BY ROBERT WILLIAMS, JANUARY 29th, 2019 11:00 AM
There are quite a few different types of tattoo machines available on the market today. If you are serious about becoming a tattoo artist then checking out the different types will be well worth your efforts because it might just guide you to a machine that takes your tattoo skills to the next level without all the hours of practice.
The top 3 tattoo machines include rotary tattoo machines, coil machines, and Pneumatic tattoo machines. While coil tattoo machines and rotary machines are probably already common to you, the one you might not know too much about is the pneumatic tattoo machine. If you don't really care about the type of tattoo machine, you should take a look at our guide on the overall best tattoo machines.
The pneumatic tattoo machine, also known as the neuma tattoo machine is one you can definitely consider if you tend to take on large tattoos or work for long tattoo sessions. This machine was developed in 2000 and is quite different from other types that use a coil and rotary needles. Neuma tattoo machines work with an air compressor to move the needle up and down during tattooing.
To use the machine you need to attach it to an air compressor before releasing the air into the device. The pressured air will power the motor so the needle starts moving up and down and adjusting the air pressure allow you to control just how fast or slowly the needle moves.
It is important for tattoo artists to realize that you will need to also invest in an air compressor if you decide to use this type of machine. Air compressors can be powered by electricity or gas. Gas operated air compressors could be handy when setting up your mobile tattoo shop in a remote area but all in all, the compressor could result in excessive bulkiness which could make it challenging to move around with ease.
Neuma tattoo machines are perfectly compatible with other tubes and needles and as such doesn’t require specialized accessories.
This tattoo machine has a few unique advantages which make it a popular pick amongst many tattoo artists such as the following;
Lightweight and compact
The tattoo machine is incredibly compact and lightweight. The compact and light design makes it pretty easy to operate, especially if you are tattooing for long periods of time or creating large and complex tattoos. In fact, the light weight of the machine in your hand is exactly why so many artists love this little machine.
Needles and tubes
The machine also functions with average sized needles and tubes which make it easier for artists to find supplies. The machine also functions with both round and flat needles which enable you to use it for both lining and shading.
Lining and shading
The machine can be used for both lining and shading although most artists prefer to invest in two individual machines for these different tasks. This is because flat needles are mostly used for lining since the ink can penetrate deeper into the skin. Round needles are often preferred for shading but can also be used for lining depending on how tightly the needles are packed together. Switching between different needles can be annoying where switching between machines are often quicker and easier.
Easy to use
The machine is incredibly easy to set up and especially to use since you only need to connect it to your air compressor and can get to tattooing instantly.
Easy to clean
Neumatic tattoo guns can be a lot easier to clean because unlike with other tattoo machines, this machine doesn’t need to be disassembled for cleaning and sterilizing. Other machine guns need to be disassembled in order to properly clean them and as a result, plenty of tattoo artists neglect their cleaning duties. The Neuma tattoo machine tends to be much more sterile because it is so easy to keep tidy and clean.
Can use in remote destinations
If you invest in a gas operated air compressor then you can work without the need for electricity. This can be a viable solution for remote stands at music festivals and other types of events where power outlets might be limited.
An upgrade of the Neuma tattoo machines is available. It is known as the Neuma Hybrid and can function with either compressed air or electricity. It can be a good solution for artists that move around a lot since they don’t always have to tag an air compressor along for work. The hybrid also results in less scaring to the skin and is said to be less painfull.
Shader liner attachments available
You can purchase additional shader and liner attachments in different colors in order to create different tattoo techniques or results.
These tattoo machines are the third most popular tattoo machine on the market and as such the least popular among the three major different types available because of its disadvantages. Here are the top disadvantages of these machines;
Can be loud
One of the biggest drawbacks to this machine is the fact that it can be loud to operate. Many artists claim that it is much louder than other electric tattoo guns.
If you are using the neuma gun instead of the hybrid then you also need to invest in an air compressor. This can make your setup quite bulky if you are operating in a mobile stand or frequently move around.
Can be expensive
The fact that you need an air compressor for operating this tattoo machine can make it more expensive than electric tattoo machines. The tattoo machine itself can also be a bit more expensive than popular rotary and coil tattoo machines.
Hard to find
One of the biggest reasons tattoo artists don’t use these machines too often is due to the fact that they are hard to come by. Neuma and Neuma hybrid machines are not available at nearly as many online stores and tattoo supply stores as rotary and coil tattoo machines. But once you do find one of these machines, your supplies won’t be too hard to come by since these tattoo machines work with most pre-designed needles and tubes on the market.
Challenging to move around
Dragging around a bulky air compressor with you can be challenging and makes this one of the tattoo machines that isn’t perfectly suitable for mobile or temporary tattoo stands.
When you compare this type of tattoo gun to rotary and coil machines you will instantly notice quite a few differences;
It is a lot louder than rotary and coil tattoo machines. In fact, many comments that it can be downright annoying to use unless you use the Neuma Hybrid that functions more silently and that can work via electricity.
The tattoo machine is much lighter since it doesn’t require electrical wiring for it to operate. The light weight makes it suitable for large tattoo jobs and is exactly why this is one of the leading types created.
Neuma tattoo guns do create quite a lot of skin damage while the tattoo process is ongoing. The neuma hybrid guns, on the other hand, don’t result in quite as much skin damage.
You can use it just as easily with normal or average sized tubes and needles as any other rotary or coil tattoo machine which means that once you have the machine you should be able to find supplies relatively easily.
The neuma machine tends to be cleaner since it is quicker and easier for artists to clean it up between sessions since disassembly is not required. It is also much quicker to clean since there is no need to disassemble the machine.
Switching between lighting and shading becomes quite easy and quick if you invest in two different machines and load different needle types. In fact, most tattoo artists that use these machines prefer to use multiple machines for tattooing.
This tattoo machine certainly will change the way you do and experience tattooing but it isn’t as popular and can be incredibly hard to come by. In fact, there are very few Neuma tattoo machines available on the market and even Amazon – a very popular online store for tattoo artists, don’t seem to have any of these machine types available at the moment. But if you do happen to own an air compressor and come across one of these machines then it certainly will be worthwhile buying. You will get a much different feel for tattooing and using the lighter machine can prove to be revolutionary. Many tattoo artists do prefer to use this machine and the Neuma hybrid gives you all the benefits of the traditional machine along with all the features of modern electric rotary and coil machines.
Overall it looks like a terrific machine and can be a worthy investment – if you can find it and if you can afford the more expensive machine and the particularly expensive air compressor that is required for manning the machine.