Valor by TATSoul by Tatu Richie

by on Aug.21, 2015, under Supply Review

By Tatu Richie from Rotary Tattoo Forum


Valor by TATSoul

I just received my valor direct from tatsoul, upon opening the package i was quite impressed with the presentation with the box, once opened i was blown away on the size of the machine, its small , which is awesome, and lite and feels very comfortable in the hand. enclosed was an allen key , cartridge cap to run the cartridge system and comes stock with the magnetic cap for standard needles, i was lucky enough to also receive all three stroke cams and a tube of super lube and instructions on how to care for ur new valor rotary. the machine itself is red and very sleek looking, (like a lambo). I plugged it in just to hear it run, its very quite and very smooth… i changed the stock cam of 3.5 to the 2.5 cam , it was really easy to change out….

that was the day i got the machine, the following day i had an appt so i was able to use the machine, now keep in mind i have been all hawks lately so i was a lil on the fence with using a diff setup, i had a phoenix to do in bng and red flames, so i onle did bng with the valor, i loaded a curved 7 mag in my stainless tube and with ease i was able to put the rig in without any issues. im not crazy about the needle tensioners but this one on the valor is quite pleasant. once i lined the piece i stated to use the valor for shading, i ran it at 8.0 on my critical and it gave me nice pepper shade for the wings, i lowered the volts to 7.0 and then i was able to give a very smooth blend on some smooth shading. the flames on the tattoo were solid red, so again i gave the valor a whirl, and damn gotta say it put the red in the skin with much ease, i cant wait to use it some more and give a more in depth review, i can just imagine how nice its gonna be with bigger grouping mags, also i will be doin some lining as well, so i will add more to this thread…

as far as what this machine is compared too? well its in a class of its own, its a must have and i can see this valor being an everyday successful machine, cant wait to switch out the cart piece so i can use a cart with it… i was worried it would be like a vivace, but like i said its very small. and deff not like a vivace. much better and smoother and more consistant machine, it is slightly louder then a vivace, yet very quite. i strongly suggest putting machine money to the side and picking one of these up.

Billy from tatsoul u went far and beyond with this, i take my hat of to u. well done sir and its a sexxxy bitch 

Tatu Richie
Owner of Holy Cow Tattoo in Woodstock, GA

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Stigma’s “Hyper, V.2″ Hybrid Rotary Tattoo Machine

by on Aug.07, 2015, under Supply Review

The Stigma Hyper is not your standard “Rotary” tattoo machine.

By Joe Capobianco

It uses what they call “Swash Plate Technology”, and runs slightly different from the average Rotary. This swash drive tattoo machine is set up with the motor vertically. Therefore changing the weight distribution from a standard coil machine (as well as most Rotaries). This along with the fact that it only weighs a mere 3.7 oz. really makes for a pretty comfortable feel.
Now I use only disposable tubes. This fact again adds to the super lightweight feel of the tattoo machine. But recently I pulled out some stainless 1” grip tubes, and found the weight and balance different, but just as comfortable.
I will admit that I tend to like a slightly heavier tattoo machine when it comes to my coils, but it only took a few minutes of tattooing to fall into a comfortable groove with these machines.
Another difference with this particular Rotary tattoo machine is there “Power control, Thumb screw”. This is a screw set at the top of the machine, behind what would be the armature bar on a standard machine. This is a pretty cool feature as it gives another unique twist to this machines set up, and performance. When the screw tightened down the armature nipple is set rigid (like most standard rotaries). But when loosened say a full turn, it gives the stroke a bit of give, mimicking the action of a standard coil machine stroke. So by keeping the screw set down (no give), you’ve got a pretty sweet liner. And By opening the screw up, you’ve enough give for a keen shader.

Now, to performance. The machine has several features I enjoyed, and a couple I did not. But everything was easy enough to get used to. I’ll go from the basics, to a bit more in depth.

1. I liked the fact that the machine (unlike some other newer rotary tattoo machines) uses all standard equipment. Standard tubes, needles, rubber bands, etc. There’s really no hidden costs here. Just a pick up and go machine.

2. I really dug the fact that this, and other tattoo machines by them, are all set up with both a clip cord, and RCA jack hook up standard. No need to purchase one or the other. And therefore I didn’t need to change anything over to use say, my standard machines, and than the Hypers.

3. Smooth, and consistent running. When using the Hyper as a shader the first week, I ran it round 9 volts. While this gave me a standard smooth running, solid packing shader. With little bleeding, and trauma to the skin. I did notice it ran a bit slow, and therefore I tattooed a bit slower for it. But upon getting more comfortable with the machine, I turned up the power (running about 9.6-7 volts), and was able to move quite a bit faster. This did add a bit more trauma to the skin. But not any more (and most of the times less), than say one of my standard coil machines. 

4. I was pretty comfortable slowing down to pack an area when shading. As well as move a bit faster, open up my hand motion, to achieve some very effective, and clean shading as well.

5. Super lightweight. As I said earlier, I usually prefer a heavier tattoo machine. And as I was already using disposable tubes I was used to the slightly un-even distribution of weight. But with the way that the Hyper is set up, with the machine being taller than wider. The weight is really well distributed, and therefore very comfortable. I will admit to being a bit more comfortable using the clip cord, verses the RCA jack. As the clip cord allows a bit of room (by swinging, and not being rigid), when working in awkward spots.

