Spring Tension

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Spring Tension

Post by Weasyl on Fri May 13, 2016 1:17 pm

Hi, new member here (obviously).
Just wondering, in regards to tuning, how to adjust the spring tension. I've read that if you adjust the tightness of the contact screw, or how far you move the screw down, it won't do much good unless you adjust the spring tension too??

Thanks

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Re: Spring Tension

Post by Ketchup Kid on Mon May 16, 2016 6:22 pm

you unbolt the rear spring, flip the whole assembly arround and bend the spring

or you change to a thicker/thinner spring the sizes go .016 .018 .020 etc

but you need to know what exactly you are trying to achieve, less or more tension and why
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Re: Spring Tension

Post by Whippet on Thu May 19, 2016 10:09 pm

Front screw, changing the air gap, will change the speed. Closing the gap will reduce force if nothing else is changed. You need to work of the rear Spring as Reset suggests. Bending up for greater tension will increase the hit / force, until it gets too much and the machine chokes. If you go this far you can then start working back and taking tension off. Key (I think) to these adjustments is tiny increments either way. Really tiny.

For lining you want a short hard(er) Spring front (try a .020 and a .018 rear)- try reversing the gauge above for colour, though longer front Spring of course.

There's a fair bit more to it than this but try a few options to see the difference.
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Re: Spring Tension

Post by Loulou on Fri May 20, 2016 6:51 pm

there is a pdf in the technique section on tuning
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Re: Spring Tension

Post by FadedInk on Sun May 29, 2016 10:04 am

Maybe not something a complete beginner would want to mess with, but you can also cut your own springs and use the length, width and thickness to affect tension. You can make pretty nice ones from feeler gauge stock, cutting it with snips and punching holes with a small metal punch. I use a dremel, but for that approach you want to use a low speed and don't let the metal heat up too much or it can lose it's tempering.

You can order feeler gauge stock online or get it from some hardware stores or.. You can go to just about any department store's tools/hardware section and find some. There's only a few thicknesses on a typical feeler gauge that will be what you would want for tattoo machine springs, but you can use the other thicknesses for other things, like shimming coils and etc.

Cutting your own springs you can also get some thicknesses that most tattoo supply places don't carry like 22, 21, 19, 17, 15, and for some machines it can make a difference to find exactly what works best instead of "close" that is available premade.

But if you're maybe just starting out, might be best to put the concept of cutting your own custom springs on your "maybe later" list.

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Re: Spring Tension

Post by Ketchup Kid on Mon May 30, 2016 4:58 am

even if he gets good spring stock and cuts them now he has 1x3 combos
if he cuts fronts its 3x3 not to mention shape
too many permutations when you already don't fully understand the basics
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Re: Spring Tension

Post by Ketchup Kid on Mon May 30, 2016 5:04 am

Whippet wrote:

For lining you want a short hard(er) Spring front (try a .020 and a .018 rear)- try reversing the gauge above for colour, though longer front Spring of course.

There's a fair bit more to it than this but try a few options to see the difference.

thats makes sense and thats what all the books say, but i tried this but it was the opposite that made my liner operable.
the damn thing with the coils is too many variables...

but once you get it right the steel kicks ass...
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Re: Spring Tension

Post by Whippet on Mon May 30, 2016 11:53 am

Once you have your set up, your air gap should be pretty standard depending on what you're doing, for example (for lining) I set an airgap under 2mm, normally 1.5 -1.75 (with feeler gauge), depending on the machine...with the front spring flex I guess I'm getting 2mm travel. After that it's ALL about the rear spring tension, and after this point contact screw should only be turned max 1/4 turn in either direction for fine tuning. If you can't get it set off the back spring then its back to your overall set up and consider fatigue or other on the back spring (depending on hours of use).

This seems to be working for me consistently, I've been de-tuning, changing springs, stripping and re-building to hone it. I'm sure others have great working methods too and if you're struggling then try em all.

ASIDE: Just found out recently one of my former MA design students is apprenticed at a studio in Cyprus. He's 6 months in and knocking out some quality stuff. Already planning a trip out there to spend time in the studio - 2 full time artists and 2 part time working through the week. Sun and Ink...what a combination Razz
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