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Tattoo Machines


#1

Hello Matt. I’m also new to this forum, but not new to lapidary art,
metalsmithing or tattooing. I probably know about as much as you do
about lost wax casting, so I’m not qualified to help you find a way.
However, in my 14 years as a tattoo artist working for the late
Sailor Moses, I was fortunate enough to learn about building tattoo
machines from Scott Sterling and quite a bit from the late Paul
Rogers. Orchidians please bear with me on this, as it doesn’t relate
much to the trade as it will to Matt.

Matt, take any two of your assembled machines; one with a cast
frame, and the other with a machined frame. Hold each in your
stronger hand, one at a time, so that you can squeeze the back of
the frame where the rear armature bar spring is attached, toward the
binding post. On either frame you will notice that you can actually
twist the frame by squeezing the spring post toward the binding
post. I am confident that you will find that the machined frame is
far more rigid than the cast one. In fact, if you squeeze the cast
frame hard enough, it may break. Sure, casting frames is easier and
cheaper, but the rigidity of the machined frame produces much better
geometry for a solid running machine that won’t bog down as easily.
Smithy is a company that offers small-scale milling machines that
are more than up to the job.

If you absolutely MUST cast your frames, I would suggest you look
for a local rock/gem/mineral club in your area and ask if any
members do lost wax casting. Even if they don’t, they will probably
know of someone in your area who does. Either way, just reading in
this forum about exploding crucibles and asbestos liners proves to
me that its just as good an idea to learn about casting from an
expert as it is to learn tattooing under a veteran’s wing. I hope
this helps.

J. Duncan


#2
    If you absolutely MUST cast your frames, I would suggest you
look for a local rock/gem/mineral club in your area and ask if any
members do lost wax casting. Even if they don't, they will
probably know of someone in your area who does. Either way, just
reading in this forum about exploding crucibles and asbestos liners
proves to me that its just as good an idea to learn about casting
from an expert as it is to learn tattooing under a veteran's wing.
I hope this helps. 

I do lost wax casting (ceramic shell) for my wife’s work and a
number of other artists. I use a process called Ceramic Shell,
finger print accurate. I cast in bronze (everdure) but can get
castings in iron and and the shell is goof for stainless steel if
you can find an operation willing to cast the shell for you (would
be stronger than bronze).

I am willing to help you our with instruction or shelling your waxes
(or making your molds and waxes and ultimately giving you the “ready
to cast”, vitrified ceramic shells. The entire process (from the
beginning to end) of investment casting is “basically” simple but in
fact a rather technical in the actual operation. You might want to
take a look at ArtMetal.com and do a search in the casting section
for relating to casting. Great site for this sort of
thing too. There are a few book on this subject, but to date, in my
opinion, all are lacking in up-to-date current technical processes,
materials and techniques.

Quickest way to get a good understanding or this process is to find
a person doing some sort of metal casting and going to their place
and look, watch and listen.

John Dach