6. Its frame style is both cool looking, and real easy to clean.


Now for the other side, the machine did have a few things that took some getting used to, and some things IM still not super comfortable with.

1. The Tube vice. While it’s a clean looking, and a very standard vice. I found that while using my disposables it clamps down awful hard usually dinging the tube when setting my needle depth in place. Now this makes it difficult because, if you clamp down immediately upon setting up, and need to reset your tube/needle position. It could be difficult, as the dent in the tube will make resetting the position just about impossible, and on 1 or 2 occasions I found myself changing out the damaged tube, so as to reset my needle position.

2. Another thing about needle depth setting is that I usually have to run the machine while doing so. Unlike a standard coil machine, where you can set up your needle, & just push you’re a-bar forward to set your needle depth. I’ve had to actually run the machine while setting my depth, so as to get an accurate position. Just a bit awkward, and time consuming.

3. When using standard stainless tubes. I had a bit of a difficult time tightening the vice down enough. Now this could be my big mitts, or the Teflon bead in the bottom of the vice. But I did find this to be a bit of an annoyance.

4. The stroke length is not quite the length I normally like, but it was pretty good. It would be cool if you could have a bit more control over the play in the stroke. Like I stated earlier upon loosening the screw, this will give you a bit of play on the hit of the machine. Sort of a fine tuning. It seems you either have give (for shading), or you do not.

5. The price. It’s a bit of an expensive machine. Now IM not one to balk at price under no circumstances. But I will admit that 350. Euro (roughly $430-450) is kind of steep. But I’d say worth it.

I stated earlier that I “Just about Exclusively” used the Hyper’s, and what I meant by that is It took some time to really want to try em as liners. At first it was a cost issue. Like I said $450. A pop is a lot. But, like any other, eccentric tattooer. I had to have the Lot. So I picked up another Hyper, and a Bizarre (another similar style machine, from Stigma. And one I was informed would make a very good liner). They are different. It’s hard to really put my finger on it, but they seem to lack the subtleties of my coil liners. I noticed that they took a bit longer to get used to than the shaders, but once I did, they performed well. I still line a bit slower, but they make for awesome large round Power liners. All in all, IM pretty happy with there performance, as well.

Another thing I noticed with these machines, like all machines. Is they all do not run exactly the same. Having 2 of the same machines did not mean they ran exactly the same way. As a matter of fact the two Hyper shaders I have, run ever so slightly different.

The maintenance. Simple, but awkward. A little lubricant (supplied from Stigma) is applied after several hours of work to a key area in the machine. Very simple. But I do have a difficult time with the knowledge that when there’s a problem with the machine, the solution is pretty much out of your hands. Short of sending it back to the manufacturer, or purchasing a new one, your pretty much, S.O.L. Unlike a coil machine, where the springs, and what not can be replaced, or upgraded. What you see is what you get with a rotary.

Also from the standpoint of time, and charm. A rotary seems to have a workload life expectancy. Unlike a coil machine, where one can have it for decades, in daily use. I’ve been told that the rotaries may get 2-3 years constant use, before burning out, or being replaced. Something a buyer may want to consider.
In the past I’ve said that rotaries were just not for me. I don’t know if its my need to spend money, my want to expand my technical horizons, or just my “Old Dog, wanting to learn new tricks” mentality. But I must say that my experience with the Stigma Hyper has been positive. And while IM certain I’ll not be throwing away my coil machines any time soon. I do look forward to more tattooing with these great tools.

To date my experiences with the folks over at Stigma have been short, but positive. I would think that as the company grows, so will some of the hassles of dealing with them. But check out there web site. I found it to be insightful, as well and interesting.

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Tattoo Master Magazine Product Feature: BLKPOWDER

by on Feb.10, 2015, under Supply Review

Launched at Tattoo Jam 2013, BLKPOWDER, is a new product from medical waste experts, Greener Options.

Licensed waste disposal company, Greener Options, has been involved with the tattoo industry for a number of years, therefore, bringing out a custom product for the tattoo market was a logical step for them. Dirty water and liquids can be troublesome at times so the quickest and best way to deal with it is to turn it into a solid form, thus removing the possibility of leaks and spills.

It all started when Holly Bond (Operations Manager) went to see tattooist, Paul Talbot, in 2013. For many people, including Paul, the idea of pouring contaminated water directly into the water supply was not an option, as he says, “I’ve always been uncomfortable with the existing practice  of artists carrying contaminated fluids through the studio and felt there must be a way to clean and dispose of all contaminated waste within the ‘dirty zone’ that is the artist’s station. Zonal pathogen control is, in my opinion, the safest way to avoid the cross contamination challenges faced in a busy studio as our industry is moving towards single-use, fully disposable, working methods I felt that a product that could make the ‘wet waste’ disposable would be a significant step forward”

The legal impacts and implications of working as a tattoo artist range in many ways. The Environmental Agency (EA) continually updates legislature and being aware of these matters is not only sensible but in addition you, as a tattoo artist, have a duty to care legally. There are signs that the EA are looking to tighten up on waste policies so being aware of them is important to avoid being caught out unnecessarily. Hazardous waste is a topic that is coming to the forefront especially with artists, like Kevin Paul, publicly pushing for regulation of the tattoo industry.Globally, different countries have different policies on how to deal with hazardous waste, potentially hazardous waste, and bio-medical waste. In addition, different water companies use different methods to clean the water. In non-target areas they use less aggressive methods, meaning more dirty water might be passing through the system. This does raise questions such as, are artists fully aware of how much they are contaminating their environment without even realizing it, or, how many people know exactly what they are legally allowed to put down the sink in their region?

