Rotary Tattoo Machine Basics
The rotary tattoo machineoperates by way of a small motor, a cam (or stroke) wheel, and a needle bar. Your power supply powers the motor, which spins the cam wheel in a circular (or rotary) fashion; this, in turn, moves the needle bar in a smooth, linear fashion.
Rotary Tattoo Machines versus Coil Tattoo Machines
It’s a hot debate topic, but neither rotary tattoo machines nor coil tattoo machines are objectively “better,” since each has its own benefits. For instance, rotary tattoo machines have less parts than coil machines, making them easier to maintain. When it comes to performance, rotary tattoo machines are considered more versatile than coils, simply because they are more easily adjustable, and thereby able to accomplish a broad spectrum of work (lining, shading, color packing, etc). With a rotary tattoo machine, you can swap out your cartridge needle or adjust your needle depth on the fly to switch gears while you’re tattooing. Some rotary machines can even be configured to operate very similarly to a hard-hitting coil machine; Ink Machines even offers rotary tattoo machine kits to make your Scorpion machine compatible with traditional tattoo needles.
We offer both rotary tattoo machines and coil tattoo machines on our Web store. To learn more about the differences between them, check out our Infocenter article, "Coil vs Rotary Tattoo Machines."
Rotary Tattoo Machines for Beginners
More and more artists are starting out with a rotary tattoo machine. This makes life a little easier, since the rotary tattoo machine requires less maintenance and technical know-how than the complex coil. As an apprentice, the choice is a matter of preference, coupled with your mentor’s guidance.
Rotary Tattoo Machines and Pain
With less heavy vibration and no tell-tale buzzing, clients often have the perception that they are experiencing less pain when getting tattooed by a rotary machine. For the artist, rotary tattoo machines are so lightweight that they are less painful on the hands, reducing common gripes like hand fatigue and finger cramps.
Choosing the Best Rotary Tattoo Machine
Our selection of rotary tattoo machines includes sliders, direct drives, and pens by brands like FK Irons, Cheyenne, InkJecta, and Peak. The best rotary tattoo machine for you is based solely on your preference. Some artists prefer the pen-like control and precision that comes with a pen tattoo machine, while others prefer the friction-less, smooth performance of a slider. While shopping, you’ll also want to look for a voltage, needle depth, or stroke range most conducive to your style of tattooing. Additionally, it’s important to note that manufacturers continue to offer new features, like wireless rotary tattoo machines, which are often pricier, but save you money in the long-run on accessories like cords and tattoo power supplies.
For PMU artists, lightweight rotary and wireless machines are the go-to option. We offer individual machines for PMU artists as well as the Mosaic tattoo kit for those seeking comprehensive rotary tattoo machine kits.