How to Adjust the Needle Reach on a SeaWolf Rotary Machine

By Vlad Barikhin, Vlad Blad Irons CEO
March 22, 2024
Table of contents:
In the world of tattoo artistry, the ink used is not just a medium but a pivotal element that defines the quality, longevity, and vibrancy of the artwork etched into the skin. High-quality tattoo ink is crucial for ensuring that each tattoo remains a vivid representation of the artist's skill and the wearer's vision for years to come. When selecting the top 10 tattoo inks, several key criteria come into play, including color vibrancy, adherence to safety standards, the variety of the palette, and endorsements by seasoned tattoo artists. These elements together ensure that the chosen inks not only meet the artistic demands of tattoo creators but also prioritize the health and satisfaction of those who wear the tattoos.
«Let's say these are recommendations from an artist to other artists. Let's start with the classics.»
Vlad Barikhin
Vlad Blad Irons CEO
Needle insertion


Before you begin, make sure your hands are clean to prevent the risk of infection. Prepare your SeaWolf rotary machine, selected needle, handle and bushing.

Inserting the needle

Take the needle and check it to make sure it is straight and free of defects. For rotary machines, especially SeaWolf, the needle does not need to be bent. This is a critical difference from coil installation, where modification of the needle may be required.


Once you have the needle ready, insert it into the machine with the shaft facing up. This orientation is important for proper operation of the SeaWolf rotary machine.

Securing the needle

Once the needle is inserted and properly aligned, secure it in place using the included wing nut. Make sure the needle is secure but not over tightened as this may damage the needle bar or affect its movement.

Adding a Handle and Bushing

Attaching the handle

After securing the needle, the next step is to add the handle. The handle not only provides comfort while tattooing, but also provides better control over the machine. Slide the handle onto the bottom of the machine where it meets the needle bar. Adjust it to your preferred position for optimal control and comfort.

Bushing placement

The last step involves installing the bushing onto the rod pin. The bushing is necessary to ensure stabilization and correct movement of the needle during the rotational movement of the machine. Carefully slide the bushing onto the rod pin, making sure it fits snugly and securely. This helps reduce vibration and provides a smoother needle movement.

Adjusting the reach and assembly of the SeaWolf rotary machine

Proper assembly and setup of the SeaWolf rotary machine is paramount to achieving the best tattoo results. Machine setup, including needle drop and use of rubber bands, plays a critical role in the consistency and accuracy of your work. Here's how to properly adjust your reach and assemble your machine for optimal performance.

Placement of elastic bands

The SeaWolf rotary machine is equipped with special stands located behind the fasteners and designed specifically to accommodate rubber bands. These rubber bands are essential to keep the needle steady while you work. Gently stretch the two elastic bands and place them on these posts. Make sure the bands are not too tight; they should provide enough tension to hold the needle bar in place without impeding its movement.

Once the elastics are in place, gently move the needle bar with your fingers to check for proper tension. Movement should be smooth and unhindered. Adjust the elastic bands as needed to achieve the correct balance.

Overhang adjustment

Stylus projection refers to how far the needle protrudes from the tip of the handle. For different tattoo techniques, the required protrusion may vary. For color fills, it is usually recommended to set the overhang to between 2.5 and 3 mm. This range ensures optimal ink flow and distribution, producing even, vibrant color fills.
To adjust the reach, first slightly loosen the wing nut that secures the needle bar. Carefully advance the needle to the desired length of projection, making sure it is parallel to the bottom of the tip. This parallel alignment is critical to preventing pigment leakage and ensuring that the ink is placed exactly where it is intended.

After adjusting the needle to the correct projection, tighten the wing nut to secure the needle bar in place. Double check the alignment and length of the tab to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Final assembly check

With the rubber bands correctly placed and the needle projection adjusted, give a final overview of your machine's assembly. Make sure everything is secure and aligned correctly.

Before starting your tattoo session, it is advisable to test the machine on training skin or similar material. This test run will help you ensure that the machine setup is optimized for the task at hand and adjustments can be made if necessary.

Following these detailed steps to adjust the lug and assemble the SeaWolf Rotary Machine will help ensure that the tattooing process is smooth, efficient, and produces the high-quality results you and your clients expect. Proper installation and setup is the key to a successful tattoo, reducing errors and increasing overall satisfaction with the job done
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.
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