Submitted 02.24.24

The Efficiency of Coil Machines — Carson Hill Fireside Tattoo Network

The Efficiency of Coil Machines

[16:44] Relating to rotaries “it wouldn’t necessarily be 10%, but it wouldn’t matter because the needle still gets in and out really quickly. It doesn’t have to go through that motion of completing a cycle.”

— Carson Hill

There’s something elusive about coil machines that rotaries have a very hard time replicating. The motor in a rotary machine needs to make one full rotation in order to make the cam drive the needle up and down, increasing the amount of dwell time, or time the needle spends inside the layers of the skin. Because of this you have to be extra careful since there is a lot more potential for the needle to cause skin trauma. 

With coils there’s a phenomenon called “give” that’s created from the needle interacting with the skin. The resistance from the needles puncturing the skin creates a small disruption in the up and down motion of the armature bar, and this disruption makes the needle far less likely to dig too deep into the lower layers of skin.

diagram of the dwell time of each type of tattoo machine

Because of “Give” a coil machine can make for a much faster and smoother experience for the tattooer when laying down lines, packing in solid fields, etc.. Because of this efficiency you’re a lot less likely to cause serious trauma to the skin and have unnecessary swelling or scarring.

Watch the full episode: 

Tattoo Gear: The Problem With Rotaries Carson Hill EP 238

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