It was a result of looking at all these questions that BLKPOWDER was born as a one-stop solution to cover all of these issues. With the most important aspect being that when clinical or hazardous waste is solid you are preventing it from entering the water system.


So how does it work?

In short BLKPOWDER is a solidifying powder that is quick, efficient, and safe. Simply pour a cap full of the powder into a liquid and let the water solidify before disposing via a clinical waste bag. Paul Talbot adds, “BLKPOWDER has a large grain formulation so it cannot be inhaled like other powders on the market and it only takes a tiny amount (1/2 teaspoon for an entire rinse cup) to do its job, so it’s also extremely cost effective.

Working Together, BLKPOWDER and Greener Options use their knowledge and skills to provide cleaner and safer clinical waste procedures whilst targeting different sectors of waste industries, Greener Options provide the back end disposal system and medical waste for people like Acorns Hospice, NHS & Jazz Events, whilst BLKPOWDER is the start of a number of products that will be designed specifically for the tattoo market.

Currently Star Tattoo Supplies, Killer Ink, Abstract Silver and Tattoo UK distribute in the UK, and recently BLKPOWDER were proud to announce that the product would be available in America exclusively through US based King Pin tattoo Supplies. Closer to home EU countries are being supplied via Barbers DTS.

BLKPOWDER has been keen to be involved building ties with studios and tattoo artists globally in order to provide products that people out in the field want to use. If you are at a show and want a demo, or just want to talk to someone about the product, drop over to their booth to chat to Emma who does all their conventions. Alternatively, drop them a tweet or an email. TM

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Tattoo Master Magazine Product Feature: Art for Your Sole

by on Jan.05, 2015, under Supply Review

By Dave Perry, Revolver Tattoo Rooms

Now I’m a sucker for a nice piece of customized hardware in my studio. It makes you somehow feel special to be working every day with something that has been built or created especially for you. It also makes a nice talking point for your customers. In my work space I am fortunate enough to have chairs that have been personalized for me, arm rests that have been hang built for me, even one-off sets of machines that builders have given to me. But I must admit that I never owned a customized foot pedal…until now

wedge 3

I became aware of The Wedge foot pedal when I first saw a number of pictures of its Star Wars incarnations popping up in my news feed on the internet. It looked interesting enough, but a foot pedal’s a foot pedal, isn’t it? Needless to say, I never really gave it much more thought. Then, in one of those chance meetings that seems to come out of nowhere sometimes, I was playing skittles in my local Rugby club, when a member of the opposite side introduced himself to me and told me that his son was making custom foot pedals for tattoo artists…and the penny dropped. We swapped info and shortly afterwards I got a message from Steve Miler, offering to make me my very own bespoke version of his new foot pedal, The Wedge. Of course, I was delighted to take him up on his offer.

During the next few weeks, I spent more time looking into the development of ‘The Wedge’ and hearing excellent reports coming back from various conventions, where other artists had met Steve and his business partner Jay Petty, and had had an opportunity to try out The Wedge for themselves. I was intrigued and also looking forward to eventually getting my own pedal.

When my foot pedal was finally finished, it was personally dropped off at the studio by Steve’s father (not a service every customer can expect) and the first thing I noticed, as I removed the object from the box, was just how solid and heavy it was. Most foot pedals are very light and sometimes a bit flimsy. The Wedge, however, is a heavy duty piece of hardware, solid as a rock and capable of doing some serious damage should it ever be dropped onto unsuspecting toes. Resplendent with my own logo, which you can see from the images on this page, Steve had also put in a couple of spare front plates for me; one with the Skin Deep logo on it and one with the Tattoo Master logo, so I could see how easy it was to change them should I ever want to.

Upon actually using the pedal, I found it to be surprisingly sensitive and therefore very comfortable to use. The weight took a little getting used to, as I usually push my pedal about with my foot as I change position during tattooing, but this was a small price to pay for such a solid piece of equipment.

Shortly afterwards I caught up with Steve and Jay and we talked some more about their creation.

wedge 2

So lets begin by filling in a little bit of background about everyone involved in the production of The Wedge foot pedal. Introduce yourself to the readers…

Jay: I began working as a professional tattoo artist in May 2011, after spending 12 years in the building trade since leaving school. I’m still very new to the tattoo world and with lots more to learn still;, But I feel its my destiny now.

Steve: Since leaving school in 1998 I have worked in various jobs using AutoCAD, drawing a range of things from buildings to engineering components. I started my own little venture called Sit CutsAlot with a work colleague of mine, Matt Makins. We make any custom metal artwork ranging from tea coasters to wall signs. You can have a look at It was from this that Jay and I met and developed The Wedge.


So tell me more about how the concept of The Wedge first came about?

