Tattoo machines are used to inject ink under the skin so that once the site of the tattoo heals, you have a permanent piece of art on your skin. Tattoo machines generally made of a series of needles that are powered by a coil that quickly drives the needles up and down while forcing ink into the tiny perforations those needles create in the skin. Historically, the best and most reliable way to get a steady, fast motion for the needles has been to power the coil with electricity, a generator or a battery. As a result, while tattoo machines are incredibly finely tuned and capable of photorealistic detail, even the best can be a bit cumbersome and heavy. This has several problematic ramifications. Even the most stalwart tattoo artists generally can only tattoo for a maximum of one to three hours at a time because holding a tattoo machine for that long can cause serious hand, arm and muscle fatigue. Some artists actually develop severe tendonitis in their wrists and shoulders over time due to this issue. Another issue with traditional tattoo machines is that they can be difficult to clean because they must be disassembled before being autoclaved. While this is a necessary task that all good tattoo artists and responsible tattoo studios take seriously, it can be time consuming and wearisome.
The pneumatic tattoo machine was developed to resolve these two issues. A pneumatic tattoo machine is powered by an air compressor, and they are extremely lightweight. Pneumatic tattoo machines use pressurized air to power the tattoo machine and drive the needles up and down. These tattoo machines are very lightweight and entirely autoclavable, so that the entire tattoo machine can be placed in the autoclave and sterilized fully without any major disassembly. As a result of their extremely light weight, these tattoo machines are ideal for tattoo artists who have serious issues with hand fatigue or shoulder problems. Pneumatic tattoo machines operate on the same principles as conventional machines; they just use a different power source. They still pound needles very quickly in and out of the top layers of the skin and force ink into the tiny perforations, but instead of being powered by electricity they are powered by compressed air. They also come with foot pedals like a regular tattoo machine, and need disposable air hoses and a small air compressor, such as a portable airbrush compressor. The main thing that an artist must become accustomed to when using these machines is how lightweight they are.
Pneumatic tattoo machines have been patented in the United States, and they have an international patent pending. They can be ordered online, but they have certainly not replaced conventional tattoo machines. The tattoo artist community is of mixed opinions about this groundbreaking new machine. Many are very enthusiastic, particularly if they have had to limit their tattooing due to shoulder or hand fatigue. However, others are a bit more reticent with their praise, preferring to wait and see how the pneumatic tattoo machines fare over time. While tattoo machines have certainly evolved over time, up to now the basic concept behind them has not altered significantly since they were first modeled on Thomas Edisonâ€™s embroidery machine, which propelled a powdered dye onto a cloth in much the same way that early tattoo machines propelled liquid ink into skin. As a result of this relative continuity in technology, many traditionalists are somewhat skeptical of the new pneumatic tattoo machine and are hesitant to invest in the new technology.
Pneumatic tattoo machines come in several models. There are different types to fit different styles of tattooing and that hold different needle formations, just as with conventional tattoo machines. However, pneumatic tattoo machines also come in a hybrid version, which can use electricity to power the gun or compressed air. These have potential to become extremely popular because they would enable artists to tattoo anywhere, and while they may be slightly heavier than the original pneumatic tattoo machine, they are still substantially lighter than an electric machine in nearly all cases. If you want to be tattooed by a tattoo artist using a pneumatic tattoo machine, then you may have to do some looking since they are certainly not yet a common tool in the tattoo industry. However, they are just as safe as regular tattoo machines (assuming that they have been properly autoclaved, of course) and will result in a permanent tattoo. If you are going to get tattooed with a pneumatic tattoo machine, be sure that your tattoo artist has some experience using the machine since they handle differently than a traditional tattoo machine.
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