by Jake Meeks –
Topics: Tattoo Techniques, Needles, Cartridges, Machines
So what exactly are cartridges? Tattoo Needle cartridges are a device that allows a tattooer to conveniently swap from one tattoo needle grouping to another without having to change to another machine. The needle grouping is encased in a plastic reservoir tip, similar to traditional tubes, with a plunger that makes contact with the arm of the machine and that pushes the needles up and down.
At the time of this video cartridges had only been out for a few years, but now there are so many brands and so many tattoo needle groupings and configurations that they’ve really taken over the industry.
The main advantage to needle cartridges is how much easier they are to swap between needle groupings. Traditionally with coil machines, if you wanted multiple needle configurations you’d have to use multiple machines set up, so Instead of having 4, 7, or even 8 different machines all with different setups, you can just use one machine and have cartridges to swap in and out.
Needle cartridges may seem like space age technology, but they're much simpler than they come across. The arm connected to the rotary motor has a ball on the end that runs down through the grip. The cartridge snaps into the grip and the spring activated plunger on the back of the cartridge makes contact with the ball on the rotary arm. The motor spins the rotor moving the arm up and down, pushing the needles in and out of the tip.
Now that cartridges have been around for a little while, the only thing you really need to make this setup work is the correct grip. And there are a ton of them in the market now, and most manufacturers make a nice disposable version of most of their grips. Just make sure that whatever grip you’re purchasing is applicable to your machine.
Check out some of the needle cartridges I used in the video and test them for yourself to find which cartridge brand is right for you.
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The Fireside Tattoo Network is home to the Fireside podcast, Fireside Technique video series and our Fireside Weekly blog.
The Fireside Tattoo podcast is hosted by veteran tattooer Jake Meeks, check out our episodes where we discuss, argue and wax philosophical, from tips for all levels of artists to trends in the tattoo world. Many guest artists have sat down for interviews and in-depth conversations and many more are planned…check back often!
Our Fireside Technique video series offers short, detailed how-to videos geared towards helping artists improve their work. We often take some of our more technical topics from our Fireside podcast and film an in-depth, narrated, time-lapse video showing exactly how Jake or our featured artists handle certain issues.
Tattoo gear has come a long way over the last decade. From tattoo machines and power supplies to batteries and cartridges. For years Jake has had hundreds of requests for reviews on many of these subjects and everything in between.
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