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Tattoo Cartridge Needles Configuration

Tattoo Cartridge Needles Configuration

What is Tattoo Cartridge Needles configuration?

When examining a page of tattoo needles on a website or in a catalogue, the variety of options available can be overwhelming. However, there's no need to worry—this is where the learning process begins.

Tattoo needles can be categorized into six basic groups, encompassing all the available options: RL Round Liner, RS Round Shader, F Flat, M Magnum, M1CRM,CM Curved Mag, M2 Stacked Mag. 

Why is Cartridge Needles configuration important?

The ink deposition into the skin is greatly influenced by the needle's configuration. A widely used needle type is the "12 07 RL," which denotes a Round Liner configuration comprising seven #12 needles.

To remember which needle configuration to use in different scenarios, refer to this tattoo needle size chart when considering how each configuration should be used.

What each configuration is used for?

Round Liner (RL)

Suitable for: Clear-cut lines, delicate and thin lines, script, dot work, stippling, and small areas of shading, such as portraits.

In a round liner configuration, the needles are tightly grouped together at the end, resulting in the ink being concentrated in a specific area and enhancing the visibility of lines.

Liners with needles placed in close proximity are commonly referred to as a "Tight Liner." Nevertheless, this close arrangement can induce a sensation of slight "pinching" on the client's skin, potentially resulting in a higher level of discomfort during the lining process.
For script or delicate details in portraits, 1-3RLs are a suitable option.


Round Shader (RS)

Suitable for: Soft-edge lines, shading small areas, colour packing.

Ideal for filling in small areas, creating texture, and highlighting.
Due to the wider spacing between needles, liners with a longer distance between each can yield lesser trauma compared to liners with closely arranged needles.
When it comes to adding highlights to completed tattoos, the 7 RS configuration is widely favored.
For creating lines, the 7 RS configuration can be utilized. It offers a softer line due to the wider spacing between needles, resulting in a smoother appearance without the sharp delineation found in liners. Nevertheless, certain designs may intentionally seek this effect.

Flat (F)

While less commonly employed, flat has the capability to deliver a substantial amount of ink.
Due to their maneuverability, flat allows for precise shading by easily adjusting their angles.
When handling flat tattoo needles, caution must be exercised with regards to angling, as there is a risk of inadvertently cutting the client.

Magnum (M)

Suitable for: For packing black or color, tribal designs, color blends, and certain black and gray applications – these are the areas where these tattoo needles excel.

Considered an all-rounder due to its versatility, this needle type is widely used and recognized as the most common. With these needles, you can accomplish a wide range of tasks, making them suitable for almost any purpose.
Due to the larger surface area, larger mags enable smoother gradients of color as they can deposit more ink, necessitating fewer passes over the same area. Employing larger mags allows for smoother gradients and solid fills, promoting even healing without patchiness. Conversely, if one were to use a small round liner to pack color into a large area, the result would likely be patchy and uneven.
Sometimes referred to as "weaved magnums," these regular magnums (in contrast to stacked magnums) require caution due to their flat nature and the skin's tendency to dip under the needle's pressure. It is crucial to be mindful of the potential for cutting a client's skin with the edge of a magnum during the tattooing process.

Curved Magnum (M1C, RM,CM)

Suitable for: In applications such as portraits, realism, or out-of-focus backgrounds, softer shading techniques are employed to minimize trauma to the skin. This includes packing black or color and creating gentle gradients to achieve a desired effect.
Curved magnums offer the advantage of an "arched" shape that enables seamless blending without producing distinct edges. This characteristic proves particularly beneficial for creating out-of-focus backgrounds, portraits, color blending, and allowing the image's edges to smoothly blend into the skin instead of outlining them.

Stacked Magnum (M2)

Suitable for: Packing black or color
On a stacked magnum, the needles are positioned in closer proximity compared to those on a regular or curved magnum. This arrangement aims to achieve a higher level of color saturation, minimizing the need for multiple passes over the skin. However, it is important to note that this technique can result in increased trauma to the skin compared to the use of a regular magnum.

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