Tattoo Needle Categories - Tattoo equipment evolution - REBEL

Basics – Tattoo Needles Types & Categories

Tattoo Equipment Evolution - REBEL Precision Cartridges

The Evolution of Tattoo Equipment

Part 2. – Basics – Tattoo Needles Types and Categories

In the part 1, you learned about tattoo needles sizes. In this post, you will learn about Tattoo needles types.

Tattoo needles are a crucial part of the success and speed of your tattoo work, and it’s not so easy to find information on them. This article will help you understand the analytical and historical structure of the market availability for tattoo needles.

First, I’ll go into detail and talk about the tattoo needles types and their own unique features and manufacturing techniques.

We already know the two big tattoo needles types by their functions and their subcategories:

  1. Liner Tattoo needle configurations
  2. Shader Tattoo needle configurations
    • Round Shader needles
    • Magnum shader needles
    • Curved Magnum shader needles
Precision Liner Tattoo Needles - Tattoo Supply - REBEL
Precision Round Shader Tattoo Needles - Tattoo Supply - REBEL
Precision Magnum Shader Tattoo Needles - Tattoo Supply - REBEL
Precision Curved Magnum Shader Tattoo Needles - Tattoo Supply - REBEL

Diameters/gauges of stainless steel wires

Tattoo needles are mostly manufactured from 3 different diameters/gauges of stainless steel wires:

  • .25mm – FINE – #8 is the standard system (US) designation
  • .30mm – NORMAL – #10 is the standard system (US) designation
  • .35mm – FAT – #12 is the standard system (US) designation

The way to imagine this is that these wires are on a huge roll similar to fishing line on a spool. So these need to be cut and sharpened in order to create a needle from it.

The length of these cut wires are quite standard for all different brands of tattoo needles, but are usually about a little over ¾” (or around 21mm). This unwritten, unified length allows tattoo artists to be able to switch between different manufacturing brands’ products as they please.

Then, these unified length pieces of metal need to be sharpened, or what we call: taper.

The official definition of taper

“ta·per

/ˈtāpər/

           verb

  1. to diminish or reduce in thickness toward one end.

Note: One common misconception that often gets confused or used incorrectly are the terms taper and gauge when describing a needle configuration.

Tapering has 4 different variations depending on the length from the beginning of the taper to the tip of the needle.

  1. Short taper         .07” = 2mm
  2. Medium taper     .14” = 3.5mm
  3. Long taper          .23” = 6.5mm
  4. Extra-long taper .31” = 8mm
Tattoo Needle Taper Styles - REBEL

The easiest way to imagine this is in proportions. They sharpen the short tapered needle at a big angle on the length of 1/10th of the ¾” needle’s full length. Therefore, it kind of looks like a bullet tip.

They sharpen the Medium tapered needles close from 1/5th of the total length, the long tapered is about 1/3rd, and the extra-long taper is almost halfway up, as you can see on the above image.

Why is this important?

Because all tapers have different properties to store and carry the ink into the skin.

Also, the different taper length gives us different possibilities to group the needles into different configurations. The longer the taper, the closer you can group the needles to create very tight configurations. This is an important and crucial feature for manufacturing bugpin liner needles.

The industry manufactures all taper variations from all three different wire diameters. So that gives us a crazy amount of variations for needle configuration: about 120-150 (3 sizes x 40-45 configurations). The most popular and widespread diameter is the .30mm. Tattoo artists hardly use short tapered needles.

Tattoo Needles Configurations

 Now that we’ve learned the needle types, it’s time to talk about configurations.

They solder these loose needles together in a certain number and shape to create different configurations for different purposes. The number of needles grouped are usually odd numbers: 3, 5, 7, 9, etc., and then they solder them onto the stainless steel bar. But in some cases, we can see even number configurations like 8, 14, or 18.

The way the tattoo industry typically identifies these needle configurations is with a description that includes the number of the needles first, then the needle configuration they create, and finally the shape of them. Like: 9 Round Liner, 15 Magnum, 18 Round Shader or 27 Curved Magnum.

Note: Manufacturers build every needle configuration from the same tapered needles! There is no mixing! All short-, long- or extra-long tapered only, and so on.

Tattoo needle categories compare to artist brushes

In tattooing, we try to transfer our art skills onto a human canvas – skin. In order to do that, we try to create similarly functioning tools. I would like to compare the tattoo needle categories to the painting brushes you see below.

    1. Liner Tattoo needles = fine liner brush
    2. Round Shader needles = round brush
    3. Magnum Needle configurations = flat/bright brush
    4. Curved Magnum Needle configurations = filberth brush
Liner Tattoo needle configurations compare to artist paint brushes
Magnum Tattoo needle configurations compare to artist
Curved Magnum Tattoo needle configurations compare to artist

We will be getting into the details regarding all of the above-mentioned categories in separate articles, so stay tuned.

Thanks,

Caesar

We will be getting into the details regarding all of the above-mentioned categories in separate articles, so stay tuned.

Thanks,

Caesar

The Evolution of Tattoo Equipment

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