Let go of armature bar so it springs back up against the contact screw. Needles should not stick out from tip of tube at all, or just ever so slightly. Make sure tube opening is facing squarely forward and tighten the set screw. The machine is now set-up for some serious tattooing. The machine should be hooked-up to run and needles checked for correct movement.
(See previous chapter on machines for proper instructions on hooking up a machine.)
Good tattooing can only be done if the needles are strictly up and down. Sometimes they wobble and quiver sideways when machine is running and this is what should be checked for and remedied.
With machine running, use a power eye loupe to check the needle movement. If there is a sideways motion or a double image of the needles moving side to side, don’t tattoo until it is corrected. The rubber band tensión and a snug fit of the looped end of the needle bar is the way to stop the side wobble and this is done with either tape or rubber grommets. Sometimes a slight voltage reduction will also help. If there is a snug fit at the looped end of the needle bar and there is still a side wobble, move one or more rubber bands in a different position along the top of the needle bar until the right tensión is achieved to further stop the side wobble. Never bend the needle bar. Keep checking with machine running always using the eye loupe to make sure the needles are running just up and down. Any side motion has to be avoided. Each needle should be clearly seen with no blurring or double side to side or up and down images.
When using an eye loupe to check for correct needle motion, it is also a good time to check the needle tips for bad points. (See Section on needles.) This should be a habitual thing because this entire procedure has to be performed before each and every tattoo on both the outliner and the shader. If you tattoo with a side wobble, the needles will rip up the skin pretty badly, tearing it and doing damage that will make insertion of the ink difficult, and while it’s healing, scabbing and loss of color will result. With experience, this total operation takes only about two minutes and it will save a lot of time and aggravatfon Jater when putting color in and when it’s healing.