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Coil Confidence: How to Keep Your Tattoo Machine Running Smoothly

Coil Confidence: How to Keep Your Tattoo Machine Running Smoothly

Coil Machine Chronicles: Pro Tips for Long-Lasting Performance

For artists using or interested in coil machines, this one is for you. If you are an artist seeking simple tips to take the best care of you coil tattoo machine and keep it running cleanly, read on.

Brandyn Feldman (@brandynfeldman) USA tattooist, tattoo machine maker and the master craftsman behind of Feldman MFG set out for us his daily coil machine care tips to get the best out of your tattoo machine and keep it clean and running smooth.

There are countless tips and tricks to get the most from your coil machine, what we have here are three basic steps you everyone should be doing daily, that are easy to complete and require no "specialist" tools. 

Brandyn Feldman tattooing viewed through the shape of a tattoo machine

We talked about what inspires Brandyn in today’s machine making world and techniques as well as how we can all work to grow the craft.

Brandyn gave us 3 easy cleaning tips to get the best from your coil machine.

Fine-Tuning Your Craft: Coil Machine Care and Cleaning

  1. Keep it chemical clean
Keep your coil tattoo machine clean and don't wipe it down with a bunch of chemicals. If you give a wipe down with a harsh cleaning liquid or disinfectant, follow it up with some distilled water and just clean it with a damp paper towel or cloth. You don't want to leave it with the chemicals on, you want to neutralize some of that chemical.
Just keeping things clean, care tools, put them in the drawer or put them in a nice case.
  1. Don’t bag your machine
A bag over the machine makes the machine dirty. When the machine runs, the needle movement and oscillation spreads the ink and stuff all over the place. The action works like a kind of suction. When the machine is bagged, this keeps that liquid mist close and it just ends up everywhere all over your coil machine parts making it much harder to clean, leaving residue that can clog and slow down your machine.
You may not see it, but it's definitely happening so avoid bagging your coil machine.
  1. Focus on the contact points
Keep the contact points for your tattoo machines electrical circuit clean. Take a little piece of very fine sandpaper, cut it with scissors into little strips 2 to 3 cm wide and 10cm long and pull that strip between any contact points two to three times to help clean them.
This includes:
    • the end of the contact screw, where it touches and the front spring
    • the coil tops beneath the armature bar, just carefully compress the armature bar down and pull the sandpaper through the armature and the coil. Flip the paper to clean both the coil tops and the armature bar contact point just to clean it a little bit.

Try to keep clean your binding posts where the clip cord goes into them, as well as where they connect to the frame as you can get dirt and debris in there and that will cause a problem.

Brandyn Feldman cleaning a tattoo machine

More power to you

A final performance pointer Brandyn furnished us during our chat, that might help other tattooists.  You can spend any amount of money on your tattoo machines and the little wire that feeds it so very important but often forgotten.

If you take a great tattoo machine with a quality power supply and then go ahead and couple those two things with a poor power cord you start to create your own problem and you don't even know you're doing it. You shoot the ohms up because the more your machine needs to draw current to reach the required voltage (ohm being the unit measure of electrical resistance). This will result in overheating of the machine or a slowed machine speed.

As Australian tattooist Sam Smyth (@smythirons_ink) put it to us during our chat with Brandyn, it's like brushing your teeth. You've got the world's best brush, you've got the world's best technique, and then you're putting the cheapest toothpaste you can and you're wondering why you're not getting the results.

Brandyn Feldman holding a coil workshop

What it is all about

Words on his life perspective towards tattoo from Brandyn Feldman

“So my view on this whole thing, right. Tattooing, just in life really in general, but tattooing and tattoo machine building, we all are just custodians. I've never really kind of thought of myself as like a true innovator or anything like that, because I really believe that all humans are super connected.

There's like this thing that connects all of us, right? And we're just here and we're keeping our section clean for the next group of people that can come and enjoy it. Having that sense or whatever has allowed me to love it more.

I gravitate towards people that kind of have that same mindset.”

We are very grateful to have time with Brandyn Feldman and for his thoughts on tattooing and machine making. You can watch our interviews with Brandyn including a great video on machine making and tattoo from which this article was sourced, all on our YouTube channel. Just head to YouTube and look for Brandyn Feldman or Industry Tattoo Supply and they will be there. Or just hit the link below – like and subscribe! ❤️

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