You might be surprised, but the tools for making a simple tattoo gun are found in your everyday household! I’m not just talking about some needle and ink stuff, either: I’m talking about the real deal, and electronic tattoo machine gun. Although it won’t be as fancy as manufactured machines, it is perfect for would-be tattoo artists who would like to practice.While I don’t recommend using it on actual skin, you can use it on things like lemons or oranges to see how tattoo guns typically work and practice your artistry. Without further ado, here is how to make a tattoo gun! GETTING STARTED
First, you’ll need to find all the essential ingredients. The motor will be the most difficult to find, so let’s start with that. Anything that requires motion should have a motor. Go ahead and sort through all of your old machines and see what you can use. Do you have an old video game controller? If it has a rumble feature, then it has a motor. What about an old cassette player that was replaced by your CD player…that hopefully has been replaced with an MP3 player by now? That has a motor, too.
Next, go ahead and find a mechanical pencil, a spoon, a high E guitar string (which will be the thinnest string available at a music store), a charger or adapter (anything that charges a power or device from the wall), and some electrical tape. Okay, so maybe that guitar string isn’t laying around the house, but it should still be easy to acquire.
Go ahead and remove everything from the inside of the mechanical pencil. Be sure to keep the eraser, though—that part will be important later. Next, you’ll be using the spoon to attach the motor to the pen. The motor will be held by the dip, while the handle will eventually be taped to the end of the pencil. You can bend the spoon however you like, but I recommend a shape that keeps the motor lined up with the pen. This will help immensely with balance.
Go ahead and tape the motor to the dip, making sure the wires are not concealed and that the motor seems sturdy. There should be sharp prongs sticking out of the motor—go ahead and leave those exposed, too. It’s essential to make sure the motor stays in place while working, so go ahead and test that now. Do your best to flick off the motor. If it doesn’t budge, you’re set for the next part.
Take the eraser from the mechanical pencil (you did keep it, didn’t you?) and attach it to the prongs on the motor. Stick the guitar string from earlier into the center of the eraser, then bend it 90 degrees so that the rest of the string runs parallel to the spoon handle. Now, you’re finally ready to attach the motor to the pen! Insert the guitar string into the mechanical pencil and run it through. You might want to cut excess string now, to make things easier for later. Tape the handle to the pen and double check that everything is sturdy before moving on.
Lastly, while the wire you chose is unplugged from the wall, go ahead and cut the end that charges/powers (in other words, the part that doesn’t plug into the wall). This will expose two wires. Go ahead and do your best to remove the outside insulation and split the two wires. One has a positive output, while the other has negative. There should be two wires sticking out of the motor. Go ahead and attach one wire from the charger to one wire from the motor, and then attach the remaining wires together. You can attach them with tape, but for now, don’t secure it too much. Carefully plug in the charger, making sure that the wires are not exposed, and see if the motor spins. If it does, awesome! If it doesn’t, all you need to do is switch the wires. If neither of them works, there could be a problem with the motor or the charger. Simply locate new ones to try.
Your new pen is technically usable now! However, There are some ways to vastly improve its performance. If you have sandpaper or incredibly sharp knives, go ahead and refine the edge of the guitar string until the end is sharp. This will vastly improve the performance. If you do not want a wire attached to the gun, you can instead use a battery, with the wires attached to opposite ends. The downside to this is that it will be difficult to power on and off, and you’ll have to adjust the balance of your tattoo machine gun. On the other hand, the gun will be easier to maneuver.
There are also ways to make the pen a little easier to use and more aesthetically pleasing. You can choose to use a pen, rather than a mechanical pencil—just make sure the tip of the pen is very thin, so that the string does not stray while you are using it. There are far more interesting designs and varieties for pencils than pencils, which makes it easier to customize the look of your tattoo gun. If you want extra grip, most stores that sell office supplies will have them.
USING THE TATTOO GUN
Although you know how to build a tattoo gun now, don’t go crazy and start tattooing people with one. This tattoo gun is meant for practice only, and because it was made from random stuff laying around the house, is vastly inferior to commercial tattoo machines. If you use this on a person, it is unfair to them, as it will not offer nearly the same quality. Plus, it doesn’t live up to any kind of health standards. Health inspections are frequent at tattoo shops, and if you’re caught tattooing people with illegal equipment, you will be fined and possibly face criminal charges.
What you can use this gun for is practice. Practice makes perfect, and this gun is the first step towards learning how to work a tattoo machine! You can use fruits with hard skins on the outside—such as oranges—to practice on. I promise that your friends will be way more impressed if they see you improve on non-living subjects before moving on to the real deal. It shows that you have a respect for the art and a deep understanding of your own ability.