How to Set a Tattoo Machine for Shading

Learn how to set a tattoo machine for shading from acclaimed tattoo artist James Vaughn in this Howcast video.

Now the shader machine. I’m going to do the same thing. I’m going to put a little bit of tension on the, on the needle itself. And I use mostly 11 mags. Eleven mags are basically what… A magnum needle is basically 11 needles, but they’re set like a rake, basically they’re like this. I like to use flat. They have rounds that are basically a curve, but I prefer a straight. Always remember; do not let the tips of the needles hit the sides of the tube. That way you don’t damage the needle. You will always, always be very, very careful because you don’t want a hooked needle.

Also use different size grommets, because basically the tension on the, when you put the needle bar onto the armature bar is very important. You will find sometimes, if your needle is not actually penetrating the skin very well, you might be very lose between the connection of the needle bar and the armature bar. So that’s one tip that you could remember; always remember that there are different grommets, if you will, that you could use that have different thicknesses and actually different hardness. The harder one is going to actually going to, it’s just like a bumper; a harder one is going to not give as much, and a softer one will give a little bit of a softer hit. There’s another tip. I always use, usually about a nickel thickness for setting up the depth of my machine.