They’re lighter, and can be wireless, but they also cost significantly more. You can also find hybrid machines which will have certain elements of both types.
What does the term “stroke length” mean? Stroke length (also known as the machine’s “throw”) refers to the distance the needle moves in and out of the machine in one rotation. Machine stroke affects how hard the machine hits, as a longer stroke allows the needle to build up more momentum, and also how fast the needle moves. Stroke length has an effect on your maximum needle depth, but isn’t necessarily connected. Most rotary tattoo machines come with a fixed stroke length, but in some models it can be adjusted.
What cables do I need for my machine? If you’re working with a wireless tattoo machine, the only cables you’ll need will be the ones to charge your battery pack! However, if you’re using a tattoo machine with a wired power supply, you will definitely need a power cable to work with. Most rotary tattoo machines use RCA cables, but some use a smaller, lighter 3.5 mm DC cable instead. For coil tattoo machines, you will probably need a traditional clip cord. We recommend purchasing high quality cables to protect your machine.
How do I understand needle configurations? Needle configurations can definitely be confusing, but it’s very important that you learn to read them. There are usually three parts of a needle you need to understand - the needle diameters, the number of needles, and the configuration that the needles are in. For needle diameter, the measurement will be given either in a millimetre format (e.g. 0.35 mm) or in a gauge - 12 gauge is 0.35 mm, 10 gauge is 0.30 mm, and 08 gauge is 0.25 mm. The number of needles in a configuration is usually an odd number, and can be as low as just 1 needle and as many as 49, or even more. The configuration itself refers to the way the needles are grouped. The most standard types are Round Liners, Round Shaders, Magnums, Flats, and Soft Edge Magnum, although new styles and configurations are being created all the time!
How can I mix or dilute tattoo ink? Most tattoo inks can be simply mixed together to create a new shade or adjust a current one, even if they aren’t from the same brand. The only thing to bear in mind is that different inks will have different thicknesses, which may affect how they combine - you can use a colour mixing solution to help with that. For an ink that’s too thick, you can dilute it down using distilled or sterilised water. Some artists prefer to use glycerine - a common ingredient in tattoo inks - or witch hazel, which also has soothing properties. Ideally you’d match the carrier fluid in your ink to your dilution fluid.
How do I clean synthetic skin? Synthetic skin can be cleaned with green soap, but as you don’t have to worry about the same concerns as with real human skin, you can also use alcohol-based cleansers on it. Please check the synthetic skin instructions before using anything you wouldn’t use on skin.

Our range of apprentice tattoo kits are a great way to teach your apprentice the basics of tattooing. They contain everything an apprentice will need to get practicing including tattoo machines, power supply, tattoo ink, tattoo needles, ink cups etc.

Apprentice Videos

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