Spring Perfection

Arm Bar Tuning Tool

★ ★ ★ ★

August. 18, 2013

This review is for: Hildbrant’s Spring Flake Adjustment Jig


This here is another tool that is super handy. If you change your machines springs, build machines, or are simply a tinkerer you need to have one of these. This tool is super awesome when adjusting your springs. Before I acquired this I would put my springs on the a bar, and tighten them up. Doing so would force the springs into my thumb as I held them in place. A little painful, haha. Then once on the machine, I’d have to hold everything else in place and get the A-Bar centered.


This jig is super awesome, and super easy to use. You just put your A-Bar together like normal, but only snug up the screw. Place the A-Bar into the jig so that the spring and front of the A-Bar are locked into the front of the jig. There is an upside down “T” shaped opening that will hold everything in place. You then slide the back piece into position and it will hold all your springs in place. Tighten up your screw, and away you go! Your A-Bar is ready to be placed onto your machine.


This tool is really great, but there are two things I don’t like about it. There aren’t any intructions that come with it—they are on the website—and it is made of plastic. If you look at the pictures it kind of looks like it is made of a more solid construction. Maybe some sort of metal. However, when you get it in it’s made of plastic. Don’t get me wrong it still works fine, but I was expecting more. It fits all standard size springs and A-Bars. My A-Bars I’ve had here I guess aren’t standard. I practically had to force them into the jig, then force it into position to use the tool. I haven’t tried using the A-Bars from their machines as they run so well I don’t want to take them apart.

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Don’t get me wrong their jig is still a fantastic buy. I just don’t think it’s worth the 8.99USD plus shipping that they charge. Even having to force some of my A-Bars in it still saves a lot of time, and the alignment is flawless. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, haha.


This is a must have if you’re a tinkerer, and works fantastic. It gets a 4 out of 5 because of the price, and it just isn’t quite what you think you’re getting when you look on the website. I do recommend it to everyone, and I show it off when I can.



★ ★ ★ ★ ★

August. 28, 2013

RimfireThis review is for: Hildbrant .22 Rimfire Liner


First off I’d like to mention that www.tattooradar.com is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or in other way swayed by any tattoo supply company. Most of my reviews are for Hildbrant products as they are the supply company I use the most. These reviews are in no way biased. They are simply personal experience opinions as well as factual information obtained by the website. This machine was purchased at www.tattoomachineequipment.com.


The .22 Rimfire liner! This baby is nicer if you’re looking for a slower liner. Like the other machines I’ve reviewed of Hildbrant’s it measures at 3.5”x3.5”, and weighs 12oz (350g). This machine shares it’s frame with the faster running .30 Carbine. Have got to love the gun names. The .22 Rimfire is a workhorse liner, and was used by Morgan “Sticks” Kane for his lining work on his piece that won him the Hart Contest in 2007.


I use this machine for my smaller lines: 5RL, 3RL, and 1RL. I pair this with a diamond tipped grip, and get to work! I normally like to line pretty quickly, so my .357 Magnum is my main liner as it runs much faster than the .22 Rimfire. However, when doing my smaller lines I like to take my time to avoid any slight shakes, or wobbles. The main goal is consistency, and care. We all know when running those smaller lines even the slightest breath can push your lines off course.


This machine runs very consistently. Made with a thermal insulated frame that has a nice chrome look to it. It is both stylish, and effective. No load this machine can run 6.5V, 45% duty, 135Hz, and 0.28Amps. It is quite the little liner if I do say so myself. Normally when I do a pretty elaborate piece I’ll bring out three to four liners. My smaller lines, my base lines, my bold lines, and in some cases I’ll bring out an even finer line. My .22 Rimfire always rocks out the smallest line’s I bring out, and puts them in solid, and in one pass. It is a very exceptional liner for the price. Like their other machines it shares the same parts as the other Hildbrant machines. This is actually awesome since I really like all my machines to match as much as possible. Not sure why though, haha.


As with the others this machine gets a 5 out of 5 rating even with it’s stock performance. If it feels a little slow toss a balanced speed bar on there, and you’re good to go!

Hildbrant’s .44 Winchester Machine

Fort Winchester

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

July. 31, 2013

Hildbrant winchester tattoo gun review on TattooRadar.comThis review is for: Hildbrant’s .44 Winchester Machine


Hildbrant has eight of their own signature machines. One of which is the .44 Winchester fast shader tattoo machine. It shares it’s design, and frame geometry with the slower running .223 Remington. This machine is ideal for faster shading. The frame design is actually very appealing as well.


This machine comes stock as a shader. It weights 350g (12oz). The size of the frame is 3.5” x 3.5”. It comes with eight wrap coils, and the frame material is low carbon steel with a dark metallic chrome finish. The machine is shipped in a very stylish gold box, with a machine frame insert, and warranty card. A nice touch to the box is the quote under their logo, “Tougher than Ninjas, and Pirates!” I think that was a very nice added touch. This machine comes with their black version of their coils featuring a Canadian Adult Film Star Betty Spanks.

Hildbrant winchester tattoo gun review on TattooRadar.com

The machine comes stock as a fast shader. I tested this machine using the stock configurations. I believed I couldn’t do a proper review if I went ahead, and changed a bunch of parts on the machine. That’s not necessarily reviewing the machine as a whole as much as it’s reviewing the frame. I personally like to shade pretty quickly, so this machine worked pretty well for me. I did a few new pieces; along with a touch up that needed the shading to be darker, and it worked very very well. The ink went in very nicely, and the shade came out pretty smooth. One tattoo I didn’t even dilute my black, and it made a very nice gradient. Personally I don’t think this machine needs any new parts other than to add your own personal flare to the machine.


