How to tune VladBlad Irons coil machine?

By Vlad Barikhin, Vlad Blad Irons CEO
April 17, 2024
Table of contents:
Setting up a tattoo machine is a critical process that directly affects the quality and safety of the tattoo. Correct adjustment ensures not only the comfort of the master and the client, but also helps to achieve the desired result with minimal discomfort. This article is for those who want to gain a deeper understanding of how to set up a tattoo machine to ensure it performs optimally.
«Let's say these are recommendations from an artist to other artists. Let's start with the classics.»
Vlad Barikhin
Vlad Blad Irons CEO
Overview of the tattoo machine setup process
Setting up a tattoo machine starts with understanding its key components and how they interact during operation. Basic elements such as contact screw, anchor rod, coils and springs must be adjusted so that the machine operates stably and efficiently.

A white sheet of paper and a power supply are often used to monitor and adjust the frequency and amplitude of the shock. The white sheet helps visually assess the uniformity of impact and ink distribution, while the power supply allows you to accurately monitor and regulate the frequency and power of the machine. These tools are an integral part of the setup process as they help the artist fine-tune the machine, ensuring the best possible tattoo quality.
Step-by-step setup process
The first step in setting up a tattoo machine is to observe the amplitude of the stroke and feel the power. Impact amplitude is the distance the needle moves with one impact. This parameter is important, since the depth of penetration of the needle into the skin and, as a result, the quality and intensity of the tattoo lines depends on it. Impact power helps assess how hard the needle impacts the skin, which affects the client's pain and healing rate.

To check the amplitude and power, the technician must activate the machine and carefully observe the movement of the needle. If the amplitude is too large or small, or if the impact power seems inadequate, adjustment is required.

Adjusting the contact screw

The contact screw plays a key role in setting up the tattoo machine, as it determines how close the armature bar will be to the coils, which affects the frequency and power of the stroke. Adjusting this screw allows you to change the stroke of the anchor rod, which directly affects the operation of the machine.

To make adjustments, the technician must first loosen the contact screw so that the anchor rod can move freely. Then, activating the pedal, the master must gradually tighten the screw until the anchor rod begins to rest against the coils with the required force. It is important to ensure that the contact is made in such a way that the machine operates evenly and stably, without excessive vibration or noise.

Setting the operating frequency

The frequency of operation of a tattoo machine is one of the key parameters that determine the quality and comfort of the tattooing process. Frequency, measured in Hertz (Hz), indicates the number of times the needle strikes per second. For most procedures, the optimal frequency is 125 Hz, which provides sufficient speed and power to effectively introduce ink under the skin, while minimizing trauma to the skin.

To adjust the frequency, the master must use a power supply that allows you to precisely adjust the voltage supplied to the machine. Increasing the voltage usually increases the frequency of the machine, while decreasing the voltage reduces it. It is important to adjust the frequency so that the machine works stably and produces a uniform sound without jerks or delays.

Angle between anchor rod pins

The angle between the pins of the anchor rod plays an important role in controlling the amplitude of the needle movement. This angle must be finely adjusted to ensure proper up and down movement of the needle. The optimal angle between the pins should not exceed one millimeter, which helps create a uniform and soft impact necessary for accurate ink application.

To adjust this angle, the technician must carefully check the location of the pins on the anchor rod in relation to the coils. Adjustments are made as necessary, usually using adjusting screws on the machine, to achieve the desired position. Proper angle adjustment not only improves the quality of the tattoo, but also reduces wear and tear on the equipment, increasing its service life.

Ideal amplitude

The ideal amplitude for a tattoo machine is about one millimeter. This optimal value allows you to achieve high precision and clarity of lines with minimal trauma to the skin. To achieve such an amplitude, it is necessary to carefully adjust the mechanical and electrical parameters of the machine.

The amplitude is checked by visual inspection of the movement of the needle and auditory analysis of the operation of the machine. The machine should operate with clear and stable sound without interruptions or noise. The impact frequency must exceed 125 Hz, which provides sufficient speed for effective ink deployment. Tuning includes adjusting the contact screw and voltage on the power supply to achieve the required amplitude and frequency of operation.

Setting up shading machines

Shading machines require special settings that are different from line machines. Shading requires a softer, wider stroke to distribute the ink evenly and create a shading effect without hard lines. Setting up such machines includes adjusting the contact screw to change the stroke of the anchor rod, which allows for smoother operation.

It is also important to control the angle between the anchor rod pins and the coils to ensure the desired amplitude and frequency of shocks. The frequency for shader machines can be slightly lower than for linear ones, which allows the needle to move more smoothly over the skin, creating the desired shading effect. Regularly checking and adjusting the voltage on the power supply helps keep the machine in optimal working condition for shading.

Steps for setting up shader machines

Setting up shader machines requires careful fine-tuning, especially in frequency and impact angle. Here are the key steps for effective setup:

  1. Frequency Adjustment. The frequency of the blows should be sufficient to create smooth and even shading, but not so high as to cause overheating or unnecessary trauma to the skin. The ideal frequency for shader machines is often lower than for linear ones;
  2. Impact Angle Adjustment. The angle at which the anchor rod impacts the reels must be optimized to ensure a soft impact. This is important for even distribution of ink and high-quality shading;
  3. Avoiding Over-Adjustment. It is important to avoid over-adjustment, which can reduce the power of the machine. A balance must be found between having enough impact power and being gentle enough to protect your skin and equipment.


Proper setup of tattoo machines is critical to the quality of tattoos. It affects the comfort of the artist and the client, the speed of tattoo healing, as well as the overall aesthetics and durability of the result. Various adjustment steps, including adjustment of the contact screw, operating frequency, impact angle and amplitude, must be carefully carried out for the machine to perform optimally. This is especially true for shader machines, where special softness and smoothness of impact is required. Mastering the technique of setting up a tattoo machine not only improves the quality of work, but also contributes to the professional development of the tattoo artist.
Understanding the different types of tattoo machines is crucial for every artist aiming to excel in this field. The journey of exploration doesn't stop here; in the next article, we will delve deeper into the realms of tattoo machine performance and reliability, aiding artists in making informed decisions for their craft.
You might like it