What to do if your Tattoo Machine is not putting ink in skin

Being a tattoo artist, we understand that getting a tattoo is a significant decision, and you expect nothing but the best results from our professional tattoo artists. However, sometimes things may not go as smoothly as planned, and you might notice that your tattoo machine is not putting ink in the skin as it should. This can be frustrating and may lead to subpar results. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! In this article, we will explore the potential reasons behind this issue and provide you with comprehensive solutions.

How Tattoo Machine work?

Before delving into the troubleshooting steps, it is essential to comprehend the tattoo machine’s inner workings. A typical tattoo machine comprises various components, including a power supply, coils, armature bar, needles, and tubes. The machine operates by electromagnetic coils creating a reciprocating motion that drives the needles in and out, depositing ink into the skin. There are two primary types of tattoo machines: coil machines and rotary machines, each with its unique characteristics.

Common Reasons for Ink Delivery Issues

However, several factors can contribute to the tattoo machine’s failure to deliver ink effectively. One of the most common reasons is an insufficient power supply or voltage, which can lead to weak needle movements. Additionally, improper needle and tube configuration or incorrect machine assembly can hinder the ink’s proper flow into the skin.

Troubleshooting Steps

If Tattoo Machine is not putting ink in skin-

To address ink delivery issues, follow these troubleshooting steps:

Step 1: Checking the power supply and voltage

Ensure that the power supply is stable and that the voltage is appropriate for the machine’s optimal performance.

Step 2: Examining the needle and tube setup

Verify that the needle is securely attached to the armature bar and that the tube is correctly connected to the machine.

Step 3: Reassembling and adjusting the machine

Disassemble the machine, inspect all components for damage, and reassemble it correctly. Adjust the armature bar and give the machine a test run.

Step 4: Testing on a practice surface

Before tattooing a client, always perform a trial run on a practice surface to ensure the machine is working correctly and delivering ink smoothly.

Step 5: Clean and Lubricate the Machine

Regularly clean and lubricate your tattoo machine to ensure smooth operation. Buildup of ink or debris can hinder ink flow.

Explained in Detail

Things need to do when Tattoo Machine is not putting ink in skin-

Check the Tattoo Machine Components

The first step in troubleshooting the issue is to inspect the tattoo machine thoroughly. Sometimes, the problem could be as simple as a loose connection or a worn-out part. Here’s what you need to do:

Check the Power Supply

Ensure that the power supply is functioning correctly and providing a stable voltage to the machine. Try using a different power outlet to rule out any issues with the current socket.

Inspect the Machine’s Components

Carefully examine the machine’s needle, tube, grip, and other components for any signs of damage, rust, or blockage. If you notice any issues, promptly replace the damaged parts with high-quality ones.

Examine the Needle Depth and Protrusion

Check the needle’s depth and protrusion to see if it’s set correctly. The needle should be adjusted to the appropriate depth, neither too shallow nor too deep. Also, ensure that the needle is not bent or damaged.

Tuning the Tattoo Machine

Tuning the machine refers to adjusting its settings to cater to different tattooing styles and techniques. Proper tuning ensures the machine operates optimally for various artistic requirements.

Avoid Overworking the Machine

Overworking your tattoo machine can lead to overheating and diminished ink flow. On the other hand, the age of your tattoo machine may affect its performance. Consider replacing worn-out parts.

Ink Quality and Technique

Sometimes, the issue of ink not being properly absorbed into the skin could be related to the quality of the ink or the tattooing technique used. Here’s what you need to consider:

Use High-Quality Tattoo Ink

Try to use only premium, industry-standard tattoo inks that are known for their vibrant colors and safe composition. If you got your tattoo elsewhere, ensure that the ink used is from a reputable supplier.

Check for Allergic Reactions

In rare cases, individuals may experience allergic reactions to specific ink pigments. So, if you suspect an allergic reaction, consult a dermatologist promptly.

Choose an Experienced Tattoo Artist

Generally, Professional tattoo artists are highly skilled and experienced in various tattooing techniques. If you got your tattoo elsewhere and are facing issues, consider visiting our studio for a consultation.

Sterilization and Hygiene

In tattooing, maintaining hygiene is a strict sterilization protocols. However, if you are experiencing an issue with your tattoo not holding ink, it’s essential to consider the aftercare and personal hygiene factors:

Follow Aftercare Instructions

Following the aftercare instructions provided by our tattoo artists is crucial to ensure proper healing. Avoid touching or scratching the tattoo during the healing process to prevent any contamination.

Keep the Tattoo Clean

Regularly clean your tattoo with mild, fragrance-free soap and water. Gently pat it dry with a clean cloth. Avoid exposing your healing tattoo to excessive sunlight, swimming pools, or hot tubs.

Avoid Tight Clothing and Irritants

Wearing tight clothing over the tattooed area or using irritants such as perfumes or lotions can hinder the healing process. Stick to loose, breathable clothing during the healing period.

Ensure Proper Technique and Hand Movement

Sometimes, the issue lies not with the machine but with the tattoo artist’s technique. Ensure proper hand movement and technique during the tattooing process.

Consider the Skin Type and Area

  • Different skin types and body areas may require adjustments in the tattooing approach to ensure ink penetration.
  • Certain skin types might require adjustments in your tattooing approach. For example, thicker skin might require slightly deeper needle penetration, while thinner skin might need a gentler touch. Understanding the nuances of different skin types can help you tailor your technique for optimal ink deposition.
  • Avoid Tattooing Over Scar Tissue: Tattooing over scar tissue can be challenging, and the ink may not hold well.

Practice Proper Tattooing Techniques

Even with a well-functioning tattoo machine, improper tattooing techniques can hinder ink penetration. Ensure you are using the correct angle and pressure while tattooing. Taking time to perfect your skills through practice and continuous learning can significantly enhance your tattooing outcomes.

Perform a Test Tattoo

If you’re still experiencing difficulties with your tattoo machine, it’s a good idea to perform a test tattoo on an artificial skin or a fruit like a banana to observe the ink flow and needle performance. This can help you identify any remaining issues and make necessary adjustments before tattooing on a client.

Seek Professional Assistance

If you’ve exhausted all troubleshooting methods and are still facing issues with your tattoo machine, don’t hesitate to seek help from experienced tattoo artists or professionals. They might offer valuable insights or identify underlying problems that you may have overlooked.

Preventing Future Ink Delivery Issues

Learning from previous experiences and implementing preventive measures can help tattoo artists avoid future ink delivery problems, ensuring a smoother tattooing process.

FAQ(Frequently Asking Question)

Can ink consistency affect the tattoo outcome?

Yes, using the correct ink consistency is crucial for smooth ink flow and optimal tattoo results.

What should I do if my client experiences an allergic reaction to the ink?

Advise your client to seek medical attention immediately and avoid scratching or touching the tattooed area. So that you can avoid this kind of issues.

Why is regular machine maintenance important?

Because, regular maintenance ensures the machine’s longevity and consistent performance.

Should I attempt to fix complex machine problems myself?

Actually, It’s best to seek help from experienced technicians to avoid causing further damage to the machine.


In conclusion, encountering issues with your tattoo machine not putting ink in the skin can be frustrating, but with the right approach, you can resolve the problem effectively. Remember to check your machine setup, power supply, needle depth, and ink quality. Keep your machine clean and well-lubricated, and practice proper tattooing techniques. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to ask for professional assistance. By addressing the issue promptly, you’ll ensure a smooth tattooing experience and create stunning tattoos that both you and your clients will cherish for a lifetime.

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