As far as the machine construction goes it is very well made. One of the things that really got me into this company is the fact that they are in Richmond, British Columbia. Being a Canadian I would rather buy Canadian products. That being said even if they were based in Germany I’d more than likely still buy from them. This machine is built well, solid, and with very good quality parts. When holding the machine on it’s own it has a nice even weight to it, but once you get the needle, grip, etc, onto the machine you can barely tell that you’re holding it. They also make a very nice, and consistent hum.


According to my Hurricane HP-2 Power Supply this machine has a nice run at 6.5V with 125Hz, 0.30 Amps, and 53% duty. It sounds beautiful when running. Their machines are available at www.tattoomachineequipment.com , their toll free number 1-888-944-8841, or by email at sales@tattoomachineequipment.com.


This machines easily gets a 5 out of 5 rating from me, and I have already recommended it to many of my tattoo artist friends. Be sure to check out some of their other machines, and products as well.

Hildbrant winchester tattoo gun review on TattooRadar.com

Disclaimer: None of my reviews are supported, biased, endorsed, or in any other way altered by any one company, supplier, or product. I am an unbiased reviewer, and tattoo artist. However, I do review what I purchase, and I tend to stick to one supplier, or company for products.

Pulse Executive

Pulse Executive Tattoo Machine
Pulse Executive Tattoo Machine

Pulse Executive tattoo machine professional gear review, how good is this machine?

This tattoo machine was very popular about 5 years ago. I don’t think that you can purchase a new one from Pulse anymore, they may have discontinued it. If you can pick up a used one from someone then you definitely should.
This machine is a solid liner and has a good weight. The version that I have used for serveral years had the original vise on it, which left something to be desired.
I have seen that pulse has modified their vise now to a crimping guillotine version. This looks promising but I have not tried it out.
Pulse makes amazing gear and this machine is no exception. It came out of the box as a heavy hitting long stroke. It runs consistent and very clean. I have never had to change the springs on this machine and the figure 8 arm bar is really a good invention as well. All the hardware on this machine is heavy duty and the contact screw locking nut is perfect size and has nice grip to it. Pulse coils are always great. I recommend anything from pulse.
I also love a machine that has a 90 degree angle where the front spring meets the contact screw. Makes it easy to re-tune it and find that “sweet spot”. The rear deck of the frame is notched so that the rear spring sits perfectly straight and the machine came with a deck clamp to lock that rear spring in and optimizing the stroke of the pivot point on the rear spring (sometimes you see builders use coins to achieve this). All the screws on the machine are hex head, which is always good. The tension on the springs is perfect and this is a solid liner.
I love this machine and I would buy another one if mine ever was damaged.

PROS: Light weight, solid design, rear deck clamp, pulse coils, figure 8 armature bar, consistent, quality hardware.

CONS: Vise was shaky

RATING: 8/10

Eikon’s Laconia


I have to hand it to the guys and gals at Eikon, they are constantly reading my mind. I do a lot of analysis on tattoo machine geometry and the best thing since sliced bread has to be the Laconia machine.

Laconia (Λακωνία), also known as Lacedaemonia, is a prefecture of Greece. Its administrative capital is Sparti (Sparta) and its main towns and cities are Amykles, Areopoli, Gytheio, Molaoi, Monemvasia, Mystras, Voies and Oinountas. It encompasses Cape Malea and Cape Tainaron and a large part of the Mani Peninsula.. The subtle geometric differences might not be apparent to most tattoo artists, but if you know coil machines then you will immediately notice how the coils sit in comparison to the vise. You will also notice the rear deck of the frame is a little weird. This simple yet powerful modification is typically not possible with individuals who make bolt together frames because they are limited to the geometry of a flat frame base, but by changing the things that have been changed, you have the ability to run a consistent machine over and over again. Less stress on the springs is achieved as well meaning you can probably get that perfect tuning and keep it there longer than you normally would. Varying weights with arm bars and a ton of spring configurations makes this machine one to be reckoned with. I have been tattooing with it for a few months now and I like it a lot. For the price, you get a solid machine that has a classic look and a brilliant design.

PROS: Inventive geometry, solid running, brass, nice weight with a good balance.

CONS: The side plate seems to be a little too far forward and can get in the way when I am trying to put the needle on the arm bar (while loading the machine for a tattoo) sometimes, but it might just be the way I am used to holding the machine while I do this (with paper towels sans grommets).

RATING: 8/10

Costal Waters Tattoo Machine

Costal Waters tattoo machine review on Tattoo Radar

I purchased two of these machines a while back, one in liner and one in shader configuration. Papillion is well known for their starbrite tattoo pigment, but these machines are definitely on a lo tof people’s radar. Great price and solid design, these machines are my favorites. The shader more so than the liner. They tend to be on the heavier side as far as machines go, but nothing too extravagant. I cannot stress enough how well these machines run and how classic the geometry is. The only thing that bugs the hell out of me with them is the hardware is primarily composed of cross tip screws, which I am not a fan of. I immediately rip these off and replace (only 10 minute job that costs a dollar for some new hardware) them and I am back in business. This minor hassle is definitely overshadowed by the perfection of th way these machines run. I think it is a combination of the springs and the coils, but I love these machines.

PROS: Runs amazing, stays in tune, ferrous frame, solid coils, Percy Waters geometry.

CONS: Cross-tip screws for hardware.

RATING: 8/10