Jay: I was working at the studio one day when my run of the mill foot switch stopped working…again. Being a sci-fi geek I had recently bought a storm trooper arm rest built by Greg Holmes (designed by Steve) and a set of storm trooper tea coasters, also made by Steve. As the coasters were made from steel, I thought it might be cool to make a foot switch out of one of them to match my arm rest. From there the product went through stages as cardboard, hand sawn wood and milled wood. During this time I sold a few to other tattoo artists, after putting a picture up on Facebook of my prototype. Deep down, though, I thought I needed to make them from metal somehow, so decided to visit various engineering firms, all of which turned me away. I then contacted Greg Holmes to see if he could help but he told me that Steve Miller might be better suited to the job, so I contacted Steve about helping me to design one made from steel. I was pondering over the name, coming up with suggestions like ‘The Big Foot’ and ‘Next Step Foot Switches’ both of which my other half, Clare, thought were stupid. She said, “Just call it The Wedge, that is what is is”. So Steve and I got together over some ink to discuss options…and the rest is history.


How does the division of labor break down between you both? Who designs, creates, and assembles them?

Jay:  To start with I would ask Steve if he could make a certain design on request from a customer. He’d send them through and I would assemble them and dispatch them.

Steve: Now we both get ideas for the pedals from customers. I would raw them up using AutoCAD and convert them into a cutting code for a CNC laser. The main base of ‘The Wedge’ was designed using Solidworks sheetmetal feature, which allows you to draw in 3D then convert to a flat pattern for the laser to cut. A 270 ton press break then bends flat meta parts back into 3D shape. These are all manufactured at my place of work, EMS Mansfield Ltd. Once all components have been produced, I will take them over to Jay who installs the wiring, RCA connections and tests them to ensure they work.


They look great too. I love that you were able to make one for me using my personal logo. Is every pedal a custom build, or do you have standard models as well?

Jay: There will be 2 versions of The Wedge foot switch. The first will be cut from 2mm 304 grade stainless steel, powder coated in some cases, with stainless steel ID tags, union jacks, The Wedge floor plate, top quality RCA connector and a stainless mounting plate to enable interchangeable (customizable) top pedals The second will be cut from 2mm 304 grade stainless steel, powder coated, plain floor plate, top quality RCA connector, and a geneeric 2-3mm top plate. And will be non customizable.


Apart from how great it looks, the other thing I noticed immediately about the wedge was just how bloody heavy it is. How much does each one weigh?

Jay: It’s the heavy weight champion of footswitches. Each one weighs approximately 1.5kg. I was worried about postage costs when I first weighed it at the local post office but the weight is a sign of the quality of the product. Plus it looks awesome.


Well it certainly feels like it’s built to last. Every pedal comes with a lifetime guarantee, doesn’t it?

Steve: Yes each pedal comes with a lifetime guarantee, but only on the workings of it. Cosmetic damage is down to the artist to look after. To preserve the look we advise using a softer soled shoe.


wedge 1

Have you thought of maybe producing a lighter travel edition for artists traveling to guest spots or conventions? Or maybe even including a non pedal switch device that you could package with the main pedal as an optional travel extra?

Steve: We have considered making a wedge from aluminum, rather than steel. My concerns with that, though, are that aluminum is softer and more prone to bending, resulting in the possible failure of The Wedge. We are also looking into making a Wedge on-off switch that plugs straight into the power supply. This would be lighter and better for travelling with.


I’ve noticed also that the pedal works by the top plate pushing down onto a metal bump below it to complete the electrical circuit. No button as such. How have you got around the possibility that metal will eventually bend over time to complete the circuit permanently?

Jay: The top plate of the pedal moves such a small amount, I think about 1-2mm to be precise, and it’s the hardened rubber bushes tat flex slightly to allow movement. The last 4/5 months I’ve been testing different methods and ideas with several tattoo artists around the country and found using two plates is the way to go. The lower the point of contact, the better. It’s nearly impossible to bend two pieces of steel with only a 1/2mm gap, it will always spring back because of the rubber bushes. If the worst was to happen and a constant circuit was made, thanks to simple mechanics, we are able to chop and change each individual component, replacing any defective part. All of which are covered by your guarantee.


How do you recommend artists keep the top plate clean? Is there any danger of rust from moisture or spillage?

Steve: We advise artists to use a non alcohol based cleaner to clean their top plates, even though the colors are powder coated they can still be susceptible to thinning. If you were to chip the paint there are no fears of rust as all Wedge components are made from stainless steel.


So overall, what do you feel that the wedge offers artists that other pedals don’t?

Jay: Peace of mind. After getting through over £300 worth of ‘run of the mill’ foot switches in 3 years i realized something had to be done. There’s no other pedal out there doing what we are doing. If you get bored of your current design, as long as you own the premium Wedge, you can take off your top plate and order a new design from us without having to order the entire pedal again.


And how much do you charge for each pedal?

Steve: Premium Wedges range from £180 - £220 depending on the intricacy of the design of the one included top plate with extra top plates starting at £40. The basic Wedge will be £130, available in a range of colors and the same lifetime guarantee.


And where can artists order them from?

