Understanding the Tattooing Process
I want to start this blog post by reminding everyone of the basic principle of tattooing: When tattooing, needles penetrate the skin, carrying with them pigment into the dermis, which doesn't regenerate like the superficial skin layers. This is why tattoos are permanent.
During the tattooing process, the top, regenerating skin layers also become saturated, which is why tattoo colors appear brighter initially. As the skin heals after tattooing, the pigment in the regenerating skin layers fades away, leaving only the colour pigments in the dermis visible through the top skin layers.
Because the colour should reach the dermis with minimal skin damage, the tattoo machine needs to have enough power for the needles to penetrate the skin effortlessly with each stroke. If the tattoo machine lacks sufficient power, the needles won't penetrate the skin to the dermis properly, and the colour will remain mainly in the superficial skin layers, gradually fading as the skin regenerates afterwards.
Contrary to common belief, I claim that raised and scarred tattoos are rarely the result of the tattoo being done too deep; rather, it's often because the needles haven't gone through the skin properly, causing unnecessary skin damage and scar tissue. This is usually noticeable already during the tattooing process due to pronounced redness, swelling, and excessive leakage of tissue fluid.
Can a Tattoo Machine Be Too Powerful?
Can a tattoo machine be too powerful? No. I haven't found a single benefit to tattooing with a low-powered machine. A weak, so-called "soft" tattoo machine doesn't work like a soft brush when painting, despite this common misconception. While you can create fine artwork with a weak machine, especially when using only small needle sizes and in the hands of a skilled artist, but working with more power makes the tattooing process smoother, easier, and the healing is faster.
The Pitfalls of Low-Powered Machines
Many novice artists are apprehensive about getting a powerful machine, fearing that it will cause more damage to the skin compared to a weaker machine. However, it's quite the opposite: a weak machine is almost certain to cause more skin damage, and learning proper techniques with such is more challenging.
Insufficient power also restricts the use of certain needle sizes and limits the range of tattooing techniques you can employ. With commonly used machines, the comfort zone typically lies somewhere between using a 9 round and a 15 magnum; anything larger than that makes it difficult to achieve solid colour or crisp lines.
Kajaste machines solves this problem with a powerful motor and sensors that constantly monitor the motor's performance. The motor torque increases immediately when it detects the resistance growing, so whether you're using a 3 bugpin liner or a >49 magnum, the machine works smoothly without stalling, even with the largest needles. This feature greatly simplifies the tattooing process and becomes particularly noticeable when using larger needle configurations.
I think tattooing is not about speed but about the final result. However, many artists, including myself, have noticed that when working with a powerful machine, the days are not as long, and projects often finish ahead of schedule. I believe this is due to the smooth flow of work: solid colour becomes solid in one go, you can use sufficiently large needles for big areas, and challenging areas like elbows are as easy to pack solid as any other.
Why Do Powerful Machines Make Tattooing Less Painful?
From the customer's perspective, tattooing feels less painful if you don't have to re-colour already tattooed areas, and the work progresses more smoothly and quickly. The use of products like tattoo film is also more straightforward when there hasn't been excessive skin damage, and tissue fluid leakage is reduced. Additionally, tattoo healing time becomes shorter.
I hope that this short article has sparked your interest in reconsidering your stance on tattoo machine power and that you now understand how crucial it is for a machine to be adequately powerful. A more powerful machine offers many essential benefits to both the artist and the client, and there's no need to fear power when it comes to tattooing.