For those of you that have been tattooing long enough, you probably remember the ritual of starting your day making your own needles (or having your apprentice do it for you). You’ll also remember how time consuming it was, sorting through all the loose needles, getting the right needle jig, applying just the right amount of solder on the bar for the grouping you needed, making sure the spacing was spot on, then cleaning up the soldering station mess after (or having your apprentice do it for you)…… I don't know about you, but I can almost smell the flux now.
Then pre-made needles came along, and while there was early skepticism around the quality, many artists put away their soldering irons and took advantage of the time savings that pre-made needles provided. As time went on, the quality and selection of pre-made needles has blown up to the point that it’s rare to see any artist still practicing the age-old art of making their own needles (I do know a few, but I won't name names).
Not long after the pre-made needle revolution, things started to change again and these odd-looking needles built into tubeless tips, with no needle bar started to appear on the scene. Show after show, convention floor to convention floor, “cartridges” really started to make their mark. The switch to cartridges didn't happen overnight though, and unlike the move to traditional pre-made needles it would take a bit longer to catch on.
Tattoo cartridge needles offer a number of very good attributes that can definitely make your tattooing life easier. Obviously needle quality is high on this list, and very subjective, so we’ll leave that for another conversation.
At the top of most artists’ lists would be the ease of switching between needle configurations while tattooing. Eliminating the need to disassemble your machine to set up a different needle configuration, makes the tattooing process more efficient and saves you valuable time. The minimalist aspect of cartridges is great for the shop, and even more so for those of you who travel since you’ll no longer have to stack those large tube boxes in your luggage along with cartridge needles - less gear to lug around means more room in your luggage for T-Shirts and prints.
The number of cartridge manufacturers producing good, or even awesome quality needles has never been higher, this gives you more and more choice when it comes to the selection of configurations, tapers, membrane/bladders or even cartridge moulds.
Cartridge needles use an elastic or rubber “return spring” technology and each brand can have a different feel or tension associated with them. Terms like “Membrane” or “Bladder” are often used to describe this piece of rubber that not only acts like a return spring but in some cases also protects you and your machine from the backflow of ink or pathogens traveling up the needle. The reemergence of the “Pen” style rotary machine has also impacted the move to cartridges. Pens offer artists reduced weight, vibration and sound that improve their comfort now, and also hopefully prolongs their careers. The popularity of pens has moved even the staunchest traditional needle user towards at least trying cartridges.
Choosing the Cartridge that’s right for You
With multiple brands now in our Eikon Store, and 100’s of tattoo cartridges available, you’re able to choose the brand and favourite grouping(s) you are accustomed to. Take a look at our roster of cartridge needles.
These 2-piece cartridge needles are a standard in the tattoo industry. With over 56 configurations available in our Eikon Store, Cheyenne high-quality tattoo needles are equipped with a patented safety membrane that provides cross-contamination protection from viruses and bacteria, and a transparent tip for a clear view of the needle. they are available in 2 taper options and 4 needle sizes. Made in Germany.
Cheyenne’s newest cartridge needles are made of one-piece, moulded medical-grade plastic that is resistant to needle friction. These are the same high-quality needles from Cheyenne, also feature and the renowned safety membrane found in their safety cartridges. Available in 19 configurations and 2 needle sizes, these will give you good bang for your buck and they are also made in Germany
Based in Poland, the Kwadron needles are manufactured with the high quality you would expect from this company. These 1 piece transparent/smoke-tinted cartridge are designed with an exclusive stabilisation system that brings durable, over-the-top performance and an ink-flow to die for. The no-membrane design makes it easier on your machine, helping it run more smoothly. Kwadron are precise and always up to par. We carry 52 configurations at our Eikon Store.
Note: Health Canada lets the individual provinces regulate the use of cartridges. While some provinces are strict in the use of cartridge tattoo needles and require that they have a safety membrane-style system, some other provinces have not yet started to regulate their use.
We Thrive On Innovation
At Eikon Device, we strive to offer you the top tattoo supplies. Be sure to give any of them a test drive, ask questions and most of all be curious about how you can innovate your tattooing!!!