Jay: Currently you are able to buy The Wedge direct from ourselves by sending an email to We will ask you to send an image of your design, we will then look at it to see if it is feasible and then send you a price and PayPal invoice. These are made to order so please allow up to 3 weeks for delivery. Killer Ink and Star tattoo will also be stocking The Wedge in the UK, along with a State side investor interested in bringing the Wedge to the US. But we are awaiting confirmation on this final deal.


Sounds promising. So what do you see as the future of The Wedge?

We have our targets high and have aimed for world domination. Once “The Wedge” has become a household name we have a few other ideas for customizable, robust, built to last products for tattoo artists. With Jay being the tattoo artist and me being the engineer, we should be able to produce products that will aid and make tattooing easier, more convenient, and personalized for each artist. We have recently given three of the customized Wedges out to top UK artists: one to Dave Perry, another to Chris Jones and the third to Mark Poole. Remember, “The Wedge – Art for your Sole”


Got to love a slogan like that!

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Tattoo Master Magazine Product Feature: TATSoul In-House Coil Machines

by on Sep.12, 2014, under Supply Review

By Dave Perry, Revolver Tattoo Rooms
Like most tattoo artists that world over, there is a part of me that just cannot help constantly looking for that magical new machine that might just take some area of my work to the next level.

A colleague of mine calls it “machine chasing”… I like to think of it as not leaving a single stone unturned. So when the chaps at TATSoul asked me if I would be willing to take a set of three of the company’s new in-house coil machines for a test run, I was of course, delighted to oblige. After all, what harm could it do? But what I didn’t expect to do was to end up falling in love with these machines straight out of the box. Normally, if I am sent machines to test for a builder, I will use them very sparingly and carefully during the first few days. After all, I don’t want to risk ruining a customer’s tattoo by using machines that I am uncomfortable and unfamiliar with. You can poke, prod and run a machine all you like, but the proof of the pudding always lies in actual time spent on skin; only then do machines reveal their true worth. However, after only a matter of minutes I was amazed to find myself settling in to a six-hour session using nothing else. Since then, I have used them exclusively on every tattoo produced during the past week. In short, they are the best, ‘straight out of the box’ coil machines, that I have ever come across… bar none.

So let’s take a more detailed look at what TATSoul sent me in those boxes. Apart from asking me if I preferred a heavier steel frame or a lighter aluminium frame (I chose steel), I pretty much left everything else to the company. They elected to send me three machines from their Kronos range-a liner, a shader, and a colour packer. these machines are designed and individually hand-tuned by TATSoul’s in-house artist, Erica Kopelow. This is something that happens to ever in-house coil machine they sell. Amazingly, each machine ran perfectly straight out of the box, each with a beautiful action and perfect timing. No extra tweaking or fiddling is required, which is pretty rare for me.

1The first machine I used was the liner. Weighing in at a more than manageable 7.6oz, this is a machine with enough weight to turn out good, strong lines without leaving your wrists aching at the end of a long tattoo session. It runs fast, at around 135-145CPS, undoubtedly helped by its fluted armature bar. This is a machine best suited to pushing smaller lines of around five or seven needles. It has a lovely consistent stroke and its copper contact screw makes for excellent conductivity. Loaded with eight wrap coils, this is a perfect machine for turning out those smaller daily tattoos that are so often the bread and butter of many studios.

1Now, onto my absolute favourite machine in the range, the Kronos colour packer. This machine is undoubtedly the best colour saturator I have ever used. It picks up effortlessly from where the liner left off, being more than able to execute thicker lines for larger needle groups with no trouble at all. I love this machine so much that I ordered a second one within a few days of me trying it out. Weighing in a full ounce heavier than its liner counterpart, the colour packer comes ready for action with ten wrap coils and a heavier ‘Hard Hitter’ armature bar. Running at around 100-110CPS this is one of the smoothest ‘out of the box’ tattoo machines I have ever used. This action is flawless; it strokes the colour gently into the skin with a firm but non-aggressive ‘slap’. As I have mentioned, by simply turning the juice up a few vaults, it will run that bit harder and double perfectly as a large group liner for working on large back pieces and bigger sleeve designs. Furthermore, I have found a surprising mid-voltage use for the machine as a while shader. It really is like having three different machines in one box, I can’t get enough of using it. In fact, if I had to find any fault with it at all, the only one I could point out would be that the fluorescent orange tape around the could quickly becomes marked and grubby looking. But I can live with that in what I believe is the best machine I have picked up this year!

1Finally, last but by no means least, I come to the Kronos shader. Weighing in at a mid-range 7.8oz, this machine is constructed and tuned to be a soft shader. It uses a similar geometry to the liner, along with eight wrap coils and fluted armature bar to help keep it speed up. This machine runs at a nippy 120-130CPS and is extremely consistent in its action. Although TATSoul says it can be run at a low voltage of around six volts, I preferred to crack it up to around eight or nine for my personal hand speed and elastic band load. Despite this extra juice, I still have not encountered the machine heating up even once. It has a nice soft hit on the skin that perfectly accommodates the gradual building up of grey shade layers. Personally, when it comes to whip shading, I prefer the colour packer, but for delicate black and grey portraits and multi-layered realism, this is one of the most subtle shaders I have come across.  A real pleasure to use.

