There are some things we live to regret. Like with any of your professional supplies, play it smart and you can get long life out of your beloved tattoo machine. They're made to last. Just give them the right kind of TLC.
Trying to Repair the Tattoo Machine Yourself
Were you "that kid" who took their toaster apart and then nearly burned the house down when your re-assembled version caught on fire? It shouldn’t have been a surprise, considering you were left with loose extra pieces you didn’t know where they belonged and assumed they were unnecessary.
So, let’s learn from experience and not try to DIY it. Send your tattoo machine in for repairs.
Engineer or not, opening the machine encasing and trying to fix an FK Irons machine will void the warranty.
Oops. Dropped it.
Dropping the machine seems almost too obvious to mention, but for that exact reason it must be highlighted. Saving a couple of bucks by using a plastic baggie to carry your machine around could cost you a pretty penny.
Another suggestion is to use a sanitized tray that has a lip.
And a fun & functional tattoo shop decor would be this creative DeathGrip tattoo machine stand by Javier Antunez.
The Overzealous Cleaner
Spraying machines with disinfectants has ruined many a machine. Even if you think that sanitizers could only be used for good and never evil, remember that most liquids are corrosives. Spraying propels the corrosive into the machine gears and digital components that were never intended to come into contact with liquids.
Don't spray the machine directly, but rather spray a no-lint rag and wipe down the machine body with the rag.
Only the grips on FK Irons machines are autoclavable. One of our customers autoclaved their entire machine and the heat practically fused the two pieces into one solid piece. Needless to say, this customer was told that their action falls out of warranty.
Can I Use Any Cable to Power My Tattoo Machine?
If it cost you a dollar, that cable probably isn’t a good choice to power your $600 - $1200 tattoo machine.
Most tattoo machines will come with a cable, but if you want extra, buy from the same, reputable company where you bought the tattoo machine and match the voltage requirements with your machine’s user manual. View FK Irons user manuals here.
FK Irons machines come pre-lubricated. You shouldn’t have to lubricate them, but if you feel your machine needs a tune-up, we suggest sending the machine in to our repairs department.
It’s simply too easy to over-lubricate the machine or use the wrong products that it’s best to send it in for maintenance.
Using Non-Membrane Needles
Did you know that non-membrane cartridge needles even existed? Yes, it’s true. Always check before purchasing and ensure that they are membrane cartridges.
Why's this important? The purpose of the membrane is create a barrier to prevent ink and bodily fluids from being sucked back into the machine. This is particularly important for pen-style machines. Any liquid introduced to moving parts and digital components can corrode them.
This isn't just theory. Recently, the repairs team at FK Irons has experienced a long bout of machine motors clogged with ink!
Constant High Voltage (10+)
“Some artists run their machines really high, but they’re forgetting that they’re hurting the skin. You don’t need to run the machine at 10! You'll get better results at lower speeds, plus it wears out the motor faster,” advises Marquis Gratia, Social Media Manager at FK Irons.
Running the machine on a high voltage won’t void the warranty. However, it would be helpful to realize that, just like a car, if you constantly push it in high gear, you will cause considerable wear and tear, the machine will require more frequent maintenance and you can expect a shorter motor life. C'est la vie.
We hope with this post that we've imparted a little extra knowledge that will keep your tattooing days fun, light and disaster-free.