One of the hottest things in the tattoo market today is the explosion of rotary machines.
Rotary machines are different from coil wrap machines in almost every way.
The most obvious difference are the way they operate.
Traditional coil machines operate with a electromagnetic current that flows through the coils, causing a draw and release of the spring on the armature bar.
Without getting too technical, the action that is created from a coil machine has somewhat of a “hammer” effect.
Rotary tattoo machines have a small motor encased in the frame. They do not operate with an electromagnetic current.
The rotary motor deliberately rotates the armature bar, inserting the needle into the skin and withdrawing it.
There isn’t a “hammer” action like a coil machine but a more consistent “insert and release’ action.
There are many types of rotary machines available, and I haven’t tried all of them yet but I have tried several and noticed that they share a lot of common characteristics.
*They are QUIET.
If you are addicted to the typical “buzz” of a traditional machine you will be sadly disappointed. They are quiet as a mouse.
I think if we asked our customers they would probably prefer a quiet machine than something sounding like a small machine gun.
*They do NOT require tuning.
If your idea of fun is taking your machine apart 10 times a day between customers, the rotary is not for you.
There is no tuning. This is good and bad.
There is nothing to tinker with.
They either work or they don’t.
There is little adjustability.
Some are available with different size cams that can offer different “throws” to your needle. We have experimented with a lot of them and like the medium cam a.k.a the “all-purpose” size.
*They are super-lightweight.
To some folks that have hand problems or carpel tunnel syndrome, etc rotary machines make tattooing possible.
They weigh a fraction of their 6-8 oz. coil cousins.
I find that in some instances where the tattoo is placed in a hard to reach area, lightweight is good, but to be honest, most of the time I am wishing for more weight to help push the ink in.
I am a fan of heavy machines (8 oz. plus) because I let the weight of the machine do a lot of the work for me. You will find with rotaries that you will have to do a lot of the pushing to make up for the lightweight characteristic.
*They DON’T hurt.
We have experimented a lot with this one.
I can only guess, but perhaps due to the motor action over the hammer action, the pain associated with the tattoo is a lot LESS.
Every customer that we have used both types of machines on, said the same thing: “I don’t even feel this!”.
Same with healing, for reasons I don’t yet understand, the healing time is quicker with rotary machines.
*They look good.
Not everyone thinks a knarled glob of metal with cast iron spider webs is a comforting tool to be getting tattooed with, so if your customers are faint of heart, pull out a rotary. They have a nice clean, simple look to them.
I am not ready to toss my coil machines to go rotary only but I think they make a great addition to your inventory.
I like them for lining and I like them for shading.
I have some $20 ones and some $500 ones and am still trying to decide what the difference is J
Have fun and remember to keep learning and try new things every day!!!