In closing, I am extremely impressed with this range of in-house coils from TATSoul. Every machine seems perfectly suited to its purpose. On top of that, they look great wit ha lovely antiqued finish and come complete with a lifetime guarantee. The machines are competitively prices at below $300 each. I have yet to try all of TATSoul’s in-house coil machines but if the Kronos range is anything to go by, they are all worth checking out. Absolutely love these machines, and as I mentioned in earlier, I have already ordered an extra colour packer.

Displaying EnvyNeedle_Boxes.jpg

Envy Needles

TATSoul and renowned artists came together to produce the highest quality tattoo needles. The acute angle cut into the back of the Magnum Needles will allow them to flow more fluidly through the tube. We have also found the prefect needle taper for the most efficient ink flow into the skin. Envy Tattoo Needles are manufactured with the best quality control in the industry. We pay special attention to flat soldering that will give the most fluid and accurate needle motion.

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True Tubes-Disposable Tattoo Tubes with Metal Tips by Tattoo Now

by on May.08, 2014, under Supply Review

disposable tattoo tubesEarly on in 2010 Off the Map decided to go fully disposable, due to the nature of this shop and having 40-50 guest artists per year come through. To ensure that we maintain a completely sterile environment we cleaned up our autoclaves and put them in storage. We strive to maintain strict standards of cleanliness here at the shop and feel that the nature of disposable tubes help us in that.
That being stated, it was personally a big change for myself. I had been tattooing for 4 years around then and it was almost exclusively with stainless steel tubes, usually one and a half to two inch grips due to my large hands. The battle to find a suitable replacement seemed endless. I tried about five different styles from all sorts of suppliers. I had finally settled on a company that I was fairly happy with but still had a few gripes . Mainly grips coming loose and the outer diameter of the back stem being to large for any machine not sporting a guillotine vice.
We received a box of True Tube disposable tubes from Durb the other day and I was excited to start  using them right away. I think Durb and company are on to something here, a disposable tube with a stainless steel tip? its the best of both worlds and in the grand scheme of things is well worth the cost, which is about a dollar to fifty cents more then other tubes.
That afternoon I setup to outline a full sleeve with a Soba Mini-Rusto and a True Tube five diamond liner tube. The sterile packaging seemed up to snuff with what is standard in this industry , and once I opened the package and setup my machine and needle, I could see the precision in the tube was impeccable.  The black plastic back stem is .300″ according to the dial calipers I use, which fits so perfectly in all of my machines it is a blessing! No more fighting with tubes or using something to wedge open the clamp a little more to fit that son of a bitch tube in! That has been one of my major qualms  with almost every manufactures disposable tubes, the inconsistency in outer diameter of the back stem.
I setup and started outlining right away and was brought back to last year when I was using stainless steel tubes. The feel of the needle riding against metal is truly supreme to metal against plastic. My machine was running quicker at lower voltages and did not warm up until about hour three of constant outlining . The needle fit perfectly in the steel tip and was very easy to see. I guess that would be another gripe with a bunch of tubes, I had a hard time seeing my needle in a bunch of them who seemed to have useless amounts of bulky plastic right at the tip.

disposable tattoo tubes
Another qualm would be the flimsy feel of a lot of the plastic that is used, you can hear the machine bog down when you have to get some tension on the tube when you are at funky angle due to the weak plastic crimping down on your needle bar. The plastic used for True Tube disposable tubes is hard as nails, seriously. I had my machine upside down pulling big curves and weird angles all day on that sleeve outline and not once did I hear the machine bog.
disposable tattoo tubesAnother thing that has had me bent about disposables is the tendency for the tip to get clogged fairly quickly. This leads to more rinsing and the worry of diluting out your pigments when you do not want to. With the metal tip on the diamond liner I had no issues with that at all. I rinsed every so often to just get any dried pigment out, but it’s collection was way lower then with plastic tips.
The positives outweigh the negatives greatly in this product. The only negative thing I could say about True  Tube Disposable tubes is this, one, I feel bad throwing away all that metal that could be reused , but the shop is going through a green audit soon so hopefully we can find someone to recycle our tubes and such.
As I said before I think they are really on to something here, such a solid product . I will be using them from here on out and waiting for the day they make inch and a half diameter grips or rubberized grips.(hint hint Durb!)

disposable tattoo tubes

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Tattoo artists, discuss this article in our tattoo machine forum. Also,check out our catalog of tattoo machines for sale.

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3 Step Tattoo Healing Regimen from Pride Aftercare by TATSoul

by on Jan.23, 2014, under Supply Review

3 Step Tattoo Healing Regimen from Pride Aftercare by TATSoul via


As a tattoo artist, it’s also important to protect your work from the fading and discoloration that can affect tattoos if they’re not properly treated. Although it’s not possible to make sure your clients are consistent with their aftercare routine, you can suggest the right products that will heal and protect your artwork that they wear.

Pride Aftercare by TATSoul has a three step system to cleanse, heal and protect new tattoos. The cleanser, ointment and lotion are specially formulated with natural ingredients to work together for best results.

The latest addition in Pride Aftercare’s system is the Tattoo Ointment. Pride Aftercare Tattoo Ointment is specifically formulated to heal tattoos so you can be assured that the gentle ingredients will in no way affect the new ink. Unlike other ointments, Pride Aftercare’s oil remains intact, allowing for better consistency and protection (see below).


