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 Building another single coil tattoo machine from scratch

I decided to build another single coil, fabricating every part (except screws, springs, and coil core) from scratch. This is a behind the scenes look at how that occurred. Please forgive some of the blurry photos, my camera was fighting me this day. 

First thing I do as always is to draw out a rough shape of the machine on our side plate blank. This is always just a rough idea, the only thing I really concentrate on is making sure it fits the geometry that I want the final machine to have. 
(Side plate blanks available here:

As you can see I decided to do a "baby" version  of my Black Widow style side plate (modeled after the timeless classic from Paul Rogers)

So next I drill out the circular parts of the design

And set her free (cut her out) At this stage I always leave the side plate in a rough state, I smooth them out after they are welded and everything is in place.

Next I grabbed a piece of our base blank material, and marked off the vice hole, coil hole, and binding post holes. I also used a center punch at the precise area I wanted to drill 

(Base blanks available here:

Then I drill pilot holes

Then the correct size holes

Next the hole for the vice pinch screw

Since this is going to have a rear vice pinch, the rear screw would be crooked. So I counter sunk the coil hole so it would sit level. (If that didn't make sense later pictures will explain it better than I can)

Next I cut off the excess base material and cut across the tube vise hole.

Bottom view (Now you can see why the hole needed to be counter sunk)

I drilled one side of the vice screws hole, and tapped the other. 

I realized at this moment that I was out of spring deck raw material, and being determined to do this from scratch I turned my attention to the binding posts while I pondered a solution to the spring deck. 

( Raw binding post material found here: )

I decided to give it some grooves for flare.

Drilled the binding post. (Expert tip here: If you are doing both the front and rear start with the front and drill and tap the material long enough for the rear. It will save you having to do it again for the rear) 

Tapped the binding post then parted it off.

Grooved the rear binding post.

Drilled the clip cord hole (since she was already drilled an tapped) ;) and parted her off as well.

Marked off the contact screw hole on the binding post, and used a center punch.

Drilled and tapped it.

Progress pic while I was contemplating the spring deck.

The solution to the spring deck! It turns out the dimensions of the base blank material is the same as the cut dimensions of the spring deck blanks. So I simply cut it to the needed thickness.

Drilled and Tapped

With all frame parts fabricated I welded it up. 

Cleaned it up and removed the excess material from the base around the tube/tube vice area. 

Next to the armature bar (A-bar). Marked the rear screw hole & center punched it. 

Drilled the pilot hole.

Drilled the screw hole

Drilled the hole for the nipple

I knew I wanted the machine to have brass accents, so I wanted to give it a brass nipple on the armature bar. I don't have the right size brass rod for that. I do have brass screw rods. I could have just tapped the hole and used loctite. That wasn't the feel I was going for though, so I improvised.

Brazed the new nipple on

Progress pic to this point

That means it's time to start work on the coil.

( Coil parts available here: )

Time to wind!

All done

Covered in black hockey tape.

Wiring her up.

Ready to go. 

All done and ready for sale!

If you like this and would like to see more - or to place a custom order email me at:



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