Technology June 14, 2017 Share 0 Tweet Pin 0 In 1875, Thomas Edison invented an electric pen to assist businesses who performed a “great deal of reduplication”, like lawyers and insurance companies. Operated by battery, it did not see a quick public acceptance, and by 1880 competitors had developed mechanical pens that required no batteries that was openly welcomed into those businesses. Taking Edison’s electric pen model, Samuel O’Reilly patented a new tool that would change the tattoo process forever by converting it into the first electric rotary tattoo needle in 1891.O’Reilly’s concept has been improved upon and evolved into more efficient and gentle models that are used today. While there are two different types of tattoo machines - coil and rotary, we are going to focus on the rotary tattoo machines. Both operate to achieve the same effect - depositing ink into the second layer of tissue beneath the epidermis (the dermis) by moving a needle in and out of the skin.The difference between coil and rotary is what drives that needle. The rotary tattoo machine is made of a needle attached to a rotating cylinder. A small motor inside the machine quietly and smoothly moves the needle up and down in a fluid rotation. This linear motion of the needle pushes in and pulls out of the skin applying ink. While most rotary tattoo machines are electric, there have been some newer models produced that operate pneumatically.Pros and Cons of Rotary Tattoo Machines Pros Quiet Simple to operateGood for filling and color workConsistent needle movementLess damaging to skin Low maintenance Cons Shading and line depth are more difficult Not as effective with larger needle groupingFull stroke needed to complete rotary motionLess responsive to skin tension Features to Consider in a Rotary Tattoo MachineWhat machine is best for you will be a personal preference based on your tattooing style. A few of the most universal and most important features you will want to consider are the weight of the machine, how solid the construction is, and how reliable the motor inside will be. If you create elaborate and detailed art, you really want to pay attention to the weight of your machine. No one needs his tattoo artist cramping up from working with a gun that is exhausting his hand and arm from the mere weight of it.Another feature that will become important to you is the grip of the tattoo machine. Oftentimes the rotary machine does not include a grip. Grips are made of any number of different materials, like stainless steel, plastic and nylon. There are also gel grip covers to add to the comfort of your grip.The repetitions per minute (RPM) of your rotary tattoo machine is going to help minimize pain for the tattoo receiver. Consistent, deep penetration is the mark of a quality machine. You’ll want to look for a system with higher RPMs.Rotary tattoo machines get their power from an external source. Power is usually supplied by either a clip cord or RCA. Clip cords swing and articulate while you’re working, but RCA is generally a more stable connection and doesn’t swing against contacts. Grip WeightDurabilityReliable motorHigh repetitions per minutePower cord In the end, when comparing different models, it all boils down to your taste and style.Best Rotary Tattoo MachinesProductWeightRPMPowerPriceThunderbolt Force100g0-6,000RCA & Clip Cord options$$Solong Tattoo Hybrid0-8,000DC 5.5 Jack plug cable$Dragonhawk Extreme120g.0-9,000Clip cord$Dragonhawk ExtremeTechnical Specs 6.17oz. Weight Carbon steel3.5mm Stroke7-10 Operating voltage8-9 Lining voltage7-8 Shading voltage The Dragonhawk Extreme is a lightweight, high performing tattoo machine. Powerful and quiet, you can use this machine like painting on the body. The Swiss imported motor gives you extra stability. Dragonhawk is one of the better companies with respect to their customer service on their products. Pros Nearly silent Runs smoothlyGreat for shading and lining Cons Could use more tubes for each size needle SEE ON AMAZON Solong Tattoo Hybrid Tattoo Pen Permanent Makeup Pen Rotary Tattoo MachineTechnical Specs Aircraft aluminum alloy 7-12 Operating voltage0-8,000/min RPM range stitches, 8-800 sec3mm Stroke3.5mm Needle protrusionDC 5.5 jack plug cable with adapter The Solong Hybrid Tattoo Pen is designed to give you the feel of an actual pen for drawing fine lines. The motor is 4.5w which makes it powerful and stable while not getting too hot during long tattoo sessions. With you tattoo pen, you get a connection line, jack plug adapter and needle cartridge. The plug adapter is compatible with most tattoo power supplies.Pros Quiet PowerfulRuns smoothly Cons Not as light as others Not adjustable SEE ON AMAZON Thunderbolt ForceTechnical Features Swiss motor Aircraft aluminum4-7.5 Working voltageRCA & clip cord power connection0-6,000/min RPM range stitches in 0-100 sec08mm Maximum tube diameter50 Magnum maximum needle size100g WeightAvailable in black and silver EZ Tattoo’s Thunderbolt Force is designed to give the artist a coil machine’s tension and throw control with the rotary machine’s consistency. Unlike adjustable tension machines this machine does not bind up. With endless options for adjustability, you can use this machine for big color fill or tribal designs. Just play with the adjustments to find your perfect voltage. Pros Lightweight QuietQuality motorWorks well with traditional needles Cons Requires a lot of voltage adjustment No instruction manualSprings not good over 9v SEE ON AMAZON Final ThoughtsSince Thomas Edison’s electric pen and Samuel O’Reilly’s first tattoo pen, the tattoo machine has evolved into a lighter weight, highly efficient instrument to art the human body. With hundreds of different models on the market, you want to be sure you’re getting not only the most effective tattoo machine, but the one that fits your habits and methods. Armed with the basic features and how they affect your work, you’ll find a machine to fit any budget and any artistic approach.