Pride Aftercare’s Tattoo Ointment contains no dyes or fragrances and is approved by tattoo professionals and skin care specialists for its moisturizing and anti-aging ingredients. It may also be used to treat minor skin irritations.

Whether it’s your own tattoo or a piece you’ve just completed, make sure to treat it with the Pride Aftercare system to cleanse, heal and protect your new tattoo. Keep your work remaining vibrant for years to come.

Learn more:

Pride Aftercare’s Website:

Pride Aftercare’s Instagram: @prideaftercare

Pride Aftercare’s Facebook:


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Veritas Irons Sage Liner and Shader Review

by on Jan.03, 2014, under Supply Review

I am going to write this review as a dual review, both the liner and shader at once.

liner and shader tattoo machines

We recieved the Veritas Irons Sage Liner and Shader tattoo machines as our first set of machines for review. I have put them through a few months of daily wear and they are smooth running machines that are solidly built. Hard hitting no joke daily money makers i would say. Upon arrival the liner was dead. I was a little concerned, but a quick call to Greg and he had it figured out that during shipping the top rear binding post had spun loose, this is where he admitted a design flaw, the rear upright is so close to the allen wrench screw that you need to cut your allen wrench short in order to get it in there. Pretty cool that he was humble enough to point out a flaw and say he has addressed it in his new deisign of this frame. In a fairly brief conversation I could tell that Greg knew what he was talking about regarding tattoo machines and obviously building them..

Veritas Shader Tattoo Machine

Theses tattoo machines have a fairly unique design, with each piece being separate then dovetailed together with a weld from the inside. At first I was a little thrown off by this but after putting them through the rigors of daily use I can say them seem solid as all hell. When I spoke with Greg , he said he cnc machines all the pieces and created a jig to fit everything in place. Most of his parts (binding posts A, bar, etc.) are prefab from a supplier here in mass. One criticism I have with this design is the gap that is created by the rear spring deck, it seems to be fo a few millimeters difference from the rear upright to the actual rear deck and at such a crucial point of any tattoo machine, I feel like it could cause undue tension and fatigue on the spring. A quick plane of that area after the weld could alleviate that “problem”.

Techy stuf:Frames are blued steel, great finish! Sidewinder rear shooting style rear binders. 8 layer coils on both machines, the shader having one and a quarter inch coils and the liner has one inch with a quarter inch yoke. .018 front and back springs on both setups. 22uF35v capacitor on both machines. The liner runs 8.9volts @ 120hz 43% duty , and the shader runs 7 volts @ 100hz 46% Duty as taken off of my critical cx-2 power supply. Short snappy stroke on the liner and a medium/long stroke on the shader. I pushed everything from a 5 mag to a 15 mag in the shader with out any problems what so ever. The liner runs beautifully with 5′s , 7′s and 9′s, I usually don’t go any bigger then that so I couldn’t tell you if it can handle a 14, althought it seems to me it would not be an issue for this powerhouse.

linder and shader tattoo machines

A unique vice grip setup on both tattoo machines where he cut a slot so the right hand side of the vice clamp is free floating held in place by the vice screw. It works like a dream for disposables and has me eyeballing some of the problem machines in my collection, although Greg strongly advises to let a pro do it, as you can seriously alter how your machine runs if you start hacking away at it! The vice screw is one point of weakness I see, I have gorilla mits and tighetn things harder then I realize at times, and I can see already that the dimes used for the vice screws are bending the weld is rock solid, its just the flimsy american money that cannt hold up.

linder and shader tattoo machines

As far as criticisims for this machines I have a few small ones, but they are simply based off of personal preference . First like I said was the vice srew, secondly I would have to say that the fact that the contact screw has nothing on top is troublesome. I usually have to turn a tattoo machines contact screw after three to six months and with nothing to hold on to that could hurt. Another thing is the shader’s front coil could use a .025 shim in my opinion, the rear coil is close to the point of almost touching and I could see with a solid 6 months of wear and tear on the front coil top, where you could run into an issue. The front coil is not perfectly parallel with the bottom of the machine, seems to be leaning forward a tad, I think that a shim thrown in there would get the coil off the wire a bit more, increse levelness and help out a ton. Finally I would say that the coil holes being slotted makes no sense, not like you are going to move them forward or backward of where they are . The fact that there is a slot from the back point of the vice hole to the front of the first coils slot seems to make an undue weakness in the frame. Again these are all just personal preferences.

All in all, I think these unique machines are smooth steady runners. Greg knows what he is doing and from a few conversations with him he already identified a few of the things i brought up so you know with every machine he is just getting better and better. Well worth the money i would surely keep using these machines for years on end. Check out and for more info.

Ben -

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Soba Brass Deluxe Pilot Shader Tattoo Machine Review

by on Dec.06, 2013, under Supply Review

Holy lag time batman! I got the Soba Brass Deluxe Pilot Shader tattoo machine for review like, um, well….a looooong while ago! Soba sent it my way to put through the daily rigors and see what I could say both positive and negative about it. With the way my year has been it has been rough to get myself sat down in front of the computer to type all this stuff in! That is a good thing though!! What I am reviewing is not the production model,  but besides the coil covers it’s no different then what you would order at Workhorse Irons.

shader tattoo machine soba

I will run you through all the specifics of this machine first and foremost. It is a silicon bronze investment cast machine, pretty much the smoothest running of the common metals used for tattoo machines due to it’s density. More density equals less vibrations. Many would gripe about the weight but it really is not an issue with this machine as the guys over at Workhorse Irons have drilled holes in the upright to lighten the tattoo machine. It is similar in weight to all the other full sized machines on my rack, daily driver weight for sure.

Coils are 1.125″ 8 layer, iron coil core wrapped with premium wire, covered in green gaffers tape, with phenolic tops and bottoms. They sit on a 1/8″ yoke and are shimmed perfectly where the a-bar is parallel to the bottom deck, with a sliver of light showing through the back coil top and the a-bar . The capacitor is an industry standard 47uF35v. Springs are hand cut and punched .018 front and back, with a slim taper to the front spring. The rear All of the hardware on the Brass Deluxe Pilot Shader is deluxe brass that is all turned in house at Workhorse Irons, the shoulder washers match the phenolic on the coils. The use of Torx screws and cap head screw insures you wont have to break out the dremel to slot that son of a bitch button head allen wrench that just stripped out on your tattoo machine!! Just as icing on the cake they have made an antiqued brass Workhorse Irons thumbsrecw that is so solid you never have to worry about a sketchy weld letting loose of your coin while you are tightening the vice.

shader tattoo machine

Having put this tattoo machine through a few months of daily work, I can say it is super smooth running shader and color packer. I have whipped out smoothness and laid in some super solid large fields of color. Sweet looking, ultra versatile, solidly built with ultra precision Attention to detial is very high, and with Soba it’s a given that things are gonna match and be just a great overall package! The only negative I can say about it is the tube vice tends to be a bit tight if you are using disposable tubes regularly. Soba is always one to accommodate and if you are worried about that he can make adjustments for you when you order.

In all, I would say that at $350 off of these tattoo machines are well worth that investment. Something that you could pass onto the next generation of tattooers when you are old and grey and wrinkly, and i am sure they could pass to the next after them! Soba is a really great guy with the integrity it takes to make it in this business. I highly recommend checking out Soba machines at Workhorse Irons.
-Ben Reigle

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The Soul of a New Machine Part One: Builder “Timeless”

by on Sep.11, 2013, under Supply Review

Edited by: Trent Aitken-smith , Originally appeared in Tattoo Master Magazine, Issue Twenty One

 photo Spray_stuff_Webbanner1_zps41e81c0f.jpg

Name: Andy Dykes (Timeless)
Location: England
Years Building: 7
Contact Details:

I tattooed my first customer around 2006. It was the outline of a piece of tribal on my buddy’s leg. Let’s just say it was a nerve-racking experience to say the least.

My previous job, before I stated tattooing, was as an apprentice tool maker. So as you can imagine, It wasn’t long after I started tattooing that I started to ‘tinker’ with my machines; probably because they were all crap and never ran as they should. I started off with rebuilds for myself, then for a couple artist I know, and then I progressed onto making frames… with nothing but a hack saw, drill press and bench sander, they were all bot up frames.
After a while I stated to save up some cash so I could purchase a manual mill and a lathe, which made life so much easier. Also at the same time, my dad taught me how to weld. It wasn’t long after I started figuring out how to make all the components needed to build a solid, handmade machine.

It was from a local tattoo supplier, very prematurely in my career; I didn’t know any better and wasted my money. I still have that machine ad it definitely will never get used again. I’ve been tempted to rebuild it on numerous occasions but as it was my first, I’m going to keep it all original as a memento.

It can only be described as a heap of junk. It had a bolt-up fame that resembled a Zeiss animal marker. It didn’t run too well at all. It was solid, but I didn’t give any though to geometry at all-to this day it’s by far the slowest machine I have ever built…and it was supposed to be a liner.

It’s too hard to say. I have a lot of builders I admire and have drawn inspiration from over the years. I’d say all-time favorites would be Percy Waters or Paul Rogers. As for modern day favorites, ids probably say Scott Sylvia, Morgan Pettit, and Donnie Irish, Build my favorite machines that I only personally… Closely followed by half-a-dozen others.

I try to base my machines off the old classics. They did all the hard work, they figured to what would or wouldn’t work. That’s probably why I like my machines to look old and distressed. They have more soul and look like they have a story to tell.

It only use steel/iron to build my machines. I’m thinking of getting into brazing a little more, so maybe in the future I may also start using some brass from time to time.

I haven’t been building machines to tattooing long enough to give a worthwhile opinion. Although, in the short time I have been building machines, I have noticed more and more ‘machine builders’ coming out of the woodwork. Most only assemble machines, and 99 percent wouldn’t know how to build a machine from raw materials.
The cheap, imported and readily available parts and machines that are ever present on certain auction websites, as well as numerous other websites. It makes any one with an allen key, who can tighten half a dozen or so screws, into a machine builder these days.

Its hard to predict. As long as people support builders who put time, effort and care into building a machine, then hopefully it’ll be good. Tattoo artist often moan about people putting out sub-standard tattoos on people and encourage customers to go the artist that can do the tattoo the most justice, regardless of time and price… well the same can be said about tattoo machines. Do your research, get recommendations, and find the right person for the job.

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